Luxury for Less: Tips for Using Technology to Upgrade Your Vacation
Tech-savvy tools are redefining how travelers integrate digital resources into their trips.
Innovative tools can help travelers save money and take advantage of exclusive perks.(Getty Images)
For tech-obsessed travelers looking to elevate their next vacation, travel companies are rolling out a myriad of inventive apps, websites and amenities that deliver new and improved experiences. From in-room touchscreen technology that controls everything from shades to lighting to sites that help you score exclusive members-only discounts, these digital innovations are making it increasingly easier to plan a high-end getaway without breaking the bank.
Here's a guide to emerging travel tech trends, and a few strategies for getting the most out of the tools at your fingertips.
Hotels across the globe are upping the ante with in-room technology to make stays more enjoyable for guests. The Park Hyatt Sydney, for example, enables guests to control sheer and black out shades with a tap of a button. Meanwhile, Sydney's The Darling Hotel offers technology to control the room air temperature and blinds on one easy-to-use device.
Do rely on sites like Suiteness.com to tap into exclusive hotel suite inventory. Members not only have the opportunity to score deep discounts, they are also rewarded with extra perks, such as free airport limo service, a personalized concierge and access to VIP events.
Do consider using home-sharing services like Airbnb to gauge pricing in your desired destination and score great deals. The site offers a user-friendly platform for comparing property listings, and landing reasonably-priced vacation rentals in a wide range of destinations.
Don't choose a hotel solely based on its tech features. Oftentimes, if you read the fine print, extra perks and privileges, including Wi-Fi access come attached to steep extra fees. Be sure to confirm what's included before you book to mitigate unnecessary costs.
When it comes to air travel, it's important to rely on trusted apps, sites and tools that are easy to use on the fly. A wide range of booking sites, including Kayak.com and Airfarewatchdog.com, enable travelers to predict the best times to book their flight to maximize savings. And other tools, like RouteHappy.com allow travelers to find comfortable flights based on a rating system that evaluates amenities, entertainment and other factors. Another site to keep on your radar is SeatGuru, which helps travelers find the best seats based on their needs. Beyond listing the amount of legroom and helpful details such as aircraft type, SeatGuru also features reviews and in-flight amenities to help travelers make an informed decision before picking their seats.
Do shop around for the best airfare. They key to scoring the lowest rates is turning to sites like Kayak, Airfarewatchdog and Adioso.com, which allow you to search for the prices available. Kayak and Yapta.com also offer alerts when prices drop for your desired flights.
Do carefully choose when you book your tickets and when you fly. Remember that flights on Tuesday afternoons often yield steeply discounted fares. Utilize apps like Hopper, which analyzes billions of flights every day to help fliers to snap up the best deals based on their preferred route. Hopper even offers generated reports to alert travelers when the cheapest time is to travel based on pricing trends. Best of all, the app is free.
About En Route
Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.
Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.
Edited by Liz Weiss.
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