Why you should avoid Wi-Fi access points at Airbnb rentals, and more internet security tips for travelers

man with laptop at airport. photo by Priscilla du Preez.
Photo by Priscilla du Preez.

If you work and travel, you know the feeling when you have managed to arrange a reliable and secure internet connection in a new destination. Big relief. Connections to work, friends and family depend on network access. Often, the temptation to quickly connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot is too much, and risks are taken. Don’t do it. Read our tips for keeping your online work and life secure on the road.

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Tools for automating those tiny tasks that are important when traveling

suitcases. photo by Les Haines.
Suitcases at Dereham Station by Les Haines.

Did I remember to switch on the timer for terrace lights before leaving on a trip? How do I take the time to keep my family and friends updated where I am when I’m constantly on the move in Europe? In addition to managing life on the road, a traveler should remember a zillion little things back home and another zillion updates for friends and social media. That’s where an automation tool like IFTTT can help.

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Three words are enough to pinpoint any place even without a street address

A couple years ago, when we were exploring southern France, we stayed in country houses. They were absolutely lovely places, but first, we had to find them. Of course, we had addresses of the houses and had pinned the locations on the smartphone map. It didn’t help. The countryside houses were impossible to find using the address alone. Minor roads didn’t have signs, houses didn’t have numbers, maps didn’t show roads correctly. Only a phone call to the landlord saved us.
What3words map showing location Read the story “Three words are enough to pinpoint any place even without a street address”

Reindeer get their own navigation application in Lapland

In the northernmost region of Scandinavia, Lapland, large herds of reindeer move around the wilderness freely. They are looking for food, adjusting to seasons, or simply escaping mosquitoes during the summer months. The number of reindeer is strictly controlled to ensure the animals don’t strain too much the sensitive Arctic environment. Every reindeer belongs to a herder, and that’s where modern technology can help.
Reindeer on a snowy fell. Photo by Tristan Ferne. Read the story “Reindeer get their own navigation application in Lapland”

GPS navigators that can route motorhomes and campervans via roads that suit large vehicles

Many travelers who drive a motorhome or a large campervan in an unfamiliar territory may encounter roads that are too narrow, have low bridges, or are simply too bumpy and twisty for a large, relatively heavy vehicle. Following instructions of an ordinary GPS navigator may lead the driver to a place where it is difficult to continue and difficult to turn back. Fortunately, a few specialized navigators for trucks are available that can help.

Motorhome on a narrow road in Corsica. Photo by Paul-in-London. Read the story “GPS navigators that can route motorhomes and campervans via roads that suit large vehicles”

Here is a small device that provides travelers easy internet access in 100 countries at an affordable cost

Every traveler, who every now and then crosses country borders, has a high-priority task to do after arriving in a new country: organizing access to the internet. Here is a guide with instructions to using pre-paid SIM cards overseas. Fortunately, new and easier solutions have been developed, like the Nommi, a personal Wi-Fi/4G router that provides mobile internet access in more than 100 countries at an affordable cost.
motorhomes parked by a beach Read the story “Here is a small device that provides travelers easy internet access in 100 countries at an affordable cost”

Google promises automatic language translation that works in a wireless headset

No matter how many languages a traveler masters, there are plenty of moments during journeys in different parts of the world when a local language skill is desperately needed. Translation applications on a phone can help if both the traveler and the local have enough patience. The closer to natural interaction the translation tool is, the better the communication will be. Google promises that its new headphones – Pixel Buds – will translate your speech to a local language and local speech to your language on the fly.

Google Pixel Buds  wireless headset with translator Read the story “Google promises automatic language translation that works in a wireless headset”

A self-driving shuttle bus has started transporting passengers in Germany

Everyone who has been on a road trip in Germany has experienced autobahns where the only speed limit is the driver’s belief in his or her driving skills. In a Bavarian small town of Bad Birnach, however, the new shuttle bus has a speed limit of 15 kmh / 9 mph. The reason is that the small bus is fully autonomous, driven by a computer.

EasyMile EZ10 electric self-driving shuttle bus Read the story “A self-driving shuttle bus has started transporting passengers in Germany”

Speech-enable your road trip navigation, news and music with the Garmin Speak

Even if your car or campervan doesn’t have a shining new entertainment system with a myriad of external connectors, you can add voice control to your car. Most importantly, you can easily add speech-enabled navigation (you don’t need a dedicated GPS device), access to news, and music. The small gadget that does all this is the Garmin Speak.

Garmin Speak speech navigation on the car windshield Read the story “Speech-enable your road trip navigation, news and music with the Garmin Speak”

Is this Blade Runner –style hovering bike the future of moving around in a city?

Here is an electric vehicle that looks like it was borrowed from the movie Blade Runner: a motorbike that hovers above ground and moves rapidly vertically, laterally and forward. The police force of Dubai has already subscribed to the vehicle because it allows them quickly to reach any place in the city.

Hoverbike by hoversurf in Dubai Read the story “Is this Blade Runner –style hovering bike the future of moving around in a city?”