Mon, December 21, 2015

How Technology Can Ease the Stress of Holiday Travel

The holidays are officially here, we’ve carved the turkey and Christmas is quite literally days away. For many, the idea of holiday travel plans causes extreme anxiety — especially for busy professionals who often have big projects that cannot be left without direction, even for special occasions. But, life can’t be all work and no play. There are many ways technology can help make your travel plans run more smoothly and ease the stress of work to make your time with family more enjoyable.

Long flights, traffic jams and airport layovers are all part of the struggle when it comes to holiday traveling. But, as frustrating as the often unavoidable roadblocks are, it doesn’t mean that you have to fret over getting that report to your boss. The holidays are for working smarter, not harder, and the following tips will help you do just that.

Collaborate in the cloud

Combine the growing Wi-Fi capabilities of many travel hubs with a secure cloud service like those offered at Centrality, and you’ll never have to worry about idle time when going to and from your destination. Fully-integratable, secure and customizable, cloud solutions are a great way to handle work-away-from-work situations, while maximizing collaboration amongst your team. Many cloud applications and features allow you to create, view and edit crucial documents right from your tablet or smartphone while maintaining a seamless and constant connection to your company’s established network.

Set up phone messaging

In most cases, both VoIP and digital phone systems can help reduce the time you’re attached to your phone and desk, allowing you to monitor, manage and maintain your connection with your work life while on the go. With the features of new office phone systems, you can set up easy remote access. Voice messages can be automatically emailed to you as an audio file and sent to your phone, tablet or laptop for easy listening. For VoIP, you can also check your missed calls and access your contacts remotely so you don’t have to be tied down to your desk or a land line.

Technology’s ability to ease travel burdens isn’t just about taking work on the go, though. There are many applications that can make holiday traveling just plain fun and a lot less messy.

Download a travel app

When traveling—especially with multiple people—keeping track of plane tickets, boarding passes and flight times can be a hassle. But you can reduce the unpredictability of traveling and put all of your information in one, easily-accessible, place with one of the many travel-related applications available for download.

Are you driving? Then research alternate routes in case of weather or accident by downloading a real-time GPS application. Real-time updates means you can plan and navigate around traffic jams, accidents and road closures. BONUS, some even help you those pesky holiday speed traps and point you toward the cheapest gas stations and best restaurants at your destination.

Download books and entertainment

The first big decision you have to make when planning to travel over the holiday season (or travel in general) is how will you get there? Plane, train, automobile—there is something to be said for every method of travel and each has their pros and cons—the one thing they all have in common, though, is a stagnant period of the doldrums and unless you’re the one driving, there’s no avoiding it.

Kindles, iPods, smartphones and portable DVD players are key to keeping your crew from jumping ship. Electronic books are a great way to pass the time. Ebooks are exactly what they sound like—books in an electronic format that can be downloaded to any PC, tablet, laptop smartphone or dedicated ereading device. They’re also a great way to catch up on that best-seller you’ve been meaning to read and most services offer instant download. If you’re not in a reading mood, try out a streaming television or movie service; there are plenty to choose from and most offer programming for all ages.

Power on the go

Phones, tablets and other personal electronic devices have become a lifeline for busy travelers needing constant access to travel itineraries, flight information, specific directions and more. But, these devices are reliant on a sustained electrical charge that isn’t meant to span multiple days, or even one whole day, of extreme usage.

While you’re shopping for stocking stuffers and holiday gadgets, think about treating yourself to an external battery pack or power source. These simple yet extremely useful gadgets can give your devices a boost without having to sit on the airport floor, or god forbid, a truck stop bathroom, to use a wall outlet. Simply charge the small battery before your trip, and then carry it with you in case you need a quick device recharge. External battery capacities have grown, while portability has improved. You can often find a great charger that is smaller than your phone, with enough juice to charge it two or more times over. More powerful options can charge large tablets and even laptops.

Whether you are working or playing, Centrality wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Safe travels!