2017 EDITOR'S PICKS
Bringing along your mobile device when traveling is an increasingly intelligent idea. Without connecting to the internet at all, travel-related apps help us keep travel organized, and can provide the lifeline needed in an emergency in increasingly efficient ways. One of the very best functions mobile devices offer has little to do with applications, social sharing or connecting in remote locations. Regardless of the make, model, age or operating system, the camera function is useful. Critical mobile device photos bring peace of mind, orientation and documentation we might very well not be able to do without.
- Where You Parked is far easier to remember with a photo of that place in the parking lot, especially after returning from a mind-blowing cruise vacation where the last thing in the world thought of while away was where your car was parked. Actually, we figured this one out at Disney World when we could not remember if we were parked in the Dopey or Pluto lot. Dopey it was.
- Your Rental Car- A no brainer when renting a car; walk around the car shooting a non stop video of the vehicle. If the rental agent points out a minor ding, capture a still image of that. More important: do it again when the vehicle is dropped off, in exactly the same way, documenting the fact that you returned the vehicle in the same condition it was received.
- Where You Lay Your Head- Your hotel room or cruise ship stateroom number.
- Your Hotel – A surprising number of travelers forget this information or have a hard time telling cab drivers where to go after otherwise successfully engaging destinations around the world. Seems a pity to navigate the globe but forget where the hotel is. It happens.
- Your Cruise Ship, At Every Port- Like knowing where your hotel is, knowing where your cruise ship is: also important. Different: the hotel stays in one place while the cruise ship moves. If docked, a photo from the ship of the docked area and another from ashore showing the ship at the dock. If at anchor, a photo from shore with some other landmark would be helpful to show a cab driver.
- Your River Cruise Ship- Capturing an image of your ship is especially important on river cruises where ships look quite similar. Critical when traveling with Viking River Cruises; the revolutionary Viking Longships are exactly the same, save for the name. Tie four of those up together and knowing which one is yours can be difficult.
- Packing- a good way to have an itemized list of what might be in your lost luggage is to pack then unpack and capture an image of all your luggage contents. A video of the unpacking process works as well. Also good to capture: contents of your wallet or purse.
- Packed– Anyone who has ever lost luggage knows one of the first parts of getting it back is to choose from a list of luggage mugshots which one looks most like yours. A photo takes care of that. On the cruise ship, should your luggage not arrive in a timely manner, the first question asked: “Did you tag it with your cabin number?” Capture an image with your mobile device as well as the porter you gave it to. Be sure that image includes the cruise line luggage tags you did indeed attach. Bonus tip: put an extra tag inside, right on top of contents in case the other one is lost.
- Your Passport And That Of Your Friend- Capture images of the passports for everyone you might be traveling with. If someone loses their passport, moving along with travel and replacement of that critical documentation is easier, mainly because you will have the number at hand. A photo will not substitute for the real thing.
- Numbers You Want To See But Not Share- It’s always a good idea to keep our identification, credit cards, cash and other high value items secure. Like the passport photo noted above, mobile device photos of other sensitive information are more safely viewed than the real thing in a busy airport or public place.
- Airline Checked Luggage Receipts– Commonly placed on the back of your boarding pass by airline ticket agents, once on the aircraft the value of that boarding pass is far less to the point where it may not be remembered and left behind. A photo takes care of that and is easily accessible. Your airline app that should contain that information along with your electronic boarding pass might not be so accessible.
- Your Traveling Companion– Husband, Wife, Friend or business associate will be easier to describe to authorities when you think they may be lost with a current photo taken the day of travel. Traveling with children? What they looked like when you walked out of the house/hotel room/off the cruise ship today is invaluable information for those who may be looking for them.
- Prescription Medications- Photos of the bottles of all medications you might take on a regular basis, doctor-prescribed or not. You will not be able to refill them if lost from photos. But a healthcare professional at your destination will know what is apt to happen if you do not have them.
- Messages Received On That Phone– Easy enough to do, a screenshot saved of text messages that might come in handy to prove you did not roam or if you did, how much the service provider said that might cost. They are in there anyway but having them with other critical photos can be helpful if recall quickly is required.
- Selfies With A Motive- Have a great time putting yourself in the action but take one additional shot of the surrounding area. If traveling in some part of the world where you are obviously not a native, nothing says “tourist” more than a selfie. Well, maybe that you are being led around by a tour guide is also a giveaway. Don’t miss opportunities to capture the image of waiters, clerks and others in the area of that selfie. Their glimpse of your cash supply, difficult not to reveal when paying for something, is information they can use later to decide who to rob at gunpoint.
- Everything You Eat But Not For The Reason You Already Do That– Sharing food photos when traveling is fun and some travelers make quite the artwork of it. Knock yourself out there and enjoy. But also do the same to document everything consumed while traveling which will be an impressive little album to flip through at the emergency room when you’re not sure what it was you ate that got you there.
Even Less Obvious About Your Critical Smartphone Photos
All of the above are worthless if your smartphone is lost or stolen unless those photos are also stored somewhere else too. Sync that phone frequently with a laptop, cloud storage or at least the mobile device of a traveling companion. iPhone users, now is the time you should probably learn how Air Drop works. Android and Windows might try AirDroid, an app that lets you manage the contents of your Android phone with your computer’s browser or third-party transfer apps, cloud-storage services like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive
Collectable Mobile Device Photos Of Personal Interest
- Things That Interest You- Regardless of where we travel, there are things of interest to each of us. I capture images of graffiti, flowers (above), tour busses, license plates, manhole covers and more. You might already be doing this and don’t realize it. Look through old photos to see a pattern of interest.
- Favorite Brands Experienced Along The Way– Wine and Beer Labels come to mind here.
- Restaurant Menus- The restaurant we might remember, the exact menu contents not so much. Back home that can be valuable information when trying to recreate superstars of the tabletop experienced when traveling.
- The Cover Of A (Potentially) Good Book- When a friend or fellow passenger is reading a captivating novel, snap a photo to remember which one it was.
- Selfies With A Purpose- Be sure to include the name tag of cruise line crew members and others met along the way. You might want to mention them by name when filling out survey’s later after travel is complete.
- Security Chatting- This last one I stumbled on while walking to a local shopping center. It’s a route I walk daily when at home, often passing the same people along the way. One of those people is a young lady I see always talking on her mobile device, like in a Facebook Live or video chat with someone. That did not seem out of place at all, I know people who want to chat about random nothingness as they commute. One day I asked “Are you always talking to the same person? Just curious.” The answer: “Don’t tell anyone but I’m actually not talking to anyone at all. The idea is to make someone think I am and I am doing that live” . Rather brilliant idea actually. Thieves who might be looking for easy prey would probably pass on that one.