The 10 Best Holiday Travel Tech Tips

Stay connected during your vacation

Santa in a folding chair, talking a picture of a city skyline.

 Cheryl Bronson/Getty Images

It's the holiday season! Wherever your holiday plans ​take you this year, here are 10 tech tips that will hopefully make your holiday travel merry and bright.

 

01
of 10

Find Power in a Pinch

Charging cable being plugged into phone

mikroman6/Getty Images 

Replacing a forgotten toothbrush is cheap. But shelling out for a phone charger while you're traveling hurts.

If you’ve left your travel charger, your battery, and even your emergency back-up charger, or they’re all being used, all is not lost. Most hotel TVs have at least one USB port in the back. Seek it out and plug in for emergency power for all your gadgets.

02
of 10

Chromecast: The Perfect Media Travel Companion

Google Chromecast being plugged into the back of a television.

Google

Between hotel stays and long family visits, watching movies on your laptop or tablet is fine for one or two of you. But if the audience gets any bigger, it’s TV time.  

Pack along your Chromecast, and you’re just a few clicks away from movies and slideshows on anything that’s got a spare HDMI port.

If you're new to the Chromecast, we’ve got everything you need to know, including how to use Chromecast in your hotel room, how to send video from your Mac’s screen, and ​which Chromecast games to play.

03
of 10

Google Photos and Live Albums: Share the Memories as They Happen

Live Albums' facial recognition shown beside a Google Home Hub

Google Photos has upped their seamless photo sharing again with the addition of Live Albums. If you're already using Google to back up all your photos, Google Live Albums can create a new album that will use Google's AI to identify the faces you choose and gather them together as you take them.

Afterward, you're just a few taps away from sharing pics of, say, the twins' first Thanksgiving with family and friends. Alternatively, Cast the Live Album to that new Google Home Hub you're hoping to find under the tree to create memorable picture frames.

04
of 10

Online Photo Printing Services: Tap to Pick & Print the Perfect Last-Minute Gift

Selection screen to make a photo book.

Adorama 

Photo printing on demand is so deeply embedded into every photo cloud storage service it’s almost criminal not to utilize those summer vacation pictures and personalize a flip book for everyone who came along for the ride.

If that sounds like a great idea, check out some of the best online photo printing services out there.

05
of 10

Incognito Windows: Sneak up on Great Travel Deals

Open Private Browsing or Incognito to keep travel sites from tracking your browsing.

Avoiding cookies is key to shopping and comparing fares without prices mysteriously increasing every time you return to the site. Instead, do all your travel pricing and comparing from an incognito window. 

To open an incognito window in Chrome:

  • Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N on your keyboard.
  • New Incognito Tab on your touchscreen.

To open an incognito window in Safari:

  • Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N on your keyboard.
  • Tap New Tab, then Private on your iPhone or iPad.

To open an incognito window in Firefox:

  • Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+P on your keyboard.
  • Tap the Mask icon.

 

06
of 10

Google Flights: To Know If You're Really Getting the Best Travel Price Available

Pricing Insights screen from Google Flights

No matter what kind of travel-shopper tips you utilize, never trust what seems like the best price until you've verified it. Open a new browser window and head to Google Flights for a peek at price ranges for a given flight on a given date.

The Flight Insights screen is particularly useful. It harnesses Google's massive data trove to show prospective travelers expected pricing fluctuations by date so they can see how good the "great price" really is.

07
of 10

Twitter: Travel Twitter's Got Tips

Two of our 60 favorite Travel Twitter fiollows.

Use your Twitter feed to follow more than 60 top travel Tweeters for deals on travel, accommodations, and car rentals.

A Lifewire fave, @SeatGuru has the plane-by-plane hookup on the best seats for the plane you'll likely fly in. For example: Don't expect to see much out of the window for seat 10A on Delta's Nashville to Baltimore flight 3729. SeatGuru reports "a misaligned window" next to this seat.

Meanwhile, @BudgetTravel is a must-follow for travelers who are watching their pennies.

08
of 10

Costco Travel: For Great Pricing on Travel Packages

Costco Travel's vacation package selector tool.

Check out CostcoTravel.com for great pricing on travel packages. Whether you’re looking for a holiday getaway, or want to give the gift of travel, consider Costco Travel Packages.

With a Costco Executive Membership for $120 a year, you can get 2% back on travel (up to $1000 annually) booked through Costco.com.

09
of 10

FlightAware: Best App for Tracking Flights

FlightAware makes tracking flights easy

The accuracy of an Airline apps' departure and arrival time can leave a lot to be desired. Keep them handy to track your boarding passes and miles, but let FlightAware take care of departure and arrival times. Depending on where you live, real-time flightpaths will even show the plane as it passes overhead. FlightAware is available for both iOS and Android.

10
of 10

TripSavvy: Get Savvy Before Your Trip

TripSavvy's home screen

For a lot of us, finding amazing travel deals is a combination of dumb luck, timing, and acute self-awareness of how long we’re willing to lay over in a particular state to save $50 bucks. It may be more productive, however, to check out Lifewire’s globe-trotting sibling, tripsavvy.com.

Tripsavvy uncovers the how-tos, the when-tos, tips, and tricks you need to save time and money no matter where your holidays take you.