Tag Archives: gear

smartphone taking picture ocean beach

12 Ways Your Phone’s Camera Can Prevent Travel Headaches

We all know that snapping photographs of your travels is a great use of your mobile phone. Here’s what I’ve learned: Beyond capturing the beautiful moments, phones can also help you avoid many travel headaches. On your next trip, whip out your smartphone camera and shoot the following photos. It will take only a few seconds and could save you wasted time—and even hundreds of dollars—later in your trip.

1. Snap a photo of your parking spot at the airport.
When you return from your trip jet-lagged and foggy, you’ll know the floor/row where you parked your car.

2. Snap a photo of your luggage before handing it to the airline check-in agent.
If your bag gets lost, you’ll have a photo to help the airline identify it. You also may want to take a photo of the contents: If you have to file a claim for a lost suitcase, you’ll need a description of every item that was in it.

3. Snap a photo of your passport identification page.
If you lose your passport, this will help you quickly procure a replacement.

4. Snap a photo of the transit system map in the foreign city you’re visiting.
That way you can refer to it as often as you need to, without worrying about Wi-Fi access, while exploring the city.

Budapest’s subway system

Signs underground in Budapest’s subway system

5. Snap a photo of your hotel’s business card or your cruise ship’s location in your current port of call.
This will come in handy if you need help finding your way back.

6. Snap a photo (several, actually) of your rental car before driving it off the lot.
Document any and all dents and scratches on the car at pick-up, and again at drop-off, in case the rental agency later tries to bill you for damage you didn’t do.

Document rental-car returns with your camera

Document rental-car returns with your camera, especially if the rental office is unmanned and you can’t get a receipt.

7. Snap a photo of signs or placards you may want to refer to later.
Do your brain a favor and photograph any signs that provide traveler help, technical instructions, regional context, or historical information that you might want to remember. (If they’re written in a foreign language, the Google Lens function in the Google Translate app can convert the text in your photo to English.)

8. Snap a photo of any expensive souvenirs you buy and ship home.
If your purchase never arrives, or if it arrives damaged, you’ll want a photo documenting what you bought.

9. Snap a photo of any souvenir you almost buy but don’t because it’s too expensive.
At least you can enjoy the memory (or, if you change your mind, order it from the merchant later). Of course, whenever you see a local artisan handcrafting a souvenir you’re going to buy, snap a photo of them making it (but always ask for their permission first).

Photograph signs with directional info

Photograph signs (such as this one in Newfoundland) with directional info you’ll want to remember.

10. Snap a photo of your children each morning of the trip.
If they get lost, you can show authorities what they look like and what they’re wearing.

11. Snap a photo of the objects your children make or collect during the trip that can’t be transported back home.
Such photos will go a long way toward mollifying your kids when they are forced to leave their treasures behind.

12. Snap a photo of your rental home upon departure.
Avoid unexpected fees by taking photos that show you left the house and its contents in good condition.

Tell me: What did I forget? How else can you use a smartphone camera to prevent or minimize travel headaches?


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Paula Froelich

Interview with an Expert Traveler: Yahoo Travel Editor-in-Chief Paula Froelich

Paula Froelich used to be a gossip columnist. Not just any gossip columnist — the deputy editor of the New York Post’s Page Six. And then she quit. Without a plan. Without another job lined up. Why? Because Froelich is one of those enviable people who had a dream and went for it, giving up a seemingly ideal job to do something that she’d wanted to do since she was a kid: travel.

When she left New York, she had no idea she’d return and have the chance to helm Yahoo! Travel, where she’s been editor-in-chief since the spring of 2014. She just wanted to ride a camel, as she says in one of the first columns of her A Broad Abroad web series of stories and videos. She wanted to be brave again. And we know the feeling. There’s something about travel that builds muscle—the kind that opens your mind and your heart. That’s one of the reasons I find it so important to take my kids with me when I travel.

In the two years that Paula’s been at Yahoo! Travel, she’s continued to be fearless. She’s spent a night as a man in London, wrestled with a luchador in Mexico, gone behind the veil in the Middle East, and surfed (and later thrown up from motion sickness) with Eric Ripert. We spoke to her recently to find out more about what keeps her going.

As part of her A Broad Abroad series, Paula got in the ring with Mexican wrestler Dragón Rojo Jr. Photo: Andrew Rothschild/Yahoo Travel

As part of her A Broad Abroad series, Paula got in the ring with Mexican wrestler Dragón Rojo Jr. Photo: Andrew Rothschild/Yahoo Travel

Most memorable travel moment:

There are so many! They usually involve life-changing realizations, new friends, and possibly a bottle of Johnnie Walker.

Most embarrassing travel moment:

Being caught with my pants down, literally, in India, by an entire village in Rajasthan.

Name one thing people would be surprised to find in your travel bag:

Nicotine mints. I live on them.

Touristy spot that’s actually worth it, and the trick to doing it right:

San Juan: If you know the right places and the right people, it is heaven. Puerto Vallarta: Leave the resorts and go on the street taco tour. Also, Paris…because you can never go wrong with French food.

"The best food in Mexico is most likely found on the street, sold out of a shanty-like stall or the back of a truck." Photo by Paula Froelich

“The best food in Mexico is most likely found on the street, sold out of a shanty-like stall or the back of a truck.” Photo by Paula Froelich

Non-touristy spot everyone should add to their must-visit list:

Kurdistan in Northern Iraq is lovely—and safe.

Name the indispensable apps you use when you travel:

Uber, Currency (the currency exchange app), and Kayak

The travel gadget or gear that has saved your life…or your mind:

Is an iPhone travel gear? I am obsessed with my Skullcrusher headphones, as they drown out all noise and everyone/thing!

Choose any two travel-world bloggers and tell us the most important thing you’ve learned from each:

Robert Reid: that you can play the clarinet like a minstrel all over the world and still make friends. Annie Fitzsimmons: to be kind to everyone.

Whose tweets do you find the most useful and entertaining when you see them in your feed?

Heidi Moore, Bevy Smith, D Listed (a laugh-out-loud funny site), @hautemuslimah, Greg Garry

Name one way the travel industry can do better:

I’m a huge fan of better customer service: putting customers first and treating them well. For example, the Four Seasons: They have lovely customer service and always remember your name and preferences, even if you haven’t stayed with them for years. If there’s an issue, they take care of it immediately and don’t make you feel odd or weird. They also don’t overcharge or upsell like some other hotels. There is one upscale chain I’m thinking of that overcharges for Wi-Fi, doesn’t put coffee machines in the room, and charges you for every single thing so that at the end of the day, it’s basically double per night than the quoted rate. It’s annoying, especially when Holiday Inn gives free Wi-Fi. If I had the money, I would always stay at a Four Seasons— because they earned it.

Look into the future and describe one aspect of travel that you think will be different in 20 years:

There will be no TVs or phones in the room. You can control everything from your iPhone. There will also be Star Trek transporters. Hopefully.

Most effective thing you’ve ever said or done to get an upgrade or a special perk while traveling:

Be nice. It works.

To make friends, I always carry:

A smile

 In Oman, Paula tried out a burqa with the help of a new friend, a very traditional Bedouin woman.  Photo: Andrew Rothschild/Yahoo Travel

In Oman, Paula tried out a burqa with the help of a new friend, a very traditional Bedouin woman. Photo: Andrew Rothschild/Yahoo Travel


Wi-Fi and the speed of travel


Slow travel

If you were in my car during a road trip, you’d hear me singing:

Anything found on the Dwight Yoakam iTunes radio station

The airplane movie that, unexpectedly, made me bawl was:

Bridesmaids. I blame lack of oxygen.

When I travel, I’m not afraid of:

War zones

…but I am afraid of:

Sharks, crocodiles, and pigeons. I really hate pigeons.


Follow Paula:
Twitter: @pfro
Instagram: @pfro
Facebook: www.facebook.com/paula.froelich
Watch her A Broad Abroad series

GoPro Hero 4 Black

A Beginner’s Guide to Using a GoPro on Vacation

Note from Wendy:
My husband Tim is a photojournalist so we’re always thinking about how to best document our travels. He’s a big fan of GoPro cameras and filmed this great underwater video when we went snorkeling in Mexico last summer (on a cool trip arranged by my Trusted Travel Expert for diving, Meg Austin). This story by Yahoo! Travel’s Brittany Jones Cooper is a good introduction to using the GoPro equipment, which is sure to help you capture some extraordinary memories.



For me, capturing memories on vacation is essential.

And while your smartphones can capture a lot, you need a camera that can really travel with you…and for that reason, I am officially a GoPro addict.

The GoPro Hero 4

These little cameras are waterproof, damage-proof, and can be mounted to pretty much anything. An added bonus is that the camera shoots in fisheye (very wide-angle) mode, so you can capture everything.

And while it only has three buttons, I encounter a lot of people who get a little intimidated when it comes to using their GoPros. So,in today’s Travel Hacks, I’m going to share three easy ways to step up your travel game using a GoPro camera.

But first, let’s review the buttons. On the front, you have your power button, which you hold down to turn the GoPro on and off. You also use this button to toggle between modes, such as video and photo.

On the side is the settings button. You can use this to adjust the settings within the different shooting modes. Also, if you hold it down for three seconds, it turns on your GoPro’s Wi-Fi.

And finally, we have the button on top, which is the shutter. You use it to take photos or start and stop video recording.

1. Select the right mode

The video and photo settings are very easy to use. You simply press the shutter button on the top to start and stop recording or to snap a photo.

There is also a Multishot mode that allows you to effortlessly capture a ton of photos at one time. I’m a big fan of the Time Lapse Mode, which automatically takes a photo at an interval chosen by you.

To find the Time Lapse Mode
1. Click the mode button until you see Multishot.
2. Use the top shutter button to scroll through until you see Time Lapse.
3. Push the mode button again, which will take you to the second line, where you’ll select your timing.
4. Use the shutter button to select how often you want to take a photo…every .5 seconds, every second, up to every 60 seconds.
5. Press mode/power button to scroll down to the exit screen and press shutter button to select “exit.”
6. Press the shutter button to start recording photos.

As you go about your action, your GoPro is taking a photo every second. This is the mode many athletes use when they capture those awesome once-in-a-lifetime shots.

2. Select the right accessory

There are dozens of great mounts, and if you ski, surf, or bike, you should definitely look into purchasing mounts for those specific activities. But if you’re just starting out, there are three mounts I really recommend.

The first is the Handler. I love this one because it’s perfect if you’re shooting in or out of the water. It’s light and easy to pack and it floats…so you don’t have to worry about losing your GoPro in the water.

The second must-have accessory is the 3-Way. Like the Handler, you can use this to take a selfie or capture a great photo. It also extends if you need to capture more of a scene or get a sense of distance in your photos. And it has this cool tripod that you can use to take stationary shots. I took this awesome photo from the top of Table Mountain in South Africa using my GoPro on the Time Lapse Mode while using the 3-Way tripod.

3. Use the App

The GoPro app is literally a game changer. Setup takes a few minutes, and the instructions are easy to follow.

1. Open the GoPro App and select “Connect to Camera.”
2. Press the “Add a New Camera” button.
3. Select “Add Your HERO4.”
4. Press and hold the Settings button on the left-hand side of the camera until Wi-Fi Mode appears on the screen.
5. Press the mode button to scroll down to “GoPro App” and press the Select button.
6. Press the “Continue” button in the app.
7. Select your camera from the list (e.g., GP245###…).
8. Enter the pin number and select “Pair My Camera.”
9. Create a new camera name and password.
10. You should now see and be able to control the camera to which your phone or tablet is connected.

For more instructions, visit GoPro.

After your camera is set up, simply hold down the Settings button on the side for three seconds until a blue light starts flashing … that’s your Wi-Fi and allows your phone and GoPro to connect.

The coolest part is that you can view and play back photos and videos that you captured on your GoPro. This means that after you take a great photo, you can look at it, save it to your phone, and upload it to Instagram or Facebook within seconds.

And just when you didn’t think it could get any cooler, you can use the app to see a live feed of what you’re viewing. So, if you mount your camera somewhere out of reach, you can use the app to make sure that the image you want in your photo or video is in the frame. How cool is that?!

There are a lot of great things you can do, but that was just a quick beginner’s guide to how to use your GoPro.

If you have any questions, contact me on Twitter or leave them in the comments section below. And if you take any awesome GoPro pictures that you want to share, just tag @yahootravel! I’d love to see them.


More from Yahoo! Travel

Say Goodbye to Groggy — 5 Surefire Ways to Beat Jet Lag

Feeling Stuffed? Here’s How to Work it Off on the Road

Use Your TV as a Phone Charger and More Helpful Hotel Hacks

This article originally ran on Yahoo! Travel

GoPro Hero 4 Black

11 Cool Things From the Consumer Electronics Show That Will Make Travel Better

While the breathtaking new televisions and connected home displays that do everything except break up with your girlfriend might get the most attention at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there are plenty of excellent new gadgets that could make your next vacation or business trip a little less stressful.


Also from Yahoo! Travel: The New Gadget That Makes Disney Even More Magical


Travel technology is all over the cavernous expo floor, if you know what you’re looking for — from a passport case that promises you’ll never lose your identification documents again to a luggage lock that pops open with a tap of your smart phone. And we’re desperate to get our hands on the luggage GPS tracker, though we bet the airlines are less than stoked about that one.

You’ll get a kick out of this selection of travel gems from this year’s CES that we think will make travel a little bit easier, or at least a lot more fun.

iWallet Passport Holder ($599) — Your passport is the one thing you truly cannot do without when you are traveling internationally. This passport case comes with biometric sensors, ensuring that only you (and up to four other people you authorize) have access to it. Misplacing your passport also becomes a thing of the past, since the case will sound an alarm if you walk more than 10 feet away from it.

SMS ANC Headphones ($280) — The newest version of these noise-canceling headphones not only allows you to tune out the screaming child three rows back, it also offers a premium listening experience that could last your entire trip. Weighing just 200 grams, these headphones have a 70-hour battery life and come with a snazzy leather travel case.

eGee Touch Smart Luggage Locks

Your new luggage lock might be smarter than you are. (Photo: eGee)

eGeeTouch Smart Luggage Locks (Price not available) — eGee’s take on the luggage lock does away with keys and combination codes. Instead, this lock responds to the near field communication feature in your smartphone — opening when you tap your phone against the lock. These locks are also TSA compliant, with a built-in key mechanism that allows authorized agents to gain access.

Trackimo Universe luagge tracking device

Here’s how to know where your luggage is all of the time. (Photo: Trackimo)

Trackimo Universal ($100) — We want this now! Ensure your luggage never gets lost with this GPS Tracker. Just toss one in your bag and you’ll always know where it is — even if the airline doesn’t. You’ll even get a text alert when your bag is moved.

GoPro Hero 4 Black ($500) — GoPro is setting the bar even higher with its latest line of mountable cameras. The Black records in 4K ultra-high definition at a lightning fast 120 frames per second, meaning images stay crisp when you put them in slow motion in your edits. Better still, the user interface has been improved, making it much easier to operate on the go.


Also from Yahoo! Travel: Katie Couric Explains CES


Monster Backfloat Speaker ($169) — Waterproof speakers generally focus more on being waterproof than on being good speakers. Monster’s new entry in the market (in collaboration with Shaquille O’Neal of course) puts out some incredible sound while happily floating in your pool or garden tub, playing anything from your nearby (and safe and dry) smartphone.

Mophie Juice Pack ($99 and up) — Mophie is the king of battery cases for your phone — and rightfully so. This year it offers two new devices for the iPhone 6, effectively doubling the phone’s (already impressive) battery life, letting you take calls and pictures all day (and night) long.

Narrative Clip 2 photo taking device

Finally a camera that lets you document everything all of the time. (Photo: Narrative Clip)

Narrative Clip 2 ($199) — Want to live in the moment and not worry about pulling out your camera but still have pictures commemorating every single thing that you do? So do we. The Narrative Clip 2 is a “life-logging” camera that automatically takes a picture every 30 seconds without any required action from you. The new version shoots 8 MP photos and has a wider field of view than its predecessor. It also automatically uploads the pictures to your phone via WiFi and Bluetooth creating a seamless record of your day without requiring you to do anything at all.

Samsung Portable SSD ($180–$600) — Samsung’s new portable SSD drive is lightning fast, offers storage from 250 GB to 1 TB, and is as small and lightweight as a credit card. Aimed more at business travelers, it’s also useful for people who are shooting a lot of digital video during their trips.


Also from Yahoo! Travel: Wired Babies Invade CES


Powerocks Power Bank Charger ($80) — Now you can avoid being stranded when your rental car battery dies unexpectedly. This charger (which is about the size of a paperback book and weighs under one pound) not only gives your phones and tablets more juice, it can jump-start a car. It’s also equipped with a flashlight, red and blue flashing emergency lights, and a sharp metal corner to knock out a car window in the case of a dire emergency.

Zolt’s Tiny Laptop Charger ($99) — Finally! This teeny tiny charging brick has three USB slots. And with a MagSafe cable ($30) it can power MacBooks that require chargers up to 70 watts. Could this be the charger to end all chargers?