You have been planning and preparing for this trip for quite a while and now the time has finally come. You’ve checked the packing list and somehow managed to get a week’s worth of gear into one suitcase. Will it make weight? Hopefully…time will tell. You’ve confirmed your flights. No schedule changes at the moment. All looks good! Your carry-on is ready to go. Printed e-ticket…check. Bible, journal and pen…check. Neck pillow…don’t be that guy. Book or magazine for the layover…got it. Candy…check. Water Bottle…empty until you pass through security. Passport…absolutely. Printed permission slip yep. Phone…of course. Wait a minute…should I bring my phone? Are there helpful apps out there that might come in handy while I’m traveling? You better believe it!
A couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to your phone or iPad:
- Don’t let it distract from the experience. Keep your eye on the prize here! Let’s not forget why you are going on this trip. You should only bring your phone on this trip if it won’t become a distraction. You are going to connect with people and take part in an exercise in generosity. Don’t let Candy Crush or your Snapchat streak keep you from the great big beautiful world that resides three inches above your screen. Hang up and hang out!
- Recognize the risk. Understand that traveling with a cell phone, an iPad, an insanely nice Nikon D3400, a GoPro or whatever puts you at risk for theft. If you choose to travel with such things, for goodness sakes, keep an eye on them!
- Airplane Mode. As soon as you settle into your seat put that thing on airplane mode. You can always turn the wifi on while keeping airplane mode running. Last thing you want when you get home is a cell phone bill that is so big it arrives at your house in box. Keeping Airplane Mode on ensures you’ll only get online when you’ve found a wifi hotspot. You might want to check with your provider about international plans that are available in the country you are traveling to.
OK…let’s check out a couple of Apps
Trip Case: When it comes to traveling, this app has literally saved me more time and headache than any other app on my phone. It’s as if I am somehow wired directly into control tower at the airport. It’s really rather simple. You upload your travel details into the app and if there are any gate changes, delays or cancellations the app will notify you, many times quicker than the undecipherable overhead announcement. You have friends or family that are stressing about your trip? They can download the app and follow along from home. It’s a great app to have anytime you are traveling and…it’s free!
Mobile Pass: Here’s a great app to alleviate some of the stress upon returning to the good Ol’ US of A. You simply scan your passport info into the app from the first page of your passport. Then, rather than hunting down a pen and filling out the immigration paperwork on the plane you do it right on your phone. Once you land and are back on the grid you submit the forms wirelessly to the CPB. There are currently 20 US airports with a “Mobile Passport Control” express lanes so you can bypass the long lines. Plus it’s always helpful to have an electronic version of your passport info in case something happens to your physical copy while traveling.
Google Translate: Quicker than Rosetta Stone! You certainly want to minimize those “lost in translation” moments during your trip. Plus folks get a kick out of you making an effort to speak with them in their language. I was on a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago and between my host family and myself, we nearly wore the Google Translate out! Could be pretty helpful if you find yourself in need and don’t hablo, parle or sprechen the language all too well.
YouVersion Bible App: The packing list says “Bible” but you’re not sure which Bible to bring. You like The Message but will it throw others off if you’re doing a group Bible study? Should you bring the BIG family King James version? It might cause your bag to be over the allotted weight limit! NIV? ESV? NLT? Douay-Rheims 1752 version? Why not bring em all, right in the palm of your hand. Also, culturally speaking, reading the Bible on your phone might make a little more sense!
Instagram: You’re gonna take some pictures, right? But you’re gonna be wise about it, right? Sharing your adventure with others is part of the deal and is there a better platform for doing that than on the ‘Gram? You know your mom is gonna be scouring your feed day and night to make sure alive and kicking! Have your group come up with a trip #hashtag and be sure to include @YLExpeditions #ylexpeditions17 Just like that everyone has access to all the photos from your trip…and momma’s happy!
Written by: Jeff Tait