Using tech to save money and travel better - Caitlin


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This is Caitlin's presentation from Travel Buzz, an event hosted by the Boston Expat and World Travelers meetup group. Travel Buzz focused on helping both novice and pro travelers find ways to travel cheaper, longer, and more boldly.

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Using tech to save money and travel better - Caitlin

  1. 1. Travel + Tech = <3 Save money, travel better
  2. 2. 15 years ago...
  3. 3. Today
  4. 4. Get organized.Find deals, save money.Stay in touch.Be aware.Understand. Make yourself understood.
  5. 5. A magical thing called the cloud● Greatly simplifies file storage● Essential for backing up photos, critical documents ○ Programs like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud ○ Consider using two-factor authentication ○ Some (I believe) have a set of emergency passwords you can print out to access yr account(s) in case your phone is stolen.● Things to store: ○ Digital copy of passport, visa/other critical paperwork info, medical insurance information, emergency contacts, credit card phone numbers (in case cards are lost/stolen), bank phone number. ○ Certain trip planning apps will also store + password protect credit card numbers, sensitive data
  6. 6. Airfare + Internet = ... Well, its better than it used to be.Methodology: ● Use a comparison search site as a baseline. ○ My favorites: Skyscanner, Momondo ○ Kayak, are also good starting points. ○ Look at the connecting cities/airports. ● Do a matrix search. ○ Yields lower prices? Note airlines, airports. ● Go to individual airline website(s). ○ Search for the journeys that yielded lowest price. ● Airline not based in the U.S.? ○ Use native TLD (ex:,, .fr, etc.) ○ Price will be in native it less?
  7. 7. When flight prices still suck...There are a few things to which I inevitably resort:● Break it up. Connecting flights through a hub airport? Book two RT tickets instead of one big ticket. ○ This can work better if youre flying through a European or Asian budget hub. (Search for flights out of airports like Stansted, Beauvais, etc.)● Flex your dates.● Wait. Last minute is (sometimes) the best minute. ○ Set up alerts if you dont already have them.● Go anywhere! ○ Skyscanner has an "Everywhere" destination option. ○ Google Flights lets you see all prices for a region or continent.
  8. 8. Quick case study: BOS - BKK Popular destination International hub airportStandard two-week vacation period Leaves mid-week (cheaper)
  9. 9. Watch this space!Cambridge is home to at least two of thecompanies leading the way in travel tech anddata analysis.● ITA Software is just down the street, and Google Travel operations are based here.● Hopper Travel still in stealth mode, but also based in Cambridge. ○ Has given a few data-related talks.● Keep your eyes peeled for travel-tech talks. ○ Many posted on Meetup, many given at MS NERD Center.
  10. 10. Accommodation +● The Web offers tons of great alternative accommodation options that are cheaper than hotels: ○ Airbnb, Couchsurfing, home exchange ○ Hostelworld/HostelBookers (not just for hostels!)● Not into budget accommodation? Thats cool. ○ Last minute deals: Hotwire, Hotel Tonight, Priceline ○ Use the same tactics you do for flight searches; if youre abroad, use that countrys native version of a deal website (ex: to see if prices are better in local currency.● Other ways to save money, get perks: ○ Give em PR help. Most chains have FB pages, Twitter accounts; theyll often have contests. ○ Leave reviews, helpful feedback
  11. 11. Tiny your hand● Smartphones are great. ○ You dont need to jailbreak them or buy $ international plan. Stop. Please. ○ Turn on airplane mode as soon as you leave U.S. soil. Leave it on. Forever (outside the USA). ○ WiFi is your friend. Its usually available in hostels, hotels, modern cafés, other hotspots. Now you can use it on the London Tube platforms. ○ Many apps targeted at travelers dont require network access to use. This includes a few translation and map apps.● If you dont have a smartphone, thats cool. You can travel without one (shock/awe).
  12. 12. APPS● Kayak Explore, ITAs OnTheFly● FlightAware (free), other flight tracking apps● Google Maps, Apple Maps (j/k on that second one)● City Maps 2Go - works offline● TripIt, Evernote, TripRider● Hotel Tonight, Hotwire, Airbnb, Priceline● Free Wi-Fi Finder● WhatsApp (Skype, Google+ Hangouts)● XE Currency●, Expensify● Camera+, Snapseed● Google Translate, Jibbigo, WordLens
  13. 13. Obligatory slide about security● Password-protect those phones!● Public computers ○ Dont access your banking stuff. ○ Dont log into accounts tied to a credit card.● Open WiFi can be your lifeblood. Its also insecure. ○ Login credentials can be stolen. Dont access sensitive data or sites over public WiFi. ○ Password-protected WiFi networks are safer.● Need to bank, pay bills access sensitive info? ○ Use secure connections. If youre in an inhabited area, many hotels will sell you a day pass to business centers.● In general: Make sure websites you access have the proper domain; look for https.
  14. 14. In summaryTechnology is great. That said—You dont need it to experience, discover,connect, or do anything else that really matters.So if you dont have it, dont understand it, ordont like it...Dont worry.