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Planning Retirement Online

LaterLife TechnoFile

Modern technology has so much scope and power to dramatically improve our lives. However it also changes at an incredibly fast rate, and keeping abreast of what's out there, and how it can help you, is a full time job!

So to accompany the 150+ articles in Jackie Sherman's YoucandoIT Question & Answer series we are introducing a new article series: The LaterLife TechnoFile

Technofile will help you to understand some of the bewildering array of technology available today, and possibly help to keep up with your grandchildren!

Planning Your Holiday - Online

Planning your Holiday can be as simple as walking into a Travel Agency and letting them do all the work. But with the ready availability of the Internet this method is no longer guaranteed to give you the best options or value for money. Why not take it upon yourself to plan your next holiday online. You’ll find the exhaustive resources can not only get you a great deal but also help in exploring new opportunities you may not have even considered before and broaden your horizons.

It first starts with an idea, whether you want to go for adventure, relax on a beach or take a city break etc. If you are stuck for ideas then have a look at our Travel Section or use the National Geographic Traveller website which has lots of different ideas. The National Geographic produce magazines which are delivered straight to your door. However a little bit after the release they also get put up online so you can view them there too for free. (The link is usually provided in the top right of the website.) Alternatively if you do subscribe you can view these in an App, [Not sure how to download an App? Click here] making them viewable at your convenience on a tablet.

But with the enormous size of the Internet this isn’t the only resource, why not try some of these websites for more tips and ideas!

Once you have decided on the kind of holiday you would like to go on it’s then a case of finding flights and accommodation, and locating the suitcases hidden away in the loft!

Flights:

SkyScanner is available as a website or an App that has established itself as the go to place for cheap flights, and compares multiple airlines. Our recommendation for SkyScanner would be that if you don’t have a set holiday date you can view flight prices for a whole month or year. This is great as you can seek off season prices. On the other hand if you are feeling really brave you can set an airport to depart from e.g. Gatwick London and then set the destination to ‘world.’ This loads a list of destinations from the cheapest to the most expensive, which can be great if you aren’t sure where to go! They are organised by country and then airport to make it simple. Another way of getting the best deal with SkyScanner is to set up email alerts; by choosing particular routes you will get emailed if prices change.

Accommodation:

No matter what your budget is there are always great accommodation options out there.

  • Trivago and Agoda are similar websites which provide heavily discounted hotel options.
  • Booking.com usually hosts cheaper options, ranging from hostels and B & B’s to hotels and apartments.
  • AirBnB is also becoming more popular where you can use a room in a person’s home for your holiday, usually at a price lower than hotels.
  • Warner specialise in adult holidays and tranquil environments. Better still we have a £10 off membership code.

Planning your time away:

Trip It: Ever been on a Vegas to San Francisco road trip and had to take a tree with you in paper, of confirmation emails and trip activities? Imagine if you could store it all on your phone or tablet without having to connect to the Internet. Trip It does just that, using your emails it automatically uploads reservations and confirmation emails, working as a travel organiser. One recommendation whilst using this App however, would be to visit the website and turn off the email alerts which can seem a bit over the top. It is free to use however, by paying for the pro version adverts are removed.

Trip Advisor: The TripAdvisor website relies on people giving their honest opinions and sharing their experiences. It creates a fun community culture to the website that can be really helpful. Whilst you can search hotel reviews, things to do and places to eat; the forum section allows you to ask questions about a destination. It means you could use it to test out your pre-planned 4 days Itinerary to Istanbul for instance and ask those who have already been for advice. It’s a great place to find out if you have missed something out and to see if you might be trying to pack too much in!

For city breaks in particular go to your App store and search for TripAdvisor and the city you are going to. With the TripAdvisor (insert city name here) App you will be able to get access to the TripAdvisor website in the form of an offline App while you are on holiday, which means you won’t be incurring lots of additional internet charges. The only downside is that directions won’t update unless you have Wi-Fi and in some cities that can be hard to find! Technology can work to your best advantage if you team it with more traditional methods. When you get to your destination pick up a map and using the TripAdvisor map you can scrawl all the places you want to visit on there in the comfort of your Wi-Fi enabled hotel, bar or coffee shop of your choice. This means you can never get too lost… in theory!

Packing:

Packing Pro (£1.99 on iStore) and Packing List (Free for Android) are Apps that help you keep track of what you should and have packed. Really helpful and avoids writing and losing multiple lists, they both include an essential list feature, so you won’t be forgetting your Passport.

Digital Luggage Scales are a handy piece of equipment if you are planning on visiting a Christmas market or the Bazar in Marrakesh. Shop to your heart’s delight and use this piece of equipment to find out how much your luggage weighs. (A tip for if you are over? You can always try wearing all of your clothes at the same time!) It is good to note also that this piece of tech can be bought on Amazon for under £7.

Whilst away:

  • Viber: With data roaming charges still high why not download the free App Viber? It allows you to make calls via Wi-Fi avoiding an unpleasant phone bill on your return.
  • Whatapp: Another popular free App which allows you to send text and picture messages to other people for free via Wi-Fi. Also really helpful at home as it can be used to send picture messages for nothing.
  • Currency converters: There are many Currency converter Apps available across all smart device platforms. Both XE Currency and Currency are free and have good reviews.
  • iTranslater: Is a free translator App that you can type and speak to receive a text or audio translation. It also saves translations into a history so you can quickly look up phrases. It covers over 50 languages and is available on Apple and Android devices.
  • Tablets and eBooks: can be such a useful item to have on holiday with you. They take away the hassle of pick and choosing which books to take away with you as well as taking away the weight worry that comes with carrying books. (Why not sign up to our newsletter to enter a Kindle prize draw.) Tablets also enable to you watch films and stay in touch online easily where Wi-Fi is available.
  • Weather App: Want to know exactly what the weather is doing before you've looked out your window? Using Apps like Weather Pro or Weather Live you can do exactly that.
  • Sat Nav: Whether you buy or rent a Sat Nav or use an App on your phone that supports the technology, they can really help when you are trying to find your hotel! There are options available to rent different countries maps which you can download straight to your own Sat Nav device. Failing that, you can always look at the AA Route Planner which is useful across all of Europe.
  • iPod: Great invention for listening to music whilst on holiday. Just remember to download songs before you go.

The best thing about being able to use the Internet and technology to plan a holiday is about being able to do your own comparison. You can find new ideas, look at different options and decide for yourself, in your own time, without any Travel Agent pressure, as to what is best for you. It enables you to plan a holiday without compromises and makes your enjoyment the focus. And with technology like eBooks, Translaters and Digital Luggage Scales, can make holidaying even more relaxing when you do get away.

Easy Holidaying?

This article has focused on planning holidays but that’s not to forget the tour operators who can organise everything for you. If you want to relax pre-holiday and to take away the sometimes stressful prospect of planning why not look at the following sites: (All of these offer excursion, package or single supplement holidays. For more information on Single travel why not read the LaterLife Guide?)

Mercury Direct
Balearic Holidays
Travelsphere
Just You
Silver Traveller

Previous Articles:

Techno Phone not Technophobe
Bio-Printing: What it is and what does it mean?
7 of the Best Free Healthcare Related Apps

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