A vacation with technology in tow

A vacation with technology in tow
Female tourists using their smart phones to capture a snow storm in Times Square, New York. Reuters file photo
Published: 6:45 PM, September 14, 2017

NEW YORK — Forget just taking pictures with your phone’s camera — there are far more creative ways for travellers to use technology to capture memories from their trips, says Dennis Crowley, the co-founder and executive chairman of Foursquare, a company behind two location apps that have 50 million global users a month. “Between various apps and social media platforms, you can preserve experiences of your travels beyond the sights you see,” he said. Here, his tips on how:


Find yourself wishing that you knew the name of that song playing during dinner on the last night of your weekend in New England? Next time you’re travelling, said Crowley, use a music app such as Shazam or Spotify to pinpoint the songs you hear during your trip, and then make a playlist of those songs. Crowley, for example, has more than a dozen playlists from his various travels including bar favourites from a trip to Brazil in 2014. “A playlist helps you capture the sounds of a destination, and every time you listen to it, you relive the trip,” he said.


Various photo tools, such as Google Photos, give you the ability to organise your photos by location. That way you’ll always remember where you were and at what time — if you went on a multicity road trip, for example, these tools will group photos by each city. “It’s easy for a vacation to become one big blur, especially as time passes, and organising your pictures by location is a way to capture the individual parts,” Crowley said.


Your friend is headed to Tokyo and wants your recommendations from your recent trip there on where to eat great ramen, but you’re struggling to remember the names. It’s a problem many travellers have, but you can have your best recommendations at the ready by using a check-in app during your trip, such as Foursquare Swarm, or using a notes app, where you jot down the spots you’re hitting. These apps are a way to help you keep track of every place you’ve been to, and Swarm pinpoints them on a shareable map — you can choose how many people you share your location with and also have the option to keep your visits completely private.


Whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook, it’s best to use only one social media platform, Crowley said. “After all, you should spend most of your time experiencing your own trip, instead of being distracted by creating content, which in some platforms disappears after 24 hours,” he said.


Whenever he’s travelling Crowley uses Twitter to ask friends, colleagues and the general public for their ideas on topics such as their favourite running apps or if they have tried the bike share program in the destination where he is. “Looking back at my timeline and reading the responses I get brings me right back to that trip,” he said. THE NEW YORK TIMES