AI Assisted and Digital Tools to streamline your December travel planning.

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Planning an overseas trip for the December holidays? Whether you’re hitting the beaches in Thailand or visiting family in Europe, there are plenty of great AI-assisted and digital tools that can streamline your travel planning.

From uninterrupted connectivity to intelligent solutions for navigation, currency exchange, and insurance, these technological advancements are changing the way we travel – making it easier, more fun and more secure. The team at Naked, the fully digital insurance platform, suggested to me some of their favourite apps and services for travellers.

e-SIMs: Many modern phones support virtual SIMs or e-SIMs. This means you no longer need to switch physical SIM cards to use a local network or depend on public Wi-Fi networks when you travel overseas. There are a range of apps like Airalo, Holafly, and Flexiroam that allow you to purchase data on an e-SIM and switch effortlessly between data plans across different countries.

Shyft Global Wallet: The Shyft app lets you buy, sell, store, and manage foreign currency with ease. You can buy, exchange and store US and Australian dollars, euros, rands and pounds sterling in a digital wallet. A standout feature of the Shyft app is that you can load each card on a need-to-spend basis. For example, you can move money from your normal bank account to your Shyft account without making the entire amount immediately available on the cards. Instead, as the holiday progresses, you can top up each card. This minimises the risk in case your card gets stolen, preventing the culprit from spending all your foreign currency in one go.

Google Pay and Apple Pay: Capture your card details on mobile payment apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay for more security and convenience. This spares you from needing to carry cash and multiple cards around. The downside of this method, compared to a dedicated currency solution, is that you may be exposed to currency fluctuations and higher transaction fees.

AirTags: With Apple Air Tags or Tile Pro for Android, you can track your luggage in real-time. No more standing at the baggage carousel waiting in suspense wondering if your bag is in the same city as you and no more waiting for the airline to locate your missing luggage. It could even be useful to hide an AirTag in your toddler’s shoe for extra peace of mind.

ChatGPT and Expedia: The Expedia app now features an AI-powered travel planning experience powered by ChatGPT. You can start an open-ended conversation in the Expedia app and get recommendations on places to go, where to stay, how to get around, and what to see and do based on the chat.

Itinerary planning: Apps like TripIt and Wanderlog enable you to manage your trip in one place. Wanderlog helps you create a trip itinerary, budget costs, organise flights and hotel reservations, view places to visit on a map, and collaborate with friends. TripIt is a free online trip planner and free travel itinerary website for organising holidays, group trips or business travel.

Google Translate: The Google Translate app can translate dozens of languages through text or voice. You just need to type, write, or speak into the app. You can also point your smartphone’s camera at a sign or menu written in a foreign language for a live translation.

Cloud storage: Use apps like Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive to have access to your documents wherever you are. Scan copies of your important travel documentation (e.g. passports and visas, driver’s licences, medical cover, travel insurance, bank cards) — this can help you immensely if something goes wrong. Backing up your photos to the cloud will ensure that you’ll always have your memories, even if your camera or phone breaks or gets lost.

Lounge access: If you’re facing long layovers and delayed flights, access to a lounge can make your wait a lot more comfortable with access to amenities like showers, food and reliable Wi-Fi. Not a club member or a business-class traveller? Apps like LoungeBuddy and LoungeKey offer you access to airport lounges around the world for a one-time fee.

Insurance: A modern insurance provider like Naked can make it easy for you to buy a standalone cover or add your valuables to your home policy to make sure they’re covered while overseas. Don’t forget to insure your laptop, camera, golf clubs and so on when you travel with it.

CoverPause: If you’re a Naked customer and are leaving your car at home or at the airport, don’t forget to activate CoverPause. This feature pauses the accident portion of your car insurance cover to save you money — you can save 50% of your premium while still being covered for theft, fire, Mother Nature, or anything else that can happen to your car while it is parked.

Happy planning, and may the above ease the process and allow for more fun and less stress.

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