Shermans Travel » Blog » Technology
There’s no denying the convenience and quality of smartphone snaps, even when compared to just a year or two ago. But for the traveler who wants to beautifully document their trips, there’s still a solid case for traveling with a point-and-shoot camera.
Dedicated cameras simply record photos that are clearer, more vivid, and better lit, particularly at sunset and in other low-light conditions. You’ll have more control over exposure and focal length (which determines whether you have that lovely blurred background or keep the scenery crisp) and have better macro for close-up shots. And when it comes to capturing landscapes, you can use actual, optical zoom – which is entirely different from the digital zoom that most smartphones employ, where you essentially crop the photo without truly “zooming in.”
Which brings us to the next point. You’ll see us discuss the size of sensors, which process all the light, colors, and information that a camera captures into photos. (A basic rule: bigger is better.) We also mention aperture, which controls exposure, or how much light is let in, because that plays a huge part in clarity and detail.
Below, we’ve rounded up some excellent cameras that can do a lot for less than $200 – plus two more for people who might want to invest a little more. Because we’re looking for a bargain, many of the models are about two years old. But if you’re open to refurbished or even secondhand purchases, more recent models won’t cost you too much more.
Take a few flights outside of the United States, and you’re likely to notice a slightly disappointing observation: Many U.S.-based carriers simply don’t measure up when it comes to perks in economy class. Whether it’s a free snack, or real wine glasses filled with (free!) vino, here are a few coach class airline perks we love on the foreign carriers… Read more
It’s no secret that Google Maps is a lifesaver if you’re traveling without a car. Generally, this, and similar sites like Hopstop, are incredibly reliable for planning your travel route on public transportation. But what if you want more precise information – like when to leave for the station in order to make the next train, for example, or detailed schedules that tell you how often buses and trains arrive?
This is where locally-based transit apps come in. A whopping 246 public transit systems across the nation make schedule and GPS-generated location data accessible to developers so they can incorporate them into new programs. Here are some of the best free transit apps for iOs and Android that are worth downloading before your next trip… Read more
Anyone who’s traveled on a major public transportation system in the United States is all too familiar with the woes created by swipeable metro cards. In New York City, the flimsy plastic passes sometimes require two or more swipes to work, and if you end up inside the wrong people-packed station, the wait to refill your card can take ages.
Granted, magnetic cards are still quicker than asking each rider to pay a cash fare in order to board, but now that we’re firmly planted in 2014, it’s time to start looking towards a superior alternative. This month, news arose from our nation’s capital that it, along with the Big Apple, are looking towards a future without a fare card. As smartphone penetration in the U.S. approaches 90 percent — and above that in major metropolitan areas — it’s high time to move to a more efficient model. Read more
Got an overseas trip coming up? Here are a few items you’ll want to pack before heading out: a valid passport, an app that details common phrases in the native language, and a way to keep your phone connected once you land. What you’ll also need is a plan for managing voltage changes in other parts of the world that don’t share the same plugs and voltages as your homeland. Here’s a rundown of the best ways to avoid tripped breakers, ruined gadgets, and moments of embarrassment when tapping into an international power grid:
For travelers who are consistently arriving in other countries, there’s another challenge beyond the long lines at immigration: keeping your mobile phone connected.
Outside of T-Mobile’s radical Simple Choice plan — which allows customers to roam for free (albeit slowly) in over 100 countries — practically every other U.S. carrier charges astronomical rates to use one’s phone overseas. Thankfully, options do exist to make the hit to your wallet a little less severe. For instance, it’s possible to procure a local SIM card in the country you’re traveling to, or rent a SIM ahead of time from outfits such as KeepGo. However, in either case, the SIM will do you no good in most U.S. phones. Why? A foul little thing called “carrier locks.” Read more
Because you have enough to worry about when traveling (see: delays, security lines, and those pesky airline fees), these tech favorites make life a little bit easier. Whether you want your electronics to be 100 percent charged, need to write an entire email free of typos, or look your best when you land, we rounded up 9 must-have gadgets. In no particular order: Read more
We’ve already covered the best and brightest in the taxi hailing app world, but knowing which apps to download is only half of the battle. It’s also worth understanding why using a taxi app is a fundamentally different experience than hailing a cab the old-fashioned way. Case in point: this past weekend, as New York City dealt with the hectic pre-Christmas shopping rush, as well as several inches of accumulated snow, Uber found itself on the wrong side of a PR controversy. According to multiple reports, the wintry weather caused Uber taxi drivers to begin implementing “surge pricing” that caused some fares to start at $125 (instead of the usual $2.50).
To avoid sticker shock the next time you need a taxi in a pinch, here’s a quick breakdown of how pricing works when hailing a ride in the digital universe: Read more
There are so many new apps and websites to help us micromanage every aspect of our travel. In compiling a best-of list, we wondered where to even begin! We tried to keep it simple: Here are some of our favorites from the last year that will save you money and/or stress when planning your next trip… Read more
Adventure traveler or not, few things inspire wanderlusters everywhere to brave the elements like the jewel-hued Northern Lights. If you’ve dreamed of chasing this legendary phenomenon, now’s the time: The aurora is reaching solar peaks this winter and next, meaning visibility will be the greatest in this time for a good decade. And as with all epic travel experiences, you’ll probably want to capture your sightings on film (or an SD card). Here’s how. Read more
It’s amazing how liberating one small change can be. The FAA has allowed carriers to let passengers keep their small, handheld electronics turned on during takeoff and landing (this generally includes iPads, iPhones, Kindles, e-readers, and smartphones). You still can’t have your data network enabled (and you can’t use a laptop), but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little touchscreen-tapping fun in the meantime. Below, we’ve assembled a quick list of apps to have at your disposal between 0 and 10,000 feet. Download away! Read more
Last week, the New York Daily News reported that the TSA collected more than $531,000 in spare change left by travelers in airport security bins in 2012. We’re all for a proposed plan to donate the money to a nonprofit that serves deserving U.S. troops, but we also couldn’t help thinking that cool half-mil-plus could go a long way towards making security lines a much more pleasant experience for travelers. Here, our (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) wish list for how we’d like TSA put those coins to work: Read more
Driving is never easy on your wallet. Whether you’ve taken a long road trip, or you’ve found yourself driving a bit too speedily in a bid to make your flight, your wallet has likely felt the effects of all that time on the road. But let’s face it: Most drivers don’t spend a lot of time worrying about fuel efficiency when they’re traveling, or when they need to get somewhere fast.
Thankfully, a new piece of technology is stepping in to take care of that. Automatic Link is a small, user-friendly dongle ($99.95) that works in practically every gasoline-powered automobile produced since 1996. If you own an iPhone, it’ll help you to drive more sanely, save fuel by tweaking your driving habits, and even alert your loved ones if you’re in a crash. Here’s how you can benefit from it: Read more
The FAA made smartphone users leap for joy earlier this month when they announced that electronic devices could – after years of flight attendants’ finger-wagging – be used below 10,000 feet. Now, Southwest is taking things a step further with the launch of gate-to-gate Wifi aboard all flights. Read more
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