So, you’ve decided to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and go on a road trip. The roads are looking great, you’ve filled the fuel tank, and you’re all set to drive down the scenic Konkan route along the western coast of India or perhaps undertake an adventurous journey to the hills of Ladakh. While you must have done everything to plan things properly, what if we told you that there are a few extra, even offbeat things that you can do with technology to make your road trip experience even more enjoyable? Here are a few tips that can help you do just that.
Take your maps offline
Modern-day mapping apps have made navigation easy and accessible. Trouble is these applications need constant internet connectivity to work properly. This is not something you can guarantee during a road trip. A smart solution is to take the map offline for a particular region or route, using the download feature of the mapping app of your choice. Most apps offer this in one form or another and it's a lifesaver when you're out there without internet connectivity.
Use FASTags for toll payments
On a road trip, having to endure serpentine queues for toll payment at toll plazas can be quite painful. Nothing feels worse than getting away from the hustle and bustle of a city, only to be stuck in a long traffic jam in the middle of your road trip. But there is a solution - FASTag. Every toll plaza on national highways has a dedicated lane for FASTag enabled vehicles. These tags are placed on the windshield of the vehicle to enable automatic deduction of toll charges. Users with preloaded balance in their FASTag Wallet can just drive through the plaza, saving time and fuel. Additionally, users can also avail a cashback on all National Toll Payments using FASTag. Customers can also track their spends via an online portal as well as SMS. You can avail a FASTag at any Axis Bank Point of Sale (POS) at a toll plaza if you’re carrying the required documents, namely Registration Certificate (RC) of the vehicle and KYC documents. For more details on FASTags, and how to get one, click here.
Carry a power bank
Power banks are not just for smartphones. They can be used to keep your additional battery-powered devices charged as well. So, everything from wireless audio devices to e-readers and even smart watches will benefit. You can get a decent 20000 mAh option online for about ₹1500, however, always check the reviews section for possible issues that previous buyers have encountered.
Use an action camera
This year, action cameras are predicted to outsell all other types of cameras. Apart from being more capable, compact and cheap, their versatility should be the most convincing argument for you to get one. Use it as a dashboard cam to keep records of any possible mishaps, or as a helmet cam for any adventure sports you engage in during your travels and more. Make sure to carry a bunch of memory cards to save it all!
Easy to use syncing and editing app
Today, you’ve got to share updates online while a trip is ongoing. Those updates should also be well edited, captioned and even have background music, in some cases. If that sounds like too much work, rest assured there are some easy to use syncing and editing apps will do all of it for you. These apps automagically pick the best shots and clips from your captures and turn them into share-worthy AV content, without needing any intervention. Just make sure you click good pictures and videos, as they can’t do that for you… yet.
Use a travel journal app
While technology has made it easier to record thousands of memories when you're travelling, it has also made it more difficult to form a coherent story out of them. The alternative, which is keeping a pen-n-paper journal, is just too cumbersome. Solution? Use a travel journal app! The best ones keep tracking your location at intervals, organise your photos in aesthetic layouts and even allow you to print the whole thing later as a coffee table book chronicling your trip.
Pack a Bluetooth kit
If your old car stereo doesn’t support wireless connectivity, wires aren’t your only option. You can pick up a Bluetooth 3.5mm dongle online and use it to connect your phone, or any other Bluetooth enabled music source, to your car stereo and enjoy your tunes wirelessly. Some of these dongles even have additional features like an onboard microphone, letting you take your calls over your car’s onboard entertainment system.
Bring Alexa along
On a road trip, Alexa, perhaps the most popular voice assistant, can help you out with a lot – asking about the weather up ahead, checking nearby restaurants, controlling music, firing up navigation with just your voice, without being distracted from driving and more. And how exactly can you get this virtual travel mate along for the trip? There are dashcams that come built-in with Alexa, as well as a number of different Bluetooth accessories. However, you could just get an Alexa enabled speaker like an Echo Dot and throw it into your car as well.
Disclaimer: This article has been authored by Siddharth Parwatay, a Mumbai based independent tech-journalist, editor, and content-creator. Axis Bank doesn't influence any views of the author in any way. Axis Bank and/or the author shall not be responsible for any direct / indirect loss or liability incurred by the reader for taking any financial decisions based on the contents and information. Please consult your financial advisor before making any financial decision.