Today, nearly every adult carries a smartphone with them when traveling.
From taking photos and videos to managing travel on the go, smartphones have become indispensable for road warriors, myself included.
But while everyone can carry a smartphone, smartwatches are much less common. These wearables are designed to be your phone’s companion, giving you easy access to your most important notifications and content on your wrist.
Personally, I wasn’t convinced at first about the smartwatch concept. I like the look and feel of my mechanical Swiss watch, but my mindset has changed over the years.
As a longtime iPhone user, I’ve been intrigued by the Apple Watch since it came out. I skipped the first few generations, but I finally decided to take a risk and buy my first Apple Watch when the Series 4 was released in 2018.
At first, I saw the Apple Watch as more of a toy than a powerful device on the wrist. But as the Apple Watch gets better and better (with more upgrade focused on tourism coming this fall), it has become a staple in my wardrobe — here’s why.
Flight experience is much easier
As a frequent traveler – I’ve made more than 100 flights and flew more than 175,000 miles last year — I’m always looking for ways to streamline my travel. Anything that can save me a few minutes is sure to add up to hours over the course of a year.
It’s one of the biggest reasons why the Apple Watch has become an extra on my wrist.
First, the watch simplifies the airport experience with seamless access to my boarding pass. I always check in via the airline app when the 24-hour window opens. I save my boarding pass directly to my Apple Wallet, and I love that it automatically shows up on my iPhone’s lock screen when I’m at the airport.
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But with the Apple Watch, it’s even simpler.
Boarding passes are synced wirelessly between devices, so my watch is always ready to show the boarding pass QR code with the push of a button. Instead of fumbling around for my phone at the counter or at the check-in gate, I simply tap my boarding pass on my watch and hand it to the agent.
I don’t need to worry about where my phone is or maybe spilling the drink I just bought from the (expensive) coffee shop. With a snap of my fingers, I’m ready to go.
Plus, my Apple Watch helps me be one of the first to tell time flight (and train) status updates. From boarding notifications to gate change notifications, all the important information is at a glance at the watch — no need to pause to open apps on my phone.
Most major airlines offer an Apple Watch app, which provides important information in an easy-to-understand format, and many even include small conveniences (or complex functions) that can can be displayed directly on the customizable watch face — saving me a lot of time.
For my friends and family, airport navigation, complicated boarding processes, and airline apps can be a challenge, especially when they’re carrying luggage (and maybe young children). me again). However, the Apple Watch has helped me eliminate much of this stress.
Going around with Apple Watch also makes it much easier for me to pay for goods and services when I’m jogging around town or running a quick errand.
I store all my most used credit cards in my digital Apple Watch wallet. That way, I don’t need my physical card or my phone to pay at merchants that have tap-to-pay technology.
With a snap of my finger on the payment terminal, I was ready.
When traveling internationally, I usually leave some of my credit cards at home or in a hotel safe, but being able to access them all on my watch without safety concerns or security is definitely helpful for me. point maximization strategy.
Furthermore, many major cities have introduced touch-to-pay payments for public transport. Back home in New York City, I regularly use my watch to press when riding the subway — a feature that makes commuting much simpler.
Has a built-in workout tracker
Staying healthy while I’m on the go is a must. With my busy travel schedule, I always try to exercise whenever I set foot in a new city, whether it’s a short jog near the hotel, a quick stop in a guest’s gym. hotels or go hiking on the outskirts of town.
The Apple Watch makes tracking my fitness goals significantly easier and more enjoyable, and I enjoy reviewing my workout history and progress every few weeks.
Another useful fitness feature is the ability to pair my Apple Watch directly with the exercise device. I’ve noticed that many new and recently renovated hotel gyms have machines that support this technology and can sync stats and measure heart rate in real time simultaneously. which means I have a more accurate view of my stats.
I’m also a recreational hiker, and I recently wore this watch while hiking in New York’s Hudson Valley. In addition to tracking my workout metrics, I appreciate that the watch can connect to a cellular network so I don’t need to worry about disconnects while hiking both at home and abroad. (International cellular roaming is a feature available on Apple Watch Series 5 and later; Apple Watch SE and later; and Apple Watch Ultra).
Better yet, even more powerful connectivity upgrades are coming this fall—more on that below.
I can control my content without much effort
With just a small screen, at first I didn’t think the Apple Watch could help me enjoy content on the go.
But despite its limitations (notably the screen size and 32 gigabytes of memory), the Apple Watch makes it easier for me to listen to and control music when I’m traveling.
Firstly, I save a few playlists locally on my watch so I can play some tunes without my phone nearby. This is especially helpful when I’m jogging with only my watch and AirPods Pro second generation.
Additionally, I appreciate that when I listen to music with my phone nearby, the watch offers a “Now Playing” screen that lets me control the volume, skip tracks, or even switch audio sources just with one touch.
Bigger, better and safer watches
Over the holidays, I started wearing this year’s Series 8 watch, which starts at $399. (There’s also an entry-level Apple Watch SE that has a smaller case with fewer sensors and starts at $249.)
While you can enjoy all of the aforementioned features across the entire Apple Watch lineup, I’ve found that the tech giant has made this watch an even more powerful companion. more this year with the introduction of the Ultra model I recently upgraded to.
It offers a 49 mm case (Apple’s largest) with an extremely durable titanium design that survives bumps into airplane seats, subway poles, and airport security bins.
While the watch is primarily designed for trail adventurers and high-performance athletes (with features dedicated to hikers, divers, and runners), in my experience , it also serves as an incredible travel smartwatch. Thanks to its larger screen, larger battery (I recently got close to 50 hours between charges), and the incredibly accurate built-in GPS, the Ultra may be best for those on the go looking for more. Find the best of the best.
Whichever model you choose, you can rest assured that all of this year’s watches include Collision Detection. This new potentially lifesaving feature could automatically call emergency services if the meter detects that you’ve been in a serious car accident.
From airports and planes to what I do when I get to my destination, Apple Watch has allowed me to get on the road faster and more efficiently than ever before.
Can scan my boarding pass or pay for a coffee with the snap of a finger, and track my workouts and enjoy my music, making Apple Watch your travel companion. my smartphone.
As smartwatch technology has advanced over the past few years, we’ve seen travel brands launch Apple Watch apps and install more Bluetooth-friendly devices on planes and in hotel rooms — and even more innovations.
At this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple new WatchOS 10 launch. With its launch this fall, I am confident that my Apple Watch will become an even more essential companion.
That’s because the new software features a host of travel-focused updates, including a redesigned convenience experience for easier access to boarding passes and flight status, compass improvements, and more. To track the last time you used cellular service, offline maps help you navigate around town without an internet connection and much more.
But for now, you’ll need to excuse me. My watch just rang because it was time to board my flight home.