8 tips for holidaying like it's 2099 with wearable tech

Want to streamline your travel plans for a stress free trip? Pack these wearables
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Wearable tech might not be the first thing you pack when you're off on holiday - maybe your Apple Watch reminds you of work meetings or you're too ashamed to let Fitbit record your holiday habits.

But more and more travel apps, airlines and hotel chains are taking advantage of increasing wearable tech sales to make smartwatches, lifestyle trackers, smart earbuds and headsets work for travellers.

Here's the wearable kit to save you time, hassle, money and international awkwardness this summer.

Use a smartwatch boarding pass

8 tips for holidaying like it's 2099 with wearable tech

If you want to swan through the airport without so much as getting your phone - nevermind a piece of paper - out of your pocket or carry-on, there have been some tentative steps to get boarding passes onto smartwatches: the FlyDelta app for Android Wear for instance and Ryanair has been working on its own smartwatch boarding pass app too.

If you're looking for up to the minute notifications and info including flight status, countdown to departure and at-destination weather in the terminal, the Apple Watch is probably your best bet with compatible apps from British Airways, EasyJet, American Airlines, Qantas and more. Glancing at your wrist as you leg it to Gate 42 isn't perfect yet, but it's getting there.

Get alerts and recommendations on wrist

8 tips for holidaying like it's 2099 with wearable tech

A smattering of travel apps have made it possible to get detailed itineraries on smartwatches. Try TripCase for Tizen, Pebble and Android Wear; TripAdvisor for Pebble Time and the popular travel organiser app TripIt for Apple Watch (pay for Pro to get all the real time alerts).

Foursquare has released a dedicated app for Android Wear and is a good start for seeing what's in the area alongside Yelp and quirky exploration app Field Trip. All worth a download before you fly.

Ditch the movie for a next gen headset

Https://www.wareable.com/media/imager/2245 28952d0a0237f0262505cd23fe70a68b.jpg

As soon as we hit seat 17B, we become a slave to the small, low res, 4:3 screen in front of us. We feel obliged to watch some terrible James Franco comedy that came out six months ago not just once but everywhere we look - next to us, across the aisle, on every screen on the way back from the WC.

Not so anymore. Wearables like the Avegant Glyph are perfect for train, plane or coach trips - the Glyph is a $499 personal cinema, which connects to smartphones and tablets via HDMI, aimed at movie fans and looks like a pair of Beats that you just slip over your eyes. Failing that, you could take a Gear VR in your luggage to keep you entertained.

Get two second currency conversions

8 tips for holidaying like it's 2099 with wearable tech

...With the XE Currency app for Apple Watch. It's a bit businesslike but it gets the job done and once you've set the currency in the iPhone app, it can display live or the last updated rate in a Glance. Adjust the amount of money in the Watch app for on the spot conversions to make sure you're not leaving an outrageously generous tip.

Read this: The best Apple Watch apps

Let Google Now be your 24/7 concierge

Google Now is brilliant, we all know this, and it can be especially helpful on smartphones when travelling - translations, currency conversions, times and weather in different locations, local photo spots.

Not all these features have made their way to Now on Android Wear smartwatches but there are some handy functions - Google will send you an alert if a plane journey that is mentioned in a Gmail message is delayed, for instance. It will prompt you with how many minutes walk away you are from a restaurant or bar that you looked up on Maps back at the hotel on a different device.

With Now on Tap, which tries to guess what you're going to search for before you search it, Google's all-knowing, all-guessing AI service is only going to get better too.

8 tips for holidaying like it's 2099 with wearable tech

Later this year, we could be using haptic tech rather than tiny, zoomable maps - for instance, Wearable Experiments' high fashion Navigate jacket which nudges the wearer with vibrations on either shoulder, to turn corners, is in the works.

For now, a quick glance at your smartwatch isn't quite the screenless future that allows us to really take in a new city but it's better than stopping to check your phone and annoying the locals.

Open your hotel door with Apple Watch

8 tips for holidaying like it's 2099 with wearable tech

We hope this one catches on. Starwood Hotels - which includes the W Hotel - is rolling out support for its Apple Watch app which lets guests open use their smartwatch as their hotel key. Starwood is also working on smart mirrors, RFID-enabled floor tiles and Internet of Things hotel suites - all good things.

Read this: How wearables will change travel

As for killing the hotel key, Disney is doing something similar with its all-purpose MagicBand wearable which is given to all guests at Disney Resort hotel rooms. As well as opening room doors, it also acts as a pass to get into the parks, onto rides and pay for food and drinks.

Don't queue for cash/cabs, order an Uber

Pretty much all smartwatches, even the app-lacking Gear S2, support Uber alerts and that's handy because if you suck at finding ATMs or flagging down aggressive taxi cabs, you'll no doubt be getting a lot of Ubers.

It's now available in 57 countries, it's just as cheap and cheerful a service as back home and it means that you can just request an Uber in your smartphone app then check on your wrist when it's coming. It helps of course if you're not paying huge amounts for your international data.

How we test


Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

Related stories