Visiting with family and friends over the holidays is something many of us look forward to, but as we all know, traveling can be very stressful. The holidays are one of the busiest times to travel by air – the countless delays can make it difficult to pass the time. Traveling by car has its own host of challenges, whether it’s traffic delays or even high gas prices.
Tech expert, Mario Armstrong is also an avid traveler, and he joined me for an interview this morning to share his favorite travel tips for the holidays, whether you’re stuck at the airport, worried about the safety of your home, on the hunt for the perfect hotel or the cheapest gas prices, he’s got you covered!
Candace Rose: With holiday travel there’s a lot of waiting. What do you recommend to help pass the time?
Mario Armstrong: “I think reading is a great way to help pass the time. I’ve partnered with a bunch of companies that can help us be totally stress-free.
The first one to help us with the reading is the Amazon e-Reader. These are beautiful devices that are all super lightweight, easy to pack, access to millions and millions of pieces. We have two of the newest with us right here – the new Kindle is $79. It’s super inexpensive, double the storage on here and a faster processor. And then the Kindle Voyage – it’s $199, their most advanced e-Reader to date with beautiful display and resolution. All e-Readers with Amazon, you’re going to get beautiful battery life, it’s going to last weeks not just hours. Like I said, they’re light to pack and you can read them in direct sunlight without any glare, so it’s a really great way to pass the time and catch up on some of that reading that you’ve been missing out on.”
Candace Rose: Is there a way to keep an eye on our home while away this holiday season?
Mario Armstrong: “Yes, absolutely. That’s become way more affordable than it used to be. This is a big worry for a lot of travelers – what’s going to happen to my home? Nexia Home Intelligence system to be able to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. It works in a really easy to use type of way. It has what is called a Nexia Hub, which is the brains of the system and you can connect a lot of different components to that like the trained thermostat controller where you can change the thermostat, or you can plug in a camera inside the house or outside the home to check in on your house. You can even say ‘I forgot to close the garage door’. You can even do that right from your mobile or your table or your laptop computer. It gives you that peace of mind at an affordable price – we’re talking $9.99 a month, that’s it and no contract to give you that peace of mind. It’s really priced super affordable.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything new for capturing those magical moments?
Mario Armstrong: “Yes! You want to capture the memories, you don’t want to let those photogenic moments slip away or those video moments slip away, so my favorite smartphone for that is the HTC Desire Eye. This smartphone is unique for two reasons. For one – it has 13 megapixels for both cameras, that’s unheard of (the front and the rear facing camera are at that 13 megapixel). The other feature that I really like about is something called split screen where you can actually benefit by using both cameras at the same time on your screen. The front facing camera and the rear facing camera show up on split screen and you can take one picture, so that’s really cool. Plus, you can shoot a lot of video and it’s waterproof as well.”
Candace Rose: What are a couple of your favorite websites and apps this holiday travel season?
Mario Armstrong: “Yes, before you even think about a destination, go to AirBnB.com. The reason why is because this is the go-to place to find the most unique destinations that are way better than say a generic hotel room. We’re talking over 800,000 listings in over 190 countries. If you want to have a great beach getaway or if you want to go to a log cabin, you can get all the family to chip in on the price and now you have a kitchen and you have rooms, and you can have a gigantic sleepover…just a great way to really have that memorable moment for the holiday. If you’re like me and you host a lot of parties at your house during the holidays, you can actually look at a house in your area that you can rent to host that party at, at opposed to doing it in your own home, so that’s great.
Last but not least, my favorite for saving money on gas is called GasBuddy. This is important because nine out of 10 people are going to be traveling in their cars. This free app is used by over 40 million people, and being that it’s crowdsourced, people are updating the app in realtime. All you do is you pull up the app, it’ll know your area and where you are, it’ll help you find the cheapest price of gas nearest you. We’re not talking like five cents, you can actually end up saving 20 to sometimes 40 cents per gallon, which can be a lot of money for filling up that gas tank for your trip.”
Candace Rose: Thank you for the great tips, Mario. Where can we go for more information?
Mario Armstrong: “I would head on over to our website where we share all of this and more at KillerApps.tv.”