If you were to listen to the AutoSlash team talk, you might think we are attached to various forms of technology, whether in a rental car or not. Effectively we are! We're truly a bunch of frequent travelers and the six folks answering support questions (Andrew, Chris, Eric, Jonathan, Ludo, and Michael)? We were literally in six different time zones at the time of this writing, so connectivity is important to us! What technology do we use when in a rental car? The answers show we're not just looking for connectivity, we're also looking to save time and money.
Cell Phones of Various Models
Whether the cell phone is Apple OS, Android, or Windows, we're all traveling with cellphones. With multiple Apple shareholders among our team, we're very grateful Chris and Ludo are so connected to their iPhones! But aside from the obvious connectivity reasons, traveling with cell phones save us money and time. In fact, cell phones are mini-computers for our team; none of our team mentioned using cell phones for phone calls.
Cell phones for phone calls? That's so 2008.
How do we actually use our phones?
Avoiding upsells for navigation devices (money-saver) when we travel to new locations and changing plans on the fly (time-saver)
AutoSlash founder Jonathan and Chris are each addicted to the mapping app Waze and recently had a detailed discussion on how to monetize the app -- the executives at Google (owners of Waze) should reach out to them for future development ideas. Andrew plans and saves data by downloading maps in advance using Google Maps -- one of our recent tips for travelers with GPS-enabled phones -- and saves packing space by not bringing along a separate 12-volt to micro-USB car charger anymore; most vehicles today have USB ports for users who want to use onboard entertainment options.
Connecting smartphones to smart watches (time saver).
Eric has a nice setup with an Android phone and smart watch; when mapping through the phone, the smart watch alerts him of upcoming turns by vibrating, alleviating concerns that the conversation (or radio) is cranked up too high!
Asking Google (and Bing) questions (time saver).
Chris is also an inquisitive sort with a high need to Google on the fly to ask questions about all of the curious items he encounters on the road (admittedly, he gets to visit more sites that the rest of us)! The phone also helps him answer the pressing mysteries of life, such as:
"How to open the fuel door on this *$#& rental car that I have to return to the airport in five minutes."
Before you laugh, that's a serious pro-tip -- I struggled with this very issue on an unfamiliar rental model in the past few days!
Auxiliary or USB Cables
Aside from the obvious use of a USB cable to charge our various aforementioned cell phones, Jonathan uses these and his SiriusXM All Access subscription to play satellite radio through the car's sound system. He's already paying for an unlimited cell phone plan and the ability to stream satellite radio anywhere in the U.S., so he's clearly going to leverage those subscriptions! While some vehicles in the rental car fleet come with satellite radio already activated (one of our favorite ancillary benefits of loyalty program status), Jonathan reliably gets satellite radio on the road, without the $6-7 per day (plus tax) fees the rental car companies attempt to charge.
A Power Inverter for the Truly Hopeless
Remarkably, I'm not really attached to my cell phone. I've got it worse -- I'm attached to the laptop and a standard car charger simply doesn't fit the bill. The upgrade to a power inverter is a relatively new development in my world and I haven't gotten any questions from TSA (as of yet) of flying with the inverter in my carryon.
Why a power inverter? My newest laptop has very good battery life but also came with a 130-watt power adapter. Even if I'm lucky enough to board a plane with in-seat power, I'm unable to charge the laptop while in flight as the wattage required is too high on systems designed for 75 watts. Once I land and hop in the car or Jucy campervan? The power inverter creates power to spare and I can easily charge my laptop, phone, MiFi, and any other technology while driving down the highway! Power inverters support varying wattage; I opted for a well-rated, durable model aimed toward truck drivers that covers my needs (150 watts) without overly taxing the vehicle's charging system capacity.
Ready to book your next rental car? Remember to bring along your own technology to save money and avoid headaches. The best way to save money on your future car rentals? Clicking below to request a quote and receiving the cheapest possible quotes within minutes!