12 novel uses for a digital camera when you travel

A digital photo of the subway map is a big help when you travel.Almost everyone nowadays carries a digital camera when they travel. But it can do so much more than capture memories. For instance:

1. Zoomable map:
When you’re traveling any number of specialty maps can come in handy — think subway systems, neighborhood maps, archeological sites, large parks –  but paper maps can be bulky, expensive, and fragile, and aren’t always available.

2. Bus and train schedules:
Taking a day trip but not sure what time you’ll want to head back to your hotel? A photo of the bus or train schedule gives you all the info you need.

3. Remembering your hotel and room number:
Especially in a foreign language it can be hard to remember (or pronounce) your hotel name. And ever tried unsuccessfully to open a hotel room door, only to realize room 204 was from yesterday’s hotel? Simply take a shot of your room number, the hotel sign, the nearest street sign, any landmarks and the nearest bus stop to help yourself or a taxi driver get you back.

4. Remembering where you parked your car (or scooter):
After a long time searching the streets of a Mexican town my husband and I were convinced someone must have stolen our rented scooter. We remembered the name of the store we’d parked in front of; we found the store again, but our scooter simply wasn’t there. Heading back to our hotel, a couple of blocks away we found another store with the same name — and our scooter. A snapshot of the street address would have saved a lot of time and agony. And a picture of the vehicle and license plate are a must (well, it was a white two-door…)

5. Virtual guide book:
Don’t want to lug around a heavy guide book but you only need a few pages? Just take pictures of them!

6. Picture of your child:
Take a photo of your children every morning; if they get lost you can easily show police what they were wearing.

7. Photograph your luggage and valuables:
If your luggage gets delayed or misdirected a photo is much better than “it’s black with wheels”. And a photo of other bags, belongings, and documents (passport, etc.) will help in case they get lost or stolen.

8. Packing guide:
Do you have a special packing system? Or maybe a travel-savvy friend or family member helped you pack everything just right? Take a picture of your open, packed suitcase (or several pictures, layer by layer) to help you re-pack at the end of the trip.

9. Potential gifts:
Not sure which blouse your friend’s daughter will like? Snap some pictures, email to her mother along with measurements, and let her choose.

10. Substitute binoculars:
At full zoom most cameras today can see better than the human eye.

11. Organize your photos:
Signs with location names make organizing your vacation photos much easier.While exploring ancient cities in Turkey a few years ago, when arriving at each site I took a picture of the entrance sign or map. When I got home, these photos acted as markers, making it much easier to tell Milet from Priene. This works for towns, museums, or any other attractions.

12. Get your lost camera back:
If an honest person finds your lost camera they will look through the pictures for clues to find the owner. Before you go, write down your name and contact information on a card, take a picture and make sure it’s the first one on your camera. Lock it so it doesn’t get deleted!

Do you have any creative uses for your camera when you travel? Please share below!

Image source: flickr (flyingpurplemonkeys)

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