Digital, Travel Gear

Smart Changes for Travel Blogging

19 Comments 27 November 2012

Samsung Galaxy SIII

Making a ‘smart’ change to the Samsung Galaxy SIII

I learned early on in my IT career, you must be willing to change – else you will be left behind. My work as a travel blogger has changed immensely over the last 3 years – in fact – this field moves at light speed sometimes when it comes to everything one must keep up to date on and social media demands are constantly growing. But one of the best changes that I have made in the last 3 years making my life as a travel blogger immensely more manageable is adding a smart phone to my ever-expanding electronics bag. My smart phone is probably the most important key to my efficiency, allowing me to actually still enjoy my work AND travel.

All Great Changes are Preceded by Chaos

change I recently made the switch from my old iPhone (which was on its last breath) to a new Samsung Galaxy SIII – and it’s been a great transition for me.  Yet I won’t lie – it takes time and patience to change technology and  operating systems. It’s taken some SOS calls to my friends who are Android users,  combing through online articles and how-tos, and a whole conversation thread in my Facebook group with fellow Navigate Media Group Bloggers.  But I stuck with it and I realized that the move was great for me for one simple reason – change is good. Like everything in life – a job, a relationship, or a commute will likely fall into a rut at some point if we don’t force ourselves to get out and explore new ways or new routines. Yes, change is scary – but it’s necessary.

I’ll be the first to admit – I probably didn’t use my old smartphone to it’s full ‘smart’ capacity – and this switch from iPhone to Samsung Galaxy SIII has been a good transition for me – simply because it forces me explore again. I was complacent before – just using the same old stuff on my phone trip after trip. But when you make a big switch – it shakes things up and I started researching new apps and functionality that might very well have been available on my last phone, but I never looked into. So I don’t know if these things were available to my last phone or not – but I don’t really care – all I know is that I can use them now on my Galaxy SIII and that’s what important to me.

Making my Travels Easier

Sure – there’s the obvious things that a smart phone does such as helps me keep on top of email and social media while I’m traveling or out walking around in [insert name of foreign city here!]. In fact I basically use my smart phone to ‘live blog’ my travels most days onto my Facebook page via Instagram. But there are many other features on my Galaxy SIII I have found that specifically make my life on the road easier to manage.

For the thumb challenged

I love smart phones, but I hate typing on them. Pecking away with my big thumbs has never been very effective – but it was a necessary evil. No longer!

Continuous Input keyboard – At first I was skeptical at this ‘Swype’ keyboard feature – a way to type without ever lifting your finger. But once I gave it a try – I was an immediate convert. I used to use the keyboard with my thumbs, and even though I was pretty fast at it – I found it to be exhausting if I had long words or emails to answer. But now my whole outlook of typing on my phone has changed. My typing is quicker and more accurate!

S Voice – If I don’t even feel like swyping I can use S Voice and skip the keyboard all together. So far I’ve mainly been using S Voice for composing text messages, setting my alarm, snoozing my alarm, and checking the weather – but this is just the beginning. So far I find that the more I use it the better it becomes with recognizing me. Soon we’ll be BFF’s I’m sure.

Camera Functionality

Cameras on smart phones have improved immensely – so much so that with the addition of the Galaxy SIII to my bag – I have completely gotten rid of my point-and-shoot camera. I predict that the point-and-shoot camera is probably on a slow death march into the future to sit next to the Atari machine.

Intelligent Camera (aka taking photos while shooting video) – First of all, the quality of HD video on the phone is excellent but on top of that I am able to easily take photos while I’m recording the video. I used this pretty extensively on my trip to Lana’i where I was able to capture shots right away during filming and send them out on social media. This is great since I knew it would take me a while before I had time to edit and produce the video for sharing.

Take photos by saying cheese – Simply use your voice to shoot a picture…seriously – it doesn’t get any easier. Just say the word “Cheese!” and the camera will understand you and take a shot – great for self-portraits!

Panoramic shootingI used this extensively in Lana’i. No special app required which means it’s super simple to take the panoramic shot and then share it immediately from your main photo gallery.

Burst shooting and best shot – I never thought we’d get this functionality on a phone – but it’s here. Burst photography is super for action shots. Once on this setting it takes up to 20 shots in an instant and then it can pick the best shot of the group for you to save. No longer do you have to sort through the shots and figure it out yourself. I was skeptical about this at first – but when I tried it out on this waterfall dive – it absolutely picked the best shot of the group…impressive!

burst best shot galaxy sIII

Using burst shooting was never so easy – especially when IT chooses the best shot!

Easy Dropbox integration – The GalaxySIII is integrated in with Dropbox which means that every picture or video I take is immediately synced up to my drop box and then easily used on my computer. My life just got way easier when it comes to photo storage and access.

It’s Alive!

Every day we are moving closer and closer to HAL in 2001 A Space Odyssey and the Galaxy SIII puts the ‘smart’ in smart phone. It has an uncanny way of knowing what to do and how to communicate with you.

Smart Alert – this phone does not have separation anxiety – in fact it’s fine if you walk away from it and leave it in another room or bag for hours. It just happily keeps track of all of your messages or phone calls and when you go to pick it up again it vibrates as you lift it – as if it’s giving you a little nudge – notifying me that I have missed a call or an text message.

Smart Stay – the future is here my friends – this phone has eyes…or at least one eye making it a Cyclopes phone. When you are reading the screen it’s single ‘eye’ actually reads your eyes. As long as they are open and looking at the screen – the display will not dim or go into screen saver mode.


My work is all about efficiency – the more efficient I can be the more margarita’s I can sit around and drink.

Social Tag – It only takes a click to send a photo to a friend. The phone actually will learn who your friends are. When it sees that you’ve taken a picture of one of your friends it will label them and with one simple click on the photo you can send the photo to that friend.

Buddy share Galaxy SIII

Social Tag and Buddy Photo Share in action

Paperwork efficiency – Since I have no homebase my ‘office’ is pretty simple – it’s my laptop. I often get asked to send scanned copies of receipts or contracts which can be quite problematic and time consuming if you are traveling with no access to printers, scanners, or faxes. With the use of the CamScanner app, I can now take a picture of a receipt/contract and the app will turn it into a pdf and allow me to send it via email all in one easy process. This saves me time…and money!

Some days I yearn for having back the days of my initial career break travels in 2007. At that time, my traveling wasn’t at all considered work – it was instead just the opposite – a break from work. But like everything – change is inevitable and the reality is that my travel has changed into work these days. But the good news is that I love my work! And when technology can fit in my pocket AND can make my work easier then it’s brilliant. It allows me to have more fun, laugh more, and see more…and ultimately record and show you more.

What change have you made that was painful at first but ended up great once you stuck with it?  Please share in the comments!

Thanks to Samsung for sponsoring a few of my activities on Lana’i and gifting me a Samsung Galaxy SIII. All views expressed here are my own honest opinions, and do not reflect the views of Samsung.

Your Comments

19 Comments so far

  1. AnitaMac says:

    Very cool. I just picked up a new Smart phone and am working it out! It was a toss up between a few phones and the Samsung – hope to find the same functionality you just described as it sounds pretty good!

  2. Jay Gould says:

    Sherry, in my humble opinion, unless you have also spent some time with and objectively reviewed the iPhone5 and the HTC1X, the fact that you have recreated yourself a travel person, and that as a “famous” travel person you receive all kinds of free goodies, makes your reviews of a single product suspect. All of your fans and readers look to you for objectivity; preaching about one product that you received for free is not a very good approach! IMHO

    • Sherry says:

      Hi Jay – I appreciate and value your opinion. If you are looking for complete objective reviews of products that are true side by side reviews then you’ll probably continue to be disappointed with my site. I don’t do side by side reviews generally nor do I want to get into that. I simply write about my life and my opinions. I used to carry an iphone, and I have in the past carried an HTC for a short time. All were fine. I’m not telling you to go out and buy any of them – instead I’m telling you what I use and what I use it for in my life. I also carry a Canon camera, an ipod, use a macbook, and lacie backup drives – I don’t know if any of them are the best – it’s just what I use

  3. Rachel says:

    I got an S3 a few weeks ago, and I’m loving it. Still getting used to it, but I’m pretty impressed so far (except when Instagram crashes, which has been often). Thanks for the app recs, I’ll check them out.

  4. Kristina says:

    I bought the Galaxy Note II over the weekend (the SIII’s bigger sister) and so far I LOVE it. I haven’t learned all of the features yet, so thanks for the tips! I set up smart stay and S voice today after reading your post. I haven’t even tried the video yet but I love how fast the camera is.

    Regarding the comment above about doing comparative reviews, frankly, I don’t think anyone expects that here. This isn’t a “review” blog. There’s nothing wrong about writing about what you use and know.

    However…while I very much enjoy reading about your experiences, I would prefer to see fewer sponsored posts. I know that’s difficult when your entire trip is paid for by a sponsor, but personally, I find that it colors my opinion and makes me less likely to take everything written at face value if it’s all glowing AND the experience was paid for by someone else. It’s a fine line, but I think there can be too many sponsored posts on a blog. Call it “sponsorship fatigue” but I’ve stopped reading many a blog for this reason. Just my two cents.

    • Sherry says:

      Kristina – thanks for your feedback. I do understand the fatigue! I do my best to take on projects though that I”m really interested in personally. Life is too short to be places and do work you don’t want to do! Thanks again and I will utilize your feedback going forward.

  5. Sharon H Miro says:

    I have had my eye on the Galaxy S3 for some time, and just opened up the box a few minutes ago! And even tho I have had an HTC evo for some time, I am having no little anxiety about switching to a new phone. I know I never used 1/10th of what the HTC phone could do, and have vowed to not let that happen again. Neat article, and the tips are great.

    About sponsored posts: Yep, I must say that I agree that they can get wearing.I loved following you on the the Camino trek. You had the right balance of sponorsored and not there, I think. But yes any one can go to the far edge of too much. I like more of Sherri!

    As someone with more than a few decades of working with publishing, PR groups, and media, I have to admire the fact that a few of you have banded together to create this media group. There is strength and allure in numbers. And the presentation is very well done.

    • Sherry says:

      Thanks Sharon for your feedback – I do really appreciate it. Sometimes work comes in bunches…and I totally understand how sponsored posts can be wearing. I will do my best to keep that all top of mind as I take on projects.

  6. Bill Iverson says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more that the point-and-shoot camera is going the way of the buggy whip. (Well, maybe not the best ones like the Sony RX-100, but they’re in a different market than the grab and go). I have a screenful of iPhone photo apps, and for pictures I want to upload, I can get the right shot, edit it, and upload before I could get a memory chip from my camera to a card reader on my laptop. Hard to believe it was only 10 years ago I was dubious digital cameras could make me stop buying film.

  7. The dropbox embed nails it for me.

  8. nice samsung galaxy S111…BUT HOW MUCH HERE IN PHILS?

  9. After years of having the same old basic cell phone, I got a smartphone in April. I got the HTC Sense One (also an Android) and like it. I’ve heard lots of great things about the Samsung Galaxy SIII and this is the best review I’ve read. Maybe I will upgrade in a couple of years to this one but I’m enjoying many of the same features you mention on my phone.

    I’ve had it for a few months and like it but am really interested in the keyboard on the Samsung.

  10. Forest Parks says:

    I’ve just started to properly make use of my iPhone for travel and am loving the help it gives me in capturing my days and helping me stay organised.

  11. Thanks for a Lot of ideas.

  12. Sachin says:

    Thanks Sherry,, you made my decision easier. I am currently using a Windows phone and since I hooked to Android (thanks to my new Samsung Galaxy Tab) I am contemplating purchasing a new Android smartphone. Galaxy SIII seems like a good choice.

  13. Making sites mobile device compatible and adjusting to the mobile user’s needs is a tremendous challenge, indeed!

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Sherry traveling the world

I'm Sherry, a corporate cube dweller turned nomadic traveler. I travel to off-the-beaten-path destinations to bring you unique travel experiences and photography. But it's not just about travel, it's also about life experiences of a middle age wanderer.
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Where am I and Where am I going?

Minnesota/Wisconsin -> Nebraska

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