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As South African expats, we have an eye for tech and travel trends. Most importantly, although we are living abroad, we always have one proverbial foot back home, and so it’s understandable that we’ll be looking to new innovations, processes and gadgets to make our lives across international borders a bit easier.

So let’s take a look at four tech and travel trends for 2017 that saffas abroad can look forward to.

2017 tech and travel trends for South Africans abroad

Intuitive luggage

Ever pitched up at the airport and realised too late that your luggage is over the weight limit? Or had to call a taxi but your battery died? Well, Bluesmart has you sorted. This intuitive state-of-the-art luggage innovation offers charging capabilities, location tracking, remote locking from your phone and automatically weighs the contents of your bag. But Bluesmart is not the only contender when it comes to smart luggage – we’ll be seeing many more innovations and upgrades across the travel industry this year. Nifty things to have around for your global jetsetting.

Smartshopping

Eight out of 10 people currently use their smartphones for purchases. But in general you need to know what you are looking for and where to find it if you’re shopping via your smartphone. In 2017 we will be seeing much more location-based marketing (Smartbeacons) which will offer you services and products based on your profile (whatever you allow to be shared and integrated on your various email, user and social media accounts). As a South African expat travelling abroad, this could make life much easier if you find yourself in a new city or country.

Additionally, you may even be able to purchase your products without moving a muscle. With new innovations like Amazon Go, shoppers will be able to visit a local store to pick up their products without having to swipe, bag or bother with other retail shopping hangups.

Interactive communication

In 2017 we’ll be seeing even more interactive and intuitive communication tools and apps. Whatsapp already launched their video chat to rival Skype, and social media has taken to offering users the ability to post live updates, videos and interact on each other’s threads in real-time. With the rise of VR and AR, many tech innovators are looking to introduce new phones, applications and add-ons which could see you “sitting next to your loved one” thousands of kilometres away – making the distance seem almost negligible. One such innovation is the Google and Lenovo partnership smartphone dubbed the Phab 2 Pro, which utilises Google’s Tango to make augmented reality an actual reality.

Faster, simpler, better travel

With technology and data-integration advancing at warp-speed it’s no surprise that you can look forward to faster, simpler and better travel in the new future. In countries such as the US, automated security desks at airports have already been implemented, and in most countries, booking, checking in luggage and boarding of flights, trains and other commuter transport are becoming swifter, with more intuitive systems to vet and verify information. You’ll also have more entertainment options during your travels – better wi-fi, more space, faster routes, more competition (meaning lower prices) and safer systems.

If you do find yourself travelling frequently, be sure to have a look at our international travel checklist.