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Ease through the holidays with time and money-saving tech tips

And if you laughed at the words “extra time,” I’m here for you too. Here are a handful of simple ways to get through the holidays with a smile on your face:

The classic holiday battle: What time should you leave the house to get to your destination on time and avoid traffic?

Stop guessing and let traffic-predicting algorithms make your drive easier. Google Maps and Apple Maps offer options to help you plan your trip.

You can get a pretty accurate traffic forecast for a future date based on what the conditions are like on that day and time. Then you can fine-tune your departure time to find the ideal time to hit the road.

Here’s how to set a planned time and date for a trip in Google Maps:

Losing your bag on a flight is a drag, and it’s even worse when you have gifts tucked in your bag. Knowing where your suitcase is is easy as long as you have a tracker inside.

It’s a good idea to throw one in your checked baggage. This way, you can see whether your bag makes it to your destination. But there is a time when the tracker is worthless: When your luggage travels through the airport’s inner conveyor belt system. Once your luggage is out of there, you’ll know exactly where it’s located.

It’s not always possible to see the whole family each year. Virtual gatherings are much easier to organize since we got used to them during the pandemic.

Don’t spend a Zoom or Google Meet call wishing everyone would stop arguing about politics. Here are three simple ways to liven up your online get-together:

• Give everyone time to talk: Choose a prompt and tell your family members to be ready to speak for a few minutes. I suggest a time cap, so your more loquacious relatives don’t go on and on. My favorite is asking for funny family stories.

• Host a talent show: If your family is full of performers, rope everyone into a short performance. I can guarantee a lot of laughs and maybe even a knockout performance or two.

Ever wonder if the price you see on Amazon is the best price or – the moment you check out – that price will drop? That’s where CamelCamelCamel comes in.

It’s a price-comparison site that tracks the cost of millions of products on Amazon. You can use it to check if the item you’re considering is at a good price or if you should wait for a better deal. Here’s how it works:

• Look at the graph for trends. You might notice a product typically goes on sale during certain months or around the holidays.

No one has time to go from site to site or to a bunch of different physical stores to find the best price on something. Let Google Shopping do the hard work for you. It’s easy to use and shows you prices across just about any retailer you can think of.

• Browse popular items, or search for what you’re looking for. Hit enter to see where you can buy it, the price and shipping options.

• Use the filters on the left side of the page to narrow down your results. You can filter by sales, items available for pickup nearby, and more.

Category: Technology

Source: USA Today

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