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Should I own an Apple Watch?
I wrestled with the question of whether to purchase an Apple Watch for almost three years. To clarify, I hesitated for three reasons. First, I had abandoned watches after smartphones introduced Airplane Mode, which made it possible to keep the phone on during a flight. Second, I questioned the wisdom of paying more than $300 for a watch. Third, I honestly did not see that much value in the features of the early models of the Apple Watch.
My position changed slightly last year when I enrolled in Power of Vitality, one of the Living Well programs offered by my employer. To clarify, this program has many rewards, including a “free” Apple Watch. Yeah, right! Of course, it wasn’t truly free. But if I earn 250 Vitality Points every month for being active, the monthly payment is waived. This is a compelling incentive, but it wasn’t enough for me to earn the third-generation watch.
The release of the Apple Watch 4 in September 2018, however, tipped the scale for me. Finally, a smartwatch with enough features to make it difficult not to get one.
Apple Watch Features for Travel
It has been three months since I activated my Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular, 44mm). In short, it has become one of my travel companions I wouldn’t travel without.
In addition to the ability to tell time, the Apple Watch has numerous other great features and productivity apps that I use while traveling. To name a few, here is what I am able to perform:
- Make and receive phone calls and text messages.
- Access my email.
- Scan boarding passes from the Wallet.
- Make payments from the Wallet.
- Get weather updates.
- Listen to music and audiobooks.
- Access my calendar and receive meeting alerts.
For the purpose of this post, however, I want to highlight four features that are less talked about. Likewise, I find them very useful and they’ve enhanced my travel greatly. Here they are in no particular order:
1. Nightstand Mode
I have always found hotel alarm clocks to be annoying. They are not easy to operate, and their bright light always affects my sleep. As a result, I began to unplug or cover them when it is time to snooze.
The Apple Watch Nightstand mode comes in handy, especially when I am sleeping in a hotel room. But most importantly, the screen and characters are relatively small and don’t glow as brightly. In this mode, the display includes time, day, date, charging status and the next alarm set on the watch.
This mode is activated while the watch is charging. After a few seconds, the screen goes to sleep. To wake it up, all that is required is to gently tap the watch or nightstand.
Instructions: How to use the Nightstand Mode.
2. Breathe App
This app helps me relax, focus and meditate. I am a nervous flier, so I use this app to calm my anxiety during flights, especially long-haul flights.
I have added a Breathe complication to my watch face that allows me to start a session on demand, whenever I feel the need for one. The Breathe sessions help clear my mind and provide a break during a busy day or stressful long-haul flight.
I have the watch set to send me six Breathe reminders a day, and to run for six breaths per minute. Seriously though, I find it interesting that I’ve forgotten to take deep breaths and need an app to remind me!
Instructions: How to use the Breath App.
3. Reminder to Stand
My job requires that I sit and work at a desk or be in meetings almost all day long. I’ve learned the hard way that this is not kind on my body. Therefore, to avoid mild lower-back pain, I stand and move frequently during the workday.
I find it equally important, if not more important, to be active during a long flight. As a result of being disciplined about taking Stand breaks, my lower-back issues on trips have greatly improved.
Instructions: How to set-up Stand reminders in the Activity app.
4. Fall Detection
Fall Detection is a safety feature that benefits both seniors and those on the move. For example, active hikers and solo travelers will equally find this useful in the event of a hard fall. Accordingly, this feature offers peace of mind in the event the watch detects a hard fall. To clarify, the watch will notify loved ones and emergency services for help if it detected a hard fall.
Instructions: How to set-up Fall Detection.
The Apple Watch is an excellent fitness and health tracker, but it’s also proven to be a fine travel companion. As a result, it has become one of my favorite gadgets ever.
I should add that I also have travel apps installed on my iPhone; they help me organize my travel plans and stay connected with family and friends while on the road. However, not all apps operate on the watch. I will dedicate a future post to describe the travel apps I use on my watch.
My Apple Watch Accessories
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To enhance my experience with the Apple Watch, I have enjoyed Apple accessories such as Apple AirPods and many aftermarket products. To be honest, I think I have become a collector of bands and loops. Certainly, the portable chargers and carry cases are my favorite accessories.
I’ve purchased all of my accessories from Amazon and I enjoy them tremendously. With this in mind, below are some of my favorites where the photos are linked directly to the product page on Amazon.
Click on the product photo to access Amazon.com.