Amazon sent me and Natalie their amazing Amazon Echo to try out and we couldn’t believe how fast ‘Alexa’ became a member of the family! We were intrigued not only by all the household items it could help with, like adjusting our thermostat when paired with NEST or turning on the lights when paired with WeMo, but we began to explore how Alexa might lend a hand to busy travelers. Here are 8 things the Amazon Echo (and Echo Dot) can do for travelers:
1. Plan a Trip
One of the more surprising functions of the Amazon Echo is its ability to help you plan a trip. If you’ve got a Kayak account, Alexa can check flights and prices. You can even ask Alexa to find a trip based on a budget. Simply say, “Alexa, where can I go for $700?” and Kayak Explorer will find trips that fit into your price range.
2. Receive Travel Updates
Expedia.com has also recently launched a skill for the Amazon Echo that allows users to receive travel updates and other information intuitively. You can also ask Alexa for details about an upcoming trip booked through Expedia.com and receive specific information regarding flight status, hotel bookings and rental car reservations. Here’s how to use it.
3. Keep You On Time for Travel
Before leaving for the airport, you can ask Alexa if your flight is running on time and the Landing Times skill can check flight status with most major American airlines. The Airport Security skill can also help you plan for unpredictable wait times at airport security. Say “Alexa, what is the security wait time at LAX?” and the skill will check with the TSA public interface to determine the security wait times at airports all over the country.
4. Weather at Your Destination
Do you know what the weather will be like at your destination? The Echo can help with that too. While Alexa has a built-in weather function, the Big Sky skill can provide users with super local forecasts, right down to the individual street address.
5. Call Uber or Lyft
When it comes time to leave for the airport, allow Alexa to call you an Uber. Users with Uber or Lyft accounts can enable those skills through their Amazon Echo. After setting up a payment method, requesting a ride is as easy as saying “Alexa, ask Lyft to request a ride.” The payment is then automatically debited from your account.
6. Find Things to Do
The Amazon Echo can help you find fun and interesting things to do wherever you’re going. Using several guides available automatically, travelers can ask, “Alexa, ask New York Guide for the top five things to do.”
7. Get Translations
The Translator skill can be a terrific help when you’re preparing for an out-of-country trip. Alexa can help you speak in up to 50 different languages. Once enabled, simply ask Alexa to open Translator, and then ask how to say ‘hello’ in French, for instance. An audio translation will play and a textual translation will be sent to your Alexa app.
8. Peace of Mind While Traveling
Alexa can also provide peace of mind while a loved one is on the road and you’re home alone. Using the Ask My Buddy skill allows users to alert loved ones when they need help and can’t reach their phone. You can use Ask My Buddy to alert a single contact or everyone you’ve selected to receive notifications. This skill will send a notification through email or text alerting this person to check up on you. While it’s not a replacement for 911 in an emergency, it provides peace of mind knowing help is just a single command away.
While we are still figuring out exactly how voice command technology fits into our lives, it’s clear that travelers are already seeing benefits. And as the functionality continues to evolve, we will see more and more uses for our new virtual assistant. Just start by saying, “Alexa…”