TWENTY years ago if you wanted to travel to foreign places, a seamless trip had to factor in a few essential elements. There needed to be at least one member of the travelling party who knew some conversational snippets of the language, "bonjour!"; thorough research had to be carried out in advance to plan how to get about using the local transport system; and at the very least you were weighed down by heavy travel guides.

Today, thanks to advanced pocket technology, travelling the world is arguably far easier.

By the time this paper hits shelves, I'll be exploring the bright lights big city of Tokyo (on a side note, I realise holiday-bragging is nothing to be proud of, but with this elusive trip-of-a-lifetime it's hard to contain the excitement - so please forgive me).

Unlike the usual European destinations I've come to enjoy for a vacation, where English is usually widely spoken, Japan is not so straightforward.

With some stops throughout our trip veering slightly off the beaten track, relying on exaggerated pointing and repetition of English words does seem problematic. Yet I was pleased to realise help was at hand from a devise I'm never far from - my smartphone.

In preparation for the trip, technology has come to the rescue in more ways than one. Aside from the countless YouTube vloggers we've watched to get an insight into 'how to live like a local', the apps and devices - and importantly their ease of use - has impressed even a technophobe like me.

First off, the pocket wifi we've ordered which we will collect at our airport in Japan is likely to save us from many a tricky situation. It's also an example of just one of the ways Japan is extremely helpful to foreign visitors hoping to explore their country.

Costing roughly £80 in total (split between two people) for three weeks' use, by carrying around this small device we will have constant access to the internet. Whether it's to navigate around the city via google maps, research the opening times of attractions, or pop onto TripAdvisor to investigate the best restaurants nearby to sample local delicacies, having round the clock wifi access will be invaluable.

But researching restaurants online will only get us so far, we'll need to converse with locals and somehow bridge the translation gap. Enter Google Translate. Thanks to an app which allows you to take pictures of text, i.e. a menu or signpost, we'll be able to make sense of Japanese words and letters.

In a nod to the future and what's to come within the world of translation, Google has also launched its first pair of wireless headphones, which feature real time language translation from Google Translate.

These technologies are sure to make our trip that bit easier, and it's thanks to these apps and gizmos that for the next three weeks we'll, with every hope, be not-so-lost in translation.