My name is Scott and I like to travel. There I said it, wow that does feel better. There is probably a program for my affliction somewhere. I am what I would consider a Normal Guy. I am a native Arizonan, sometimes we are called “Zonies”. I am in my mid 40′s and enjoy a great life. I am self employed and have a wonderful daughter and Partner. Although I would say my life is a fairly normal one, I am also quite lucky in that I have the ability to travel and enjoy the world, I enjoy learning about other cultures and experiencing the world around us.
I want to be right upfront about the type of travel I enjoy and the type I don’t. You will probably not ever read a story of about me backpacking my way through the serengeti during the height of summer, nor will you probably read any stories of me sleeping in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton in Paris. I am not a budget traveler, nor am I an uber luxury traveler, I fall somewhere in the middle, where most people fall I believe.
I started this blog for the sole purpose of sharing my stories, my views and my excitement for traveling around this world with my friends, family. However it doesn’t stop there for me, I also wanted to make friends with others around the world, those who travel and those who dream of travel. Blogs and Websites evolve over time, mine will no doubt expand over time as well please come back and see what has taken place. However if you have come to my blog to schedule a flight or a hotel, this is not the place.
Sometimes too much information is too much information, perhaps you’ve heard this before? The same thing can be said of Travel Tools. Too many tools or information can make it difficult to make a decision when the tools you use provide differing information, or lead you in a direction you weren’t expecting. The end result of leisure travel is to be fun, exciting and rewarding. However the process of getting there may not be. Whether your a frequent traveler or not, where do you start? How do you keep yourself on track, organized and measure the information so that you feel confident in your decisions and plans?
Technology can help us with that.
In today’s “instant on”, always updating world how do you keep track of all your plans?There are times when I have done my homework on a trip, made my final plans only to second guess those plans based on the latest news at 9:01, but I also know that if I wait until 9:03 I might make a different decision. At some point, you must just jump off the mountain and go have some fun.
After that, it’s organize, organize, organize.
Over the years I have found tools to make my travel schedule easier to manage, thanks to some of the newest technology. I travel with an iPhone and iPad, but no computer, this at least lightens the load. In fact I am on the road right now, writing this on my iPad. I want to share with you some of the “Apps” that I use to help me schedule and keep track of my travel. Then there are few that I use to help me when I am on the road in general.
If you do a simple search in iTunes Apps for “Travel” you will you get approximately 37,000 Apps for your iPhone and 8,400 apps for your iPad. How do you decided which are best for you? How do you know they will do what you want them to do? You can read their reviews, however I find those to be useless. You can read the companies propaganda regarding how they have changed the world with their App, again useless. In many cases there are two of the same app, a free, lighter version and a paid, full version. I tend to be cheap, so I use the lighter version for a while and find out if in general it will work, if so, I open my wallet and go whole hog.
Here are my favorites
I use this nearly every day. Whether I am booking a flight, hotel, car or restaurant reservation I use TripIt. Once you have booked your travel needs and have received an electronic confirmation of your booking. You simply forward the confirmation to TripIt, which then builds a travel itinerary for you; including daily weather and interactive maps to and from various locations. You can also, go online and create events directly in your itinerary, meetings, spa outings whatever your pleasure. And all of this sync’s with your computers Calendar and iPhone, Blackberry and Android mobile units. Gone are the days of having to input all the information to keep track. Another feature with TripIt Pro is that they will monitor your flights and let you know, via text if your flight is late, on time, if there’s been a gate change and even monitor your flight for a possible refund should the fare change. This is by far my #1 Travel App.
Although not used as often as others, it is a great little app if your going to be traveling to other countries and have trouble with different languages. This apps uses what is the newest and hip technology today, Augmented Reality. The app works with your phones camera, it focuses on words and translates them to a different language. Spanish to English for instance. It is a little pricey, the app itself is free, however the language modules will cost you. It works pretty good and fast. Check out their website to watch a short video on how it works.
Another daily use App for me. With all the travel I do, knowing what to expect with the weather makes a big difference in how I might pack. I love this app because it is visually beautiful and interactive and has a great clock feature. There are multiple settings that allow you to change the layout, all sorts of technical settings to customize what you see. One of my favorite features is that it shows a full screen video loop of the actual weather in that city, for instance if it’s raining in Amsterdam, it will be raining on your app.
This is one App that everyone should use in today’s digital world, whether you travel or not. This acts as a vault for all your passwords, accounts, credit card accounts, drivers license, passport essentially it acts as your wallet. You can lock away all your information and feel comfortable that it won’t get lost. If your like me, you have a lot of passwords, this program will create high level passwords for you and save them, you don’t even have to remember what they are. I use it on my Desktop and my mobile devices. When changes are made, they sync with each other. Also, from your mobile devices, you can access the web through 1Password for a completely secure browsing experience.
Free WiFi Finder
You may ask why do you need that if your mobile device will automatically find a WiFi within reach? Good question. However this is different, this app will point out 100’s of WiFi Hot Spots around you, not just one or two within a few feet. Free WiFi also has a database of more than 500,000 Hot Spots in 144 countries around the World and will work offline as well. This is a very important aspect. It allows you to also bookmark your favorite WiFi Hot Spots in case you frequently visit a location.
Well I suppose this comes as no surprise. A lot of travelers carry a laptop, I do not. I only carry an iPad and have found that I can do nearly everything on it that I could do on a laptop. Yes, it does take some getting used to. Doing things through touch, instead of keyboards and mice, there is a learning curve. I will also carry a small bluetooth keyboard with me at times if I know I am going to be writing a bunch of posts or letters. Blog Press is an easy to use App that works with 3rd party sites such as Blogger, WordPress, Flickr, Picassa etc. It makes blogging truly mobile.
Here are a number of other Apps that I use to help in my travels. All of these can be found in the iTunes store. Many of these are also available through the Android and Blackberry App Stores. If you travel, finding ways to organize your planning is like finding the Holy Grail, we keep searching and searching and searching. Today, I have come as close as ever.
I also use these apps on a fairly regular basis during my travels.
Food/Nightlife Travel Guides Miscellaneous
Yelp Cultures fotopedia
Urbanspoon Lonely Planet Guides Google Translate
Opentable XE Currency Notes
Although I have not yet found THE Holy Grail of travel tools, these tools have certainly helped me in my planning and organization of my schedule. These tools get my seal of approval.