Perhaps no other area has the mobile revolution so drastically improved as the world of travel. From where you eat to finding the nearest bathroom your smartphone (and tablet) may be the most valuable travel guides the world has ever created.
Here’s how to add some tech to your next trip and ensure a smooth ride.
Travel into the 21st Century
If you only take one bit of advice from this post, let it be this: Organize all your travel plans with Tripit.com
This site is where travel utopia meets trip utility. Everything you need to know about your hotel confirmation, flight details, or car rental all comes together in one beautiful itinerary.
That’s it. Tripit sprinkles pixie dust and builds your whole trip.
I can’t begin to cover all the amazing features of this site but here are a few notable highlights:
- Tripit’s universal app for iPhone/iPad fantastic. You can add and edit plans, click thru for maps and they even provide links to checkin to your flight with prefilled info from your itinerary.
- Weather – They determine your location for the day and pull the weather for that locale. A simple but brilliant feature that keeps you from watching 4 different forecasts.
- Social – Family picking you up or want to coordinate with friends. Add them as TripIt contacts to share your plans.
I can’t say enough about how useful and wonderful Tripit has become. Use it.
Keeping track of gates, departure times, and delays can be a hassle but not if you have FlightTrack. The app is $10 but don’t blink at the price it is totally worth it. You can import your Tripit itinerary to see all of your flights and it will show you gatemaps of the airports. It’s an all-in-one Air Travel app that keeps an obsessive type like me breathing easy.
On the Road Apps
3 apps for exploring unfamiliar roads:
- Waze – See real-time traffic information, hazards, and speed traps submitted by other Wazers in the area. Waze is awful for routing but is the best at real time info.
- MapQuest – Yes I know it isn’t 2002 and I’m recommending MapQuest but honestly their app is really well done. I prefer it over the Google Map App in unfamiliar areas because it offers voice navigation. It works really well.
- iExit – Need to find a Chick-fil-a or the next Holiday Inn? Which exit should you stop? iExit does a great job of showing what resources are available at upcoming exits. Yes this info can be seen in other ways but iExit does it best and when travelling 70mph on the interstate ease and speed of info are priorities.
Where to Eat?
There is no shortage of apps recommending places to dine but I still default to Urbanspoon. I use a combination of Foodspotting, Foursquare, and Gowalla to give specific tips and dish recommendations at a restaurant but I always start with Urbanspoon.
You know I couldn’t leave out my beloved Twitter.
Take the time to build a specific Travel Twitter list that includes the airports, airlines, major news outlets from your destination, and look for Fed/State departments relevant to your trip (State Dept, Texas Dept of Transportation, FAA etc..). If you have really done your research find a few tourism accounts or locals to follow. This Twitter should be seen in 2 ways:
- Trip information and enrichment
- Holy smokes something happened, what’s going on feed. (I was a Boy Scout and I take that “Be Prepared” stuff pretty seriously. Ask my wife about my emergency planning tendencies.)
- Get a good weather app, The Weather Channel Max is my personal preference
- Download a Wifi locator app
- Digitally document your credit cards in case they are stolen. I just stick them in as secure notes in LastPass.
Finally don’t forget to setup “Find my iPhone” prior to the trip and set lock password on your phone.
There are many more travel apps that I hold in reserve but these are my essential toolkit. What would you add? How do you geek out your travel?
For more apps see my “21st Century Travel Apps” list on Appolicious.