As Packing Checklist
Being organized and making sure that you have everything important packed is critical to the success of your trip. Just imagine if you realize you forgot to bring your prescription medicines or your reading glasses when you reach your hotel, or if you forgot to pack your chargers. If you are in a metropolitan area, you can get replacements, but it may mean spending time to obtain them-time that you could have spent enjoying your vacation. To avoid this hassle, download a checklist or packing app and check off all the important items as you put them into your luggage.
As Document Repository
Before you depart, if you want to go paperless or carry back-up, load all of your travel documents including images of your passport, visa, e-ticket, travel insurance, hotel reservations and other pertinent documents onto your iPhone. You can use your phone’s Camera app to take photos of your travel documents or you can transfer PDF files from your computer and view them using the free PDF viewer app.
As Travel Assistant
Using your iPhone’s browser to check-in to your flight at least 24 hours before departure via the web check-in facility of your chosen airline can make your travel to the airport less stressful and less of a cliff hanger, especially when you find yourself stuck in traffic on the way to the airport. With your boarding pass already on hand, even if you arrive at the check-in counter less than an hour before your flight, you can just drop off your bags and then take a relaxing stroll to your departure gate with no worries.
If you’re meeting up with other people from another flight, you can download a flight status app so you can get accurate updates of arrival and departure times of flights at a particular airport.
Apps such as Expedia, iHotel, Booking. com, or Orbitz can help you arrange and organize your hotel bookings and even bundle entertainment and transportation with your reservation. To ensure that you select a hotel that you will be comfortable in, install the TripAdvisor app and always check the comments and feedback from previous guests. This way there will be no surprises and no disappointments.
You can also use your iPhone to find restaurants near your hotel or to look for food specialties of the locale. Trying outthe delicacies and specialties ofthe locale adds to the total travel experience.
As Tour Guide and Navigator
Maps on your iPhone can direct you to your final destination turn for turn if necessary. Having City Maps specific to your location can also be helpful, especially when you cannot connect to the Internet while traveling.
Loading travel guide apps specific to your city of choice can provide you with additional information about points of interest or activities that can make your vacation more enjoyable. Having a travel guide will also keep from cultural and social blunders. Loading transport guides for your city of choice could be handy if you decide to take the rail system to explore the city and be one ofthe locals. Traveling by mass transit is the fastest way to go around the city. However, it is important that you know where to get on and get off so you don’t waste time trying to figure out where you are, and backtracking. This way you will see more places of interests and pursue more activities.
Before you leave for your vacation, check the web ifthere are walking tour audio files available for the cities in your itinerary. Going on walking tours such as the ones you find on Rick Steves’ website (www.ricksteves.com) for European destinations are fun, informative and, more importantly, free. Load the audio files into your iTunes library and take a fun-filled guided tour as you walk around the tourist spot of your choice.
The camera onboard the iPhone takes pretty good photos and videos. Paired with an app such as aNote (Awesome Note) or Evernote, you can write a travel journal complete with photos and make your vacation memoirs truly awesome.
With the photo stream feature on your Photos app, you can immediately share your vacation photos with friends and family. You may also opt to immediately post to your Facebook page so that your wide network of friends are up to date on your travel activities.
As Time Keeper
Keeping track of time and time zones can be crucial when travelling across continents. Installing a world traveller clock on your iPhone can help you keep your time zones straight. Having an alarm clock on your phone will help you wake up early and be on time for the activities you’ve scheduled for the day.
Using the multiple alarm capability of the app will let you stay on track with your schedule of activities throughout the day.
As Cost Counter
Jotting down all your expenses with the help of a spreadsheet app or an expense tracker can benefit you two ways. First, you will always know how much cash you still have in your wallet, and second, you will never forget any expense if you need to liquidate your spending at the end of your trip.
As Entertainment Center
Music, videos, and games in your iPhone will keep you entertained during the long hours of waiting in the airport terminals, waiting in line at the immigration lane or when you can’t find good entertainment while on the plane.
First published in Gadgets Magazine, May 2013
Words by Presy Alba