After writing the review for GPSed, I had the urge to go on another trip. During the summer, we took an amazing family trip to Gibsons, British Columbia. I did promise not to touch my BlackBerry during that week, and I did surprisingly well (I only twitched a little). A promise is a promise, but I didn't even think to argue its usefulness; even on vacation! It only makes sense to do anything possible to make your trip (business or personal) productive, stress-free and exciting…or relaxing. The last thing you want to do is become stressed with planning your vacation and even more stressed during it.
So, without jumping off the travel train, I've compiled a list of applications you may want to look at before your next trip. Have to check your flight? Need to choose a hotel?
Where are you going to eat? How do I say this? With so many applications available to you, it's hard to decide which ones you actually need. I'm pretty sure you don't want to juggle through applications that aren't required, and miss enjoying your trip. Before you pack your bags, pack your BlackBerry with much needed travel apps!
Hey! Keep it down back there
Based on answers I've gathered, the following apps should prevent you from kicking and screaming and help you kick back.
HRS Hotel Organizer
If your trip requires more than one day, you're going to need a bed to rest or otherwise (wink wink). HRS Hotel Organizer allows you to search through and book a hotel from their database of 250K+ hotels. The application helps you scour through rates and availability. You can also check out pictures, facilities, reviews and more. Once booked, you'll receive a text message or email confirmation and information entered into your calendar or address book. For booking on the go, the app uses your GPS to locate nearby hotels or allows you to use your address book entries to search. The only thing it won't do is leave a mint on your pillow. The HRS Hotel Organizer application is free.
This one is a definite given. Everything that you need to know about your trip is ripped from your brain and managed on your BlackBerry. Your itinerary is created for you, with your native calendar synched to it. Worldmate Live keeps you informed by providing weather forecasts, welcome briefings, access to maps, Yelp Local search, currency conversion and more. While the open membership is free, Worldmate Live has a "Gold level" subscription for $99.95 which gives you enhanced features that include flight alerts and schedules.
So you packed shorts and sandals, but arrive to find snow. You should have checked the forecast. BeWeather can provide weather information for up to 10 locations simultaneously. View over 72 000 locations and their 7 day or 24 hour forecasts. Get info that includes: temperature, humidity, pressure and wind using seven different views. The application can use cell tower location or GPS to give you the weather in your area. For those in the United States, you can get animated radar maps as well as advisories. BeWeather is $9.99.
Another application that does the think for you. TripCase helps you see flight updates, including departure and arrival status, gate changes and baggage claim info. You can view your itinerary at a glance. Find information on hotels, car rentals and alternative flights. With this much free time, you can use the TripLog feature to keep friends, family and colleagues up to date. You can share photos and posts to let them know what you are up to. TripCase is free.
I know we've looked at this app earlier this week, but I still say it's an important application to use. It's a great way to record your trip for others to see, and possibly follow. You can view your current position, use the compass feature, even send out an SOS text or email if you get lost. Images can be used to capture memorable landmarks or moments by adding them to waypoints on your track. For repeat trips, you can review past tracks to find places you've visited. GPSed Pro costs $9.95, but there is a free GPSed Lite available as well.
Hunh? Do you know what that says? Do you notice that some people try to speak slowly and louder in their native tongue when trying to communicate with someone who has no idea what they are saying? Many applications help you break down the language barrier. The multi-translation, online app FancyTran supports over 64 different languages. The application includes translation and dictionary modes and automatic source language detection. FancyTran is free.
Sometimes, you don't carry enough local currency with you, or you even forget to take some. You also hope that you are getting a great deal when buying local treasures. CurrencyConverterPro gives you the latest rates for 150 currencies. The app also remembers previous conversion inquiries and lets you customize currencies as well. There is a free version available with less features and display ads. CurrencyConverterPro is $2.99.
This one seems to be available only in the US, despite what app world says. The idea is impressive though. By using GPS, you can click and hail a cab to your location. No dialing required. The application also lets you pay without exchanging cash or swiping a card (this includes fare, tolls and more). You can track how far away it is and receive email receipts. The Taxi Magic application is free.
I chose this over Poynt, simply due to accessibility. I use Poynt myself, but if you travel outside of North America, you should check out BTSideKick. When you're out and about, use BTSidekick to locate you and then search for local businesses, such as; restaurants, gas stations and auto rentals. You can also view their location via Google Maps and also get turn by turn directions. BTSidekick is free.
Free WiFi Cafe Spots
After a day of traveling or business meetings, it's time to wind down and tweet, blog, search or whatever you do online. You can either get a local SIM or rack up roaming charges using your own SIM. Another option is to use this app to look through a list of over 20K free WiFi cafes and restaurants. This list includes locations found in over 115 countries. Locations can be found by using your GPS or search by city or zip/postal code. Free WiFi Cafe Spots costs $2.99.
Tummy rumbling after a day of sightseeing? This application helps you make reservations with over 10K restaurants in Canada, the United States and United Kingdom. You can indicate the date, time and size of your party to help narrow down your search. Results can be refined by price and cuisine, or shown on a map. OpenTable is free.
HippoPost/ Shoot It!
Both applications allow you to capture images from your BlackBerry and then have them sent out as physical postcards. HippoPost lets you send up to 2 postcards daily (according to BlackBerry App World) to addresses within Canada and the US for free. You will find advertising on postcards as well. Shoot It! is a premium service that offers worldwide delivery without ads! It's up to you which way to go.
Ah the road trip. There's nothing like jumping into your vehicle and hitting the road. Managing your vehicle is obviously key, or else you may end up stranded. AutoLog provides modules to help you keep track of expenses, trip detail, fuel entry and more. You can also set reminders for oil changes, tune-ups and insurance expiration. You can pick up AutoLog for $14.99.
It's ok to forget your toothbrush, just don't forget your BlackBerry. In fact, make sure you pack compatible chargers or extra batteries as well. With access to these and other applications, you'll definitely get the most out of your trips. Are there any other applications worth a look at? Have any interesting BlackBerry business or personal travel stories? Please share!