Travel goes tech

So you’re going on holiday.  Well, lucky you.  You’ve been counting down to this day for a month and now it’s here.  All the excitement has built up to this moment – packing, panicking, a little bit of last minute shopping.  Now with fun, user-friendly applications for your iPhone and iPad, your holiday doesn’t have to be an additional source of stress or an organisational nightmare.

You’ve made endless lists, printed your e-ticket three times just in case, bought a new pair of sunglasses, half a litre of sunscreen and enough bug spray to kill every mosquito you’ll see for two years.  This is going to be perfect.  You finally get to the hotel and unpack.  Where’s your bikini?  There’s nothing worse than planning a trip down to the new (destination-appropriate) playlist you’ve added to you iPod, only to find that you’ve forgotten the most obvious things or your printed map and directions are actually insufficient to get you to your destination.  Never mind all the fussy admin and crinkled bits of paper you haul around for two weeks, terrified of losing something detrimental to your vacay, then being asked for that one reference number you didn’t realise you needed.  Not to fear – travel app’s have evolved way past weather alerts and Zagat-rated eateries to include maps, relevant checklists and information for just about every kind of holiday you’ll ever go on.  Here are some of your best bets –


Packing Pro

National Geographic and American Express named this gem ‘one of the best travel apps for the iPhone.’  With endorsements like that and at a measly $2.99 on iTunes, you can’t go wrong.  This enhanced version of the Packing app comes bursting with sample lists to make sure you forget absolutely nothing next time you go away.  Family vacations, business trips, romantic getaways, weekends-away and location-specific holidays are all catered for with checklists for babies, kids, pets, sport activities, cooking and religious excursions to name a few.  Input the number of adults/ children/ males or females and you’ll get typical packing lists to start from ensuring you never forget the basics.  State whether you pack light or super light, the length of your stay, your washing preferences and food prep and you won’t forget the trickier items.

Intuitive search functionality makes for easy navigation – you can add items to categories, collapse and expand these if needed, sort items into packed or unpacked and just generally edit these to suit your needs and keep on top of the situation.  Even keep track of the number of bags you have, their weight and value.  The options seems endless, all in one nifty application with great display choices, fonts, colours and textures so you can customise your lists and make packing fun.  You can even use past lists as templates for your next voyage, sync them to other devices  and share your lists with friends so no one ever has to ask you what you’re taking ever again.


Packing pro screenshot




Boy do I wish I had access to this a year ago during my backpacking stint in Europe.  Visiting multiple destinations and different climates with so many unmissable places to see and once in a lifetime things to do, it became impossible to decipher the scribbles in my dog-eared travel notebook.  Tripit is absolutely free, designed for use on iPhones and iPads and acts as a master itinerary and database of your entire holiday from flight and hotel bookings, car rentals, restaurant reservations, maps and weather guides.

Not only great for nomadic individuals but invaluable for businesses – secretaries all over the world will rejoice the next time they have to plan a group getaway and can plan by team, see the entire trip on a calendar, share the information across the company and have easy access to everyone’s details for next time.  If you own your own business, you can keep track of who’s going where, make sure the office phones are manned over Christmas and see that the company travel budget is being used in the most cost-effective way.  An endless list of airlines, hotels, event companies and travel agencies support the app so all you have to do is send in your info and it does the rest – consolidating your plans into one fuss-free, paperless stream of priceless peace of mind.

God forbid anything goes wrong on your trip but even disasters are well-managed with updates on your flight status, alternative flights and even which flights are eligible for refunds.


Tripit screenshot

iTunes App store

All Subway

With maps, schedules and fares, this handy Apple application is the most extensive database of underground public transport available and all for only $0.99.  All major cities (over 100 of them) are incorporated and even a few out of the way ones.  And yes, Johannesburg has been included.  No longer will you have to handle volumes of folded maps and get ripped off with unnecessary train ticket purchases when there was a better deal or easier, quicker route to take.

Of course updated versions mean you’ll keep up with recent developments and new routes throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia so you’ll never feel like you have to take a pricey cab for fear of losing yourself in new and unfamiliar surroundings.


All Subway map screenshot

iTunes App store

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