By Ching Lee
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died yesterday. It’s natural to reflect on how his innovations have changed our lives and I certainly have been reflecting on how he has changed the way I travel.
Yes, I know it’s only my view, but the iPhone was, and still is, the coolest phone around. It was so exciting to get my first iPhone and, with every new app I find, I continue to LOVE what I can do, especially when I’m holiday planning or travelling.
Yesterday’s news made me think about my recent trip to New York. The iPhone, and more specifically, iPhone travel apps are part of my essential ‘to-pack’ list now, along with passports, tickets and currency.
These days, you can organise a whole trip at a touch of the screen with the choice of iPhone travel apps on offer. But I like the travel apps that give you practical help at your destination, espcially if they’re FREE.
These are some of the apps I used for New York. iPhone apps are part of our lives now, but when you read through the list, think about what it was like BEFORE we had the iPhone.
Steve Jobs really changed the way I, and we, travel…and for that I can only say ‘Thank you’. RIP Steve Jobs.
XE Currency (FREE): This is one of my most-used travel apps. Helping people plan holidays around the world, means checking prices in many different currencies. XE Currency makes my job so much easier. It gives you live currency exchange rates for over 180 countries, but you can personalise your settings with your most used currencies (up to 10). What I like about this travel app is that you can use it offline; the last rates are stored so you can check prices even in Wifi free areas.
NYC Subway (FREE): The iPhone means I can pretend to be a local! It’s so much better to be looking at your iPhone rather than a guidebook when you need to check the subway map. I chose NYC Subway from mxData for the way it looked (it features the official, licensed MTA map of the NYC Subway), the route planning feature and because it was free. Again, no network connection is required once you’ve downloaded it.
NY Bus (FREE): The subway in August can be stifling. Using the bus was a fab way to get around New York and take in the sites of this iconic city at the same time. This app features the official map of the complete New York bus system, licensed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Simple, but free to use.
Skype (FREE): To save money, I recommend either using a local sim card or Skype to make your calls. Find a Wifi location and use the Skype app to make calls to friends and family worldwide and avoid signing up for expensive international calling plans. Skype to Skype calls are free or buy Skype Credit to call landlines and mobiles. Hurrican Irene and I were in NYC at the same time, so there were many calls to re-arrange plans!
US Open 2011 (FREE): Visiting New York needs no excuses, but the US Open is as good a reason as any (obviously you have to be a tennis fan!). iPhone apps now mean that we can tap into the latest scores and news for any tournament, whenever we want, even from our seats. Especially useful if there’s a more exciting match going on than the one you’re watching!
Games: OK, games are not strictly travel apps, but if you’ve got an iPhone, games could be considered as must-haves when you’re travelling, especially when you’re travelling with children. Those unexpected delays don’t seem as bad if you can play Cut the Rope or Harbour Master!