I’ve had to plan a 2 week trip to New Zealand in a very short period of time, and it’s been enlightening to see how this has been impacted by some very practical technology and innovative apps.
TripAdvisor is definitely the only decent source of a broad range of independent / non-marketing-blurb reviews, with easy access to the major booking sites and user pics, which at times are scarily different to the ‘as advertised’ pics.
Google Maps is integrated everywhere, so enough said on that. Finding the cheapest flights across multiple airlines was a breeze with Kayak, although the best prices were still directly with the airlines special offers.
Kayak on the iPhone is excellent as it keeps you focussed on the task at hand and really presents the information well. I then had the happy task (not) of booking a car rental, and once again, Kayak to the rescue. The only downside is that you’re not able to get pricing for the various insurance options, so that still requires a call. Skype integration on the iPhone makes this a breeze, though.
Next comes the GPS options. For the few days I’ll be using the rental car, it was cheaper to buy the TomTom iPhone app from the Apple AppStore and a $30 Cradle than to rent the GPS. Another business model on the way out…
Next I used DropBox to save my itinerary, flight bookings, train bookings, accomodation bookings and ‘things to do and see’ lists.
So the end result is that I have reduced my gadgets to drag along on the trip from a mobile, laptop and GPS to just my iPhone and a charger. This gives me a phone, itinerary storage and retrieval, booking documents, GPS, currency converter, tour guides and a wireless hotspot internet browser.
And in the worst case scenario where I lose / get relieved of/ drop/ break my iPhone, I still have DropBox at my fingertips at any internet cafe… gotta love technology!