Travel apps we used.

During our time away in Hong Kong, Sydney and Tokyo, we decided to use iPhone apps whenever possible to get by. These are the apps we found useful:

  • Instapaper – brilliant for keeping light reading to hand.  The pro version is needed unless you can live with just a small number of pages.
  • Dropbox – for travel documents, and entertainment.
  • Built-in Maps app – generally filling the cache when we had WiFI and then using the GPS on the 3GS to find our way around.
  • The built-in Screen shot (hold iPhone menu button and power button) – great for capturing images of maps  with a route on when you have WiFi but think you might lose the map or directions out of the cache later.
  • Todo – for getting junk out of our heads so we could forget about stuff and enjoy ourselves.
  • FelaurPDF – transport maps which were too large to view on the in-built PDF viewer.
  • Power Plug – visual reference for the power sockets around the world.
  • Metro – for finding our way around Hong Kong and Tokyo.
  • Weather Pro – use this everyday to plan for the weather.
  • Currency – handy for converting back to GBP.
  • The built-in camera app – obviously, but useful to snap route information to look at later.
  • Sydney Travel Guide  from Fidesereef
  • HongKong Travel Guide also from Fidesreef.
  • Tokyo Travel Guide from Fidesreef, again.
  • Tokyo Zuti for getting around the train system.
  • Tokyo Cool City Guide
  • Transit Sydney
  • Sydney Street Map – offline map with GPS support.
  • Hong Kong 720 (useful before we went)
  • NHS DrinksTracker – for keeping score.

We also had TripIt, Dopplr and TripAdvisor apps, but I don’t think we used them.

We picked up one paper guide: at Sydney airport we did a Loney Planet “print and bind” of a chapter of Tokyo from one of their travel guides.  This was so that I had something to use on the flight to figure out what we were going to do in Tokyo in a limited amount of time.  As a bonus, the guide was bound in an anonymous brown card, making us look less touristy if we needed to refer to it.

Jane paying for a printing a Tokyo guide
Jane paying for a printing a Tokyo guide

Software on Palms vs Software on iPod Touch/iPhone

In days gone by both Richard and I had various PDAs – we both started off with PalmPilot Professionals in the late 1990s, moved on to Handspring Visors in around 2000, then Richard went the mobile phone route and I had a Handera 330 and finally a Sony Clie TH55 before also going the mobile phone route. Richard is now an iPhone user, and I have an iPod Touch and a Nokia 6110 Navigator.

In 2005 I blogged about what software was on my Sony Clie, and long before that Richard had listed what he had on his Handspring Visor. There is quite a lot of commonality between those lists:

  • Email: I used Snappermail back then, now I use either the IMAP facilities on the Nokia Navigator 6610 or on the iPod Touch. Richard uses his iPhone but did at one stage used Top Gun Postman to send and receive mobile email. No additional software needed
  • ToDos: I used to use WP+ to manage recurring ToDos. Now I use Remember The Milk and the web access from either my phone or my iPod Touch
  • Security: in days gone by both of us used Secret!. Now I use HandySafe on my phone. With the advent of the iPhone/iPod Touch applications, I’m sure there will be an equivalent purchase coming soon
  • Data storage: I used to use Pilot DB which allowed me to create basic databases and store data. I’ve not replaced this and haven’t missed it
  • Timesheet: I used to use Timesheet, Richard used to use PunchClock. I don’t currently do timesheeting, so don’t have an application installed on either device.
  • Backup: I used to use Flyzip to back up to the external memory card. Now I rely on the syncing between my mac and the device
  • Games and entertainment: I still miss RocketMania – and excellent game which worked really nicely on a handheld device. I’ve installed some of the new iPod Touch game apps and am enjoying Hangman, Sudoko and Sol Free. Obviously having mobile internet access takes away quite a lot of the need for offline document readers, for all but airline travel. I’m currently trialing the great instapaper as an iPod Touch app to see how it behaves

Over the years, the pre-installed software has improved a lot, I remember having a hard time trying to find a Palm OS application which could handle both IMAP and HTML emails. I recall paying quite a lot of money for Snappermail at the time. I’m sure that there will be more and more iPhone/iPod Touch applications available as time progresses, and it’ll be interesting to revisit this list again sometime.