Info in the ‘cloud’ can help when stranded …or planning ahead
Many of us dream about getting away from it all while on vacation. But those days may be long gone as more of us pack our smartphone when we hit the road. Add a tablet or two to your carry on and you’d rather lose your underwear than this bag.
So despite any desire to unplug, stay connected for all the cool travel apps that may make the difference between seeing George Clooney’s villa on Lake Como from a travel brochure or in person by finding it say on Trip Advisor’s mobile app.
Actor George Clooney’s Villa on Lake Como
Smartphone apps are great for having information (literally) at your fingertips. Apps like Kayak and Hotel Tonight often have hotel rates cheaper than you’d find on web sites – certainly on a hotel’s web site — and this you have to love: They display the rates for international hotels in U.S dollars.
Best Western Venice
Best Western Venice on Kayak
Of course you need to be on the Internet to access many apps, but some like Trip Advisor’s offline city guides you can download while on Wi-Fi and use later when you’re not online.
One of the best things to come along for the international traveler is an app called Viber that uses VoIP technology so you escape high roaming charges. You get FREE text messaging and phone calls …but anyone you communicate with must also have Viber.
When you are connected to the Internet, travel apps work so well because they reside in the cloud where content is updated dynamically in real time, giving you access to the latest information. My Facebook friend and Cisco colleague Guido Jouret used this to his advantage when his long flight to SFO was diverted recently after a European vacation.
Once on the ground, try some of these:
Peek isn’t an app yet but a very new web-based travel guide with great ideas for activities in various cities, and even includes live chat with a travel expert.
AroundMe tells you all the points of interest located near you. It detects your current location, and lets you select from categories like bars, cafés, hospitals, and hotels to find what you like.
Orient gives you a compass view of certain locations nearby. If you’re doing a walking tour of a city, Orient shows you the directions and distance to of your destinations.
World Lens is for both iphones and android phones and lets you point your smartphone’s video camera at a word on a sign and watch as it’s translated from one language to another.
Expensify keeps track of your purchases and transactions by syncing with your credit cards and bank accounts. It also acts as a receipt scanner by using your phone’s camera. After your trip, you’re sent a PDF report of all your spending.
For news on my friend Guido’s trip home from Europe, I turned to my smartphone’s Facebook app …and there he was, almost home.
Please send me your comments and how you use the Internet during your summer travels so I can use them on my next vacation.
It’s summertime. For most people, the warmer temps and holiday weekends are the perfect excuse for a vacation. But have you ever traveled to an amusement park or exotic destination only to wait in line for hours for the hottest ride or trendiest restaurant? Or perhaps your coolness factor would skyrocket if you didn’t have to keep track of ticket stubs, receipts and maps? Well, the ups and downs of amusement park experiences may be able to be saved for the roller coasters. Could the Internet of Everything be changing how we experience…experiences?
Just recently, I stumbled across an article on All Things D by Bonnie Cha titled, Tomorrowland Today: Disney MagicBand Unlocks New Guest Experience for Park Goers. The article highlights new technology that Disney World Resort in Orlando has been using in trial phases and hopes to have broad implementation soon. The technology, called MagicBand, is a connected band (bracelet) designed to be an all-in-one device connecting park goers to everything through Radio Frequency technology. Visitors will be able to access the theme park and hotel rooms, purchase food and souvenirs and add extra options via My Disney Experience website.
Use popular web sites and social media to travel the world this summer.
With August already here, it’s time to take that summer trip. But don’t go broke doing it. Social media and the web can be gold mines when it comes to saving money and finding great ideas. At jetsetter.com, five-star resorts and hotels go for half their usual rate. The Daios Cove in Creete, Greece, with spectacular mediterranean views and its own private beach — with waiter service — has rooms for $249 a night. The same price at the ritzy Hotel Punta Islita in Costa Rica.
Here are tips on getting you web travel savvy before summer is over: Read More »
Labor Day has been and gone. Apparently no one can wear white now and the fish have stopped biting. Well, the first bit might be true (not sure why) but don’t tell my son Adam about the second - he’s got the fishing bug! He got it from his mum, not from me. My wife Julie enjoyed fishing with her dad when she was younger, and is converting the rest of us. Not sure I’ll ever be a true aficionado myself, but it looks like our kids will.
Anyway, the video shows Adam’s excitement at being only one of two folks to catch fish that Labor Day weekend on Mickie’s Big Mack (that’s the name of Mickey’s boat!). The boat was full of fishermen and fisherwomen and fisherstories. I don’t know much about fishing, but when it came to my turn to tell a yarn folks were surprised that I knew about “superchill” (we had been discussing the Lake Tahoe water temperature earlier, before sun-up). What is it? well… Read More »
So my wife and I recently took a two week vacation to Alaska – without computers or anything but camera’s and our ever important smartphones. I didn’t realize that Marie Hattar, our Segment VP was going to write a blog about the importance of vacations and productivity – see that here. Imagine that, I overachieved via a vacation!
At any rate, back to the vacation – we left on Sunday so Saturday was reserved for clothes washing and packing. Great plan until the motor on the washing machine froze. We ended up Saturday night finishing the wash at her father’s house. Then after the trip (that was fabulous by the way. Everyone needs to take a cruise through the Inside Passage!) we ended up having the repair service visit to confirm the motor was shot (new motor cost more than the washer was worth, so conclusion: buy a new one) and using his washer/dryer for another week. That meant bundling up two plus weeks of wash, carrying it to his house, doing the wash for a few hours, etc.
I was reminded of the challenges a manufacturing company would have due to an unexpected machine breakdown. You have to isolate the problem, get appropriate repairs, possibly upgrade the machine, possibly line up alternate manufacturing capability, etc. I’ve blogged before about the needs for continuing MRO schedules and the importance of properly servicing your manufacturing machines and lines. But how do you prepare for a critical machine that suddenly breaks? Can you rapidly sub out the work? Can you quickly get the machine replaced? What if the newer machine doesn’t fit in the line directly? Read More »