8 of 11Image
It wasn’t until I was traveling abroad with friends from around the world toting a multitude of different smartphones that I truly grasped the value of Whatsapp. OK, so maybe the soon-to-be-Facebook-owned isn’t worth $16-19 billion, but the value proposition is undeniable.
Never before has an app felt so intuitive and just MADE SENSE until put into practice. You can communicate with basically anyone else who has a smartphone and this app so long as you have a wifi connection — incredibly helpful when you’re on a wifi network at 30,000 feet or in another country and you don’t want to pay for international service.
This app also solves the age-old problem of group photos when everyone wants the helpless photographer to take the same snapshot with each and every person’s camera. Just use Whatsapp and you can send the photo (scratch that, as many photos as you want) to everyone in the group in a second.
WhatsApp Messenger: Free for messaging over wifi; standard data rates apply otherwise. Available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia.
TripIt v. TripIt Pro
TripIt is an established player in the tech travel game by now, proving to be one of the best (if not the best) place to sync up every step along the itinerary from flight to car rental to hotel bookings and then some. But the best part is you can do all of that for free.
TripIt also offers a premium service for $49 per year, and there is a 30-day free trial available as well. TripIt Pro does have some benefits, including real-time flight alerts sent to your phone and email. While I have found these extra features to be helpful, I have a hard time justifying the extra subscription on top of every other $5-$10/month digital subscription out there these days.
But there are ways of getting TripIt Pro for free, or more like as a benefit/reward for other services. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, for example, comes with a TripIt Pro annual subscription for free.
TripIt: Free for standard service: $49 per year for Pro. Accessible via all desktop and mobile browsers. Native apps available for iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7.
This app has been around the block for awhile, garnering attention and praise when released a few years back for its UI inspiration stemming from the departures and arrivals boards at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International Airport.
But FlightBoard proved it was more than just a novelty when I was making a very close connection a few weeks ago.
Owned by the forces behind Expedia, FlightBoard taps into the departure and arrival data of almost every major airport worldwide in real-time (or as close to it as possible), displaying updated gate information as well as notifications about delays.
Between FlightBoard and onboard wifi, I was able to estimate how quickly I would need to move off the aircraft to my next flight, which I learned was (conveniently) delayed two terminals over.
FlightBoard by Mobiata: $3.99. Available for iPhone/iPad and Android.