Wednesday, May 19, 2010

23 hours in London – WTF?

Family commitments and an important sales call put me in London overnight.  I think I spent more time on the plane than I did on the ground! You know it’s insane when you have the same flight crew that took you returning to the US the next day.  All this international travel is filling up my passport.  A couple more trips and it’s renewal time.  Anyhow, the trip was successful, but I’m glad to sleep in my own bed. Jet lag? I think that’s a benefit – I haven’t stayed in one place long enough to be affected.

Anyhow, I learned a few more travel tips that to share:

  • More Skype:
    • A new feature with Boingo, pay by the minute.  When you just need to have a quick chat, SMS, or send an email.  Just connect to Boingo via Skype and voila.  Much easier than connecting to Boingo directly and cheaper if you are only connected for a few minutes.
    • Get a free Skype phone number from Ring2Skype. This allows people to call you on Skype from a local landline.  Most cities and countries are covered.
  • Helpful iPhone Apps:
    • Travel Tools
      • GateGuru shows food, shops and services for every domestic airport. It even has a social networking component by allowing you to share your location, tips and reviews with friends.  Although I prefer to use Foursquare for that.
      • USA Today Auto Pilot – The swiss army knife of travel apps. Integrated with Tripit, this app also provides weather information for your destination as well as flight tracking, delays, a directory of travel phone numbers, and travel content from USA today.
    • London Specific
      • Lonely Planet’s London Guidebook is comprehensive with coverage of every neighborhood.  Integrated with the GPS, it shows you points of interest nearby with tips and maps.
      • TubeMap is a great free app that will give you the quickest or simplest route from one station to another.  No more standing in the station and staring at the map!
      • Heathrow Airport Guide: Current flight info, shopping, airport maps and transportation guidelines to the city.
  • Airline Elite tips:
    • Join one, join them all.  You don’t have to be George Clooney in Up in the Air to become elite with your favorite airline.  But once you become a well-respected road warrior by your favorite airline, contact the others to match.  I’ve been able to parlay my Alaska Gold MVP status to comparable elite on Delta and United.  Other domestic airlines also run similar elite match or challenge programs.  Just ask the frequent flyer desk and send them a copy of your statement.
    • United Premier Executive allows its members traveling internationally to use its Red Carpet Lounges and SkyAlliance Lounges.  Free wifi, food, and drinks in a comfortable, relaxing setting.  Especially since the status came from the match game above!

Helpful?  What are some of your road warrior tips?

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iPhone- Why are you so temperamental?

My recent trip to London started off with a bang. All kinds of iPhone issues - First, foursquare crashes, then it hangs in the appstore.  Of course it got worse: refusal to shut off and then finally, total failure – the device wouldn’t turn on.  It seems like this only happens to me when I’m on the road. I’ve had the hat trick of iPhone travel disasters.  A flight to LA with a device that wouldn’t shut off got fixed with a restore through iTunes in my hotel room. A wasted day in San Francisco playing service provider ping pong between the AT&T store and the Apple store down the street until it got fixed.  And now an international outage.  I was envisioning a night with the Genius on my return home.  And then I remembered.  Aaron Strout had a similar problem with his iPhone.  Thanks to Aaron’s description of his problem and how his wife helped him fix it, I was in luck.  I was able to put my phone into restore mode and synced everything up through iTunes. Good as new. But it was looking bleak for awhile.

Oh my beloved iPhone, why do you tease me so.  Hello Droid, can we talk?  What do you think, is it time to switch?

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