Previous month:
April 2012
Next month:
June 2012

May 2012

Interesting site for finding Quests

I found this from a Springwise mailing - It's Rambler [] which provides all sorts of options and ideas [some oddball] to enliven travel.  Given the demographic of the source [you have to sign in via Facebook] many if not most are geared to the 20's-30's age group, but there wasn't anything particularly agist about some of the suggestions, just not something we would all do.  But it's a fun way to get beyond the usual tourist haunts.

Passage in Istanbul

We had a wonderful time on a rainy day in Paris, France February 2011 discovering the "passages" through the city.  I did some research on the topic on TripAdvisor and in other places and found a wealth of material.  These are early 19th Century shopping arcades which have, fortunately, survived over the years.

When we were in Istanbul just recently, we found several similar passages, although not all had coverings and some mainly were a collection of restaurants.  But wonderful to find nonetheless.  The ones we visited were in the Galata and Beyoğlu areas.  For further information on Galata, Istanbul, Turkey in WikiTravel, you can find an introduction here.

Passage in Istanbul

I've entered into Art Takes Times Square - Collect & Share!

and if you go to my portfolio page -

you can Collect and/or Share me, which would be MUCH appreciated!! 

As the site explains:  "Viewers will collect their favorite artists and help decide who will be displayed on the massive billboards of Times Square this summer, so share your portfolio with friends, family and colleagues using e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking tools, and get your fan club to collect your works today!"

So, please Collect and Share!  Thanks much.

Gas & Fuel apps

Both AAA and AARP have helpful apps but you can also try to find good fuel prices by using dedicated apps:  AccuFuel, GasBag and GasBuddy [which I’ve used most of the time].  It’s silly to drive way out of the way to find a gas station and save a few cents per gallon.  But at least being able to see how much higher the ones in your area are from the lowest might justify stopping and getting gas right there.


Maps & Helpful Apps

There are all sorts of applications to provide maps for locations, so I'll just focus on a few that I've used.  You might want to check with some of the review sites or articles as to which will meet your needs.  

I use the iOS Maps app quite a bit.  It provides everything I might want, or almost everything.  I especially love it when I'm traveling and can watch the little blue dot move across and down the streets or highways to where I'm headed.  I find I use Maps to plot my route, to find out where I am and to find resources [hotels, restaurants, etc.] in an unfamiliar area.  Another alternative is MapQuest, which I haven't used much.  One nice feature is that it gives you buttons at the bottom of the screen to hit and find some basic catories of places.  However, since many seem to be copyrighted images [i.e. Holiday Inn's "H"] that's probably how MapQuest is paying for the app, which is free.

I also have CityMaps2Go which allows you to find maps to cities and regions in many countries [incl. the US] all over the world.  You need to have an internet connection to download them, but then they reside on your iOS device and you can use them offline.  You can also decide to pay $3 to get WikiPlus for your map, which will provide even more articles, lists of attractions, and images for your map.  This might prove quite useful if you want the information handy.  I did note, however, that the downloaded [free] map included "POI" [points of interest] which at least gives you some guidance before you choose to purchase WikiPlus.

A similar map app which allows offline access to information is 700CityMaps. The price is also $3 per map for offline reading and includes additional information for each map.

I just found AllTrails which is free and looks quite helpful for when you're hiking and trekking out in the countryside.  There are a number of other apps which will provide trail guides and park information [I have Chimani which focuses on national parks - and each of those detailed apps was free on Earth Day, when I downloaded them all!]

Apps to help with Travel Recordkeeping & Tasks

If you need a place to hold  your travel materials [tickets, itineraries etc.], Trip Case is one such app as is Tripit’s [which has an online component].  You can also transfer to your iPhone or iPad documents in PDF for later use, either in preparation for the trip or while on it through FileApp, Air SharingDropbox or Evernote or such cloud resources.

Other helpful or even essential apps are those for Translations, Currency Conversion, Unit conversions of all kinds, scanning barcodes and QR codes, apps which give you a flashlight or other utilities.  For the latter especially I like AppBoxPro, which comes in a free edition [AppBox] and also a paid one, which I have and use.  There are plenty of fine free apps for these uses, though.

For conversions I've been using Convex which has all sorts of unit choices [radioactivity, speed, temperature, time and a whole bunch more] and which is great for the visually/graphically inclined.  Of course, my favorite [AppBoxPro] has all those functions as well as many others.  

[Again, search for the above names of apps to find them in the iTunes App store]