Archive for January, 2013

2013 Must-Have Tech for Travelers — Part 3: On the Go Phone & Photo Gadgets

Expert Flyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Although we called out some interesting and valuable apps for both business and leisure travelers in parts one and two of our Must-Have Tech series, research by the Collinson group shows that only those apps that are instantly engaging and immediately useful will be kept and used regularly when on the move.

smartphoneThe Mobile Traveler Survey by the Collinson Group also found that to most frequent travelers, the airport and often the travel journey itself, has become an experience to be endured, not enjoyed.  And, aside from airport lounge access, smart phones are among a short list of must-haves for business travelers who want and need to stay connected to work, family and friends. Here are two companies who offer some interesting options for staying in touch:

  • Wireless Traveler, a leading provider of international phones and services to the travel industry, offers money-saving wireless communications products and services for the international leisure and business traveler.  Among their many cost-saving options is their Global Nano SIM Card ($44.95), which saves users up to 85% on calls using their existing iPhone 5 or iPad Mini.
  • When it’s time to recharge, Innergie’sPocketCell Duo and Magic Cable is a perfect companion for travelers on the go who can’t afford to run out of juice on their mobile phone or tablet.  The Innergie PocketCell Duo can completely charge an iOS or Android phone up to four times and provide about 7 hours of additional power to tablets, including an iPad, before the PocketCell Duo needs to be recharged.  The Magic Cable Trio, which comes with the PocketCell Duo, is an ingenious way to minimize the number of cable you need to charge every mobile device you have on your journey.  The Magic Cable Trio is a single cable that includes a 30-pin Apple tip as well as miniUSB and microUSB tips, which means consumers can connect to more than 10,000 mobile devices with a single cable.  The PocketCell Duo ($89.99) also has two (2.1 amp) USB ports so two devices can charge at the same time.  The company will also introduce a Lightning Tip in April for iPhone 5 users.
taking picture

(c)Courtney Carmody

Everything is relative and, unlike the Collinson Group study, TripAdvisor’s annual business travel survey reported a bit more pleasure associated with business travel.  In fact, 62% of respondents said they “often” enjoy business travel and 18 percent said they “always” enjoy it.  And, 34% said, the best part about traveling for work is “seeing new places.  “We agree, so why not take along some fun gadgets to help you capture and keep some of those business-tourist memories.  Here are a few to consider:

  • The Pentax Q10 is a super-compact and ultra-lightweight camera that is barely larger than a deck of cards, and a great camera choice for travelers who want to achieve digital SLR photographic quality with the convenience of slipping into your pocket.  The Q10 features a new CMOS image sensor and an upgraded algorithm for much-improved performance with amazing image quality and faster autofocus (AF) operation. A special adapter allows hundreds of Pentax K-series lenses to fit on the Q10.  Suggested List Price (with zoom lens): $599.95.
  • With the Photojojo Phone Lens Series you may take full advantage of the camera on your smartphone or tablet while touring a new destination.  Photojojo’s phone lens series works with any phone or device that has a lens on it, including Android or iPhone lenses, iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry and MacBook.  You can choose from professional quality Fisheye, Telephoto, Wide Angle and Macro Cell Phone lenses. You can get three lenses for under $50.
  • Taking pictures with your mobile phone is certainly convenient, but many times the photo is too dark, skin tones are inaccurate or the overall color just doesn’t seem right.  Now, with the help of Athentech Perfectly Clear iOS and Android apps, you can turn these photos into perfectly exposed and color corrected masterpieces with a single click, and share them with friends directly or post to social media from anywhere in the world. Perfectly Clear from Athentech does exactly that.  The app will render your photos as they should be and will convert good pictures taken with mobile devices into great photos to share instantly.  Manual adjustments can be made if you really want to get creative.  Using Perfectly Clear will have your friends asking, “you took that picture with your phone?”

 

2013 Must-Have Tech for Travelers – Part 2: Leisure & Family Travel Apps

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Last week, we offered top app picks for business travelers from Shawn DuBravac, Consumer Electronics Association and Chris LoPinto, ExpertFlyer.  As promised, in part two, we have brought you some useful and interesting apps to enhance your leisure travels with family.  H-Appy Travels!

KidZout
KidZout

iFly Airport Guide – The airport guide for the informed flyer, iFly Airport Guide, based on the service at iFly.com, offers in-depth coverage of 700+ airports around the world.  Utilizing more than 500 GPS Terminal Maps, travelers can use the app to locate the closest restaurant (with reviews) to their departure gate or in their terminal and see how to get there. What about Wi-Fi? How far is your connecting gate? And transportation options? Look no further, iFly Airport Guide’s got it all.

KIDzOUT — The perfect free app for your next family vacation – you’ll always know where to go for diaper changing stations, kid-friendly restaurants, parks and play places, and medical facilities using a proprietary database of over 260,000 known locations.

Railteam Mobile – is a free app providing live timetable information for all European trains and connections, synchronizing and simplifying travel across Europe. Station maps ease your connections by showing where you arrive and where you need to get to. Timetable enquiries for specific stations and routes can be made in real-time and then displayed immediately on your device. Railteam Mobile is available in English, German, French and Dutch.

upackinglist

uPackingList

uPackingList – another free app designed to turn packing into a fast and convenient activity for any journey – business trip, vacation, family picnic, fishing, Disney, etc.

You can easily create lists of necessary items and control the packing process. Update your packing list whenever you think you need yet another thing to take. You can create and maintain an unlimited number of lists and use a built-in items catalog, which is simply customizable per your needs.

Next week, in our final installment, we’ll be featuring on-the-go phone and photo gadgets.

2013 Must-Have Tech for Travelers – Part 1: Business Travel Apps

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

We just love the Capital One® commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?”  So, we decided to put our own spin on things by asking Shawn DuBravac, Chief Economist & Research Director for the Consumer Electronics Association, “What’s on your smartphone?”  In addition to being a tech-wizard, Shawn happens to be a very frequent flyer.  So, here are his most treasured business travel apps – We also added our own favorites to the list.  H-Appy Travels!

Shawn’s Travel App Picks:

  1. Tripit – to turn my flight, hotel and car rental confirmation emails into simple mobile travel itineraries
  2. Expensify – keeps track of my expenses in different currencies
  3. Award Wallet logoAirline and Hotel Reward Program Apps – in my case it’s United 1K and Starwood Preferred Guest – and AwardWallet to keep track of my reward programs; and
  4. Since there’s a lot of down time while traveling, I use reading apps, like Pulse, to keep me up-to-date on news and interests.

Of course we agree that Shawn’s app picks are terrific, but we have a few more to add:

5. SeatAlerts – the crown jewel of travel apps — Well, we think so ; )  If you want aSeat Alerts App painless way to secure a preferred airline seat, get out of the middleseat or ensure that you’re seated next to your travel mate, then ExpertFlyer SeatAlerts is your app to paradise
6. Hipmunk – takes the agony out of flight & hotel search. With Hipmunk you’ll see all the relevant flights on a timeline, helping you visualize the right choice, and it doesn’t just show you the cheapest flight first — the app instead sorts by “agony,” which incorporates important factors like how long you’ll be traveling
7. GateGuru – is the leading day-of travel application that allows you to view your Tripit and KAYAK itineraries, view or post airport security wait times and see a structured list of airport food, shops and services – including over 25,000 reviews and tips and 5,000 photos from fellow travelers on airports, terminals, and airport amenities

Check back next week for part 2 of our 3-part series on Must-Have Tech for Travelers.  We’ll be covering the best in leisure and family travel apps.

“Did you know…7 Fool-Proof Steps to Getting the Best Airplane Seat?”

Chris LopintoWe just posted 7 tips for getting the best seat on an airplane on the Huffington Post Travel blog.  Here’s an excerpt:

Tips for Finding the Best Seat

1. Get to Know the Aircraft
There are several web sites, like SeatGuru.com, that will graphically show the relative position of every seat for every aircraft model flown by nearly 100 airlines. The comments listed on SeatGuru are invaluable as they are the results of passenger observations. Find out which aircraft type your flight will be using and study the seating chart. Make particular note of the distinctive characteristics of each seat. Avoid seats near galleys and restrooms at all costs.

2. Find Out What is Available
Airline web sites may not always show you which seats are available for your flight. And leaving your seat assignment up to the airline’s computer is like playing the lottery and hoping for the best. If you go to ExpertFlyer.com, you will be able to view which seats are occupied or available for specific flights up to 11 months in advance for over 140 airlines worldwide. Pick an available seat then call the airline and ask for it specifically. If there are not good seats available, use a service like Seat Alerts to notify you when a preferable seat option opens up. ExpertFlyer Seat Maps also contain SeatGuru ratings information, so you can know which seats are both available and preferable.   Read the Huff Post blog in its entirety here

One on One with Shawn DuBravac, Director of Research for the Consumer Electronics Association

In this month’s One-on-One blog, ExpertFlyer talks with Shawn G. DuBravac, CFA, Chief Economist & Director of Research, Consumer Electronics Association.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) unites 2,000 companies, representing the full supply chain within the consumer technology industry.

CEA offers unparalleled market research, trends data and insight into this rapidly changing sector. The CEA owns and produces, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the largest technology trade show in the world.  Now at 1.85 million square feet, CES 2013 will be the largest show in CEA history and the largest annual trade show of any kind in the United States.

Shawn DuBravac“As smartphones and tablets become the viewfinders into our digital lives, CES 2013 has evolved to become more of a mobile technology event — and the largest app show in the world.”

— Shawn DuBravac, Chief Economist & Director of Research, Consumer Electronics Association

What’s hot for travelers at this year’s Consumer Electronics show?

Mobile continues to be hot.  As director of research for CEA and a frequent flyer myself, I can weigh in on the growth trends in mobile tech both from a data and a personal perspective.

In 2012, the consumer electronics industry showed a growth rate of about 6%.  But to put that in perspective, without tablets and smartphones, the industry would have shown a decline. That said, one of the hottest trends at this year’s CES is undoubtedly mobile tech: phones, tablets, apps and the accessories that support the ecosystem around mobile devices. Continue reading →