24 March 2010

Travel Apps

I am a big Apple fan and have proudly been part of a Mac family for five years now.

However, bewildered by the plethora of applications (apps) for my iPhone, I'd only downloaded a couple. But then I came across the site AppShopper and I haven't looked back! As a result, I have now been very happily downloaded a whole load of travel-related apps all designed to make my trips easier or just more pleasurable!

Too much still? Another site to try is the App of the Day one. Simply type in your email address and have them email you their choice on a daily basis.

Bon Voyage!

Travel Tip: My favourite app at the moment is the CX one. Okay, so it's not everyone's airline of choice, but the city guides are great and they even feature suggestions from Luxe!

17 March 2010

17 things that niggle

While the article's a bit old now, the 17 worst indignities that you suffer on a plane listed by CNNGo are still very valid. Love the graphic from the article!

Bon Voyage!

Travel Tip: If you are stuck next to someone that is seriously overweight, complain to the stewardess after the airplane has taken off and away from your seat. Be polite and apologetic to the woman, and you may even get an upgrade if the flight's relatively full. Resist the urge to make loud comments about some people being forced to buy two seats.

15 March 2010

Crazy About My Kindle

I read a lot. My hubby says that I don't read, I skim. But either way I get through a lot of books. Typically I can get through up to four books on a five-day business trip. Together with a couple of my favourite magazines, the weight all adds up.

After a trek through Bangkok airport while in transit a couple of weeks ago, I decided that the welt in my shoulder was telling me something. So I weighed the books when I got home.

The stack came in at 7 lbs, 14½ ounces!!

I'd heard a lot about the Kindle, but was unsure whether to buy one. But this experience encouraged me to take the plunge and order one online.

When I got it, I loved it immediately. And encourage everyone who reads a lot to get one. It's so easy to read (have tested it in direct sunlight too), but best of all because it stores up to 1,500 books, you can keep all your old favourites with you. I immediately downloaded a book that includes some poetry I like, some Jane Austen and a couple of my other 'comfort reads'. The chance to download books on-the-go too is great. Instant access to new books when you read that rave review.

My only disappointments are that Katherine by Anya Seton isn't available (at all) and that Georgette Heyer's Regency romances are only available to U.S. residents. Amazon's advice? Write to the author to encourage her to speak to her publisher about publication rights. I didn't get a reply when I pointed out she's dead. Grrrr...

But these are only minor niggles given the access and ability to store all those books via a cool gadget that slots easily into my handbag, and weighs in at only 10.2 ounces.

Bon Voyage!

Travel Tip: Before setting out, download some of your favourite books from some of the freebie sites that have e-books, such as manybooks,net or freekindlebooks.org.

06 March 2010

Up in the Air

Finally got around to seeing this. And there were more than a couple of moments (e.g. the quip about the HiltonHonors priority line) that resonated. Loved the film, but am so so grateful that I have my hubby and am not walking into a shell of a home à la Ryan Bingham.

Bon Voyage!

Travel Tip: Click through to RyansRulesofTravel.com to see the tips imparted in the film and add your own. A lot of the ones added by the general public are rubbish, but some are quite useful. My fav. was that at the TSA line, you should put your belongings on the conveyor belt in the following order: jacket, shoes, laptop, purse, carry on bag. You can put your jacket and shoes on while your purse and bag are being scanned (and rescanned). Now why didn't I think of that before?

03 March 2010

No cool colleagues?

This week's web recommendation is not really Asia-friendly given that none of the cities covered by the online guides are those in my part of the world. Also, the selection is rather limited with just Amsterdam, Antwerp (Belgium), Valencia (Spain), Vienna and Zurich featured.

However, as I was going to be in Amsterdam for a conference, I logged-on to the Cool Capitals site to get some tips ahead of my trip.

While the site is nicely designed, it needs more content beyond the headline attractions of the city such as the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum, and while I've been told that I've only scratched the surface of the city's culture, my own knowledge over-and-above the site through the help of cool colleagues means it definitely needs to be beefed up.

However in the absence of cool colleagues, it did has some nice suggestions.

For instance, it included details of one of my favourite areas in Amsterdam: ‘De negen Straatjes’ (or the Nine Little Streets). Located between the Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht, the area is full of one-of-a-kind shops, tea rooms and galleries, and is great place to start to search for unique gifts and products.

And you have to go there yourself as no one ever seems to know which of the nine streets (Reestraat, Hartenstraat, Gast-Huismolensteeg, Berenstraat, Wolvenstraat, Oude Spiegelstraat, Runstraat, Huidenstraat and Wijde Heisteeg) is home to their favourite shop!

Bon Voyage!

Travel Tip: Arrive on time for your flight out of Amsterdam's Schiphol airport and visit the Rijksmuseum annex in the terminal after customs. Open from 7 a.m. till 8 p.m., admission is free and it's well worth a visit.