Ok…so for anyone that knows me you know there’s one item that I couldnt live without – let me introduce Barry…my iPhone!
I queued from 2am to get it when it was released and since June 2008 it’s basically synced everything in my life into one tiny pocket sized piece of amazingness!
And since I’ve been travelling its become even more important, and I’ve convinced many fellow travellers to invest in one. So for all you technophobes and wanabe travellers I’ve decided to give you a list of why an iPhone should be top of your kit list!
One of the most defining parts of the iPhone is the app store. It contains EVERYTHING you could ever need or want!
You can download games (my top picks being ‘Zombieville’ and ‘Remove’) which are ace for passing the time on trains/planes/buses/bored nights of skintness!
But even better is the whole host of travel based apps. Take ‘Hostel Hero’ for example – you it contains literally thousands of hostels worldwide, including pics, reviews and write ups. Neatly sorted into countries you can download them to browse when offline, sort them via price or rating. Even better is the fact you can book a bed straight from the app and it stores all your booking info!
Less travel related but equally useful is ‘Balance’ – you simply put in the opening balance of your bank account and then input all the transactions you make (including notes if you wish) so that you always know how much (or how little) dollar you actually have!
Then for all you bloggers there’s the ‘Wordpress’ app. Linked directly to your WordPress blog it allows you to type articles and upload photos on the go and without the need for a laptop.
Then you have all the social networking apps. ‘Facebook’ and ‘Echofon’ (a twitter based app) are always in heavy use on my phone – allowing me to keep in touch with friends, and generally annoy the hell out of them with constant status updates about my amazing adventures!
‘Ping’ is great if you’ve convinced all your mates to iPhone it up too – free texts worldwide via mobile internet.
‘Ebuddy’ is a great multi platform app which combines Facebook chat, MSN messenger and Myspace chat into one handy IM list. So you can chat to your hearts content whilst cramped up on a Greyhound Bus.
Then there’s the ‘Skype’ app …allowing you all the benefits of Skype through your iPhone handset. Yes you do need to be in Wifi for this app to work, but you can always sit opposite a McDonalds and steal there free access :)
Ok so the price of an iPhone outside of a contract is rather hefty (£357 for an 8gb 3G Model). But your probably looking at investing in an iPod for your travels, or even an iPod Touch because you like the idea of using Wifi.
Well thats going to set you back at least £100. Probably more. Meaning all the lovely extra features of an iPhone and indeed the fact your getting a new phone is now around £257, not bad for the worlds most advanced mobile device.
If you are a music buff you can always upgrade to a bigger model (up to 32GB).
Ok so in Oz there isn’t actually as much free internet use as you may hope for. The iPhone brings your emails straight to your pocket, easily notified, 247. That means your mother doesn’t worry half as much, you can easily mail home for more money, and that job offer email can be replied to as easy as a text message.
The joys of the technological age. an iPhone allows you to browse the internet via mobile networks pretty well and data plans are included with most phone plans these days. Sure it wont replace being able to see things full screen on a computer, but it will save you a shed load in internet cafes and is great for quick browsing on the go…or cheating in that pub quiz to try and win a $100 bar tab! :P
Your in a country you don’t know. In a city you have no idea how to navigate and your drunk. Cue your iPhone. Within minutes you know exactly where you are and you easily get directions to the pub where you agreed to meet your hot room mate for drinks.
Plans change rapidly when you travel. You easily forget where your meant to be, when that tour starts and where the hell the bus pickup is from. The iPhone calendar can sort all these dilemmas. Notify you about everything you forget and wake you up with plenty of time to frantically pack! You can also handily sort different events into colour co-ordinated bliss…allowing you to easily separate your day trips from your pub crawls.
If like me your Apple mad the iPhone syncs right into your world. In which case you probably own one and your simply reading through this blog to give yourself the gratification of being uber cool and ahead of the game!
If you dont own a Macbook, or haven’t setup your own blog through iLife or aren’t sending back volumes of photo books via iPhoto then don’t panic, you can still sync.
£40 a year will set you up with a Mobile Me account. This handy little online gem gives you a personal email address (which is the easiest email to ‘push’ through to your iPhone). £40 for an email i hear you say?! Well alas this isn’t all your hard earned pounds give you.
You can automatically set up address book syncing. So everytime you get a lovely girls number its automatically backed up online. This auto backup also transfers across to your calendar entries.
A great inbuilt feature of Mobile Me is ‘Find my iPhone’. Simply enable it once in the settings menu when you get your iPhone. Then if you loose your iPhone or its gets stolen you have 3 choices. You can find it – which basically uses the inbuilt GPS to locate it, and show it on a map on the computer your using. From then you have 2 further options. You can ‘Alert it’ – which displays a message on the screen of your choice, or creates an alarm (which over rides any silent mode you may have left it in) until you can locate it yourself. Or in the horrible scenario where someone has pikied your pride and joy you can ‘Wipe it’. This feature basically restores all your factory settings, deletes EVERYTHING on the phone and wipes any log in details you have stored for Facebook or email ect.
Very reassuring to know.
There’s a handy inbuilt app in every iPhone called ‘Weather’. This allows you to have a list of cities of your choice, and upon launching it will give you a 7 day forecast for them all. Great for planning when to hit the beach or simply chuckling to yourself about how miserable it is back at home!
Although not the most legal of things to do you can download software onto your iPhone which over ride some of the restrictions and limitations it has. It also gives you access to the pirate app store – which contains everything from custom wallpapers and icon layouts through to all the stuff Apple forgot to include, such as free internet tethering, background multi tasking and such like.
Jailbreaking also allows you to use your iPhone on any network, in any country. If like me you’re heading to Oz its dead cheap to use your jailbroken iPhone on the Optus Turbo Cap Pre Paid Plan.
And incase you’re wondering I jailbroke my phone with Icy and Cydia using yellowsn0w.
*I don’t accept any responsibility for any repercussions that may result in jailbreaking your iPhone. It can turn it into and expensive paper weight and WILL void your warranty. Read up on it beforehand.*
So in conclusion the iPhone basically brings alot of creature comforts to backpacking. If your son/daughter is going away why not treat them (even if its just so you can contact them 247!).
If it’s you thats planning to travel I suggest investing in a handset. It has alot more benefits than all that other useless crap you’ll end up buying to travel *cough…silk sleeping bag liner…cough* and will make your journey much more enjoyable….trust me!
So if I haven’t convinced you quite enough or you want some more info feel free to hit me up with an email or check out the following links
www.theiphoneblog.com – loads of info on Apple products, jalibreaking, pick of the day app reviews and rumoured Apple products (roll on the iPad!)
www.apple.com/uk – the official Apple site. Check out the refurb store for some bargains!
And if anyone from Apple/O2/Optus reads this and wants to give me a job please feel free…currently based in Sydney!