!Emergency! for iPhone: when trouble strikes abroad

Johnny Jet’s travel app of the week is !Emergency! ($0.99). As Johnny notes, not everyone realizes that “911” isn’t the emergency call number in many countries outside of the US. !Emergency! lists them all, and puts them just a tap away. Not only that, it can automatically detect the country you’re in, so you don’t have to spend precious time searching when something is really wrong. That’s a pretty handy app.

Gas Cubby from App Cubby

gcHuge thanks to Gas Cubby for being this week’s sponsorDavid Barnard and his crew build iOS apps that I’ve been using for years, including Gas Cubby.

Gas Cubby is a fantastic companion to anyone who often travels by car. It records milage for you, which is fantastic if you’re often taking business trips. I used to use a notebook for this, but I’d either misplace it or forget to transfer a certain trip to my spreadsheet. Not any more, as Gas Cubby lets me export directly to an Excel-friendly format via email.

The app also records your service history and even offers service reminders reminders, which is great. You know those plastic clings that the mechanic puts on your windshield? The ones that always fall off? Forget about them. I won’t forget to get that 7,500 mile checkup done when Gas Cubby reminds me.

The app’s search feature is also well-implemented and there’s ample support for international units, like MPG (Canada), MPG (UK), MPG (Imperial), L/100km, gal/100mi (US), gal/100mi (Imperial), km/L, km/gal (US), km/gal (Imperial), and mi/L, for all of you folks who drive on the wrong side of the road.

Do you like charts and graphs? I know you do. Tilt your iPhone to the landscape orientation and view data on your vehicle’s average MPG, typical gas price you pay, automotive expenses and service expenses. Nice!

Gas Cubby has been in my travel folder for years. It’s fast, good-looking and, most importantly, useful. Go and grab Gas Cubby now.

Recover lost luggage with Twitter


Here’s a great story of how Wendy Perrin at Perrin Post expedited the return of lost luggage by tweeting with American Airlines.

“Late last night I arrived in Quito, Ecuador, but my luggage did not. Somewhere between Newark, Miami, and Quito, American Airlines lost my husband’s checked bag. I filed a report at Quito Airport—after waiting in a long line past midnight—but the non-computerized lost-luggage system and lack of information about when the bag might be delivered to my Quito hotel hardly instilled confidence that I will see it again soon…So I turned to the fastest way I know of to get help: Twitter. At 1 a.m. I tweeted to American Airlines and, within literally three minutes, it responded with more useful information than I had been able to extract in more than an hour at the airport.”

After a short exchange of direct messages, Wendy’s luggage was en route back to her.

Last week, I suggested following your airline on Twitter. Wendy’s story is a fantastic example of why.

Rego for iPhone, a traveler’s companion

regoforiphoneBig thanks to Rego for iPhone (free for the first 10 places, $2.99 for unlimited use) for sponsoring the site this week. I’ve been using Rego since launch day and it’s earned a spot on my iPhone’s home screen. It lets me create a record of my favorite places, both those I have seen and those I hope to visit someday. With a few taps I can mark it on a map, write some notes, take photos and add useful, searchable categories.

Rego is like a contacts app, but for locations. It has become the place where I store the places I care about. But Rego is more than storage. Before your trip begins, create a new collection and add all the places you want to visit — either by positioning pins on a map, or by searching on names or addresses. Rego searches Apple and Foursquare location databases, and your Contacts. Plan your itinerary by re-centering the map on any pin. For example, set your hotel as the “Active Location” and watch all your places sort by distance to that pin.

While traveling, use Rego to visit the places you planned, and add new places you discover along the way. Rego uses the iPhone’s GPS, so you don’t need Internet coverage to capture new places. Also, in most cases, your maps will have been cached during your planning, so they’ll still be available when you’re in the middle of nowhere.

Rego is private by default, but you can selectively choose to share places. This creates a web page for your place on the Rego server, that you can show the world. Other Rego users can directly add that place to their Rego, by visiting the page. I actually like keeping it private, as I use Rego is my personal travel log and wish list.

Don’t take my word for it, Apple loved Rego so much they featured it in the New & Noteworthy list on the App Store home page in 127 countries, and gave it a big banner in the Travel section. It’s truly one of my favorite travel apps.

By the way, see “Catalano’s” in the screen shot above? That’s one of the greatest places on earth, baby.

Here’s how you can sponsor the site. It’s a great month for those with travel apps.

How long do you stay offline while traveling?


Anil at foXnoMad asks, “How long do you stay offline while traveling?” Barring unavoidable impairments like poor connectivity or a cost-prohibitive international journey, would you still go online? How often? Anil got a few interesting responses, from…

“Afraid to say we’re the people who lug the laptop, tablet, phone everywhere with us. Quite sad really, I guess, as a chunk of our time in Rome was spent hunting for wireless connections…”


“I’m really saddened by all of these responses. It seems like most people can’t go more than a few hours without checking in online. I take pretty much every weekend off – so that’s two days out of every seven – and I have no problem unplugging for a week if given the opportunity.”

I hate to take the cop-out answer and say “it depends,” but…it depends. If I’m traveling for work, I’m still at work, so I’m online as often as I am while at home. If I’m away entirely for vacation or fun, I’ll look at email daily, Twitter once or twice and that’s it.

How about you? How long do you stay online while traveling?

Randolph West says on App Dot Net: “I went on a cruise last year. We were offline for a week and it was bliss. Sought out a Wi-Fi station on land on day five for an emergency, but it felt good aside from that.”

Kayak launches global ad campaign

It’s no secret that I love Kayak. The free Kayak iPhone app is fantastic and has been in my iPhone’s travel folder since it launched. I find that it often has pertinent travel information — like a delayed flight — before the airport itself.

Now, the company has launched a global ad campaign. New television spots are about to run in Spain, France, Italy and the US Below is a spot from France that will soon air stateside.

This happens just as Kayak’s merger with Priceline is expected to be approved. I hope that doesn’t change anything about my beloved Kayak.

The Productivityist Workbook

My Internet buddy Mike Vardy has written The Productivityist Workbook, and it’s available for pre-order now. Mike is one of those guys I think of as “the real deal.” He’s super smart and actually cares about being productive. Not in a jargon-y kind of way, but in the way that produces results.

I’m quite looking forward to reading the book, which Mike describes thusly:

“The Productivityist Workbook is designed to help you learn valuable strategies and explore tools that will allow you to attack your work and life with a more balanced, efficient, and effective approach.”

Sounds good to me.