Rent an Audi A4 with our iPhone

Now that you’ve rented a private jet with your iPhone, why not rent a luxury car? Silvercar rents Audi A4s exclusively, and the whole arrangement can be handled via its free iPhone app. Since Slivercar only rents one make and model, there are no questions about which car to get or what the price will be. It’s the same for everyone.

The service is currently available at three Texas airports only (DFW, Love Field and Austin), but the company expects to be in seven different markets by the end of 2013. According to the app’s description in Apple’s App Store, you can “…exit the plane, and walk directly to your silver Audi A4.”

Just don’t lose your rental agreement, or you’re…well, you know.

Use your iPhone to book a private jet

blackjetappThere’s an app for today’s mobile one-percenter. BlackJet‘s private jet service is now taking reservations via its iPhone app.

You can book a seat up to two days in advance of your departure date and travel between San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston and South Florida. As you might expect, it ain’t cheap. I searched for an AM flight between Boston and “South Florida” (I don’t know which airport, actually) and was quoted $2,368.90.

To protect itself from people who would waste their time (like me), BlackJet booking requires a membership plus a one-time membership fee of $2,500. But the benefit is, if you can swing it, you get a guaranteed seat in your preferred time frame on a very nice airplane.

BlackJet says additional cities are coming soon and that well-behaved pets are welcome on board. The company recently received $5 million in funding, according to Galding, and Ashton Kutcher is reportedly a customer.

All I can say is the headphones better be free.

iPhone-enabled “smart luggage” trackable via GPS

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Soon you’ll be able to watch your lost luggage travel farther and farther away. The concept Bag2Go from Airbus is the result of a collaboration between T-Mobile and German luggage maker Rimowa. Aside from your skivvies, there’s a GPS tracker, a 2G mobile radio and an RFID chip inside the bag, recording its whereabouts. Additionally, a companion iPhone app lets you monitor the bag’s location. There’s even a scale built into the handle, so you can weight it by simply picking it up.

For now, there are no plans to put the technology into consumer luggage, but Airbus may license the Bag2Go to airlines so that travelers can rent them on a short-term basis. Sounds cool, but wouldn’t you rather own one of these bags instead of renting it from the airline?

[Via The Verge]

Government nixes plans to allow small knives on planes

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You may carry small knives on airplanes except that you may not.

The US government has done a 180 on a recent decision that would allow passengers to carry small knives (those under 2.36 inches long), bats and golf clubs onto planes. Several airline CEOs, lawmakers, and relatives, friends and victims of terrorist attacks balked at the idea, and now the TSA has changed its mind. Again.

So keep your commemorative Yankee Stadium bat and Tom Mix pocket knife in your checked luggage. Unless you want a friendly TSA agent to take it home.

Photo Credit: SHeva4ever1 via Compfight cc

iPhone-powered European photo essay

shotDo not photograph the pickled mussels on Jægersborggade.

That’s my take-away from this brief photo essay from travel writer Alex Robertson. Why else wouldn’t they appear in this otherwise beautiful gallery, taken entirely with an iPhone (in portrait orientation, no less)?

Alex’s enviable career (seriously, I hate him) has him traveling and writing for the New York Times, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Guardian Unlimited, and Condé Nast Traveler. In a recent blog post, he recorded a journey through Milan, Turin, Ivrea, Aosta, Sion, Copenhagen, Malmö, and Lund (See? Hate him.) using his iPhone as his only camera.

Alex called the experience a “plus for convenience [but] minus for quality.” I think his shots look great, but there’s no doubt a pro DSLR would have done stellar job.

As for the “fantastic” pickled mussels, I’ll take Alex’s word on it.

Road Trip: Boston (Updated)

Boston

This weekend I’ll be traveling to my beloved Boston to see a dance performance with my daughter. It’s about 85 miles away from home, so a quick day trip will do. Of course, I’ll have my iPhone with me, and I’ll share how I use it every step of the way. Watch for updates over the weekend and a wrap-up on Monday. I’ll see you in Boston!

Photo Credit: Werner Kunz via Compfight cc

Update: Bad news. Tropical storm Andrea has cancelled our plans. One member of our party is stranded in LA and Boston is expecting heavy rain and 40mph winds on Saturday–not ideal conditions for walking around. Next time.

Traveling with Pizza Compass for iPhone

pizzacompassappThere are seventy-four pizza chains in the US. That’s not individual stores, just franchises. And, I suspect, that number is nothing compared to all of the mom-and-pop shops across the country. So it should be easy to find a slice when you’re out of town, right?

Well, not always. Not a good one at least. That’s a problem that Pizza Compass for iPhone ($0.99) exists to solve. Just launch the app and it finds the nearest pizza place and points you to it.

Hold on. Pizza Compass won’t subject you the dump that the locals avoid. You can check each suggestion for Forsquare reviews. Or, if you’re feeling lucky, give the compass a spin at let it pick a stop for you.

I was recently out of town and hungry, so I decided to give Pizza Compass a try. Here’s how it went.

After a few hours of driving around, I had that hunger that only artery-clogging, life-shortening cheese and grease would satisfy. I pulled the car over and launched Pizza Compass, which pointed me towards Upper Crust Pizza. The reviews seemed largely positive, except for Cozzie D.’s stern warning:

“If you don’t like black olives, I recommend not getting the Greek salad.”

Done and done, Cozzie D.

Armed with the details of 44 Foursquare reviews and app-supplied driving directions, I drove to Upper Crust Pizza, despite the hoity-toity name.

It looked nice enough and the staff was friendly. I placed an order.

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As you know, any disgusting pizza can be masked with toppings. In fact, if you ever see a cheese-stuffed crust…that’s an apology. That’s the cook saying, “Our pizza sucks. We know it. As an apology, we’ve crammed the crust with cheese.” Avoid those places.

I ordered a small cheese and sat down. As I waited, I shot this compelling Vine video.

At last it arrived! I lifted the glistening, greasy cardboard lid to reveal the cheesy goodness within!

cheese

Partial foul for that glob of migratory cheese on the left, but that was my only complaint! I’m happy to say that Pizza Compass did steer me in the right direction. Well done, little app. You’ve earned a spot in my travel folder.

Exploring Mexico City by iPhone

cityshotHere’s a great post by National Geographic’s Andrew Evans. Andrew spent a few days exploring Mexico City with no Internet connection and no “heavy cameras.” The only gear he had was his iPhone.

His photos are great and make me want to visit what Andrew calls, “The most exciting city on earth.” Has anyone been? Are you a pro photographer or traveler who’s ditched the pro-level gear for a day with the iPhone? If so, let me know.