Travel tip: create, send postcards with your iPhone or iPad

Who doesn’t like getting postcards? It’s fun to buy them, too. Turning that rickety, squeaking metal turnstile in some far-away destination. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, a post office can be hard to find. Or, the mail delivery can be unreliable, as my wife and I found out when we beat some postcards home that we had sent from rural Italy. Fortunately, it’s easy and inexpensive to create real-world, paper post cards with your iPhone and send them to family and friends. Here are two apps that do just that, each with its own pros and cons.

Cards (Free)

cards

Apple’s Cards app for iPhone is a great place to start. It lets your create a nice-looking letterpress greeting card that will ship anywhere in the world ($2,99 within the US, $4.99 internationally). I’ve sent a few cards with this app and can vouch for how good they look. It’s very easy to work with, even on the iPhone’s tiny screen.

Pros:

  • Universal, so it looks great on both the iPhone and iPad
  • At least one postcard-style theme included
  • You can customize the picture
  • Write your own greeting

Cons:

  • Option for three photos per card is restricted to holiday-themed cards
  • Keyboard commandeers much of the screen while entering text

Felt (Free)

felt

Felt is an iPad-only app that helps you make and send paper cards to friends and family. It’s very good looking and mimics your own own handwriting on the printed card and envelope. Plus, the iPad’s larger screen makes it very easy to write, which can be done with stylus or your finger. This one is iPad-only, but it looks great.

Pros:

  • Your own handwriting
  • Great-looking results
  • Beautiful UI makes it easy to use

Cons:

  • iPad only
  • Photo not customizable
  • No real postcard-style theme
  • Writing legibly will be difficult or impossible without a stylus.

There are apps to create virtual post card, and they can be fun. But I still like getting a paper one in the mail that I can stick to the ‘fridge. It’s just nicer. I’m old fashioned that way.