Written by James Hacon
James Hacon is the CEO and Co-Founder of Australasian-wide tourism video solutions company, Destination Content. Alongside this role, James also speaks at international conferences on marketing for travel and tourism, as well as writing for a number of consumer and trade publications. Given broad ranging destinations for work and his love for personal travel, James is certainly clocking up his fair share of frequent flyer miles.
In the past year I’ve found myself packing, unpacking and repacking my suitcase with an ever increasing frequency as I travel more for business. Thinking back a year, I distinctly remember revelling in the thought of jet-setting around the world to speak at conferences and consult with clients. Thirty trips to fifteen destinations later, whilst I’d be lying if I said that I still don’t love the travelling, I’ve come to turn my attention to ways of making my trips easier and more enjoyable.
Considering myself a lover of technology rather than a gadget freak – the difference being, that I will use technology where I can but won’t go out of my way to buy the latest technology just because I can. That in mind, I’m going to share with you a few of the gadgets, apps and sites that have really helped make my travelling easier.
Travelling with a Tablet
Having never been a real fan of Apple prior to picking up an iPad, when the iPad 2 was released last year I took the plunge and am now considering a move to Mac and an iPhone. If you have a tablet, I’m sure you’ll relate when I say that I don’t know what I’d do without my iPad. If you have not converted, go for it – and I promise you’ll never look back. In fact, since buying an Adonit keyboard recently, I plan to not take my laptop on future trips. Now I’m debating as to whether to buy the latest iPad – not an easy justification given so few fundamental changes.
Having returned from many trips with a wallet bulging with receipts, not to mention the accompanying A4 invoices stuffed in my carry-on, I was thrilled when I discovered the BizExpense iPad app. With the use of the integrated camera to photograph receipts, there’s no risk in it going missing or weighing you down for the rest of the trip. It also has a nifty currency exchange feature that’s perfect for those overseas trips. There are a number of similar expense apps for both Apple and Android-powered devices with similar features, some linked to major account systems. These apps range in price from free to over $10.
If, like me, you’re often travelling to deliver presentations, you have to check out Prezi. A fresh alternative to Powerpoint, this online presentation software delivers stand-out transition effects with the amazing ability to deliver your message in a fresh and innovative way. Prezi has recently updated its apps to allow content changes directly from your iPad or Android, allowing you to make those last minute changes on the plane. Plug your device straight into the projector and you’re ready to go.
Make it dinner for two
Let’s face it: travel can be lonely at times. Long flights, dinners for one and dodgy hotel Wi-Fi is enough to drive anyone crazy. I love to spend my precious spare time exploring – and there’s no better way than with a local. I’m always sure to add my upcoming away dates to Tripit, that way I can see if I can catch up with any of my existing LinkedIn connections. I’ve also had great experiences with Couchsurfing. Whilst not yet taking up a couch, I’ve used the ‘grab a coffee’ option to meet some really interesting locals. Reaching nearly four million surfers across the globe, with a little browsing of profiles and you’re sure to find someone you’ll be interested to connect with anywhere on Earth. On a similar note, be sure to look out for LetsLunch, which I hear will soon be launching in Australia.