Oct 052017

As you know, I like to travel light.  Probably lighter than the average person.  I carry my trusty Serbag with a few scraps of clothes squished up into compression bags, very handy for saving space btw, a few personal documents, my MacAir of course, and little else.  Things like cosmetics, towel, and other non necessities I grab when I get to where I am going.  It’s all cheap stuff and easier to buy than carry aboard a plane or whatever I am traveling in.  And with the bag lightly packed it’s more easier should I be doing any extended walking around.  So, traveling light is a good thing.

But, the one thing I have come to rely on more than anything else I own in my meager pile of possessions, is my iPhone.  This wondrous little gadget has made travel and seeking things like food, transport, and accommodations so much more better when one is on the move and in need of quick decisions.

My last iPhone was the 5s.  I bought it 4 years ago and so far it has been the best of all the phones I have owned.  It took a lot of beating on boats, kayaks, the bus, trains, and airplanes yet always worked.  I replaced the battery a year and a ½ ago and it kept on going.  But towards the end during this past summer, it was becoming obvious it was time to replace it.  The power just wasn’t there.  It needed a new battery, and the software was dated.  I knew the new iPhone would be coming out in the fall but didn’t want to wait.  So I sprung for the 7 and have been most pleasantly pleased with it so far.  The new features like Apple Pay and a way more better camera system have made this iPhone a good buy.  If I get 4 years out of it or more, even more so.

I did buy it originally unlocked, meaning no carrier.  I would rely on public wifi wherever I could find it to get online, and use Skype for phone calls.  It saved me a lot of money but alas, when I started looking at making a move to Hawaii or Florida, I knew I would need a more reliable connection.  So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I sprung for the T-Mobile Old Peoples Plan.  $50 a month but well worth it so far.  It’s been reliable and paid for itself during my recent travels across the planet.

So, armed with a fully functional death star iPhone, I was more than prepared for the adventures which awaited me in my travels.  For example:

I was able to get constant updates and changes on my flights directly on the phone.  Gate changes, if the flights were on time, and so on.  I did download the app for United Airlines, but just in case they came up with anymore shenanigans, I also have Orbitz should I need to book another flight.  Orbitz also came in handy when I got into Maui and found out NICE ROOM BRO had screwed me out of the room.  I was able to find and book a hotel room within minutes and be on my way by Maui Bus to said hotel, thanks to TransLoc, another handy app which allows one to track the bus locations and arrival times.  All these apps I am mentioning are free btw.

With the phone number I got thru T-Mobile, I found when answering ads for places to stay, people responded a bit more positively when they got a text, particularly one with an 808 Hawaii area code.  It made it a tad bit easier to find a place and worked out in the end.

As I mentioned earlier, Apple Pay was a big feature I was looking to try.  It proved it’s value allowing me to book said hotel rooms without having to break out a bank card or type in anything more than a code.  In addition, my bank also has a cardless cash feature which allows one to withdraw sums of money from the atm doing nothing more than scanning a code on the atm screen.  No card to insert, no pin number, you never feel the money leave your account.  Very handy.

And finally, for those times when I was sitting around in some airport, waiting for the next flight, I could get online and do stuff.  Read the news and be thankful I was getting away from the mainland, check up on any messages, annoy people on social media, and check up on the Fritter to see if anything is happening here.  Still a lot easier than breaking out the laptop.

One thing I did add when I bought the iPhone was an Apple iPhone Battery Case. It essentially doubles the battery capacity and for a long trip like I made coming back, proved to be more than adequate for handling all I put the iPhone through on the journey.

You can sit there and criticize our obsession with our smartphones, but I have found my iPhone to be indispensable for travel and as I go on, more and more things.  If I wasn’t doing the website gig I could probably seriously consider dumping the laptop completely and relying solely on my iPhone to do everything I do online.  But not quite yet.  It’s close though.

As for the new iPhone 8, I’m sure it’s nice but I was not willing to wait.  I like the 7 so far.  And as for the iPhone X, I have no doubts it’s quite the device.  But at $1000, more than I paid for my laptop, it will need to do a whole lot more before I go for one.  What I have now does what I need it to do.

So, if you are getting to embark on some adventure, take a long trip across oceans and continents, do some research into what an iPhone is capable of doing.  It made things a lot more easier for me on my last journey and when I am out and about on the island.  I only scratched the surface here with the few things I have mentioned.  Got anymore tips, tricks, or apps you want to share?  Please do so in the comments.  The more information, the more better.

Capt. Fritter

  2 Responses to “Blessed Be Thy iPhone…”

  1. I agree… smartphones are fantastic!

    I’ll gladly downsize to an iPhone exclusively, when my iPad finally breaks down.

    I’m continually looking for ways to minimize my stuff and still have everything I need.

    So, did you somehow manage to fit the contents of your backpack in to the Serbag?

    I might give those compression bags a shot!

    • I fit 4 shirts, 2 pair of pants, and a light jacket into two of those bags with room to spare. Roll up and they fit right in. Very handy to have when traveling light. And they double as cushions for the laptop.
      C. F.