The travel world seems to be agog at the prospect of T-Mobile dropping their international plans.  Can it be true?  Wait I could bring my phone – with me – while I travel?   And use it?  you mean actually use it without having to worry about receiving a bill equivalent to purchasing a small island?  Why yes!  T-Mobile just this May rolled out a business plan that allowed for 1Gb of data per month for only $120.  No more!   International data and texts are included for free.  Calls are a flat rate of 20¢ a minute.  What makes this plan absolutely stunning is when you compare it to other plans.  Sprint has an add on plan for $1 PER megabit.  Craziness.  Looking at just my cell data for the month so far I’m already at 600mb and it’s not the 15th of the month yet.  AT&T is a bit harder to figure out.  The top data plan is $120/month but then you need the separate texting plan also for $60/month as well.  Still better then Sprints but I think having to pay for messaging is ridiculous.

Yes you are able to turn the plans on and off when you need them.  With T-Mobiles you don’t have to worry about it.  This is definitely going after those business users that travel a great deal.  Also this should save those travelers that are traveling extensively or indefinitely.  This should save having to purchase SIM cards in each country they visit.

Great what if I don’t have T-Mobile?

There are so many apps out there that use wifi data for both talk and texting.  Google voice and Skype have very reasonable rates or free rates.  These are so common it’s almost embarrassing to mention.  Just remember to turn off your cellular data and only use wifi.

For texting Whatsapp is a great and hugely popular alternative.  Yes, even given the news about ‘some people might be able to see what your doing if you use public wifi’ news.   Really?  Everyone does realize public wifi isn’t secure right?  It’s free for the first year and 99¢ after that and it’s cross platform meaning you can even use it on any device.


Mini Moleskin Pen

by Scott on March 10, 2011

I carry a mini moleskin everywhere I go.  I use it to jot down different ideas as I have them.  It’s not a full moleskin it’s the slimmer 50 page kind that fits better in the back pocket.   The one problem you run into right away is what do you write with?  You can just use any old pen and keep in your back pocket.  But for me I just know that sooner or later the pen is going to pop and make a mess probably at the worst possible time.  That’s the kind of luck I have.
There are pens out there that are made for moleskins.  Some are shorter click type pall points and some are flat that are designed to be pocketed with a moleskin.  Personally I don’t really care for flat pens, it just doesn’t feel right.  The shorter plastic pens work well, but thankfully I caught them when they cracked and before the outright broke in my pocket.
What I’ve found is a cool little pen by Zebra.  The pen is made of metal so it is less likely to break.  This is exactly what I was looking for.  Instead of a normal clicker or a turn the barrel to get the ball point out, this one you pull. The retractable pen tip is hidden by the metal tip guard when not in use. The best thing is the same size, it’s half the length of a normal pen when it’s stored. In use it’s the size, weight and feel on a normal pen.  Both the moleskin and the pen are small enough to take with you anywhere, without feeling like your whipping out a reporters pan when you want to write a note.

I found the Zebra at Office Max and they are sold in packs of two for around $5.


Hipmunk has an iPhone app! Woot!

by Scott on February 23, 2011

Ok I hadn’t intended this week to be mostly iPhone apps.

But this one is to cool to pass up Hipmunks new iPhone app!

Now you can take the agony out of searching for flight on your iPhone.  It doesn’t get much easier than this.  The results are very straightforward and  easy to understand.

Currently there is no in app purchasing of flights.  After you select a flight you are given a time sensitive link to complete the transaction on a computer.  I wonder if Apple wants 30% if you purchase through the app (gross speculation on my part, most likely not the case)

Get it app from the app store. Hipmunk should really have a landing page or a “we have an iPhone app” splash thingy (or acorn to stay within the theme) somewhere on their homepage.


Top Hotel Chain Apps

by Scott on February 22, 2011

Airlines aren’t the only travel companies that have apps! Many hotels now allow you to book rooms, browse the amenities and check your points directly from an app too! Here is a list of the big chains that have apps that are for all of their locations. There is a list at the bottom of chains that have an app but are only for specific locations.

You’ll notice that Hilton has an app for nearly every brand of hotel they run.

All links are affiliate free. Icons link to hotels website where available, iTunes otherwise.

Hotel Brands

4 Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Omni Hotels


Sharaton. Four Points, Aloft, W Hotels, Le Meridian, Element, Westin, St Regis

Hampton Inn
Hilton Hotels
Best Western
Embassy Suites
Doubletree Hotels
Conrad Hotels and Resorts

Choice Hotels

Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban, Econolodge, Rodeway Inn, Ascend Collection


Sofitel, Pullman, M Gallery, Grand Mercure, Mercure, Novatel, Adagio, Ibis, All Seasons, Etap, Forule 1, Motel 6, Studio 6

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts

Most notably missing form the list are some major names in the hospitality industry.  I mean come on – even Motel 6 has an app.

Apps available for select locations only:
Holiday Inn

Has only a golf app (???):

No apps at all:


Frommer’s Cancun and the Yucatan 2011

February 21, 2011

Frommer’s Cancun and the Yucatan 2011 (Frommer’s Complete) ISBN13: 9780470614327 Condition: New Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed Hundreds of color photos. Free pocket map inside,plus easy-to-read maps throughout. Exact prices, directions, opening […]

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The best online storage – Dropbox

February 18, 2011

This is a tip for everyone that uses a computer, whether it’s a Mac, Pc or Linux.  Get a Dropbox account.  It’s dead simple to use.  When you install Dropbox on your computer it creates a folder in your favorites.  Anything that you put in that folder is automatically uploaded to the cloud.  You can […]

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The Big Airline App List

February 17, 2011

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people but did you know most airlines have an app now? You can book flights, check your points, get arrival and gate information? Even many of the smaller airlines have them too! The big exception is United, which for it’s size, is late to the game. American […]

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Streaming Music on the Road.

February 11, 2011

Pandora is the most familiar service, at least in the US.  More people use Pandora on their phone then on their computer.  What does that tell you?  People want their music, quick and easy without having to make their own mix tape.  After a while though you notice that even Pandora starts repeating the same […]

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Get Faster Internet while Traveling

February 10, 2011

How often have you heard people complaining about slow internet while traveling?  Enter a website, click, wait on the blank white screen to load.  Sound familiar?  Here’s a tip for all those that travel with a WiFi phone, pad, netbook or laptop to squeeze all the bandwidth you can out of that hotspot you’ve connected […]

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Colossal Hipmonk Infographic!

February 9, 2011

Over at Hipmonks blog they have an infographic made by Shawn Sanders that is nothing short of mind blowing! All you can say is WOW!!! It’s an infographic visualizing baggage fees.  It is no surprise to anyone that baggage fees have gone up over the last couple years but once you make it visual it’s […]

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