Travel Apps :: Splitwise

[trip style = any]

You're on vacation with friends for a week. You paid for the hotel. Friend A drove and paid for the gas. Friend B paid for lunch, but only for himself and Friend A. Friend C bought all the groceries and she paid for them in a different currency. Friend D only joined the fun for four days. If no one moonlights as a genius mathematician, how will you settle your expenses without spoiling your vacation? Enter Splitwise, the app that takes awkwardness and confusion away from the equation of friends + money + travel.

How it works
Start a new group, name the group {i.e.,"Don't mess with Texas"} and add group members {you, Holly & Sam}. Then add individual expenses and the group members involved in each expense {i.e, bike rental & hotel in Austin}. Each group member can log in and add their bills, and then the app magically calculates what everyone owes. Bonus features: You can even add notes to expenses and settle up via PayPal.

Trip Styler Tip: If you're looking for an app to split restaurant bills, download Plates. It integrates with Splitwise, calculates tax and tip and splits shared dishes.

Download Splitwise for iOS or Android devices, or log in from your computer {$$ = Free}.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Travel Apps :: PackPoint
Real-Time Translation

[austin images by kevin vandiver & nick simonite] 

Real-Time Translation


[trip style = any]

This is big news, huge news, mega news involving the ability to break language barriers and change travel forever.

As of yesterday, Google released an update to their Google Translate app {iOS // Android} that allows for real-time translation in a conversation.  

Just THINK of the space-age ramifications. Ordering a Bordeaux in Bordeaux just got way easier. Finding un baño in Barcelona just got way easier. Buying a train ticket from Monterosso to Riomaggiore in Italy's Cinque Terre just got way easier.

Curious how well real-time translation actually works, Mr. Trip Styler and I took it for a test drive in Spanish/English. The results are a mishmash of funny, accurate and awkward!

{Can't view this video?}

- For real-time translation, you'll need a data connection, such as WiFi. Available in English to/from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian.
- You can also type in a translation query.
- Did you know that app also can translate images? Through Word Lens, point your camera at a sign or text block and the app will translate without a data connection. 

[photos and video via @TripStyler]

Travel Apps :: PackPoint

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It was only in Seattle, on the morning of my flight to Sweden, that I realized I'd failed to pack a single pair of socks for two weeks in Scandinavia. This is how I ended up with a pair of $10 socks from the airport newsstand and several more styles from the Gothenburg supermarket. #travelfail

Even when I write out lists and pack and repack my bags, it seems like I always forget somethingsocks, pajamas, toothpaste, charger—which is why I was so excited to find an app that takes the guesswork out of packing.

PackPoint helps you organize what you need to pack based on destination, date and length of trip, weather, type of trip {business or leisure}, activities and gender. It even asks you whether you'll have laundry facilities. In seconds it creates a packing list that even a veteran traveler can appreciate.

It would be nice if the app had an option to select mode of travel {plane, car, ship, etc.} and size of luggage {carry-on, checked bag}, and I noticed a few flaws in the list {no footwear other than sandals and hiking shoes for Palm Springs}, but you can add and subtract from your list and even save it for later. The best part? It's free. If you want to add custom activities, you can upgrade in-app for 99 cents.

Sample trip #1: Long weekend in Palm Springs

What to pack: swimsuit, coverup, sandals, hiking clothes & shoes, dress, skirt, casual pants, 2 casual shirts, 4 pairs of socks, 4 pairs of underwear, pajamas, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottle, camera, cell phone & charger, boarding pass & itinerary, ear plugs, book, assorted toiletries, makeup, hand sanitizer, lip balm

Sample trip #2: 10 days in Barcelona

What to pack: passport, medical insurance card, foreign currency, power adapter, swimsuit, coverup, sandals, towel, dress, dress shoes, jewelry, light jacket, cardigan, sweater, 9 pairs of socks, 9 pairs of underwear, 5 casual shirts, 3 casual pants, skirt, pajamas, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottle, camera, cell phone & charger, boarding pass & itinerary, ear plugs, book, assorted toiletries, hair products, makeup, hand sanitizer, lip balm, umbrella

Sample trip #3: 5 days in Whistler

What to pack: snow jacket, snow pants, toque, sunglasses, gloves, long underwear, heavy jacket, dress, 4 pairs of socks, 4 pairs of underwear, 2 casual shirts, casual pants, pajamas, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottle, camera, cell phone & charger, boarding pass & itinerary, ear plugs, book, assorted toiletries, makeup, hand sanitizer, lip balm

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Packing 3.0 - List It!
Fitting 50 Garments into 1 Carry-On
Packing Pointers with Shaun

[photos via @heatherlovesit & packpoint except whistler by mitch wonton/]

Travel Tech :: Bird's Eye View

canary home security + travel[trip style = any]

We interrupt our regular summer trip styling for the next incarnation of the teddy bear cam. Something to protect and monitor your home base while you're flying away. Think of it as a bird's eye view of your abode, aptly called the Canary Home Security Device {$200 usd}, landing May, 2014.

The minute I read about this I had to share it because I'm forever researching simple ways to monitor things {dog, stuff, etc..} back at 'the ranch' when I've 'gone fishing.' A few weeks ago this desire became even more acute when part of my building flooded. While my suite didn't get drenched---thank Goodness---my memories are still a tad damp from another flooding incident I encountered. In that situation, the Canary's ninja intuition would have been helpful.

Capable of sensing it all {and then some} it spies with an HD Camera including---how cool is this---night vision, listens with a microphone, monitors motion, and reads temperature, air quality and humidity. On top of this, there's an app for that: once plugged into your home network, download it to your iPhone or Android to dial into its six senses.

canary home security device

Use it for your home or office, or to monitor your dog {or as a skookum baby cam}. It's for anyone, anywhere with a wifi network and connected smartphone. Mount one, two or three.

[photos via canary home security]

Summer 2011 Travel Gadgets [2/2]

2011 summer travel gadgetsEach summer, I look forward to seeing what's on editors and bloggers' travel gadget lists. Some items are silly, and some are useful. For example, take the Opena can-opening iPhone case we profiled last week; the Aussi duo who created it have been mentioned internationally for their simple but useful product, and have pre-sold thousands of units. All this success, and the product isn't even due to hit the market until August. As a continuation of last week's gadget picks, here are a few more for your summer travel:

Scrabble Flash Cubes trip style = various There's a whole new way to look at Scrabble. You're traveling light and don't have extra space for the board and the letters, but you must take the game with you, after all, it's part of your vacation ritual. Enter Scrabble Flash, a smaller, digitized version of the same game. Comes with 5 smartlink letter tiles and a little black storage box. Cost: From $20.

Pet Cam trip style = various This isn't your typical nanny-cam-in-a-teddy-bear sitting on a shelf in the corner of a room, because Fido would sniff that out, jump up, grab it and pull it apart! Thank goodness the Pet Cam is petite and discreet. Mount the device and check-in on your pet via computer or smartphone. This little system is also great if you're traveling with your pet and need to duck out for a second, but want to make sure your furry friend isn't piddling, chewing or barking. Cost: From $70.

Jo To Go trip style = camping & glamping, road trips, etc... Forget stopping for coffee, there's barely time for a pee break on the first leg of your summer road trip. You were up late packing, and up early the next morning loading the car, so who has time for coffee? Good thing your passenger can brew you a fresh pot in the car {or at the campsite} with Coleman's Portable Propane Coffeemaker. Powered by a 16.4oz propane cylinder, 10 cups of your fresh brew arrive in T-18 minutes. Caution: hot. Cost: From $90.

Kammok trip style = camping & glamping, etc... I first learned about the Kammok a few weeks ago and thought its bright orange, oversized, hang-a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e design was brilliant. Along with its fancy python straps for a secure, above-ground hang-10 experience, it can be folded up into a tiny compact compression bag and taken on any trip style, except maybe to the Ritz Kapalua {unless you walk off the grounds and hang it elsewhere}. Bring it in your carry-on, hiking or to the South Pacific because it only weighs 1 pound! The Kammok is available for pre-purchase here. Cost: From $55 {$85} to pre-order.

[photos of products, graphic by @tripstyler]