10 Must-have iPhone Apps while traveling

So, I’m prepping for my Blog World panel discussions (both on corporate blogging – no surprises there) and planning my trip: packing et al. I’m continually amazed at how the iPhone has changed my travel life for good. I even went so far as contemplating a trip without my laptop but relented since I may need to do some blogging there (and blogging on the iPhone is near impossible).

But, I digress. I soon realized that there are 10 iPhone apps (all free, except for RTM’s web app) I couldn’t travel without. They keep me from boredom, get work done and sometimes help me find my way (iPhone – I’m lost without you). Here’s my list:

1. Communicate (Email/Calendar/Tasks): One of the main reasons for getting MobileMe was so I could maintain both my personal (Gmail) and Work email while on the go. The Calendar and Mail apps both get the job done, though I wish there was a way to star emails for reading later.

iPhone's Mail App
iPhone's Mail App

Equally important is my task manager, which is “Remember the Milk” (RTM). Don’t laugh at the name, because this is the most robust task manager out there that also plugs-in to my Gmail and has a terrific award winning iPhone app that’s a breeze to use.

iPhone's Task App
iPhone's Task App

2. Read News: Gone are the days when one would have to buy books or magazines to read as they waited for the flight to arrive. Google Reader has become my news source with over 140 news feeds that I track on topics that are relevant to me. Imagine accessing that content on my mobile device.

iPhone's News Reader App (RSS)
iPhone's News Reader App (RSS)

The beauty of the Google Reader app is its Mac like simplicity and focus on the things that matter. Case in point: the “star icon” and the “Mark the above items as read” features; allows you to skim through your inbox while you star the news items you wish to read in depth for later, the rest (15 items at a time) you can mark as read.

3. Chat:

Another great way to pass your time while waiting, is to chat with friends and colleagues (if you wish to talk business). At work, I use Adium that pulls together all my chat clients (Gmail/Facebook/Mac) but the iPhone boasts of three great apps to help accomplish that:

a. Gtalk: Painfully simple and surprisingly fast. Most of my contacts reside here and are accessible while I travel.

b. Facebook: Frankly, I haven’t tried Facebook chat on their native iPhone client, but I’m aware that in case I can’t find someone on gtalk, this is a secondary resource for me to tap.

c. Twitterrific: Of course! This app (free version) is a pain to use since I have miles to scroll each time I load the page, but I guess that’s the price to pay for free. The pros of this app includes the ability to tweet pictures I take with the iPhone’s camera.

4. Keep track of Friends: If you’ve an appetite for information overload (esp. it’s about your friends) then Friendfeed is the app for you. While Facebook and Twitter share facets of that information, reading Friendfeed is like drinking from the fire hose. But hey, if you’ve time to kill – that may not be a bad idea after all.

iPhone's Lifestreaming App
iPhone's Lifestreaming App

In addition to Friendfeed’s fire hose feed, you can also post your iPhone photos, Search (killer feature) and access the best of the day/week items and rooms in their iPhone web app.

5. Schmooze:

Now this is for all ye who are travel on business and concerns “my preciousss” LinkedIn app (Did you know: I work there). As my friend & colleague Jerry writes, there are a few things you can do with the LinkedIn app: search, research, and most importantly add to the network folks you schmooze with at the conference. My earlier LinkedIn iPhone app post.

iPhones Professional networking App
iPhone's Professional networking App

I’ve actually stop carrying business cards around, since I can now send an invite to folks I meet at conferences and events. That’s what I’ll be doing as I travel to Blog World Expo later today. Read about my panel discussions (Fri/Sun) at the event.

And, did you know, you could listen to music while you do all the above on this magical device called an iPod 🙂 Are there any other iPhone apps, I’m missing here that require mention?

My other iPhone posts: here and here

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  1. Jeremy Buff

    Great article. I agree with this post! It would be cool to note that these apps work with the iTouch, as well.

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