Friday, September 11, 2009

Road-HO and Techni-ho travelblog

We techni-HOs tend to do a fair amount of traveling as well, so a needed thread here is business travel tools review and blog. Among indespensible tools of the trade are:

I still have not fully converted to the one-bag philosophy to be honest, but most of the hints here are still useful if used piecemeal. I tend to travel overseas alot and have not fully committed to only one bag-- I always get 2 free checked bags (platinum elite after flying 90,000 miles before the end of August this year). The does and don't of packing in this case and the checklists have really been a good reality check for me. I still aspire to be a one-bag kind of traveler, but since I tend to travel two weeks at a time and don;t really like the idea of washing my socks and drawers in the hotel sink, I will stand to carry a slightly bigger bag.
Worldmate Live
This so far has been a life saver. The idea behind Worldmate is that after you book a trip, you email the itinerary from your registered email account to When the automated system receives the email from your account, it automatically adds it to your list of trip in your itineraries. I have tried other services like, but soon found Worldmate more to my liking since it had a free Blackberry app (also for iPhone, Nokia, WindowsMobile, Palm, and UIQ). The app for most platforms enables you to keep sync'd with the online itinerary (edit online or mobile), get maps, find nearby businesses.
The online itinerary manager also allows merges itinerary and hotel confirmations from the same time period into a single trip. So even if you booked the flights, hotels, cars, trains, buses, and even meeting via separate sites; they all land on the same trip and are therefore viewed in the same timeline. This has been a life save since often when overseas, I hope from one airline to another (booked separately for cost) and if I had to track the printed itineraries separately it would increase the chance of a missed connection.
ekit passport sim card
A phone that can make and receive calls at reasonable rates for most "civilised" countries is also a fine tool. Using my Verizon Crackberry overseas is hit and miss regarding the rates, and worst of all the airtime for roaming is very high making and receiving calls. In the EU and other European countries to receive calls is free with the ekit phone, that reduced my phone costs by more than half. Outgoing calls to the US is not too bad about 2/3 or less of using the Verizon phone.
Another option they offer is to assign you both and UK (+44) and US (+1) number for your friends and family to call. This makes them calling you cheaper, but will make you have to pay a 0.19 surcharge for in the incoming received call (as opposed to them paying long distance to the mobile phone 0.25-0.35/ minute). The ekit also includes a per-per-use data service, something that many low cost pre-paid local sim cards won't offer.
On the down side, outgoing calls made while overseas are programmed as a "call-back" service so it can be a pain, and the people you call won't be able to recognize your caller-id.
Y'all should already know about this popular travel rate crawler. It trolls the internet to identify the best travel sites for your trip. I continue to use this even though my current employer requires we book through their travel agent. I use the site to force the favored itinerary onto the travel agent. Still nice.
So that's all for now. Maybe more comes to me later.

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