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Checkpoint: Smart Travel Edition

Checkpoint - Smart Travel Edition

I haven’t done much traveling in my 30 some years on this Earth. The last time I went anywhere was prior to the “smartphone” revolution. With that in mind, it’s amazing how easy it is to navigate and familiarize oneself with a modern city. This past long weekend, that city was Montreal.

It began with a Wi-Fi enabled intercity bus. There were restrictions like the lack of YouTube access, restricted access to gaming media and dismal performance but it was free and for the likes of Twitter, Google Maps and other travel related sites, it was fine.

I was able to access Netflix but I was not able to get anywhere close to HD quality. Hell, it buffered a few times watching SD content. However, it was available and for travel centric browsing, it was sufficient. I don’t expect to get any real work done on the free Wi-Fi of a 3 star hotel.

The Google Maps iOS app made navigation a relative breeze. The only issue I had with it was that 30 second window where it tries to pinpoint our exact location. It wasn’t much of an issue while in a car but it isn’t as precise or as quick with position acquisition while on foot.

The Blueline Taxi app was a surprisingly pleasant experience. I was able to book and schedule a Taxi with just a few taps. Any app that allows me to easily accomplish a task without having to talk to someone is a plus. Removing the human element and giving me full control of my own request is huge.

The last time I scheduled a taxi, I was left wondering when it would arrive. I wondered if they got the name of my place right or if they even recorded my request. This app took all the guess work out. It gave me a confirmation e-mail, it showed me where the taxi was and it even offered to create a reminder on my iPhone for the taxi. Wonderful.

I knew the Transit app was compatible with multiple cities and ever since they revised the trip planning function, it became my go to local transit app. However, even knowing all of that, I was still amused by the app’s initiative to automatically change to Montreal’s local public transit service.

If there was one app I regret not prepping beforehand, it’s the Bixi app. Instead, I relied on the awful Bixi website to locate nearby bike stations. Thankfully, bumbling around the city with my significant other has become our thing.

Another pleasant surprise was the iPhone 4S’ camera. With ideal lightning conditions of Montreal Botanical Gardens, we were able to capture many gorgeous photos and by the next day, all 200 or so photos were uploaded to iCloud and made available on my iPad for easy viewing and shared between my partner and I.

I learned a lot about technology and its integration with travel, my partner and myself. Tech helped alleviate stress and allowed us to focus on the trip itself and not worry about logistics. I hope our next trip will be as successful.

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