iPhone Offline Maps Review Revisited

Back in September of 2010, I did a blog post on a few iPhone offline maps. It became actually one of my most read blog posts. I realized I have struck a nerve with many of my fellow travelers.  The iPhone Maps app is great. It can direct you through a city with very little difficulty. The problem is it needs a data stream to work. But let’s face it, most of us don’t want to pay for international roaming so we can’t use the Maps app on the iPhone. This is precisely why “offline maps” have become so popular with travelers. Continue reading

Iphone App Review: Packing Pro

One of the worst parts of travel is packing. The only thing worse might be the unpacking (I am not very good at putting things away). For some of you packing is no big deal. You are very organized people. Bless you, I wish I was that way, but I am not. If truth be known, I am a train wreck when it comes to organization and that makes packing difficult. In fact, not only does it make it difficult, it can make it dangerous. More than once I had been absolutely sure I had everything packed, I left home with a sense of security only to find I left my medicine on my bathroom sink. Once I even left my laptop at home on my desk!

So over the past year or so I have used packing lists to help. Up till now I have made my own list with an iPhone app called Zenbe List. It works well, but it is limited, as Zenbe is really just a to-do list. So after poking around the apps store I ran across an app designed especially for packing, called Packing Pro, by Quinn Genzel. It looked pretty comprehensive and it certainly came very highly recommended, so I downloaded it. Packing pro and it’s baby sibling, Packing have been recognized by Apple and National Geographic (Packing Pro by American Express) as some of their top apps for traveling. So I thought I would give Packing Pro a whirl and put it through it’s paces.

When you first open the application, Packing Pro gives you a screen with several lists to choose from; a group of sample lists, your own lists and an option to create a new list. When you choose the option to create a list the next screen offers you several options to start. When I made my Vietnam list I chose to go with a sample list to simply modify. But there is also an option titled  “with Expert Help”. This works like a list wizard, if you will. It takes you to a screen that asks how many people are traveling and the temperature of the destination an whether it is international or domestic as well as a few other questions. Then it creates a starting list for you to modify. For a little application, Quinn has really put a lot of time and effort into it to meet every possible need of every possible traveler.

Right off the bat there where things that stood out to me. The first is, it is a blend of a packing list and a to-do list. This isn’t an application that once you are finished packing doesn’t get opened again. This application has all kinds of to-do lists for trip preparation, mid-trip and post-trip. Another of the things that stood out to me about Packing Pro was that it can track the weight and value of each object. If you enter the weight and value of each item, Packing Pro will compute the total weight you’ve packed and your total value of your items. I am not sure what would be the purpose of tracking the value of your items, maybe insurance? Certainly, the airlines couldn’t care less they only reimburse a lost bag for the approximate value of the bag itself and not the contents. If the weight tracking works it could be a real handy tool.

It only took a few minute to modify the photo equipment list that was provided. The only downside I found in modifying the lists was it all has to be done on the iPhone and with such a small key pad it gets a little tedious. Quinn tells me there are some plans in the works to make things easier. I guess using the iPad would make things easier for sure.

Over all it is a very clean looking packing list that will help anybody who is either a list maker or an organizationally challenged person like me. I can see why National Geographic and American Express rated this little app so high. It gets five little trekker guys from e and a place on the front page of my iPhone. Download Packing Pro HERE.

Buy it here!

A few iPhone Offline Maps Apps

Do you know where you are?

Editor: This review has been updated and many more apps added to this list. You can find updated reviews HERE along with my new choice for Editor’s Pick.

Often when I travel I find myself without cellphone coverage, for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes I am so remote there is just is no coverage. Sometimes there is coverage but I don’t have a local sim and I don’t want to spend the bucks on roaming. Then there are times like this next trip to Ladakh. In Ladakh the government, for reasons of security, have permitted only local sims to work in the region and has created so many hoops that getting a local sim is next to impossible . When this happens I relax and enjoy my solitude. But wait! What if I want to use the nifty GPS on my iPhone? After all, I am so remote I might get lost. OK, maybe not lost, but I might want to see how far the next town is from my current location. With no cell or data coverage I would need offline maps for my GPS to use.
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