Have you ever parked your car at the airport only to return a week later with no idea which section you parked in?  Needed to find an ATM in a city with which you’re not familiar?  Wanted to quickly check currency exchange rates?

You can easily address these issues plus several others with nothing more than your cell phone.

1. Use it for recording important information When parking your car, take 10 seconds and text yourself your car’s location (“Green, Row 4”).  If your cell has a camera, simply take a quick photo, taking care to include the signs indicating your car’s location.

Same thing goes for your hotel room number.  I’ve checked into hotels late at night, left early the next morning, and upon returning later in the day found myself wondering what my room number is; don’t let it happen to you!

2. Ditch the travel alarm clock! Use your phone’s Alarm feature to wake yourself in the morning.  NOTE:  some phones do not account for changes in time zones – make sure you adjust accordingly!

3. Use it as a flashlight.  The BlackBerry can be put into service as an impromptu flashlight, saving you from stubbing your toe or falling down in a strange (hotel) room.  And of course there are several flashlight apps for the iPhone & iPod Touch, one of which is MyLite:

4. Navigate your way, find attractions with Google Maps Make sure you download Google Maps to your phone; Maps provides driving directions, points of interest, and much more.  Click on the image below to visit Google Mobile, and select your phone type:

Google Mobile

Here are some of the BlackBerry options:

Google Mobile - BlackBerry options

…and here’s an illustration of just one of the uses for Google Maps: let’s say I’m on the road and need to find an ATM.  Click on Google Maps, Select “Search”, type in “ATM” and click on the Search button:

Google Maps - Search

You’ll receive several options (in this case, 10)–

ATM search results - Google Maps

Highlight the one you want, and click on it:

POI info from Google Maps

As you can see above, you can get directions, call the bank in question, save the selection, or even use Street View:

Street View - POI - Google Maps on BlackBerry

Google Maps is of course FREE.

5.  Use Google SMS I’ve mentioned this before on Practical Hacks, so forgive the redundancy.  If you’re not using this tool, please check it out.  Google SMS can provide you with tons of information on the fly.  Here’s a brief video that covers its key features:

Standard text fees apply, of course.

Here’s a quick illustration of just one way to use Google SMS:

Google SMS currency coverter

Google SMS:  Currency converter

6.  Store critical contact (ICE) information. Please, if you haven’t done this, add an “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) contact to your phone’s address book and put in emergency contact information, your blood type, and any other pertinent medical information.  Many new cell phones come with a template for such a contact; if your phone doesn’t have such an entry, please create one.  Click here for a related post:  Critical Information and Numbers to Store in Your Cell Phone.

That post also contains a number of suggestions for ways to use your cell phone while traveling.

What clever ways have you discovered for using your cell phone on the road?  Please share by commenting.

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2 Comments on Travel Tips: 6 clever uses for your cell phone on the road

  1. I just finished up a weekend of driving. Used my iPhone for a multitude of purposes. The best one was for getting to different locations for a wedding, especially pulling up a map of the area to show others where to go too.


    Kevin Reply:

    Phil –

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting; I’ve seen your comments over at TSD and like what you’re doing with your blog – keep up the good work! Agree – it’s amazing how much function is built in – or can be added via apps – to these devices.


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