A Travel Tale

There's a cell phone app for every travel situation

My daughters were three at the time and I was returning to  my home outside of New York City from a multi-day conference. My connecting flight had been cancelled and I’d been sitting in the airport for about five hours.  It was 11:30 p.m. and I was number 7 on the waiting list for the last flight out on which they had room for only three more passengers.  Many of my fellow passengers had given up in despair and headed for local hotels.

They called a name for seat number 1 of 3 and someone stepped forward to claim it.  They called a name for seat number 2 and, same thing.  By now chances were looking grim for my getting home that night.  Then they called another name. No response. They called it a second time. Again, no response.  Amazingly, this happened five times.  At last, they got to my name.  I almost knelt down to kiss the gangplank as I boarded the plane!

Needless to say, that was before the tremendous rise in cell phone apps.  Now, there’s an app for everything, and travelers are one segment of the population to benefit from these handy tools.

Today, I share a terrific post from IPhoneBegin.com titled 80 Different Travel Apps for Summer Vacation which gives the skinny on apps that do everything from monitoring departure times and translating foreign language signs using the phone’s camera, to taking a virtual treasure hunt and finding the best local happy hour.

If you travel a lot, be sure to check out this list!

If I’d had a couple of the apps on this list, I probably wouldn’t have been biting nails, wondering whether I’d get on the last flight out!

Got any travel stories you’d like to share in which a cell phone app might have  or has rescued you?


family-luggage-for-widget2I swear the ability to navigate is located in the same section of the brain as the ability to do math!  If you’re missing one talent, you’re probably missing the other.  I know whereof I speak.  For me, both of those skills are located in a black hole.  Thankfully, the ability to read maps is located elsewhere.

Anyway, my friend Elaine is also missing both the math and directional skill sets, so for Christmas, her husband lovingly gave her a GPS unit.  Somewhat in denial about her navigational ability or possibly her husband’s practical approach to Christmas, it took her a while to install the unit in her car…until she had to drive  to Buffalo.

She’s driving along and doing great…for a while. 

The GPS, now named Gertrude, tells her, ” Turn right at the next intersection.”

“How can I turn right?  It’s a farmer’s barn !” She replies, thinking of every bad cartoon where a car careens into a barn then exits filled with squawking ducks and squealing pigs. 

“Turn left,”  Gertrude advises next.

“Left?  If I turn left, I’ll be in a duck pond!” Elaine retorts hotly.

“Go straight for 300 yards,” Gertrude prompts her.

By now, she’s yelling at Gertrude.   “If I go straight,” she shrieks, peering through a picture window into a living room, ” I’m going to join those kids for Saturday morning Cheerios and cartoons!”

At last, in total frustration, she pulls off to the side of the road, realizing she is completely off track.

What could be wrong?  Everyone else swears by GPS units.  How could hers be leading her so astray?

Suddenly she recalls the instructions: “MOUNT THE GPS UNIT ON YOUR DASHBOARD.”

She looks at her empty dashboard. 

Then she looks at Gertrude, securely fastened to her driver’s side window. 

She realizes she and Gertrude have been driving in directions perpendicular to each other.  No wonder Gertrude is lost!

So do you suppose the ability to follow directions is in the same section of the brain as mathematical and navigational ability?