How to use Foursquare to plan a day’s travel [Weekend Traveller series part 7]

Plan a day's travel with Foursquare

Welcome back to the fortnightly Weekend Traveller series where I share tips and strategies for travelling during the weekend so you can travel more using less work leave. You can find all of the previous posts for weekend end travel here.

Today we will be learning how to use Foursquare to replace your guidebook.

foursquare for travel

In a previous post, I showed how to replace a travel guidebook with apps. Today, I will show you how you can replace your guidebook with Foursquare.

I am very in love with using Foursquare [Apple iOS | Google Android]for travel planning. The location-based services app tells you which places around you are popular and you can even refine your search to food, sights, nightlife and other details.

Check out the rest of the post…!

Packing for a round-the-world trip

Packing for a round-the-world trip

I’m in Singapore for a night before I head out into the world. My bags are packed and my mind is calm…as if before a storm.

The night before my flight to Singapore, my mom made me pack my bag. (I wanted to pack it the next morning.) Thank goodness I did because there were a lot of things.

As I packed, I felt depressed by the size of my luggage. It was a lot more than what I had envisioned. I had wanted a feather light backpack with everything I need. Even My travel idol Nellie Bly only had a small carry on.

For this 4-month trip, I have packed a lot more than I would for a 10-day trip in Southeast Asia. For Indonesia, I wore a dress and brought along another two for my trip to Yogyakarta and Solo.

I included more things this time because I anticipate a lot more activities: running on treadmills on a cruise, swimming, sleeping on grimy beds.

Clothes for a 4-moth RTW

Most of my clothes:

Clothes for a 4-month round the world
Clothes for a 4-month round the world

It includes: 3 tops, 1 pair of pants, 1 long skirt, 2 dresses, 3 camisoles, 1 t-shirt, 1 pajama pants, 1 cardigan and etc.

I also have a sleeping sack made out of two pieces of sarong sewn together. I have another sarong as my blanket, towel, curtain, skirt…

IT stuff for a RTW

Surprisingly, my chargers and friends turned out to be more heavy than my computer and phone combined.

In the end, my bag turned into a bursting-at-the-seams backpack with a heavy accompanying handbag and laptop. The total package is about 15kg. Tomorrow, I will need to convince Tiger Airways that my backpack is as light as a carry on.

Luckily, D helped me repack my bag when I got to Singapore. After folding–instead of rolling–my clothes, a miraculous amount of space appeared. Like magic!

Now I will be able to bring only one backpack and my messenger bag. Less things to carry means less chance of things getting lost.

Well, that backpack will be with me this whole trip. Let’s all hope that it will not give up and burst halfway around the world.

Until next time, safe travels.

Trials and tribulation of a TV reporter

I’ve been assigned to group with a bunch of Taiwanese journalists. Lucky me, I speak good Mandarin and they are a bunch of great people.

Today, we were sent off on a tour of San Francisco with a Taiwanese tour guide. The 60-year-old-looking tour guide was from Taiwan and has guided some famous Chinese government official.

He was supposed to bring us to Stanford then to San Francisco. However, when he drove past Apple’s HQ, the whole van of tech journalists begged him to let us go down to take a peek.

part of Cupertino

Caught red-handed at Apple Campus

The TV reporter decided that she need to take a short reel of the campus for work. The cameraman who came along was setting up the videos and suddenly (really, within one minute) a patrol car stopped next to him.

Apple security

The security started asking questions: who, what, when, where, why, how. They took down notes, talked on walkie-talkie.

Later, two other patrol cars came. The lady reporter had to explain for about 20 mintues before they let her off. She then took a few time to film her piece.

One Infinite Loop

HQ building

To be honest, I expected Apple’s HQ to be a lot more futuristic. Heck, even Oracle has an amazing building.

The address however is damn cool. “1 Infinite Loop”. Wow!

One Infinite Loop

I take my hat off to the lady reporter because she has to come up with her lines on the spot. Plan her walking routes, put on makeup, talk to the camera and all that ASAP!

PS The only reason this piece is on my “travel” blog is because I’m travelling. See you guys later this Sunday!

Mobile app review: FlightLover

FlightLover is an Apple iOS app that checks for cheap air tickets of budget airlines. It’s available for different countries of origin–Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan.

There’s one thing you need to know about me. I am very stingy and it is very rare that I will pay for an app unless it is really useful.

I downloaded the app a long long time ago, hoping it would help me score cheap flights. Unfortunately, I haven’t bought any cheap flights using the app but I do have other purposes for it.

I use it mainly to check how low flights can go. I also use it to help friends double check if there are cheap flights around the period they want to travel.

The app will be useful for the casual bargain air ticket hunter (I’m among a semi-hardcore bargain hunter while a friend of mine is Level-999 in cheap airticket hunting.)

How it’s like

When you open the app, it gives a list of the destinations in its database as well as the cheapest flights. I love how the cover photos are changed from time to time, for example, the highlighted destination today is Sydney.

For this demo, I chose Kuala Lumpur as my destination as it’s one of the cheapest destinations.

I’m able to slide the slider (duh) to indicate how many days I want to travel. Please note that it includes the day you fly. For example, if a flight leaves the airport at 11pm, it counts as a day.

The return time is actually the hour you return to your country of origin. That is helpful for those who don’t want to guess when they reach home. For me, I would prefer the timing of the flight back instead so I can see how many hours I can still have fun.

You can also select the date range you want which is helpful to zoom in the long weekend dates. The little red triangle on the upper right of the price shows that the trip involves a weekend–super!

After you’ve selected the best price, head into the date and it’ll show you the details of the flight as well as the checkin time (so considerate of them!)

The “Book” button only helps you call the airline while the “Share with friends” lets you tweet/Facebook/e-mail others about the cheap price.

The app also has a neat “Beep” mode which will alert you of deals that have dropped below the price you’ve indicated.

Everyday, around 9am, it will deliver a message alert if the tickets have fallen below the price you like.

Even thought I’ve switched this function on, I always feel annoyed when it reminds me of a cheap flight because I can’t go on a holiday now

The design of the interface is really clean and beautiful. There is an airplane flying in circles when it loads a page. A sad emoticon appears when there is no connection.

The companion Web site has the same functionality but with limited travel dates. The app can be found on the App Store.


“Borrowing”’s review format:

FlightLover Singapore
Developer: Handstand (The folks who brought you
Price: S$2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.27
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
iPhone Integration Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (Not integrated into Twitter–iOS 5 functionality)
User Interface Rating: 4 out of 5
Re-use Value Rating: 5 out of 5

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Why you should get TripIt


I went to cover a tech event today and the main theme was about the personal cloud and how it would become the center of our digital lives.

It got me thinking about my personal cloud apps and how it allowed me to be free of a USB and forwarding all documents to my e-mail.

I have many cloud apps I love but for travelling, I adore TripIt (and Google Docs’ Speadsheet).

I wrote a semi-review of TripIt last September on my now-dead tech blog. Since then, I’ve used the app for many more months and have grown really fond of it. I basically use it as my carrot–whip out my phone, see my upcoming trips before getting back to real life.

If you haven’t tried out TripIt, I’m here to convince you to do so. The light version is free anyway! I don’t have much use for the Pro version’s extra functionalities.
Continue reading “Why you should get TripIt”