How An iPhone Can Save Your Trip To Europe (And Your Marriage)

Sunset in Granada, SpainYour iPhone can take pictures like this one of a sunset in Granada

Photo: Nicholas Carlson

My wife and I just got back from a vacation in Spain.

I nearly ruined the whole trip during the first two days.

The reason: I had my nose buried in a guide book.

The thing had a map in it, and “guided walks,” and I spent two days stopping on every second block in Madrid trying to figure out where we were and where we should be going next.

My wife, exasperated, started complaining about the “tyranny of the guidebook.”

Then, in a stroke of luck, I accidentally left the thing in a cab.  With my all-in-one map, phrasebook, and listing of restaurants and museums gone, I had to adapt.

I did what I would do back in here in the USA. I turned to my iPhone, and downloaded a mobile guidebook called mTrip.

It was a trip-saver. Even without 3G service, the app had one of those maps where you are a moving blue dot on the screen. It had turn-by-turn directions! It could tell you which restaurants closest to you were worthwhile.

The tyranny of the guide book was over.

That’s not all my iPhone did on this trip.

The truth is, if you like sunshine, beer, wine, food (particularly pork or seafood), architecture, art, design, and friendly people, you should go to Spain for a vacation, too. 

When you do, however, make sure you bring your iPhone 4 or 4S. 

Not to check your email – in fact, you should turn your email off – but for help getting around, speaking the language, and capturing memories.

Touch your email account name.

It has all the usual listings…

…and you can plot them onto a trip itinerary.

But what's really cool is that the app uses Wifi signals and GPS to locate you on a map EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE SERVICE. After a day with an analogue map, turn-by-turn walking directions saved the trip.

Instead of taking photos, download and use iMovie, Apple's video editing software.

You can export the video to Vimeo or YouTube straight from the app. Trust me, this video – with sounds and movie pictures – will evoke memories later in a way that photos cannot.

You'll still want to take a few photos, of course. For that, use Instagram.

It lets you publish to lots of social networks at once.

You can put cool filters on your photos (like this one I took of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia)

The app lets you take multiple photos and queue them for upload later…

…when you have WiFi back at your hotel.

After vacation, you can go find your Instagram photos on Facebook and tag them.

ONE LAST TIP: Here's how to take a picture VERY QUICKLY with a locked iPhone

1. Press the home button twice.

2. Tap the camera icon next to the unlock slider.

3. Aim your camera.

4. Press the volume up or volume down button to fire the shutter.

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