What will you learn in Apple's new travel workshop?

Courtesy Yutaka Tsutano/Flickr

When I heard that Apple launched a travel workshop on May 1 geared toward iPhone/iPad owners, I was curious. I signed up to find out what kind of secrets they would reveal.

The course, which spans approximately an hour and is guided by an Apple store employee (a man named Brian, in my case), is primarily a guide to the apps Apple recommends for travelers (here at Budget Travel we've put together a similar list of the best travel apps). There is time for Q&A; at the end, when you can ask questions specific to your needs.

So would I recommend it? Well, yes and no. If you're new to the device or haven't spent a lot of time exploring what the iPhone/iPad can do, I'd say it's worth it (it's not like it's going to cost you anything). If you're a tech geek who feels naked without the device, feel free to skip—you probably know all you need to know already.

Here's what you'll learn:

How to plan your trip. Brian kicked off the course by walking us through the apps that a would-be traveler would find useful in the planning stage. He recommended the Kayak app for booking, FlightTrackPro ($9.99) for tracking flights, and TripIt for consolidating all of the details of your trip. I stand by all of these recommendations. He also recommended Hipmunk, which sorts flights based on dates, agony (long layovers, early morning departures, etc), and price (while I personally like the way Hipmunk sorts flights, I can't say that I've ever found the best rate on their site).

How to navigate your destination. From there we moved on to the apps that will be most useful during your trip. Zagat to Go ($9.99) uses your current location to recommend worthy restaurants. Hotel Tonight helps you find last-minute hotels (hopefully you've already planned your hotel before you arrive in your destination, but if you're caught in a pinch this can certainly help). Google Maps, which you can access via the built-in compass feature, is a no-brainer (but I did learn something new—if you double tap the arrow at the top of the screen the map will rotate with you so there's never any question as to which direction you're facing). Weather HD ($0.99) shows you the weather gives you daily and hourly forecasts in cities around the world (my recommendation: just use the free weather app that comes with your iphone). TripAdvisor offers up lists of things to do in your location.

How to organize your photos. Brian demonstrated how you can use iPhoto to import and organize pictures by events, faces, and places. You can use iPhoto to create, print (and yes, purchase) your own book, cards, or calendar.

I was surprised that the course didn't automatically touch on the importance of picking up a local SIM card if you're traveling internationally (otherwise you can be hit by huge roaming fees). Once I asked about it, however, Brian was incredibly knowledgeable about how to bypass international roaming fees.

So what do you think? Does the Apple travel workshop sound like something that you would be interested in?


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