I took myself and my new iPhone 3GS out for a two night road trip. The iPhone really is a perfect travel companion. Here's some travel-specific apps (and hardware) I used:
Tweetie: Twitter app
There's nothing travel-specific about Tweetie except that it's a really great Twitter app. And Twitter is great when travelling solo. Keeps you from getting lonely, lets your friends know where you are, good place to ask advice. The photo and GPS/maps integration are great for travel notes.
TripTrack: all-in-one travel diary
After my last trip I wanted a geotagged photo diary. Sadly, TripTrack isn't good enough. The photos are 240x240 toys, there's no way to put text annotations in the log, no support for links to hotels, etc. The automatic geotagging is a little handy, though, and I like the Web presentation. You can see my trip (access code is "p").
MotionX GPS: GPS tracker
The most full-featured of the various iPhone GPS apps I've seen. It works great but the GPS tracking mode kills the battery in 90 minutes. What I need is an app that does one GPS sample every 10 minutes.
Nearby, Where, Geopedia, Yelp: geosearch
All of these apps answer the question "what are some interesting things near me"? It turns out the quality of the database is much more important than the app itself and so both Nearby and Where are mostly useless. Geopedia is pretty good in pointing out nearby Wikipedia articles and Flickr photos, although the new Geolocation API means that Safari will do this itself soon. The Yelp app is the big winner, Yelp's data about restaurants and hotels is quite good.
Offmaps: caching for offline map viewing
Surprisingly useful; you cache maps when you're on a good network, then view them offline no matter how crappy the AT&T service is wherever you happen to be. A full detail map of San Francisco is 130 megs. Like many mapping iPhone maps the data is from OpenStreetMap since the Google Maps licensing doesn't allow caching.
Griffin iTrip Auto FM Transmitter with SmartScan
FM transmitters are totally sucky, but if your expensive luxury car doesn't include a $1.99 line-in jack on the car stereo it's the only practical way to play music from the iPhone. The iTrip seems to work particularly well as long as you're not in a big city; good display, easy to use scanner, and the cable doesn't amplify GSM chatter. Just ignore the dire warnings about airplane mode and incompatible with the iPhone, it works fine.
  2009-07-18 00:00 Z