Top iPhone Apps to Bring on Vacation

I was in Kota Kinabalu from the 24th to the 30th of April to settle a score with a particular mountain. I hiked up Mount Kinabalu for the 2nd time and  it was much better than my first ascent 2 years ago, having made it to just 200 meters from the peak (the first attempt was thwarted by heavy rain, about 1 km + from the peak). The sun was already up and given that I was hyperventilating (due to mountain sickness), I was happy to settle for being at 4010 meters above sea level (the peak is at 4095 meters).

It was pretty fun spending time at an unfamiliar place. My girlfriend and I rented a car in Kota Kinabalu city and drove around for two days, only stopping at back at the hotel for rest. I also discovered that some iPhone apps can add value to the entire holiday experience, or simply make it more fun. Here’s a list of just 5 (or 6) of them apps:

1. FourSquare

Never leave home without it. Kota Kinabalu, given it’s wealth of places and large tourist population, doesn’t have many of it attractions on FourSquare. So do your fellow FourSquare equipped travellers a favour and put them attractions and travel tips on the map! Personally I added slightly more than 10 places of interests to FourSquare during my trip to Kota Kinabalu.

Among these were the Laban Rata (more than half way up the Mount Kinabalu Summit Trail) Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, Atkinson Clock Tower, Petagas War Memorial Garden and Kedai Kopi Kak Tini, which has a very popular banana fritters stall operating in its premises. Download FourSquare over here.

2. Google Maps

It comes with the iPhone and makes use of the iPhone’s (in my case, the 3GS) A-GPS capabilities. We often used it when driving or walking about Kota Kinabalu city. The directions are pretty solid but some times, user-provided content can be pretty misleading. In one case we ended up in an industrial area instead of the Monsopiad Cultural Village.

3. Any Expense App

My girlfriend’s iPhone contains an expense app that we used to keep track of our spending during the trip. It’s a more convenient way to stuffing all those damned receipts into your wallet and counting them back at the hotel room when you have other, better things to do, like dealing with the laundry, because unlike tracking expenses, there’s no app for that!

4. Facebook and Twitter

A vacation is no reason to alienate your friends back home. While there’s only one Facebook app on the iPhone, there are plenty to choose from in the case of Twitter apps. Get them and start updating your pals on your vacation details, tips and pictures! I even got words of encouragement via Twitter on the way up the Summit Trail on Mount Kinabalu.

I for one am using Echofon as my Twitter client on my iPhone. You can download it over here.

5. Classics

Games can be pretty good at passing the time, but in my case, give me a nice book and I’ll be a happy camper. While sitting in the plane or bus or simply waiting for the girlfriend to get ready to go out exploring the city, Classics provided the e-books to keep me company. I read a whole lot of the Iliad, written by Homer (not the woo-hoo doughnut eating Homer, but the Homer of antiquity) thanks to this particular app.

You can download Classics over here.

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