How Siri can help you travel smarter in 2012

Even if you own the iPhone 4S, you may not know ‘Siri’. And if you don’t already have the 4S, you might only know about Siri, if you do at all, through hearsay, abundant resources online introducing you to Siri, or a phone belonging to someone else. You may, on the other hand, use Siri regularly and effectively and, in that case, you’re ready to optimize your Siri use for travel. Siri is, in a nutshell, a voice-driven, personal assistant software built into the 4S. Siri doesn’t know the useful answer you’re looking for to every question you ask and calling upon Siri doesn’t always save you time – it depends. But Siri can do most things a real-life personal assistant can do, and more. Some of Siri’s functions can and will help you to make your travel experiences less stressful, more efficient, and, I daresay, better. By simply pressing and holding down the home button on the 4S, Siri comes to attention. And if you get to know Siri well enough, Siri will help you to travel smarter in 2012.Navigation and safety
While traveling, you’re not always in a safe position to be fussing over your GPS, especially not if your GPS is built into your phone. Distracting yourself with GPS can lead to avoidable accidents, no matter what sort of vehicle you’re captaining. Siri is hooked up with Maps and can walk you through step-by-step directions, from beginning to end, all through voice command.

Time management
No matter how much preparation you do, wasting time while traveling is nearly inevitable. You will, pretty much invariably, find that you need something in an area you are unfamiliar with while traveling and, if you’re anything like me, waste time trying to find it. Unlike a lot of voice command systems, Siri doesn’t need you to use specific phrases. If you need to find the nearest gas station, Siri will quickly present a list of nearby gas stations when you simply say, “gas station.” This feature isn’t just for filling up, though. Siri will just as quickly aid you in locating the nearest restaurant, day care, bar, or whatever else you need to find. Siri takes this process a step further by offering you results sorted by ratings. Command Siri to find you the “Best Thai restaurant in Austin” and you’ll know what I mean.

Emergencies
“Call 911.” Say that to Siri and Siri will do just that. When in less dire need, Siri can easily pull up lists and reviews of nearby medical professionals, car mechanics, vets, or anyone else you may need to contact in an emergency situation.

Travel research
Siri can help you figure out where to go and how to get there. Phrases like these can possibly work well with Siri:

“Find me the closest train station”
“Call a taxi”
“Best bed and breakfast in Boston
“Best dive bar in Seattle
“Music festivals in 2012″

Traveling personal assistant
Siri is recognized, most generally speaking, as a robotic personal assistant. Relying on Siri to perform such tasks yields a decent job done. Having a personal assistant traveling with you can help ease the common stress associated with travel. Phrases like these can work with Siri:

“I am seeing a show on Friday night at 9 p.m.” Siri will put this in your calendar.
“Remind me at 10 a.m. to book my flight.” Siri will put this in your reminders.
“Wake me up at 7 a.m. to check out.” Siri will set this alarm for you.
“Add toothpaste, umbrella, and socks to my packing list.” Siri will add these items to a list in your notes.

More than anything, Siri seems to me like what Siri actually is: the iPhone’s first attempt at creating a little robot that any iPhone 4S owner can use to better manage traveling, and, of course, life in general.