Sending A Postcard Fun Again With New Smartphone App

sending a postcard

Sending a postcard when traveling was once a big part of the experience. Never mind that the traveler often made it home first. Bringing along stamps and an address book to enable sharing the places we visited was part of it all. That was then, this is now and the Canvas Art of Living app enables iPhone and Android users a chance to make their own digital postcard.

Partnering with Hyatt Hotels, Canvas Wines has hotel guests looking for a QR code on their drink coaster at restaurants, bars and lounges. After scanning the code with their phone, users are sent to the Canvas Wines website where the free app is available for download.

Users can select a pre-made postcard design, upload a photo from their smartphone or take a new photo. A hand-written note is not an option but including a personalized headline and custom message is.

Automatically saved to each user’s personal gallery, the digital postcards can be shared via email, text message or on Facebook. iPhone users can convert their digital postcard into a printed postcard to be printed and mailed.

Shiny and new, the Canvas Art of Living app is getting a lot of attention but surely not the only way to send a postcard, digitally or otherwise. A number of services including Zazzle, Hipster and others use location-based photo sharing technology to enable postcard making.

Looking for something to collect? Need a break from digital?

Postcard collecting might be just what you need. Collectors of postcards engage in Deltiology, the study and collection of postcards by specific artists and publishers, or by time and location.




[Photo Credit: Flickr user btwashburn]

The Best iPhone Travel App Lists

iPhone travel apps were of no use to me just six months ago. Despite spending much of my time traveling across the globe, I held out on getting an iPhone for what seemed as long as possible. Once I finally did cave and walked into the Apple store with my wallet in hand, my undoing turned out to be much more fun and efficient than I had imagined it would be. So why did I hold out?

I’ve been working online for quite some time now. My first online article was published in 2000. Life has been a series of HTML adjusting and Internet comment treading for me since then. Until fall 2011, I avoided the iPhone and all other smart phones like the plague. I was convinced, for some reason, that having access to my email and all other sorts of toys in my pocket would distract me. I was sure this kind of access would lead to no other conclusion than me being constantly “at work.” The result of not having an iPhone was actually the very thing I feared, I realize now in retrospect. Without portable and constant access to my inbox, I spent a large chunk of my free time tethered to my laptop, hoping to catch emails from editors and clients as they rolled in. It was with great satisfaction that I learned the true benefit of the iPhone: the ability to readily respond to emails without having to be attached at the hip to my MacBook.Instant and continual access to my emails was just the beginning. While sitting in the Apple store for over 3 hours, eager to leave with my new iPhone, time passed remarkably quickly. The representative I was buying the phone from seemed concerned. He brought me an ice cream sandwich from the back. He apologized that the initialization process through Sprint was taking so long; he said it’s not usually so bad. Little did I care; I had already downloaded several free apps while waiting for the paperwork to go through.

Admittedly, I spend a lot of time on my phone these days. I’m sure I’m in good company when I say it’s a great device to have around during times of restless boredom. Long lines don’t bother me so much anymore.

“Have it your way, long line. I have Instagram.”

But the iPhone has also been a remedy for many other now-retired daily pains beyond sheer boredom. When I went on tour prior to the iPhone, I actually printed off step-by-step directions from Google Maps. Embarrassing? Perhaps. Efficient? No way. I used to do things like ask strangers for directions, fruitlessly hunt down public restrooms and show up at restaurants that were already closed because I didn’t know their hours. I no longer carry any of these burdens.

Travel has been made easier because of the iPhone and its apps and everyone seems to know it. In fact, everyone seems to be blogging about it – including us. Rather than peruse a never-ending list of isolated iPhone apps that are good for travel, why not peruse a shorter list of roundups wherein the most useful iPhone travel apps are suggested?

Here are some lists I like, containing apps I have found useful in my own travel:

Top 20 iPhone Travel Apps from National Geographic
The Best iPhone Apps For Travel from Travel + Leisure
6 Great iPhone Travel Apps from PC Mag
Most Popular iPhone Travel Apps from Businessweek
Top 5 iPhone Apps For Traveling from Huffington Post
Best iPhone Travel Apps from Frommers
Top 25 iPhone Travel Apps from Main Street
The Best Travel Apps For iPhone from Lifehacker
80 Terrific Travel Apps For Summer Vacation from AppStorm
Best iPhone Apps For Traveling With Kids from Travel Mamas
7 Awesome Backpacking Travel iPhone Apps
10 Free Travel Apps from USA TODAY
11 Best Travel Apps from Aol Travel
The Best iPhone Apps For A Road Trip from Techlicious

10 Apps To Turn iPhone Into Your Best Travel Companion

And from Gadling:

10 Best Travel Apps For Frequent Fliers from Gadling
Travel Smarter 2012: User Your Mobile Apps Better from Gadling
6 Useful iPhone Apps for Road Trips from Gadling

Android Apps for International Traveling

10 best travel apps for frequent fliers

gate guru While flying is essential in helping travelers get where they need to go, it can also, at times, be a hassle. Organizing your documents, flight delays, missed connections, expensive parking garages, and keeping up with TSA requirements can really give you a headache when trying to plan a trip. Luckily, these 10 great apps for frequent fliers can help make your next flight stress free.

GateGuru

GateGuru is a savior for those wanting to make the most out of their airport time on the day of their flight. Not only can you check important flight information like real-time flight status and airport security wait times, you’ll also be able to navigate airport amenities like the best eateries and souvenir shops with photos, reviews, and tips. Other features include viewing travel itineraries, downloading airport maps, access to a High Flyers status program, and social media sharing.

Available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Free. Skyscanner

Skyscanner is a flight search app that has one of the largest databases out of these types of apps. The app allows travelers to search over 600 airlines, each checking split ticket options involving multiple airlines to get you the cheapest fare. The app will also help you figure out the cheapest places to fly to as well as which travel dates will save you money.

Available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Free.

flyers rights FlyersRights.Org

FlyersRights.org is a non-profit airline consumer organization that represents passenger rights. This app helps inform passengers about what their rights are, new laws, key contacts like airline numbers, government agencies, and media outlets, and safety information like what to do if you are ever stranded on a tarmac (the creator of the organization, Kate Hanni, was once stranded for 9 hours with her family, leading to the birth of FlyersRights.org).

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. $0.99.

Next Flight

NextFlight is a great app to have during those times when you either miss a flight or want to check if a more convenient flight time is available. You’ll be able to enter your flight itinerary and then will be shown a list of available flights for that day as well as the two days following. There are over 1,200 airline carriers in their system as well as more than 4,300 airports around the world, making your chances of finding a flight alternative pretty high.

Available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. $2.99.

tripitTripIt

As a frequenet flier and traveler, I’m a big fan of TripIt, as it allows me to not have to print out 20 different confirmation e-mails that will undoubtedly get lost exactly when I need them. Instead, you simply forward your necessary itinerary information to plans@tripit.com. From there all of your reservations and meetings will be organized by date and time so that you will always know when and where you need to be.

Available for Blackberry, Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Free.

Kindle

During a flight there’s a lot of time to kill, and while reading is a fun way to do this, it can be annoying to carry thick paperbacks and heavy hardcovers that take up a lot of space. That’s why I love the Kindle app; it allows me to download my favorite books, magazines, and newspapers while only taking up as much space as my iPad does. You can browse and buy over 1,000,000 books as well as hundreds of newspapers and magazines, while also getting to read the first chapter of each book before you decide to purchase it.

Available for Blackberry, Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Free.

hipmunkHipmunk

While Skyscanner is great for finding the cheapest flight (Hipmunk is, as well), this app is my favorite for helping to find the most comfortable flight. They have a unique “agony” filter that will list your search results in such a way as to show you which ones will be the least agonizing (shorter duration, less stops) and which ones will have you pulling out your hair mid-air.

Available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Free.

BestParking

BestParking is an excellent app for U.S. travelers who want to find the cheapest and most convenient parking areas to keep their cars. The app reviews garages, parking lots, and even decodes street parking signs to help you save money. Before arriving you will know hours of operation, if there is a valet service, contact information, and acceptable payment methods. Plus, their newest version also has a “mobile coupons” feature for New York City.

Available for Blackberry, Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Free.

airport car rental Airport Car Rental

Airport Car Rental is a very helpful app for travelers who need to use a car. This global app allows users to enter in their reservation requirements, including if they need to drop off the vehicle in a different location, and then compare and contrast different deals. You can browse by category (i.e. economy, full size, SUV, luxury) or simply peruse all of the available vehicles.

Available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Free.

My TSA

My TSA is a helpful tool for keeping up with all of the changing rules and regulations in air travel. Once you choose your airport, you’ll be able to see flights delays and security checkpoint wait times, as well as helpful traveler’s guides with categories like “Food and Gifts”, “Traveling with Children” and “Pack Smart”. My favorite feature of the app, however, is the “Can I Bring” button, where you can enter an item and immediately find out if you can bring it in your carry-on or checked bag.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Free.

Renaissance Hotels releases Navigator App

I like Renaissance Hotels. Although I tend to stay away from big hotel chains, I like Renaissance because it’s a boutique line and every hotel of theirs is different from the others. Another thing I like about Renaissance? They have Navigators in place of the traditional concierge.

Renaissance Navigators are, in short, employees who are locals and in the know. I once walked into the Renaissance Pere Marquette in New Orleans and picked the brain of a Navigator on staff. I liked his recommendations. As a point of reference, I own TheAntiTourist. I don’t like being shooed off in the direction of obvious tourist spots and this particular Navigator gave me a run for my money with his list of off-the-beaten-path things I might like to do.

Why is this useful information for you? Because Renaissance recently released the Navigator app. And it’s free for the taking for iPhone, iTouch, and iPad users until February 28th if you use the code ‘intheknow’ on iTunes. So look it up. Take it. See how you like it. And then let us know.