This weekend, my co-founder Joel and I took a 2 day weekend trip to L.A. There was no particular reason for it really. Ever since we arrived in the US, we hadn’t spent much time exploring other parts of the country, other than SF, so we felt it was time to widen the horizon a bit and get a picture of what other places are like.
Whilst we aren’t particularly proficient travelers, one thing struck us both as exceptional: the tools we used to organize our whole trip. On our way back to the airport we reflected a bit on all the amazing new tools that we are able to make use of to make this trip as smooth as we could possibly think of
It definitely felt that by living in California, we are privileged to be amongst the first to experience new tools, and it feels a lot like we are living in the future.
So, without further ado, here is a list of all the tools that helped us throughout the weekend:
The Hipmunk experience
The first step was to book our flights to L.A. and naturally I always used to associate booking flights with a stressful experience. Not with Hipmunk. The way they display date and time of flights is so unique, that booking the flights becomes incredibly smooth. They compare prices, times and booking overall took us no longer than 15 minutes. This is was a true life-saver to get us off to a good start.
The Uber experience
On the evening before our trip, we checked on our flights, only to realize that they would leave SF earlier than the BART would be in service. Not to worry, with a quick check, we could grab an UberX (cheaper than a cab!) the next morning, which would get us to the airport in exactly 15 minutes.
What amazed me the most about UberX is that it looks like a 100% regular car – the only thing it needs to charge you, find the route, communicate with you as a customer and everything else is an iPhone. That’s it, an iPhone is all you need to turn a car into a cab these days.
The Zipcar experience
After arriving in L.A. we went to grab the Zipcar we had booked a few days before within the app. No queuing for a rental car, no extra fees, no filling in of forms or anything like that. We walked up to our car, placed our ZipCar on top of it, the car opened and we were off on our way.
I belive the ZipCar experience was maybe the most mind-blowing one as we couldn’t believe to just be sitting in our own rental car so quickly just minutes after arriving from the airport.
The AirBnB experience
We spent the whole day exploring L.A. (mainly hanging out at the beach) and went to our AirBnB apartment in the evening. This again was incredibly amazing, I had texted with the host throughout the day to arrange everything. He had left the apartment open for us. All we had to do was park our car, walk in and we were staying at an amazing, affordable place, where didn’t need any further interaction than hitting a “book it” button on AirBnB.
We left the apartment again the next morning, leaving an apartment without ever having met the host (which of course would have been awesome though!), completely open and were on the road again. Smooth as something really smooth can be.
The Foursquare experience
On Sunday, we spent the whole day in Newport Beach and actually I hadn’t used Foursquare in a while. When we had to find a coffeeshop close by, our first option was Yelp, that didn’t work out all that well, especially as we were in a very touristy place.
Using Foursquare on the other hand was gold, as the friend recommendations for coffeeshops were spot on. We found one a bit hidden away, that I’m sure we’d have never found otherwise. The “2 of your friends were here” was something that absolutely changed everything for the better compared to googling or yelp.
The Google Maps experience
Out of all the experiences that probably stands out the most is Google Maps. Having never been to LA, but finding our way around like we’ve lived there for years absolutely blew my mind.
Of course, GPS devices have been around for a while, but I simply couldn’t get my head around the fact that I’d know about how much traffic there is and what the best routes are at our fingertip. The idea of “being lost” has practically not happened to me for the past few years.
To end this, I’m just amazed by how far we’ve come in terms of traveling the world so effortlessly. I’m incredibly grateful to the advances in tech and can’t wait to see what’s next.
Would love to know about your best travel tips and apps so I can get even more hassle-free next time!