iPhone Travel Tips: Essential Guide for Globetrotters

Update: As many noted below in the comments a lot of the functionality mentioned in the article is not iPhone-specific. As such please find below updated information providing details as to what can be accomplished on the iPhone, iPod Touch or both.

For those who frequently travel and own an iPhone or iPod touch, you might be underutilizing your device’s capabilities. Numerous apps and features are available that can simplify your travel experience, allowing you to concentrate on enjoying your journey rather than managing it. While most are familiar with using their iPhone to surf the internet at airports or listen to music during bus rides, there are additional conveniences like flight check-ins, listening to hometown radio stations from afar, and navigating airport security with ease, all through your device.

Continue reading if you wish to discover how Apple’s touchscreen devices can enhance your travel experience, whether for leisure or business.

In previous discussions, we’ve explored various cases and batterypacks that enhance your iPhone’s durability and functionality. Today, let’s look at how software and online services can make traveling smoother. For example, Continental Airlines offers a mobile-friendly website that not only allows you to check flight statuses and manage reservations but also enables flight check-ins via Mobile Safari.

At certain airports like IAH in Houston, you can even pass through security and board your plane using an electronic boarding pass displayed on your iPhone or iPod Touch. However, be aware that some airports may charge for Wi-Fi, making the iPhone’s cellular capabilities particularly valuable.

Your experience with electronic boarding passes may vary; TSA staff at IAH were initially perplexed by the digital pass. Although there was a brief moment of confusion, it was quickly resolved without a need to queue at the check-in counter again.

The iPhone and iPod Touch are also perfect for entertainment during flights. With options to play games, listen to music, or watch movies and TV shows, these devices are a traveler’s delight. While I personally prefer watching movies on a larger laptop screen, not everyone travels with a laptop. For those who don’t, loading your device with multimedia content can be a great alternative.

iTunes offers a vast selection of movies and TV shows for purchase. However, you’re not limited to iTunes for video content. Handbrake, a tool we’ve mentioned before, allows you to convert DVDs into a format playable on your device, provided you have VLC installed for DVD transcoding. The latest release of Handbrake even supports universal input, meaning it can convert almost any video file.

Upon arrival, navigating to your hotel or exploring the city can be made easier with Google maps. The latest update to the Mobile OS X maps app includes useful features like public transportation and walking directions, which are invaluable in large cities like New York City. The addition of street view allows you to see actual photographs of buildings and landmarks, which can be especially helpful when navigating unfamiliar areas.

When checking into your hotel, having your booking confirmation easily accessible can smooth over any potential issues at check-in.


Edward is a dedicated writer for TUAW, your go-to source for all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail and a love for technology, Edward brings insightful reviews and updates on the latest Apple products, from the iPhone and iPad to the MacBook and Apple Watch. His articles are both informative and engaging, making complex tech topics easy to understand. When he’s not writing, Edward enjoys exploring new apps and features on his Apple devices, always staying ahead of the curve.