The Travel Phone

I’m about to go on vacation and while I don’t plan on completely disconnecting this time around, I do want to minimize the amount of interaction with technology I have so I can focus on why I’m flying half way around the world.

To that end, I have an unlocked iPhone 4 that I customize just for traveling. Here’s my setup:

Unlocked with local SIM
As soon as I pick up a pre-paid SIM I head over to my Twilio account and forward a US number to the local phone number from the SIM provider so my family can still easily call if needed.

Just the essential apps
The most common apps I use are on the home screen with distractions like Twitter and Sparrow off on another screen. My home screen includes TripIt, Maps, Camera, Instagram, Foursquare, Living Earth and the other media apps listed below.

Disable automatic email checking
I installed Sparrow which doesn’t do push and didn’t even configure the OS with an email/calendar provider. This saves battery in addition to not bugging me. On demand I can check in with Sparrow to get new messages.

No notifications
I went through the Notification Center settings and turned off push notifications for everything. Ideally it will never buzz the entire time unless someone calls.

Loaded up with media
I like falling asleep to podcasts on long flights so I make sure they’re all sync’d up. Downcast is my podcast app of choice. I also make sure Rdio mobile sync and Instapaper are up to date. I also have my iPad loaded up with a full season of a TV show and often a book I’ll start but likely never finish.

To keep the phone powered I have the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit and a Mophie Juice Pack.

All in all it’s a nice setup to be able to find my way around, capture the best moments, be connected when I want to be and avoid distractions as much as possible. And since it’s not my primary phone if I lose it or something happens to it, it’s not a huge loss.