Driving from San Francisco to Boston in 16 days is a long haul. We filled the Bizzy Mobile (A Chrysler Town & Country) with a Koolatron cooler, piles of Bizzy swag, a lock box for our laptops, luggage equipped with the Eagle Creek Pack-It System, and -ahem- a mesh laundry bag. You know, the one with holes for ventilation. There were daily stops for coffee, Clif bars, and endless bottles of Dr. Pepper, which seemed to always turn up half-empty and crammed in some random crevice in the van. Water was a no-brainer as it sure got hot out there!
The experience of Checking Out across America was like no other. We spent months building Bizzy to help you share your mini-reviews while out and about, discover great local places, and follow your friends and fellow locals to see what they think about the places they go - anywhere in the country. This trip really put the app to the test. Now we're back in California, with a pile of feedback from the road, and working hard to make Bizzy better than ever.
When you have a passion for one kind of tech, you seem to have a passion for all tech. Case in point, our minivan was filled with iPhones, the latest Verizon Mifi 4G LTE, cords of every kind and car power adapters galore. All that gear enabled us to use our essential apps from our mobile control center.
Curious to know which we used most? Here they are:
On a normal day, we typically have a Bizzy Turntable room going. It's a fun way to listen to a collaborative playlist, rub shoulders with our users, and collect points in a quest for an AWESOME gorilla avatar. For this trip we created a turntable room called "DJ Our Roadtrip". When the Verizon Mifi was cooperating, we had a room full of people using us as their personal music hostages as we blazed down the highways. Protip: electronica isn't the best choice for sleepy drivers.
We use this one all the time, along with Camera+, to edit photos that we use with our Bizzy Check Outs. It's a must-have app for iPhone users with a love of sharing and photography. We were constantly sharing our snapshots from the road with friends, family, and followers on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Posterous and Tumblr. Instagr.am also makes it easy to group photos through hashtags. See all of our 62 #BizzyTour Instagr.am photos here. Plus, most of our top ten photos from the trip have that Instagr.am touch.
Taking pictures of food! YES! We do that! We were thrilled to have Foodspotting co-founder, Soraya Darabi, join us for dinner in New York City, since we've been huge fans of the iPhone and Android app since they launched in 2010. Sharing photos of delicious dishes is right up our alley. Exhibit A: late-night macaroni and cheese in San Diego. Plus, Foodspotting also gave rise to another favorite hobby of ours, Foodspottingspotting.
4. Google Maps
The real win here is that Google Maps takes traffic conditions into account when determining travel time. We found it to be more nimble than the Hertz NeverLost GPS that came with the van. Plus, we are practically neighbors, so there is that. High five to the hometown team!
This was our project management tool for the trip. Setting off in a van for 16 days and attempting to hit 16 cities in that time is like begging for a logistical cocktail of badness. I mean, things can get bananas and FAST. We had a lot of moving parts to keep aligned, people on the road, and several teams involved in coordinating each event along the way. Basecamp made for a wonderful organizational tool to make sure we were all on the same page - at anytime. Total win. We were impressed with its mobile site as well, which was handy since we were...you know...so mobile.
Our mornings on the road always seemed to go a little like this: "Hey, what's our hotel address in (insert city name)? I need to put it into the GPS before we leave the parking lot." TripIt, with its streamlined and organized layout for our travel itineraries made this oh, so much more pleasant. We may have spent forever searching our inboxes for the answer, and that's no good when you need to get out of that parking lot and into the nearest Waffle House.
7. Gowalla & Foursquare
Location, location, location. This trip was all about location, right? We Check Out a lot, but we always check in first, so Gowalla and Foursquare are never off our first page of apps. Our team has had raging debates on which one of the two is their favorite. (Seriously, this is a never ending debate.) All things being equal, for a road trip, it was fun to use Gowalla to collect pins for each new state we visited. However, we still love Foursquare a whole bunch too.
Of course, the most important ingredient for having this trip turn out so epically was everyone we met along the way, everyone who DJ'd our Turntable room, and everyone who met up and Checked Out with us. We took this trip to meet all of YOU, and we are damn glad we did. Thanks for checking out America with us.
Any good stuff we should bring with us next time? Share with us in the comments or answer on Facebook.
| Leave a comment »