Archive for June, 2013

Smart Phone Risk Management While Traveling

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

I’m on the road more than I am at home – which really is nothing new.   Making sure my smart phone stays working is one of the most crucial things I do to make sure my life stays sane.   Today was a classic example of the risk management measures – preventive and work arounds  – my smart phone fulfills.


Staying Charged – My iPhone is about two years old and half way through the day it is ready to croak.   I’ve gone through quite a few portable chargers over the years and right now, I’m using this small round charger I picked up from Brookstone.   Everynight this portable charger with my iPhone gets plugged in so it starts the day fully loaded.    Most days I’m on the go from early AM until well after dinner with engagements of all sorts with a wide variety of people.   And I still have to “answer the phone” on all types of issues related to running Cheetah Learning so staying connected is mandatory.

Staying Connected – I travel over seas from time to time and make sure when I go, I up my plan to the international option.   This also enables me to use my iPhone to handle all types of things that come up (see the work around section below).

Work Arounds

Getting Lost

Directions – my motto is if I’m not doing 8 u-turns a day, I’m not exploring enough.  The map app that came with the phone and the google map app are crucial for traveling.   Just today I used the map app on my phone to take a metro in Paris from where I was staying.   It gave me how many minutes the next metro was leaving towards where I was going based on if I was leaving to walk there right away.   It also gives me an idea if where I want to go is within walking distance or if I should consider a different way of getting there.   When I’m in a city – that can involve a taxi, a metro, a bike or walking.

Changing Plans in How to Get from Point A to B when Traveling

Bike Availability Near Me – I’m in Paris right now and they have this bike system where you can pick up bikes at one location and return the at another station near where you are going.    They have 20,000 bikes to rent located at 1800 stations.  I have an app on my phone that tells me what bikes are available at the stations closest to where I am and how many spaces there are to return a bike close to where I am going.  I was also able to use my phone to get a pass to use the bikes for the day.   Unfortunately today, when we were at the top of this very hilly area – there were no bikes up at the stations there.   I wonder what they do to get the bikes back up to the top of the hilly areas as it didn’t appear anyone wanted to ride them back up the hill to those stations.

Best Places to Bike – I first downloaded this app in Portland but have found it especially useful in Paris as there are specific bike lanes (with no cars or buses) all over the city.

Getting a Taxi – When we were up on top of this hill and our plans to bike down the hill were thwarted because there were no bikes at the bike stations, we looking into walking to our next location.   It was over 4 km away.  We had already walked 10 km for the day so that was not too appealing.  We had already walked up close to 40 flights of stairs so the thought of walking down 10 flights of stairs to take the metro and then back up those 10 flights of stairs at our destination did not appeal to any of us either.   We were thinking of asking the waiter at the restaurant we were at to call us a cab, but I found a great app for Paris called G7 that got us a cab and kept us informed when it would arrive.  Our host, Aidan at Holidays France Rentals stopped by and told us about the Uber car hire app – that is in the larger cities around the world.

Where you were going no longer exists

Finding the Right Place for a Meal – More than once a place someone I’ve been traveling with or was meeting suggested we go to restaurant that no longer existed.   Getting there and in a new city,  we had to find another suitable place quick.   In the US, I’ve grown to rely on an app called Urban Spoon to find the right type of restaurant in a new area.   Overseas, there are other apps, and some great ones by well known foodies for the area.   In Paris, I like the app by Patricia Wells “The Food Lovers Guide to Paris.”

Risks are an inherent part of travel and actually some of the fun of travel for those of us who spend our lives on the road.   For this techie, the smart phone makes a traveling lifestyle even more of a fun adventure than it already is.