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Finding hosts while traveling via smart phone

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WS Member WS Member's picture
Finding hosts while traveling via smart phone

Hi all Warm Showers Folks,
Just a note to say that last summer I tried to use my Blackberry Storm (I call it my stupid phone but it might just be the operator) to get on line via the web browser and find a possible host when I was about to get knocked about by Hurricane Irene. I could never get to the point where I was able to glean any usable data with a 3G connection. Browser always timed out and I was back to the beginning. No library or internet cafe available so I was out of luck.

Does anyone have a suggestion on how one might get to the needed information without having access to the website via wi-fi and a notebook or iPad? Should I just toss my Black "and Blue" Berry and take a iPad on my next tour?

Also after the above situation I found myself in last summer I have elected to add my mobile phone number to my contact information and hope that will help cyclists who might not have immediate internet access but took the time to print a list or somehow could have that info and I could host on short notice.

I have never had the opportunity to be a Warm Showers guest but thoroughly have enjoyed hosting.

Any ideas and hints will be appreciated.


WS Member WS Member's picture
WS list

Before we left on our cross country ride last year, I made a list, on paper, of hosts in places we would pass through, including their phone numbers. It took some time, but not too much, because you can see hosts on the map in surrounding areas. It saved me a couple of times when we didn't have internet access, but we did have cell phone service. I plan to do it again before our next trip in March.

WS Member ibam's picture

Your move to an iPad would be a good way to resolve the problem, but an iPhone works as well and is smaller. I've never had a problem accessing the Internet as iPhones can do so in several ways, WiFi and cellular included. Also, iPhones come with a built-in Notepad to which you could copy and paste info for future reference.

I think posting your host telephone number is also a good idea.

[email protected]
North Hollywood, CA

Unregistered anon_user's picture
connecting on the road

hi C2C,
i have had similar problems with 3G and WiFi service and can completely sympathize with you.
the apple ipad was the first device of this kind that i had owned. it did everything i wanted (except for flash). however, i did miss the telephone and texting capabilities. i gave in and bought an iphone 4 after the prices and data rates went down, and i'm not sorry.
the warm showers app works wonderfully over 3G or WiFi. it even works up here in alaska. one gets a location service, and then red map pins showing where the nearest hosts are. the hosts' info is displayed so you could download it ahead of time, and then contact them over a public telephone or email. of course, 3G is unrealistic over seas due to roaming charges.
WiFi is available thru most libraries, cafes or hotels. one can download ahead of time any hosts one is interested in, and then use an offline mapping/gps service to find them.
some folks have had great luck switching out SIM cards in a foreign country to get local service. or one could just get a "pay as you go " local cellphone.
the iphone has allowed me to have a decent camera, blogging/uploading capabilities to FB/twitter/CGoaB in one device as well as music, language instruction and video. i've had good luck with 'myistory' and ' icab mobile'.
if you are patient you could probably get an iphone 4 or 4s for $50-100 with a 2 year plan, would recommend a 2GB data service.
hope this helps!
cheers, janet

WS Member WS Member's picture
One of the features I pushed

One of the features I pushed in the latest iPhone & iPad app for warmshowers is offline support. There are now list views that will bring up the hosts around you as long as 1) you can get a GPS reading and 2) you've previous viewed the host while still online.

The difficulty is that many hosts can only be contacted via the message submission form on the warmshowers website. That will, of course, not work if you're offline.

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