SplashTravel Professional Edition for Palm OS Treo

Reviewed by: Mark Goldstein, July 2007 (updated October 2007)
Published by: Splash Data
Requires: Palm OS 4.0 or later, including the Treo 650, Treo 700p, Treo 680, Treo 755p; 1.3MB of free memory, can be run from memory card, hi-res color screen; data connection needed for Live features carrier

MSRP: US$49.95 per year (subscription); monthly subs available

The perils of travel for business and pleasure are only as scary as the preparations we make. Does that make sense? Essentially successful trips of any kind depend in large measure on attitude and appropriate preparation. A cheerful, positive attitude ensures that most problems we encounter can be dealt with easily and unstressfully. Appropriate preparation means that we will usually have the information we need to make decisions during the trip. That last bit is what interests me most, because as I get older, I think I might be getting dumber. People tell me that I have an amazing memory for facts and details, but it doesn't feel like it some days. So the opportunity to review SplashTravel comes at an opportune moment. SplashTravel Professional Edition is an integrated set of utilities, accessed through a single interface which provides a range of useful travel utilities along with live update capabilities to ensure that weather, flight, exchange rate and a lot of other data are absolutely current.

The beauty of any device like the Palm Treo is that it can be used to connect to the Internet and browse the Web at relatively high speed. The benefit for travelers who are using the Palm Treo is simply that the device can be used for all sorts of interesting and practical things dreamed up by third-party software developers. SplashTravel is a case in point. Here are some minor event excerpts from a recent business trip:


  • Packing List was used to check my actual packing against the list I had previously created in SplashTravel. I discovered that I had added a whole bunch of unnecessary stuff. After removing the extra junk, I ended up using a smaller suitcase.
  • Expense Tracking feature in SplashTravel provided me with one of the few truly accurate expense records I've ever kept. If you travel on a daily budget or a weekly budget, taking time to enter expenses as they occur or taking a few minutes each evening to recap everything, provides you with a much more accurate picture of what you're doing and how you're managing everything. Compensates for the inevitably long list of lost receipts.
  • Currency Exchange was a real money saver. The reality of currency exchange during non-domestic travel frequently presents momentary problems when making purchases (necessities, gifts, personal items) using a credit card. If you can check the currency exchange rate on the spot, especially during times when your home currency (in my case the Canadian dollar) is, remarkably, fluctuating around par with the currency of the country you're in (the U.S. dollar in this case), you can end up saving literally hundreds of dollars throughout the course of a long trip. Letting a store or a credit card provider do the conversion for you, then charge your credit card in your home currency, is often profitable for the store and money loser for you. Currency Exchange provides you with the current rate so you can determine whether which among your credit card provider, an ATM, local bank or the store can provide the best deal. Nobody cares about any of this when they're buying a ($20, €20, £20) T-shirt, but when you're standing in front of a dealer who is offering you a tempting $800 item, saving an additional $20 (or whatever) in fees or rates is important. It only takes a moment to check.
  • Live Flight Info was very handy because I forgot to check for delays before leaving the house at the start of the trip. It turned out that my early morning departure time was delayed by almost an hour due to bad weather at the destination, so we made a stop to have a leisurely and tasty breakfast, thereby completely avoiding any need to ingest airline food.
  • Codes & Domains helped sort out a wrong number. My traveling partner was not getting through to a number in Denver—no such number, wrong number, etc., etc. So I looked up the Denver area code (it's 303 in case you're wondering, not 308 which is one of two area codes for the entire state of Nebraska) and corrected the phone number. Easy.
  • Live Weather proved repeatedly useful because I rarely remember to watch for weather forecasts (hotel TV, local newspapers) while I'm traveling. Is this rain storm I'm standing in just a passing thing or should I have brought an umbrella because the whole day is messed up, and by the way, I wonder what tomorrow's weather looks like?
  • Unit Converter comes in handy for almost every foreigner traveling in the U.S. because most of the rest of the world has converted to metric measurement. Canadians like me rarely have a problem doing quick conversions in their heads. Basically, if you're a Canadian under 40 years of age, the education system offered all relevant references in metric. If you're older than 40, the education system offered all relevant references in Imperial. The 5-10 year educational transition period was great for 38-45 year olds in general, but anyone older than 45 needs help from time to time.

There's a lot more in SplashTravel Professional Edition including the Clothes Size utility, a helpful little comparison chart of sizing around the world. The Clocks, Alarms and Time Calculator features are largely unused by people like me who wear a dual timezone wristwatch while traveling, travel with a laptop and a favorite alarm utility already installed on my Treo 700p. On the other hand, the World Map utility in SplashTravel is quite useful because it provides a graphical view of which parts of the world are in daylight. Recently, on another business trip, I did a quick time calculation in my head and called a research associate at her home, the problem being that I had come up with an 8:00 PM time instead of the actual 1:00 AM time in the associate's location. She wasn't happy about being woken up for no good reason. So utilities such as the SplashTravel World Map help you not only calculate but also visualize what's going on somewhere else.

Cons: For most robust use, SplashTravel depends on a decent data access plan, and data plans cost more than they should in some areas. Obviously this is not a SplashTravel problem. But it's worth noting, for example, that most Canadian wireless carriers including Bell Mobility and Rogers offer data plans that cost far more than identical plans offered by U.S., UK, European and Japanese carriers. The problem is that Canadian infrastructure costs (given the size of the country and its comparatively small population) are much higher per subscriber. The point is to be careful, wherever you live, and subscribe to a data plan that accurately meets your needs. Note also that because SplashTravel Professional Edition is well designed, you'll actually end up using it while traveling, so stay aware of your monthly data plan limits while you're on the road.

Pros: SplashTravel Professional Edition is eminently useful for busy leisure and business travelers. Install it, use it consistently, and you'll be rewarded with much better control over what you're doing and over a number of decisions you might otherwise make without all the information that's needed. SplashTravel Professional Edition is typical of Splash Data products—easy to use, quick and broadly useful. Some people say that our capacity for memory is weakening somewhat as we rely more and more on utilities such as SplashTravel. But I say that we live in a world in which, for no sane reason, we're constantly assaulted by new, often useless information that frequently succeeds in pushing aside facts and details that are more important. SplashTravel Professional Edition is an exceedingly well-focused tool for helping plan, organize and conduct business and leisure travel. Highly recommended.

KSN Product Rating:



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