Friday, 26 December 2014

Road Trip Post Mortem

After an epic 4595km trip around the country, the road trip has finally come to an end. It's been a fantastic journey and one that we will remember for the rest of our lives. However, as covered in some of the posts, things didn't always work out according to plan. So, for people who may be planning a similar trip, here's a little analysis of what worked and what didn't. In case you haven't read it, here's the post on some of the planning we did before the trip. Let's get to it.

Data Connectivity
Having data connectivity got us out of some sticky situations, especially when we were looking for last minute accommodation. The Huawei modem was a lifesaver, it worked pretty much flawlessly. As for the networks, MTN performed pretty well. There were some areas that were complete signal blackspots, but overall, it worked.

Blogging
Blogger itself is a nice platform. Unfortunately Blogger's mobile app is, well, a bit rubbish. It's really old and in desperate need of an update. I really hope that Google give the app some much needed attention, and while they're at it, they can give the web version a bit of TLC too.

Photo Editing
Snapseed was fantastic. It was fast and easy to use and we were pretty happy with the results. The Patriot Micro USB adaptor also worked nicely. The iPhone did struggle a bit though. Whilst Instashare did a good job of letting us get the photos to the iPhone, it was a cumbersome extra step that could be easily resolved if Apple didn't stubbornly stick to proprietary connectors.

Navigation
Google Maps was a crucial part of the whole trip, without it the trip quite frankly would not have been possible. However, there are some areas that it could improve. The big problem we encountered is that the app does not take into consideration the terrain of the road when choosing a route. This meant that it would sometimes direct us to a dirt road that is only really suitable for a 4x4, not a little VW Golf. The map already has the option to avoid toll roads so it would be great if there was a filter to avoid dirt roads as well.
As for Maps Engine, it proved really useful for planning, but the interface is a little clunky and could be streamlined a bit. There is also some functionality missing on the mobile app (compared to the web app) which made things a little difficult. The upside though is that it let us generate a cool map of the entire route (see below).

Emergencies
Luckily we didn't have any emergencies on the trip but if we did, the cheap Samsung would have worked great. The thing was a trooper with a battery life of about 4 days.

All in all, the things we bought along with us really added a lot to the trip. If you plan on embarking on something similar, I highly recommend giving the items above a look.

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