WorldMate 2005 Professional Edition
Traveling can be exciting, but even the most seasoned jetsetter can be overwhelmed by pretrip preparations. This is where WorldMate 2005 Professional comes in. A handy bit of software, it provides you with all the tools to make your trip as smooth as possible from start to finish--organizing itineraries, checking weather forecasts, creating packing lists, assisting with currency conversion, and more. It works with Pocket PCs and Palm devices, as well as Windows Mobile-based smart phones, so anyone can access it on the go. However, as useful as the program is, only those who travel frequently will get the most mileage out of WorldMate; occasional globetrotters might want to take a pass, especially with the pricey $69.95 yearly subscription fee. (There is also a Standard edition for $29.95, but you don't get the travel itinerary and flight-status functions.)
Installation was a breeze. We downloaded the software from Handango and synced with ourwith just a couple of mouse clicks. The WorldMate registration page then pops up, which lets you to enter your subscription code to access all the features. When you return to your home page, you'll notice a bar that displays your home city's time, along with those of two other designated cities (see below). Tapping on the bar opens the full application (or you can access it via the Programs menu) and the tabbed interface makes it simple to get to the program's 11 sections: Clocks, Weather Watch, Map, Currency, Itinerary, Flight Schedule, Measurements, Area Codes, Clothing, Tip Calculator, and Packing List.
WorldMate even helps you before your trip begins. Under the Itinerary tab, you can input all your trip information, including flight schedule, car rental, hotel, cruise, train, and meeting data; the program leaves no stone unturned with entry fields for such details as gate information, hotel rates, and reminder alerts. You can also export this information to your PDA's calendar. If you're the forgetful kind or you're just superorganized, you'll love the Packing List feature. You can choose from eight categories (Clothing, Electronics, Hygiene, and so on) or select All and the program will come up with a checklist of items. Once you check an item, it will show up under the My List tab where you tick them off one by one as you pack them. Again, we were impressed by WorldMate's breadth and attention to detail, with choices that include "motion sickness medicine" and "turn down thermostat." Don't know what kind of weather to pack for? Weather Watch allows you to get the five-day forecast for four cities, courtesy of the Weather Channel. To use this function, however, you have to be synced to a computer with Internet access. Once you're ready to go, there is a Flight Schedule function that gives you real-time updates on the status of all flights listed under your Itinerary. There's a catch, though: while you get three free flight-status updates with your annual subscription, once those are used you'll have to purchase additional "flight tokens" at $9.95 for 30 tokens.
Once you arrive at your destination, WorldMate continues to be a good travel companion. There are handy guides, such as Measurements, which convert your clothing and shoe size from those used in your your home city to the United States, Europe, UK, or Japan equivalents. From the Clocks page, you can choose to keep track of the local time in five cities around the world (keep in mind, your first three picks will be the cities that appear on your home page) so you don't try calling home at 3 a.m. The Area Codes tab also gives you international dialing codes.
The program is pretty self-explanatory and intuitive, but if you need extra help, there are several tech support options. MobiMate's Web site is a wealth of information, offering a full user manual with a breakdown of each section as well as an FAQ page. There is also a troubleshooting section, but if you still can't find a solution, you can file an e-mail help ticket.