By Jenneth Orantia

Planning a big night out? Chances are that you?ve sent SMS messages to your mates a few days beforehand and made loose plans to meet. As for the rest of the night, that?s usually covered with a vague ?we?ll see what happens?.

The truth is, unless there?s a gig or music festival on, it?s considered passé to plan a night too far in advance. You?re more likely to get a positive response to a ?wat u up 2? SMS sent to a friend on the same night than to a ?wat u up 2 dis wknd? SMS that you send several days in advance.

The downside to social spontaneity is that, more often than not, no one has any good ideas  and you wind up at the dingy local ? again.

But there?s no need to trust your social well-being to the (limited) imagination of your friendship circle. If you?ve got a mobile phone, you?ve got access to the socialite?s equivalent of the Yellow Mobile, with the inside scoop on all the hottest restaurants, bars, movies and gigs.

Round up the herd

The easiest way to invite everyone out to a big night is by sending a group SMS. It?s the same as a regular text message, but instead of sending it to one person, you can specify a group of people to receive it.

As anyone who has randomly bumped into a friend can attest, however, it?s often the chance encounters that are the most enjoyable. But why leave it up to fate?

Wouldn?t it make your social life a lot easier if your phone just told you whenever a good friend was close by? Sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but Telstra?s Whereis Everyone service provides that exact feature. You can invite friends who are also on the Telstra Mobile network to use it, and once you?ve added them to your Friends List, you can find out where they are (or, more accurately, the location of their mobile phone) at any time, get an SMS alert whenever they?re nearby, or find a good spot to meet them like a café or bar.

What?s going on?

Once you?ve got your best party clothes on, it?s a shame not to make the most of it. The Whereis What?s Nearby service can give you the low-down on where all the good bars, cafes, cinemas, clubs and pubs are, but it goes further than a simple listing. Using your mobile phone as a homing beacon, it can track your approximate location and offer up the closest venues ? complete with a map of the area, estimated travel time and distance and directions for how to get there.

If you want more detail about each venue, the Entertainment section in the BigPond portal is a goldmine. Using Citysearch Dining, you can get the skinny on all the restaurants in your vicinity, plus directions for getting there by foot or car. You can even limit results to restaurants that are licensed or BYO. You can even ask which restaurants are currently open, for late night snacking.

Gig guide

Ever been stuck at a boring pub or nightclub and just knew that there was something better going on elsewhere? Now you can find out where that is before the night goes sour. Again, it?s your trusty mobile phone to the rescue ? just load up the Citysearch Music service, and you can use the ?Nearby Events? feature to display all the venues that are near you. Clicking on any venue shows the event calendar for the coming month, and you can even check out the headline acts and cover charge for each event.

Using a mix of these mobile and online services, you can make sure that every night out is a great one without having to plan it to the hilt like an old fogey. You can invite friends, book a restaurant and get directions to a nearby club ? all in the time it takes to hail a taxi.

Make the night last longer

You?re all dressed and ready to go? but it?s a busy Saturday night and the cab takes ages to arrive. Avoid this fun-deflating wait by booking a cab with your PC before you even start to get dressed!

Major taxi companies all over Australia let you book online and specify the time a cab will pull up outside your door. Instead of waiting for the fun to start you?ll stride out the door and into Saturday night! And why not book one to take you home as well? Sure beats standing around in the queue after the show.

Sydney: taxiscombined.com.au
Melbourne: yellowcabs.com.au
Brisbane: blackandwhitecabs.com.au
Perth: swantaxis.com.au

Be your own DJ

Don?t forget your phone?s music player when you?re out. If the club you head to has a dud DJ, you can choose from thousands of tracks at bigpond.com and have them downloaded direct to your Next G mobile, so you?ll never have to miss a beat.

Source: Australian GO magazine