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Archive for the ‘travel apps’ tag

November 5th, 2013 at 5:00 am

A Little Help for the Holiday Travels

holidaytravelIt’s “Over the river and through the woods” time!

As we all know, holiday travel can be a major headache but if family isn’t close by and they’re not coming to you, you’ll need any help you can get keeping it merry. Here are a few helpful travel apps. They won’t get you there by clicking your heels, but can help make it a little easier.

If you’re on a road trip and it’s time to eat, try KidsMealDeals to find out which restaurants nearby are offering deals or kids-eat-free promotions. Another handy road app, Kidzout, tells you where there are diaper decks, kid friendly restaurants, play places, as well as medical facilities nearby.

And to try to keep it fun, Sunday Drives lets you know what you’re driving by on your route. Historic places, interesting factoids and scenic routes can take the edge off of boring rides.

Traveling by air? Keeping track of the logistics can be overwhelming. Try the TripCase app. It will consolidate flight, hotel, car rental and other details into a detailed timeline-based itinerary. Include the record locator and/or trip ID and you’ll receive updates with any delays or changes. A little setup during the planning stages can pay back in a big way with a single source for all you need to know when you need it.

And before heading to the airport, check myTSA. Make sure your carry-ons don’t include anything you don’t want confiscated,  or that might delay the already painful process of getting to the gate.

May all your holiday travels be pleasant!

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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September 18th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Road Trip Apps – Don’t Leave Home Without Them

Hitting the road for a long drive? Used to be you brought along an atlas, some snacks, some music and prayers for a smooth trip.

These days, there are some great tools on your smartphone that can help make the trip easier and more hassle free than ever.

First, there’s Google Maps (Android). For navigation, it’s amazing. Enter your destination, turn on the navigation and get turn by turn instructions either visually or with audio. Turn on the Traffic layer and you can keep an eye on delays and bottlenecks. On our recent trip, we were able to avoid hours sitting in traffic due to a closed interstate by rerouting on some back roads.

Getting low on gas? Type “gas station” in the search box and GMaps will pinpoint all the stations on your route. GasBuddy can help you find the best prices. This is great for avoiding the dreaded “30 miles till next exit” when you’re low on fuel, bladder control, or wakefulness.

For lodging, type in “hotels” and see what’s around. Each map pin has information about the hotels so you can find the brand you want and get additional information. To get rating information, TripAdvisor is great for finding out the particular pros and cons and getting good insight from past travelers. The Travelocity app is also feature rich for this. If you’re a frequent guest at a particular hotel, make sure you’ve downloaded their app for quick and easy reservations. And if you’re near a large city a newer app called HotelTonight can provide deals on last minute hotel reservations.

Hungry? If you’ve got Siri, simply tell her that you are or what you feel like eating and let her come up with some suggestions. Or you can use Yelp, Good Food Near You, or Foodspotting (see my post from a couple of weeks ago) to see what’s nearby.

And if you want to explore the area you’re in beyond gas stations, hotels and restaurants, try Roadside America (iphone $2.99) for tips on finding the fun, funny and absurd attractions nearby. Or let Woofound match you up with your favorite activities away from home.

When I was 15, I went on a family road trip cross country armed with a box full of AAA TripTiks and hotel catalogs and spent a lot of time stopping and checking hotels and restaurants. Before cell phones (forget smartphones), it was a lot of hit or miss, with enough misses to write a book.

My husband, daughter and I recently spent 11 days on the road covering over 2700 miles. As the designated navigator and mission control, I used all of these apps to ensure the trip went as smooth as possible, with mostly hits. It was a blast.

 

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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May 8th, 2012 at 5:00 am

4 On-The-Go Mobile Apps You’ll Be Happy To Have

Summer’s coming and for many of us, that means lots of time in the car and on the go. Here are 4 free and really useful apps that will help make your adventures a little less well, adventurous.

Have2P – When you’re on the road and you, or your kids, gotta go, you just gotta go! This app give you a list of all the bathrooms nearest to your location. Results include restaurants, stores and gas stations and the listings include whether they are available to patrons only, are clean, and whether they have changing tables (how helpful is that?). Keep in mind though that user input is needed to populate this info, so if you know of or visit any of the locations, please be sure to give the feedback. (iPhone, Android)

Good Food Near You – Don’t you just love it when you stumble on a restaurant that turns out to be so much better than expected? When you’re on the road, we end up at the old standbys when we might not know what other choices might be right around the corner. This app gives you a list of the nearby restaurants, with links to their menus. Better yet, it gives you calorie, fat, carb and protein info for each menu item. Now you really have no excuse for settling for an unhealthy choice. (iPhone, Android, Blackberry)

Find My Car – Admit it dude, you HAVE lost your car on occasion. Don’t you just hate walking around like a dope looking for your car or pressing the lock button on your key fob hoping to hear the beep of your horn nearby. Now, all you have to do is run this app, tap the icon to remember your current location and later, when it’s time to go home, just use the location tools to navigate back to your vehicle and voila! So next time you’re at the mall, a stadium, or any large parking lot, save yourself some time and frustration with this amazingly helpful app. (iPhone, Android)

AroundMe – Ever find yourself in an unfamiliar place and need a gas station? A dentist? A dry cleaners? AroundMe will give you the 411 on whatever type of service or vendor you might need. Just enter the type of business you’re looking for and it will give you the nearby options. This isn’t a comprehensive rating or link-based app, it just gives you directions and a phone number. Often, that’s all you need. (iPhone, Android)

These apps are incredibly helpful and practical. It’s like having a concierge ride along with you on your trip. Don’t leave home without them.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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