Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Travels: New Apps, Part One


SmarterTravel.com recently posted some great information on new apps available for traveling. Check them out and let me know if you’ve used any of them. The following is an excerpt from SmarterTravel.com.


Part One...


The Best New Travel Apps

Most independent travelers who own smartphones either already have or know about many of the most useful travel apps -- including booking sites like Kayak or Hipmunk, the most popular and/or native mapping apps, review sites like Yelp/Urbanspoon/TripAdvisor, translation apps like Google Translate, and personal travel tracking apps like TripIt and TripCase. In this piece we're not aiming to recount well-known foundational apps, but to seek out newer and less-known apps that might help you in your travels
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BOOKING AND RESEARCH APPS

Hopper

This super-new app is already lighting up pixels on travel and tech websites. The app crunches heaps of airfare data to create a simple, color-coded rendering of recent and future trends on your route. When you do a search, the app returns a calendar of the best and worst days to buy; when you pick dates, it advises whether to book now or wait, and tells you why in extremely simple language. There are a lot of other useful features along the way, including precise info on what constitutes a good deal, pricing predictions by date and more. Free for iOS, launching on Android "in the next few months"

Hotel Tonight

Pretty much what it sounds like, the simple, attractive and easy-to-use Hotel Tonight lets you search for hotel rooms for same-day and next-day hotel bookings, out to seven days from the current time. The classification of hotels as Basic, Solid, Hip, Charming or Luxe telegraphs the hotel type. Booking inside the app is quick and clear, and the speed of the whole experience is a significant plus. Free for Android, iOS and Windows


LOGISTICS

PackPoint

PackPoint is emerging as the go-to packing app for hardcore travelers, with good reason. Once you put in your destination, dates, length of stay and nature of trip (business, leisure or both), PackPoint then offers a grid to check off which activities you will be doing, including options for swimming, working, photography, camping, a fancy dinner and more. It even asks if you will be doing laundry during the trip.
Then PackPoint lets you swipe items on and off an impressively comprehensive generated list. You can email or tweet the following list, open it in a browser and more. Free for Android and iOS

JetLag Genie

This is a great app to help you hack your sleep schedule to minimize jet lag. Once you input your normal sleeping hours and origin and destination cities, JetLag Genie creates a multi-day schedule with suggested wakeup and sleep times, when and how much light to expose yourself to, and a recommended plan for naps (or lack thereof). The app is clear and fun to use as well. $2.99 for iOS


GETTING AROUND

Lyft

Lyft is the ubiquitous Uber's main competitor in the rideshare space; I mention it here so if you can't quite stomach Uber's, er, aggressive business practices, or want an option when needed, give Lyft a go. Free for Android, iOS and Windows

Citymapper

Many travelers swear by this app to help get around major cities; in my own use Citymapper produced outstanding results. You put in a starting and ending location, and the app will create a route for you by train, bus, bicycle, foot and taxi, with the approximate travel times (and prices where appropriate) for each route. It also shows where bus or subway lines are out of service or delayed.Free for Android and iOS

ViewRanger

This is a mapping app on steroids, with hardcore GPS functions, significant offline capabilities and even topography maps for the United States. This app will be a lot more than most folks need and is really designed for adventures such as backcountry hiking and camping, but for travelers heading off the grid, this is the ideal app. Free for Android, iOS and Kindle Fire

Waze

Waze is an increasingly popular mapping app that augments the standard routing functions with crowdsourced (and social media-enabled) traffic information to offer alternate/best routes around any serious trouble spots. The app displays the lowest gas prices and even speed traps along a route (though law enforcement folks want this ability removed, good buddy). Free for Android, iOS and Windows

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