6 or 7 More Apps no Traveler Should be Without

I wrote a post a few months ago about apps for travel and received several more suggestions from some loyal readers! So I decided to road test a few and I have several to pass onto you. I don’t want to recommend what I haven’t tried out myself. Some of the apps I was already using and it took a nudge from a reader that it was an appropriate travel app. Actually, I kind of hit my forehead and said, duh, of course you have to have the Uber app.6 or 7 More Apps No Traveler should be without

Since my last post on travel, my husband has been using Waze and has been using it every day on his drive to and from work. They have updated the app to send ETAs to others on the app. I have to say it is fantastic to receive the ETA on my phone and know that he’ll be home in 22 minutes, shows the route he is on and will update the ETA when he stops as a gas station or is delayed in some other way. If I had a child in high school behind the wheel of a car, I would mandate the use of this app. No texting or calling while behind the wheel is necessary!

So here are my additional 6 (or 7) Must Have apps:

1. Uber. This is like a personal chauffeur service that is amazing and usually inexpensive. When you open the app it will get you a quote on how much it will cost to ride from your current location (say a hotel) to another location (perhaps a restaurant). If you decide the rate is acceptable, it gives you an ETA for the car to arrive, a description of the car and photo of the driver and follows the car as it comes to your location. The other amazing thing is that it automatically charges a credit card on file, so you don’t have to mess with swiping your credit card when you arrive at your destination. I love Uber but there has been some recent press and controversy over competition with taxis. I was recently in San Antonio and it was banned. So verify it’s available in the city you are traveling too.

2. GasBuddy. Have you ever been in the middle of eastern Georgia on Interstate 20 looking for a gas station? This is the app to have. It shows both by price and distance where the closest or cheapest gas station is. You can also update prices if you pass a gas station that has the incorrect price in the app and sort by type of gas you need such as diesel or premium. So if I’m low on gas I can check if I should wait and fill up in the next town and save 20 cents or stop at the next station. As a woman traveling alone in a car, this is a must have app.

3. Fly Delta. I’m not sure how long this app has been available but a passenger on a recent flight told me about it. Delta previously just had an app that showed flight status, arrival and departure gates. This new app is amazing. Now you can check in, have your boarding pass and find out your flight status. The minute you land it notifies you of your arrival gate and departure gate when making a connection. It also tracks your bag (you can rest easy that it’s on the same plane as you!) and lets you know the local weather. Phenomenal. That’s a lot of flight info packed into an app!

4. WebMD Allergy. I am allergic to dust, grass, and trees. I was suffering badly before a recent trip and found out this was going to be a really bad allergy season on the East coast because of the exceptionally cold winter. I searched for an allergy app and this one is terrific. It notifies me first thing in the morning if tree pollen is high and gives tips on what to do. You can search the city you are traveling to and find out whether there are any allergy issues there. I was relieved when I went to San Antonio because they had less allergens.

5. HHonors. This is Hiltons app which includes a whole host of hotels from Hampton Inns to Waldorf Astoria. This app has recently been improved because you can now check in using the app. You can even select which floor and room you want to have. In addition, at some hotels you can make requests for upgrades or items for your arrival. This app is invaluable if you ever get delayed beyond your control. I have booked a room after midnight on the DC beltway and used my honors points to pay for it.

6. Red Herring and 7 Little Words. These are just fun apps to play while on an airplane or at the airport. They start with 50 free games but you will have to pay for additional games eventually (because these games are addictive). Red Herring is about grouping 16 words into 3 groups while leaving aside 4 “Red Herring” words. It’s nice because you can set the difficulty. So if you are brain dead you can select “easy” and feel very superior by our grouping prowess. 7  Little Words is a cross between word find and crossword puzzles. The best part of this game is the smiley face when you put together all 7 little words.

Ok. So there you have it. 6 (actually 7) more apps to try out on your next trip across the country or across town. What apps do you travel with?

7 Apps No Traveler Should be Without.

I travel alone a fair amount. I’m not a road warrior by any stretch of the imagination but as a woman traveling alone, there are apps that I would literally be lost without. Some of the apps I have are purely for my own daily routine that keep me mindful and present even if I’m in a hotel three time zones away. I can remember about 7 years ago, my cell phone fell into a toilet while I was in St. Petersburg, Florida at a conference. Toast. Gone. It was just a regular cell phone (not smart in anyway) but it stopped me in my tracks. How in the world was I to communicate with only landlines? The horror of it. I survived, but I can tell you, I know where my phone is any time I am near water.

I have to say that I view a 5 hours car ride or a 3 hour flight as an opportunity to learn something. I actually look forward to either hearing a book or playing brain games or learning a language while on cruise control or 30,000 miles above the earth. It’s like a blank slate of time that gets filled with a great collage of information, drama and inspiration.7 Apps No Traveler Should be Without.

So here they are. The 7 apps that no traveler should be without.

1. Waze. Waze is a navigation app that my cousin’s wife turned me onto about two years ago. It’s free. There are other navigation apps out there but my favorite is Waze. There is a communal feel about Waze. Everyone else who is on the app traveling at the same time is reporting events on the road, they are called “Wazers”. Whether there is an accident, police (visible or not visible) or an object in the road, you are alerted about half a mile in advance. It even tells you if it’s raining or snowing or the traffic is moving at 17 miles an hour just ahead of you. Check out Waze.

2. OpenTable. This is another free app that is indispensable for the woman traveling alone. This will get you a reservation in practically every city in North America (I haven’t tried it overseas). If you are traveling to Seattle, you can research in advance to find the perfect sushi restaurant with walking distance of your hotel or find a reservation on the fly when your flight is delayed. So why is this great for a woman traveling alone? Well, the last thing you want to do is to walk into a restaurant that has a 45 minute wait, is closed on Tuesdays or went out of business 3 months ago and they forgot to take down their website. In addition, you can review the menu and reviews to see if it’s in your price range and lines up with your palate. AND you earn points towards gift cheques to be used at participating restaurants.

3. Audible. I am an Audible devotee. I’ve been a member for over 4 years. Basically, you can listen to most books using this app. There is a membership fee depending on how many books you want to listen to. I have listened to everything from Gone with the Wind to Huckleberry Finn to The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. When books are recommended at a conference, I add it to my wish list. Even my commute is not a waste of time because I am constantly listening to books. As Zig Ziglar describes automobile university, “A study by the University of Southern California revealed that if you live in a metropolitan area and drive 12,000 miles a year you can acquire the equivalent of two years of college education in three years’ time by listening to educational information in your car.” Utilize your travel by learning more.

4. Do It Tomorrow. This is a free app that is basically a list keeper. There is one list for “Today” and another list for “Tomorrow”. I use these lists for everything from keeping notes in a conference, checklists for my trip (don’t forget your bathing suit!), or a running grocery list (AAA batteries, orzo and butter are on my list right now). It’s super easy to use. There are other apps that will share lists which are great as well. This has just been my default for the last two years. Make sure you either have a note pad or some other app but don’t muddle your head with trying to remember AAA batteries. Save that brain space for something else.

5. Weather. I have the default weather app on my iPhone that I can add or delete cities from anytime I want. So if I’m making a connection through Atlanta, I can look up the weather for the next seven days. I recently traveled to Tampa and while you might expect temperatures of 75 degrees in January, the highs were only in the low 60’s (perish the thought). At least I was dressed appropriately and I left my bathing suit at home. Have the weather handy at all times.

6. Routine. I have three apps that are part of my daily routine. I meditate using an app called Holosync usually while on a treadmill or running outside (kill two birds with one stone). I then spend 5 minutes using the free version of Luminosity which has brain games to improve cognition. After that, time permitting, I spend 10 minutes learning Spanish on Duolingo (there are other languages available and it’s FREE). This is part of my daily routine and it grounds me no matter where I am. When I’m traveling, it’s nice to have some things I can count on to enrich me.

7. Hotel Plus. Make sure you download your hotel app. You never know when you are going to be needing a hotel at 2 AM while driving on the belt line in DC (oh wait that actually happened to me). I was traveling to Florida a few years ago with my elderly parents. We were delayed for 4 hours and were to arrive after midnight. I used my Hilton app to find a hotel close to our destination airport and made a reservation. My parents thought I was a wizard. Make sure you have the right apps available before you travel so that you can be a wizard as well.  Also, make sure you have your bank app, Starbucks if you’re a fan, etc. so that your life on the road isn’t over the top alienating.

This list could be endless but I think I have the essentials (and I realize there are more than 7). I’m curious as to what you see as an essential travel app that you can’t live without?