With the upcoming release of the iPhone 7, it’s a perfect time to talk about travel apps.
Had smartphones and the internet been around when I was in school there’s no doubt that I would’ve had my doctorate, damn you Al Gore.
I have a couple of catch phrases, “Here hold my beer and watch this” and “There’s an app for that“. That being said, apps are a blessing and a curse, next time you’re out at dinner take a look around and see how many people have their face buried in their phone instead of engaging in conversation.
Below are my current “Go-To” apps for traveling.
TripIt, (iOS Android) Perfect for organizing trip itineraries. It’s so smart that it queries my email and builds my itinerary, with flight, hotel and rental car information, without me doing anything. Additionally, it keeps track of my hotel and airline loyalty points and lets me know which seats on my flights offer the most legroom. If you want to share your travel plans with others, TripIt makes it very easy.
Uber – (iOS Android) I’m not a fan of grabbing a taxi, it’s a roll of the dice on the condition of the ride or its cost. Ever had a “6 drink” dinner? Me neither, but If I did I’d call an Uber to get me back to the hotel.
Waze – (iOS Android) Please don’t tell me that you own a smartphone and a GPS; it’s 2016 after all. Waze is more accurate than anything you can buy. If you want to know “real-time” the fastest route, the nearest Dunkin Donuts or where the police are hiding, then Waze is for you. In addition, they offer a wide array of voices to entertain you while driving.
Food & Beverage apps, one of the best sources isn’t actually an app, but a human, the hotel staff because they know the best local stops. When it comes to food on the information cul-de-sac, I normally start with FlavorTown. I’m a huge fan of Diners Drive-ins and Dives and if I’m in a town with a featured location I must try it. If FlavorTown leaves me high and dry then it’s Yelp. Yelp is usually accurate; establishments are rated on other patrons’ feedback so if you see 4 or 5 star feel certain you’ll get a nice meal. Untappd, while Yelp can help you find the breweries and bars Untappd will help rate the beers served there.
Airline apps, every airline has them and each have their own unique benefits. Most allow you to check-in 24 hours before your flight as well as providing you an electronic boarding pass. I’ve used Delta’s and Southwest’s app for booking travel without an issue. What they’re not good at is alerting you to travel delays; I rely on TripIt of FlightView for that.
Hotel apps, yes I have them loaded but short of some Hilton properties allowing me to use my phone as my door key, I really haven’t found much value in them. Most allow you to check in from the road, but you still have to visit the front desk and I’ve had better results asking for an upgrade in person versus using the app.
The final app, that I don’t use often enough, is from The Weather Channel (iOS Android). Several times each winter I’ll leave sunny 70 degree Florida only to land in Newark, with snow on the ground and me without a jacket. Sometimes I’m just ate up with that much stupid.
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