Here we go with Round Two of the Great App-Doors: five more of those handy little apps that make adventure traveling so much sweeter. Considering the warp-speed operating mode of life these days, there’s a chance my selections might be outdated by, oh, the next minute, but here’s to happy app-ing in the meantime.
Of course, if you have any favorite adventure travel apps of your own that I missed, be sure to share ’em in the comments section below.
SAS Survival Guide: Even the hardiest of outdoorsmen (and women) are likely to pick up a tip or two from this info- and feature-packed dynamo. It’s an e-version of the best-selling handbook by John “Lofty” Wiseman, a veteran of the British Special Air Services and all-around adventure badass, with advice and instruction, including videos, on survival in harsh environments. The app is available free as a “Lite” version, but go ahead and shell out $7 for the full-on version. It comes with uber-cool – and potentially life-saving – extras like the ability to type and convert emergency messages to Morse code, complete with light flashes.
Kayak: If you’re like me, planning for almost every trip starts by pricing flights on Kayak. But this multitasking app can easily double as your virtual travel agent/personal assistant. Its Explore feature lets you browse trip options based on interest, destination, and price point. The app also has a packing feature, including pre-loaded lists, flexible editing, sorting, and the ability to check off items as you pack them. And soon, you’ll even be able to book hotels directly through the app, following the recent announcement of direct hotel booking on Kayak.com.
Cheap Gas: This nifty – and free! – little app is true to its name: showing you the least expensive places to fuel up, depending on your location. The “Cyborg” feature is especially cool: The app superimposes gas brands in the view mode of the camera’s phone in the actual direction of the station; tap on one, and it pulls up a map. A godsend for those of us (ahem) who may have coasted into remote stations on fumes once or twice.
Lonely Planet Phrasebook: Not that I’m saying you should get lazy about learning a few key phrases of the local language, but this little gizmo could really save the day (or help you save face) when you’re butchering the proper way to say “where’s the bathroom?” When you’re tongue-tied in a language like Swahili, just tap onto the audio recording, which has more than 600 common phrases for everyday situations in 17 different languages. There are a few drawbacks and limitations, and it’s not exactly cheap – $9.99 – but it’s a safe bet this app will pay for itself in reducing the stress factor of foreign communication.
mileBlaster: What traveler has time to actually keep track of frequent flyer programs, accumulated (and expiring) miles and all the assorted bookkeeping that goes with it these days? Wouldn’t you rather be, you know, traveling? Me too. That’s where mileBlaster comes in. Though its name might sound more like a fitness gadget on a late-night infomercial, this well-reviewed app does a bang-up job organizing all your mileage programs, with assorted perks and expiration dates. E-mails give you a heads-up on expiring miles, so you can plan ahead to take advantage.
Find the best places to put those apps to use with our Sports & Adventure Travel Deals.