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Though it may not seem (or feel like it from the weather), we’re already into a new quarter for 2013, which means it’s time to refresh our quarterly app guides! Last week, I started by updating our iPhone guide. Now, I’ll tackle the ever-growing Android platform. If you’re looking to use your phone as a crutch during your summer vacation planning, you’ll want to make sure the programs below are installed. Read more
In many ways, smartphones have created a work environment where employees have a tough time completely disconnecting. But in many other ways, these connected products have made our lives far easier, and far more organized. One of the longstanding dreads for those who routinely travel for business is the art of filing expenses. Thankfully, I’ve got a few recommended apps that can make the process far easier.
Planning a trip can be daunting. In fact, many would-be travelers are so put off by the notion of actually planning a trip, that they simply never get around to doing it. Figuring out where to start is consistently an issue for those who haven’t dabbled in trip planning and logistics before, but the new realm of technology is making it a lot easier. Below, I’ll share with you three pieces of (free!) software that make planning a journey a cinch. Read more
For avid hikers or bicyclers, it may be tough to remember the routes you’ve conquered, which remain your wish list, and which were your favorites. For those who enjoy spending as much vacation time as possible in the great outdoors, you may be itching for ways to capture those special excursions in order to look back on what made certain trips so worthwhile. If you just so happen to be a smartphone owner, I’ve got a few apps that can be of assistance. Read more
I’ve always heard photographers mention that the best camera you have is the one that’s closest to your hands, but these days, that adage is proving ever more true. As consumers at large have started to adopt and embrace smartphones, those point-and-shoot cameras have begun to collect dust. In fact, the iPhone is the most represented camera on all of Flickr, despite the fact that it has only existed since 2007. If you’re beginning to lean on your phone’s camera in order to capture memories and journal experiences, allow me to introduce a handful of apps that can make the experience an even richer one. Read more
It’s the start of a new year, which is an ideal time to take a look at the phone in your pocket and reconsider your app collection – particularly for travel, as you plan for all of your 2013 trips. If you’re still looking for ways to use your new (or old) Android phone or tablet to make your vacations more organized, look no further.
Built and maintained by Google’s own Niantic Labs department, Field Trip is without question one of the best travel-related Android apps to ever surface. And best of all, it’s completely free. Designed for the argonaut in all of us, this app can run in the background and then notify you when you’re in the vicinity of something interesting. It uses your current position and crosses that with its vast database of points of interest, acting as a “guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you.” You can use it in a growing number of cities, or enable the random mode for a bit of spontaneity. Even if you aren’t planning to leave your hometown for some time to come, give this one a download – it may lead you to find a few local places of note that you hadn’t seen before. Read more
I know, you’re a busy person. You’re constantly on the go, attempting to juggle several hundred inbound requests, and it’s all you can do to just keep your smartphone charged. In the past few months, I’ve discussed a few of my favorite travel applications for Windows Phone, Android, and iOS, but I’d like to take a deeper dive into the world of location apps. For many, the term “check in” is one that’s familiar, but perhaps not personal enough just yet. Turns out, these location apps can not only help you to discover the best activities and eateries in a new city, but they can also save you money.
In a nutshell, programs like Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, Shopkick, Living Social, and Groupon serve to not only share your current location information with friends, but offer plenty of incentives to use their apps if all you’re after is savings. My recommendation, at least for iPhone and Android users, is to download these six applications and stuff them away in a folder entitled “Location.” This way, you’ll know precisely where to look when you’re itching for a little discovery. All of these are free to download and free to join, and while there’s some overlap in terms of what discounts are offered where, you’ll generally expand your chances for savings by peeking into all of them. Read more
Earlier in the year, Google introduced a new version of its Android mobile operating system. In the global market, it goes toe-to-toe with RIM’s BlackBerry platform and Apple’s iOS platform – the latter of which is used in the iPhone. One of the flagship features in Android 4.1, also called “Jelly Bean,” is Google Now. In a sense, it’s a direct competitor to Apple’s Siri, but it’s actually far, far more powerful in practice. For the most part, it has remained a relatively quiet feature that Google has yet to play up, but I’m here to explain exactly how this one feature could revolutionize how your phone tracks, manages, and helps you stay sane when you’re traveling.
While it’s great to get away from the stresses of work, bills, and chores by going on vacation, being away from home creates a new cause for concern: the well-being of your house, belongings, and even pets that remain at home. When you head out of town – or even just out for the day – you leave behind many things of value. Alarm systems are great, but they don’t allow you to check in on what’s happening when you’re somewhere else. If you’ve left your kids with a babysitter, dogs with a friend, or your cats alone for the weekend, being able to see what’s happening can offer more than just a little piece of mind. Many alarm companies offer home monitoring systems, but they can be expensive and require professional installation. Additionally, they provide an opportunity for someone else (in this case, the technician) to know how your house is protected. That’s why we’re so impressed by Dropcam HD. It’s the do-it-yourself, easy-to-install, no-tech-savvy needed home monitoring solution that’s perfect for while you travel.
Consumer technology moves faster and faster each year. Just five years ago, the iPhone didn’t exist. Just think about that for a minute. The pace of innovation in technology is one that has never before been rivaled, and it’s convinced us to start a new recurring series where we discuss the gadgets and gizmos that we’re frequently using to make our travel-filled lives a bit easier.
As for me, I’m usually swimming in gadgets. But being a gadget critic has shown me that exceptionally few gadgets actually have a lasting impact. Presently, the gadget I find myself using the most is Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus. It’s one of the cheapest high-end Android smartphones that you can buy in an unlocked fashion (enabling it to be used freely on all carriers around the globe), and it’s bound to get even more affordable now that LG’s Nexus 4 has taken its place atop Google’s flagship pedestal. I adore my iPhone 4S, but there’s no question that the Maps application in Android is superior. When it comes to getting me from Point A to Point B, I trust Google Maps implicitly. Read more
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