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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
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! I’m starting this series off with the iPhone, and if you haven’t viewed our prior suggestions, you can catch up here and here. 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
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
These days, a smartphone is expected to do more than just field calls and text messages. Increasingly, users are ditching paper maps in favor of handheld screens, and if you’re the owner of a shiny new Windows Phone 8, you’re holding one of the most potent navigational tools on the market today. Unbeknownst to many, Nokia has been producing world-class maps for years, and the company’s recent ties to Microsoft has brought a lot of that expertise to the Windows phone’s platform. If you’re ever in rural places with weak mobile coverage, or in foreign countries where you’d rather not run up a high roaming bill just to navigate, it’s worth it to understand your offline options. Read more
You’ve always talked about it, but now you’ve finally done it: you booked your dream vacation. You’ve spent months planning, orchestrating every miniscule detail, but as you touch down, it hits you: you have no way of getting from the airport to your hotel. You have no nearby friends or relatives to fetch you, and taking a taxi means putting a serious dent in your budget. Is your getaway over before it even started? Not to worry. A new feature within the GateGuru app, compatible with Apple and Android devices, ensures a smooth, easy ride.
The company’s partnership with the Avis-Budget Group is a big step in fulfilling GateGuru’s mission to reinvent travel. The latest version of the app, released in October, assists travelers in booking last-minute car rentals. Best of all, working directly with a single rental company allows GateGuru to offer the lowest available pricing. Users can get between 5 and 25 percent knocked off the price, with discounts increasing the closer the reservation is made to the day of travel. The company’s chief executive and co-founder Dan Gellert said the initiative was a result of, “thinking through the current airport rental car experience.”
Avid jetsetters should download TripIt on the Google Play store right away, but don’t splurge for the $3.99 “No Ad” version. Instead, spend the extra money on the $49/year TripIt Pro service. Once registered, TripIt will monitor your e-mail inbox for travel-related confirmations, seat changes, etc., and will update your Android app immediately. It’s completely effortless. Delays and gate changes will alert you automatically, and you’ll also get complimentary 1-year memberships to Hertz #1 Club Gold and Regus Gold.
The Pro service also makes it easy to track all of your frequent traveler points, and you’ll be immediately notified if your airfare is eligible for a refund due to a price drop. For those who need to share upcoming trip details with kids, friends, or family, the app enables easy (and private) sharing to the parties you specify, so they too will know exactly where you are after you depart. Read more
The same goes for apps. They’re all portable by definition, but who’s to say which travel game apps are best? Me, I suppose. Here now, some apps that lend themselves to family fun and, dare I say it, learning.
Emma in Africa. For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. $1.99
Full disclosure here, I also write for a safari company that recently sent me to Kenya. So when it comes to the yield of a Kenyan safari book app geared toward kindergarteners, my expectations may be a bit high. But I can report that Emma in Africa hits the right notes with its mix of simple storytelling, sounds, and factoids.
We’ve all been there: Your plane has landed late and you have ten minutes to get to a connecting flight in an airport you’ve never been to. You have to get from the domestic flights to the international flights and you know there’s a shuttle, but you don’t know where it is. You haven’t got the time to wait in line at the information desk or to try and figure out where the “You Are Here” signs are. Enter Google Maps 6.0 with its new indoor maps, complete with floor plans and indoor search and navigation options. Google Maps can take you to whichever gate you need, no time wasted.
Or that’s the theory, at any rate. Currently, Google Maps 6.0 is available only for phones operating with Android OS 2.1 or above, and only in select locations, most of which are airports and department stores. It’s technically only in its beta stage, so it still has a few kinks to work out, as I learned while testing the new feature in the Herald Square Macy’s.
Starting this month, Apple will be holding free travel workshops for iPhone and iPad users at stores nationwide. The tutorials – focusing on apps, products, and other tools – are divided into three sections to give the best tips for before, during, and after your trip. Learn how to load up on games and books to keep you busy in transit, what apps work best, and how to share photos and more once you return home.
Another note for travelers: Though these workshops aren’t yet available outside the U.S., you can get tech support for your Apple products at all worldwide stores – which are popping up everywhere these days!
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