If you assume you only need travel apps for flight schedules and airport gates, guess again. From taking photographs to staying entertained to getting oriented without international roaming fees, it’s time to take a closer look at how apps can improve all the ways you travel. Discover 10 new apps that will make your whole trip simpler, smarter, and more fun.
“Where was that great place we went? You know, somewhere in Chinatown…” Never have this conversation again with Pin Drop. The purpose is simple: Drop multiple pins on a map, name and categorize them, and save them so you never forget where that cool place was. It locates where you are and you can drop a pin like that, or move a pin on the map and save it at a specific location if you want to plan places to hit before an excursion. Loading your pins and viewing the standard (non-satellite picture) map works offline, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost without reception.
TripAdvisor Offline City Guides
TripAdvisor has a wealth of reviews and tips on its site, but if you’re worried about battery life or are going somewhere without connectivity you can use its Offline City Guides app to download all the things TripAdvisor has on its site onto your phone. All the sections of food, hotels, attractions, suggested itineraries and all that are there, including the user reviews. Don’t worry about it taking up space, because you can download maps individually and delete the ones you don’t need anymore. The maps update when you’re connected to the Internet to ensure up-to-date info.
Explore the adventures of amateur photojournalists to get a sense of what’s around you. Users of Fotopedia upload pictures to one of several templates, write titles and descriptions, and geotag them for you to browse by list or by map to learn more about an area, see great pictures, and find places to check out. Making an account to publish your own is free, but you have to get out of the app and use their site. But, it’s best to stick to the desktop version because their mobile site has some problems.
One of the best camera apps for the iPhone, ProCamera gives you access to a range of new features. You can change and lock white balance, ISO, and focus; it has anti-shake, a self timer, rule grids, rapid fire, tiltmeter, and photo filters; it provides different aspect ratio options for photo, and video has slo-mo and resolution options (have fun maxing out your slo-mo vid with crystal clear frames!); and there’s a night mode which allows shutter speed as slow as one second. It won’t turn your iPhone into a DSLR, but the flexibility is great, and though it has a lot of options, it’s not intimidating to use. It’s on holiday sale for only 99 cents, but otherwise it’s still a steal at $4.99. You can set everything to an intelligent auto that provides clear shots — but with all of this capability, why not don the photographer’s hat?
A great app for capturing places that are larger than life, Autostitch uses high quality photos, instead of video frames like some apps do, and stitches them together into a panorama. You can set the quality of the pictures and the stitching, and even use pictures taken outside of the app. It has what’s called StitchGuide, which displays a colored rectangle on the screen to help you position your camera for the best stitching, going from green to yellow to no-good red. You can then crop as you like and share to email, Facebook, or Twitter.
If you have an iPhone 5S you can see how many steps you’ve taken and how many miles you’ve walked in a day for the last seven days. The iPhone 5S automatically tracks your motion for seven days, and Pedometer++ simply accesses the information. The app doesn’t even need to run in the background and use battery. You can also set a badge icon to show your steps on the home screen.
Songza is the answer when you need to listen to some good music to fit what you’re doing, but you have no idea what to play. The app is a music streaming service like Pandora, but it gives useful categories to choose from and what they call a concierge, which suggests options depending on the day and time. For categories, you can choose from activities, moods, genres, or decades, and then you’ll see a huge number of options that range from “Lying On A Beach” and “Mellow” to “Formal Dinner Party” and “Rowdy.”
The best way to get through a boring layover or other wait time is to not be there at all; one way you can do that is by putting in your headphones and being transported into the world of Simogo’s interactive puzzle novel, Device 6. Anna wakes to a room in a silent mansion and has no idea how she got there or where she is. Something about the whole place seems…off. Scroll, rotate your phone, interact with pictures to unlock new text pathways, and more to read how Anna fares in this lauded mystery.
Save the Orbsorb! If you’re up for a challenge, this game provides the instant gratification of seeing your high score rack up. The Orbsorb sits in the middle of the screen and you use your finger to swirl a protector orb around it, as enemy orbs try to fly past you. Absorb orbs of the same color for points, and keep sharp, because the Orbsorb changes colors.
One of the worst parts of a long trip comes just before landing when flight attendants pass out the customs declaration form. All of a sudden, you have to rack your brain and pull out receipts to remember all that you purchased. Instead, Simply Declare lets you keep track of your shopping for customs declaration forms and tax refunds. You input spending or just snap pictures of receipts for a final itemized list of spending. In addition, the app functions as an on-the-go currency convertor.
And for a bonus, check out the social app WorldWize. Created by a woman who quit her full-time job to backpack around the world, this app aims to connect travelers around the globe. The more people who use it, the more packed it becomes with with cool experiences and travel tips from other fellow travelers and locals. Then you can leave the traditional guidebook at home and find all those hidden local secrets in real time.
For more travel app ideas, check out:
- 10 Free Apps to Keep You Entertained at the Airport
- You Can Do What From a Hotel App
- Peter’s Essential Travel Technology
- Know Before You Go: The Best Travel Apps & Technology
By Cody Brooks for PeterGreenberg.com