A recent NYT article got me thinking about travel apps and I thought I would see what apps Insiders recommend. Searching the MRI site I also found a Dec 2012 blog post from vaboywnder on this topic. (Great Travel Apps)
I use the following apps: Kayak, Google Maps, OpenTable, Uber, and TripIt to either help plan travel or make my trip more enjoyable.
What are the apps that you find most helpful when traveling (or preparing to travel)?
Much of my travel is by car, so GasBuddy is a given. The NPR station finder app also gets quite a workout.
As a AAA member, I use their app as well. I can plan trips on their website and download maps/directions to my smartphone. Recent changes have made it a little more difficult to use, but it still comes in handy for the complicated routes I use as I visit county seats across the country. If I can find an app that does the same thing without crashing so often, I'll consider switching.
Google maps comes in handy from time to time. When I fly, I use the app for the appropriate airline. I agree that the Underground map app was a big help in London. I have the Marriott app, but use it only occasionally. I did use it recently to double check the details of a reservation. The alarm and camera functions on my phone get a bit more use when I travel as well.
I'd like to find a good app for locating restaurants/fast food along the Interstates. I've researched a few but have yet to find one without mostly bad reviews. Anyone know of a good one?
When travelling I find myself going to my iPad more often to the Hotel (yes Marriott's)/airline's full website as it usually has more information than the phone app.
That said, I do find myself relying heavily on the road on Yelp for restaurants when visiting an area the first time or to find a specific cuisine, Google Maps, and banking info.
I truly don't know the difference between an app and a site (no one teach me, my head will explode, I'm still studying pingreeman's Hilton vs. Marriott analysis!), but here's my go to cyberspace resources;
Mapquest - driving and walking (love to walk the cities)
Travelzoo - great for discounts on tours and activities like biking and kayaking (tried Kayak but it didn't help )
Goldstar events - great for performing arts discounts
Restaurant.com - excellent for non-prime time meals (like lunches, casual dinners) anyone noting a trend?
OpenTable for getting the type of table I desire for the big dollar meals
and of course, my travel bible, Insiders
Great question jakeal!
Some of my personal favorites have already been mentioned on here such as: Google Maps, OpenTable and Uber.
I love my airline apps: United, Delta, Southwest, etc. I find these apps the most useful (and green) when not having time to print my boarding pass and wanting to get through the security line quickly. Another great app I rely on a lot is Yelp - great reviews on restaurants. I also love AroundMe - this app shows you Bars, Restaurants, Gas Stations, Coffee Shops, Banks, Hospitals and Hotels all around the location you are at!
Owing to my somewhat obsessive trip-planning nature -- Lady Foxglove would use a more Freudian term -- I think the only app we've ever actually used is GasBuddy, which saved me from a lot of pushing, in a search for clean diesel somewhere around Mt. Olive, N.C. Nothing but cucumber fields as far as the eye could see. Three consecutive small-town service stations were out of diesel. Note to self: stick to the interstate.
Jakeal, great question. I've already learned a lot from others posts here.
Airlines: Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, Flying Blue. Love the mobile check-in and paperless boarding pass feature.
Hotels: Marriott, of course.
Navigation: Google Maps, Rail apps, such as SNCF in France, Ratp for Paris metro, Amtrak, Wmata for WDC,
Sdmts for San Diego, Gonctd for San Diego North County, etc.
Other for foreign travel: CurrencyConverter, Google Translate.
I also like to download Triposo and City Walk apps for specific cities that I'm visiting. They're really fantastic for self guided walking tours. I put them on my wifi only tablet, and the gps in the tablet works splendidly with the app for relative locations.
Also, this may sound a bit odd, but when I do road trips, I use the Costco app to tell me where the next Costco with a gas station is located, since that's where I prefer to purchase fuel. Also, when I'm out of town and need to go to the store, I will use the Target app for it's store locator.
For bejacob, the google maps app provides a layer that offers a good list of restaurants (and directions/location) for wherever you're at. On our last drive to SF, we wanted to stop at an In N Out for lunch, and google maps took us to the very next one on the highway. It was pretty slick.
Only a few replies and I already have new apps to download.
pluto77 - I like the idea of the Costco app as I not only get gas there, but will sometimes stop in for a free tire rotation when I am on the road. I also haven't used Triposo or City Walk, but will download them. Are they both designed for walking tours only?
patrish - Uber has treated me well. Before you download it have someone you know send you an invite. You will get money off your first ride and they end up with a discount as well.
foxglove and bejacob - another Fuel app (albeit it has a cost to download) is Fuel Finder. bejacob you may also want to consider Road Ahead (RoadAhead Highway Exit Finder on the App Store on iTunes) to help you find stuff along Interstates.
ansaa - I have never used AroundMe, but look forward to giving it a try.
erc - Have you accumulated enough credits on OpenTable to get a gift card? If so, can you use them at any restaurant on OpenTable?
Thanks all! Hopefully others will share additional apps they use.
I have generated several of them (because of my flexibility and interest, I'm often able to snag 1,000 points tables) and have never had any problem in using them at OT restaurants. My only disappointment was discovering my London reservations through the affiliate, TopTable, did not combine with the US reservations, but it was still valuable for securing reservations, excellent tables and great service.
I'm a big fan of OpenTable, it has led to some special dining experiences.
About Triposo and City Walk, I'm not exactly certain as I'm sure I haven't used all of the functionality. City Walk has an extensive list of attractions and tells about each one, some marked as 'must see.' It also has a city map with an extensive amount of layers, ie. restaurants, water transportation, public transportation hotels, banks, hospitals, etc. you name it, in addition to a number of different walking tours. I use it on my wifi only iPad mini, and so it uses the gps in the device to show me where I am at in relationship to a given attraction or walking tour. So if I stray off of the tour path, it helps me find my way back. I'm not sure what additional functionality is available with full time internet access. Anyway, I like them, thought they were worth it, and I can still use them at home when I want to revisit or look up something. You can check them out, as they offer free apps, as well as upgraded versions ($4.99). I thought they were worth every penny.
Funny you mention about tire rotation, we have done the same thing at Costco's when taking road trips.
erc I'll have to get more acquainted with Open Table. I've used them to make reservations (links from restaurant websites), nothing more. Sounds like I'm missing out on some good stuff. Thanks.
Yes, give it a try. They have a 'Special Requests' box (somewhat like Marriott's Virtual Concierge) on the reservation form and it's perfect for Graduations, Birthdays, Anniversaries, etc. Once you reach VIP level (which comes relatively early (I believe 12 resv. in a year) the restaurants really work with you to make it a memorable experience. My all time favorite was Logan's Tavern in DC, which not only was a delicious meal, but then surprised us (four of us, celebrating a birthday) with an entire platter of desserts on the house, (combined with my Bogo Goldstar ticket for Studio Theatre's Rocky Horror Show, it was a great erc, cut a deal, evening!).
Having never used Open Table I have no idea how it works, so are you getting points based on your spending or the number of times you reserve a table? We seldom sit at a table as we find it much more fun to interact with the Bartenders and Bartendresses while eating at the bar. Besides, it's closer to the "meds" and the door in most cases so they can throw me out faster!!
You do get points, but it is not that much--basically $1 per every lunch/dinner reservation you make. Sometimes, restaurants do special promotions where you get essentially $10 per the reservation.
Some restaurants don't have walk-in and bar seating so that is where OpenTable is most helpful.
mmfromla does a good job explaining the system.
Every 20 regular reservations you get a $20 check, often they have restaurants that give you credit for 10 reservations on a weekday during my "belt up to my nipples" early bird special 5:00-6 or 7pm (so you can see, it's not about using them just for the discount), but since I'm going anyway, I tap in and they really give great tables once you get established (in back, against the wall, gunslinger, 'see the whole saloon' style - as opposed to next to bus station).
I do a lot of lounge dining also, often combined with dinner - just last week, had a great round of happy hour drinks and apps at Oceanaire (a Landry's operation downtown DC) and then sat down and blew my savings on a delicious swordfish dynamite (crab and hot, spicy sauce, mmm) and of course the requisite dessert. Flemings is another terrific lounge bar happy hour and of course, Roy's, even several top rated DC restaurants like Vidalia do as well, so be sure to always check the web site - it's surprising the offers around 5-7pm (but of course, party animal that you are, you probably don't start until 8pm).
Thanks for the information on the VIP level. With little to no OpenTable restaurants in central PA along with my forgetting to use it at times when traveling or waiting until the last minute I haven't yet hit 12 times in one year.
Others who haven't used OpenTable - another feature I find helpful is the ability to see menus (or a sneak peek of menus) rather than having to navigate to the restaurant's website.
I use the United app to check gates and departure times. I don't use the mobile boarding pass that often though. I still print it out.
I don't use the Marriott app that much (maybe when I need to punch in the hotel address in the nav). I've been to some Marriott properties that have their own app where you can customize housekeeping--kind of a nice tool.
For restaurants, I usually use OpenTable before the trip and then refer to it while on my trip when I need to find the time and address. Once I'm there, I use Yelp to find a nearby store (like a Target) or a breakfast spot, bakery, etc.
TripIt is pretty good for keeping my restaurants, hotels, sporting event tickets, and plane tickets all in one place (and fairly well organized).
Interesting about the app at specific Marriott properties. I have not come across that yet, but I will keep an eye out.
I love trip advisor esc when overseas. As long as you have wireless you can get a list of nearby restaurants with reviews ,types of foods etc. I have good to some really nice small local restaurants using this app. I have also used it in US when in a new city or if I am stuck at airport hotel and want to see what's in area . I was in Oakland Courtyard a few weeks back and use the app and found a great seafood restaurant on the water about two miles away
These are not apps for the phone, but google features I think are great.