My top 5 travel apps

I don’t know about you, but I’m usually I’m getting alerts that my memory is full on all my devices, so I have to go through and delete all nonessential apps. By nonessential, I mean apps other than Instagram and my bank. The only games on my phone are those my friend’s kids download and play. (They act all excited to see me, but I know better. The second thing that comes out of their cute little faces when I come through the door is: “Can I play with your phone?!”)

Its been a couple of months since I looked for new apps, so I loaded up again a few weeks ago. Here are some new – or at least new to me – apps that I’m super excited about.


Yonder

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My favorite thing about Yonder is the feed. Its kind of like Instagram, only its just picture after picture of places I want to go.

This app reminds me of Instagram, except focused on outdoor activities. You start out by picking different activities that you are interested in, and then your feed will feature images of people doing those things or the scenery where they are doing it. This is almost as addictive to me as Instagram – when I sign in my feed is just picture after picture of scenic vista.

Other than just giving a list of photos, There’s a map function built into the app that lets you search for Yonders in a specific area. So if you’re wandering around, looking for inspiration, you can pull up a map of the area and see if there is anything you’d like to see. Or, you can troll for adventures and create a to be explored list.


Findery

Where would you like to explore today?

Where would you like to explore today?

Near or far? That’s the question posed when you open Findery. This app pulls anything from historical markers to museums, past notable events or public artwork – such as the various Shepard Fairey murals around Cincinnati. The first thing that pops on my Near list is the ventriloquism museum in nearby Southgate, Ky. Findery will send you alerts of notable places in your area, a handy trick when you are travelling. Plus, their app will be on the Apple Watch, if you’re into that sort of thing. (I haven’t been won over to the whole watch thing yet. I admit, it took me a few years to get on to the whole iPad/tablet wagon, so I’m sure I’ll get won over eventually.)

Findery also has the cool map search feature – pull up a map, zoom to the area you’re interested in and explore away! I still think the coolest thing about this app is the overlapping information it provides. If I’m in an area and close to a cool point of interest, I like having a note sent to me so I can check it out while I’m close by. Plus, if I want a cup of coffee, I can find out just where the locals go.


Roadtrippers

I'm using Roadtrippers to help plan my upcoming road trip to Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, Md.

I’m using Roadtrippers to help plan my upcoming road trip to Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, Md.

This one isn’t new, or new to me. Its more like a rediscovered-to-me app. I have used it before for past road trips, but its been a couple of years and I forgot about it. Plus, it has changed a bit. When I used this before, I used the Roadtrippers.com website. It is a fantastic, all-around trip planner. You can use it kind of like a traditional map and get directions from Point A to Point B. But where this app really shines is the layers. Save locations to eat, sleep, shop and play, and even get tips for great scenic overlooks. One drawback that some reviewers commented on is the inability to check mileage and time between locations. But honestly, I think the pros way outweigh the cons with this one.

You can make multiple trips and they sync across devices. So if you’re like me and have too many electronics laying around, you can work on your laptop, carry that map over to your iPhone while your driving but then tweak that trip on your Android tablet while you’re eating dinner on the road. As long as you have a wireless connection, it all stays synced up. My favorite feature: It computes gas cost!


All Trails

I love being able to save my tracks so I can keep track of what I have accomplished.

I love being able to save my tracks so I can keep track of what I have accomplished.

I’ve been ALL OVER this app since downloading it. As the weather warms up – and on the rare Spring days when its not raining or flooding – I’ve been hiking as much as possible. It’s fun, it gets me out of the house and it’s good exercise. I have a decent working knowledge of parks and trails in the area just from my own explorations in the last few years. So a lot of the local trails listed are places I have been to, or at the very least know about. But the feature I like about this app the most is the trail reviews.

Pre-busted lungs I didn’t care so much about getting a detailed review. Just knowing how long the trail was was enough for me. Now, I have to make sure I’m packing enough oxygen, so I need to know a little bit more about how rugged the trails are so I know I’m prepared and not stuck in the woods gasping for air. The trail reviews on this app are fantastic for getting detail. Plus, I can make wishlists of new trails to check out when I get bored with the ones close to home.

Another cool feature is the tracker. Start this when you start your hike and it will track where you are, how far you go, how long it takes you and you can save it to your maps when you’re finished. You can even add photos from your hike to your map to help remember what you saw.


Tripcast

Tripcast sorts photos by location - not chronology - so you can always remember exactly where you saw that crazy road sign.

Tripcast sorts photos by location – not chronology – so you can always remember exactly where you saw that crazy road sign.

I may be almost 30 years old, but I still check in with Dad almost every night when I’m away from home. Part of it is to set his mind at ease; I don’t need him having a heart attack. And part of it is so the authorities have a point of reference should I ever go missing. Part of what started this blog was daily updates for everyone back home, but Tripcast basically takes little trip updates and publishes them like a Tweet or an Instagram post.

Create an event and you’re good to go. Users can post photos, videos, or updates and any of it can be tagged to a map. Basically, it organizes your information based on location, not by chronology.

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Panama City or Bust!

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Above are some pictures from 2008, the last time I visited Florida. We visited Daytona Beach, Huntington Beach and Orlando.

If I learned anything from last year’s Gypsy Trip its that the keys to surviving long drives is good music, good directions and good company. Well, and wild berry Skittles. Yesterday I embarked on an 11-hour drive from my home in Walton, Ky., to Panama City, Fla. A piece of cake compared to last summer’s 7,000-mile adventure, but still a long time to be in a car. Thankfully, this time I have some new gadgets at my disposal.

I traded in my Blackberry for a Droid last fall, and with it came the never-ending app store. Y’all can have your iPhones. Sh’niqua (only sometimes) lets me down. Here are my top five road trip-approved apps:

Pandora Internet Radio

Its an endless supply music, as long as your network lasts.

My favorite thing about this channel is it plays more than just whats in my library. And the more you listen to it, the more it gets to know you. So I know that my Matchbox 20 channel I’ve had for years is always going to play something I want to hear and my Cage the Elephant station, the newest addition to my collection, will be in shape by the time I get to Florida. Plus, I can pipe it through the car speakers with the same adapter I use for my iPod.

AAA Triptik

Here’s where good directions come in. I love Google Maps, but sometimes they lead you wrong. Triptik has become my go to for directions. I can build a route on my computer, save it and download it to my phone and get turn-by-turn navigation when I’m on the road. Then, I can keep doing searches anywhere I am to find hotels, mechanics, attractions, restaurants and even campgrounds.

Gasbuddy

This is a good app to have for every day use anyway. You can use GPS or type in a search location to find nearby gas stations and compare prices. This helped me last week find gas five cents cheaper just a couple of miles from where I normally go.

GeoReader

After I nosed around the Android Market, I did a quick Google search to see what other people have used on their road trips. Most of them suggest the same things, but this blog was the first to suggest GeoReader.

The app is kind of a battery suck, so I’d only run it if I was connected to a constant source of power. As you drive, it searches the National Registry of Historic Sites for locations close to you, and announces them as you go by. The only downside is it hasn’t been giving me details of the locations.

Angry Birds Rio

Or the original Angry Birds or Angry Birds Seasons. Any one of these games will entertain you for hours.

I looked for a travel journal app that would help organize photos and video and allow me to post directly to Facebook and Twiiter, but I didn’t see anything that I was free or a somewhat reasonable price. But I’ll keep looking! What are some apps you can live without?