Summer is now at full force, which means vacations galore for seemingly countless numbers of people across the country. Even I’m readying myself to briefly part from the T+L offices for a much-needed beachside retreat in Maine. (More to come on that on another day.) With all this travel going on, I wanted to take some time to share a few of my favorite iOS apps that make travel a whole lot easier (and a lot more fun).
AroundMe Just landed in a new town and don’t know where to go? Just choose what you’re looking for (bar, coffee, parking, theater, hotel, etc.) and the app instantly lists all the nearby venues. Read up on the venues via their Google Places listings, and then easily map the quickest route to the one you choose. Free.
FirePin Prepping for a multi-destination adventure? Or maybe you want to share an epic hike with fellow enthusiasts. This app uses (what else?) GPS to track your location and lets you share your path—in real time, no less—with your friends. Free.
NetFlix Okay, this one isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but still. If you’re like me and you frequent bus travel more than air, this is essential. Sure, it works fine on your iPhone, but spare those eyes of yours some torture, and save it for the iPad. Free.
iExit Taking a road trip? Just tell the app what you’re looking for (Fast food? Cheap hotel? Rest area? Gas station?) and it lets you know which upcoming exit has what you’re looking for. $1.99.
TripIt Keep all of your travel arrangements—from flights, to car rentals, to hotels, to dinner reservations, and more—in one place for easy access. You can create “smartineraries” yourself, or opt to “automagically” import everything and let the app do all the work. Free.
SitOrSquat Again, I know this one isn’t new, but it can be a lifesaver, especially if you’re traveling with younger kids. When a bathroom emergency arises, just open up the app, and it will plot the nearest public restrooms on a map. Free.
Vimeo Home movies may largely be a thing of the past, but short, fun vacation videos are still totally in. This app not only lets you easily share your videos—just create an account first—but also provides some basic video editing options! Free.
Subway maps I love NextStop (free), for NYC, which not only has a map of the entire system, but lets you know the scheduled arrival times for trains at any given station. And there are plenty others for just about any city you might be visiting. London has Tube Map (free); try BART Map (free) for San Francisco; for the City of Light, use Metro Paris Subway ($.99). The list goes on and on. Just do a quick search on iTunes and make your life easier. (Plus, who wants to whip out a huge paper map in a strange city? Might as well just walk around with a flashing sign that declares “I’m a tourist!”)
Joshua Pramis is an online associate editor and resident tech guru at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis