All four of us here at YCSWU are lucky enough to travel quite frequently. More often than not, we always seem to be coordinating schedules or flights for our next adventure on the horizon. (6 WEEKS UNTIL MIAMI!) Don’t check my savings account, don’t check my Dave Ramsey envelopes, and don’t check my IRA contributions for the year because I could probably be doing a whole lot better in that financial arena. For right now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m taking full advantage of this stage of life because, Lord willing, I won’t be in this stage forever. Although, I give SERIOUS kudos to all the hubbies in my life. (I love you Brett, JP, JoJo, Joel, and Ryan!) Thank you for letting your wives go on adventures with me! You give me hope.
Over the past couple years, I’ve come to depend on travel apps. Whether it’s getting around, finding a place to eat, converting currency, or calling home, I’d never leave home without these apps installed and updated! Here is a list of my favorite travel apps.
Viber | This app is great if you are leaving the country. Kat and I downloaded Viber before going to London and Paris last summer so that we could call or text my mom if we needed to. Just make sure you and the people you want to communicate with download this before you go. You DO need wi-fi for this app. (Side note: In my experience, finding free wi-fi outside the US is fairly easy. Most restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops offer free wi-fi to their customers.) Simply leave your phone in airplane mode so that you are not being charged for data. While connected to wi-fi and through the Viber app, you can call or text anyone for free as long as they also have Viber.
[ Jo, Kat, and I being super touristy in London last summer! ]
GlobeConvert | Another great app if leaving the country. From Cancun to Cannes, no matter where you are in the world, you can figure out how much you’re spending in USD. Especially if you’re traveling with friends, this app is a great tool for figuring out restaurant and hotel bills. This app does NOT require wi-fi – again, just download it before you go! A seriously awesome bonus with this app is that it converts more than currency. You can convert area, energy, length, power, pressure, speed, time, volume, and weight with it. You know – for all those times you need to figure out how much horsepower is in 500 watts. (Shockingly, I use it quite often.)
[ Jo, Brett, Holly, JP, Kat, and I in Times Square for New Year’s Eve 2011! ]
Subway Apps | This is my solution for international travel. Always check for underground apps before you jump the pond. The London Underground as well as the Paris Metro have incredible apps that do NOT require wi-fi. We never took the wrong train or got lost thanks to these handy apps. They were just as easy as HopStop.
Trip Advisor | This app is really helpful if it’s meal time and you don’t have anything planned. This DOES require wi-fi or 3G, so if you’re using it internationally, I recommend scouting out your options while still at your hotel. If you’re in the US, simply let the app use your current location to reveal all restaurant options nearby. You can read reviews, get directions, and see how high it ranks compared to other restaurants in the area. I’ve found some great dining options by just winging it and using this app!
[ All four of us at the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago. ]
iTranslate | The name says it all. Translate words and sentences in any language using this app. Extremely helpful when attempting to decipher a menu or reading directions.
[ Audge and I at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. We love when “work” travel turns into fun. ]
Rick Steves Audio Europe | Rick Steves has put together an incredible library of audio tours throughout Europe. Download this app BEFORE you go. This is a great alternative if you don’t want to pay for the audio tours offered at the attractions you are visiting. It’s also great if you have long train rides. Joanna, Kat, and I were super nerdy and listened to the Versailles audio guide while on the 30 minute train ride out to the palace! Pack your own earbuds and you’re good to go.
[ Mom and I listening to an audio tour in Athens, Greece. ]
Yelp | Similar to Trip Advisor, this app is another option for scouting out nearby restaurants. You can search by price, food genre, and select features like outdoor seating, accepts credit cards, takes reservations, and more! Much like the Trip Advisor app, you’ll be able read reviews and see the restaurant’s ranking. I like to cross reference options between the two apps. If it ranks high on both, it must be good!
[ Jo, Kat, and Holly in San Antonio. There is a 50/50 chance we are either Yelping for dinner or on a hunt for the perfect filter. ]
Then on really rare occasions, you don’t need an app because you have a 4th grade teacher to catch you up to speed on the history of the Alamo.
Yes, I’m about to quote a member of The Bert Show like he is some wise philosopher. Jeff Dauler once said “I like to collect experiences and adventures like another person might collect baseball cards or teapots.” THIS. Mind, body, and soul I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly.
Happy Monday and happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend as much as I am.