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May 24, 2013

App roundup: 4 apps to take with you on your next vacation

Hi, it’s Brittany K again. Last time, I talked about some of the apps I use to plan a trip. And since I got back from a trip to Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago, this time I thought I’d tell you about some of the apps that came in handy while I was traveling.


The homepage in the FlightAware app that includes airports, planes, and alerts.

For me, the downside of traveling is all the waiting – especially at the airport, where it seems like I’m always either standing in line, or killing time until I have to stand in line again. So I’m a big fan of FlightAware: you type in your flight info, and then FlightAware tracks your flight and sends you an alert if there are delays, so you can plan accordingly. You can also get info about the type of plane you’ll be flying on and the airports you’ll be leaving from and going to. And once you’re in the air, you can use FlightAware to see if your flight is going to arrive on time.


The Netflix app featuring a paused movie and a list of movies and TV shows that are popular on Netflix.

Even waiting has its upsides though. For one thing, I always have plenty of time to catch up on my Netflix queue, especially now that a lot of airlines have in-flight Wi-Fi. If you subscribe to Netflix’s streaming service, you can use this app to watch any of the movies and TV shows in your instant queue whenever you’re connected to the Internet. And if you have the Netflix app installed on more than one device, you can start watching something on one and pick up where you left off on the other. I started watching a movie on my phone in the airport, then switched to my tablet when I got on the plane – all without losing my spot.

Destination Manager

The homepage in the Destination Manager app that shows the current location and lists categories of places.

On my trip to Washington, D.C., finding the major tourist attractions wasn’t a problem (things like the Capitol and the Washington Monument are kind of hard to miss). But finding the nearest ATM, coffee shop, or subway station can be a bit more of a challenge. I ended up using Destination Manager a lot to find places – you can browse the app’s list of categories for the type of place you’re looking for (like a restaurant, drug store, or train station), see all of the options nearby, and read reviews from other travelers. Or you can use the map view to just see what’s closest. Once you’ve picked a place, you can get directions from your current location. And there’s a pretty wide range of places listed in the app; so far, I haven’t needed to find the nearest hospital, police station, or lawyer on any of my trips, but it’s good to be prepared, right?


The All Trucks view in the StreetEats app.

My coworker, Tatsuo, already mentioned this food truck app in a previous post, but it’s worth bringing it up again because this turned out to be a great way to find non-touristy, quick food. While I was in DC, I used StreetEats to check for food trucks near my hotel and ended up at Dangerously Delicious Pies (where potatoes au gratin became one of my new favorite pie fillings).

I’m never quite sure what’s going to come up when I’m traveling, so it’s good to know I have a few apps I can pull out to help me pass the time or find what I need in an unfamiliar place. If you’re heading out of town soon, give these apps a try. And be sure to let me know if there are any great ones out there that I’m missing. Bye for now!

Note: Some apps and services might not be available in all countries or regions.