Memorial Day weekend kicks off the unofficial start to summer for many Americans, the time when you’ll travel or just look seek well-deserved R&R. The 12 apps listed below may help you explore places to go, deals to get there, or discover appealing diversions whether you’re on the road or staying put.
Except where noted, versions of these apps are available on both iOS and Android, and found in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store.
Guides by Lonely Planet
These curated guides for globetrotters cover more than 240 cities, from Dubrovnik to Venice, and feature everything from offline maps and audio phrasebooks to a currency converter. Start by choosing an available city guide, and tap on See, Eat, Sleep, Shop, Drink and Play tabs to learn more about your chosen destination.
Kayak Flights, Hotels & Cars
Nope, you’re not actually the last person for whom Memorial Day snuck up and you haven’t booked summer travel yet. Kayak pores through numerous other travel sites to find flights, hotels, and rental cars, to help you, in theory anyway, get a good deal, perhaps even at the last minute. One potentially useful feature is a price forecasting tool that alerts you when airfares are likely to rise.
Heading overseas and don’t speak the language? Through the years, Google’s venerable translation app has added more languages and more ways to parlez Français. These days, the app lets you translate between 103 languages when you type something, and 59 languages even when you are offline.
You also can point your phone camera at menus or street signs to translate text. And Google can even translate bilingual conversations in 32 languages.
Are you into hosting an outdoor barbecue? Or you plain just like to eat?
The Tasty app from BuzzFeed is billed as cooking coach with more than 3,000 recipes at your fingertips. When you get started, the app will ask whether you are a vegetarian or open to all recipes. From there, you can filter recipes by other parameters: gluten-free, low carb, comfort food and so on. If you’re outside the country. you can display metric values alongside U.S. measurements inside recipes.
It’s a long, boring drive and you need something really engaging to listen to. Castbox is a fine podcast app that gives you access to more than 95 million audio content options. Though the app is free, you can pay $1.99 a month, or $14.99 a year, for a premium subscription that eliminates visual ads, gives you unlimited subscriptions and prioritized response times, as well as a personalized homepage.
1 Second Everyday
Living up to its name, this video diary lets you capture a second of video daily, and mashes it all together into a single video, a great way to relive your vacation down the road. Or as the tagline for the app goes, “Imagine a movie that includes every day of the rest of your life.” A pro version of the app lets you capture three-second-long video snippets, plus an extra snippet per day.
With more than 75,000 hand-curated trails, this app from developer AllTrails is aimed at hikers, bikers and runners. AllTrails includes crowdsourced reviews that cover such topics as dog-friendly or kid-friendly trails, as well as letting you know how challenging the trail is.
This $2.99 iOS-only app is a guide to quirky or offbeat attractions, ranging from the place Ben Franklin flew his kite to a statue of the most famous of all bus drivers, The Honeymooner’s Ralph Kramden, found in New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal. Roadside America rates whether an attraction is worthy enough for a detour. The cost of the app unlocks one of seven U.S./Canada regions (northeast, southwest, etc.); you can purchase all the regions for $5.99 or buy additional regions for $1.99 each.
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When it is time to fill ‘er up, GasBuddy can help you find the cheapest gas near you. And if nature calls, the app can also let you know which gas stations have bathrooms, along with other amenities such as a convenience store and air pump. You will have to put up with ads, but for some of you, that’s a small price to pay given the $340 or so that the app’s developers claim GasBuddy saves the typical user a year.
Think worldwide scavenger hunt. Geocaching is a game that taps into GPS to help you find hidden containers that are called geocaches, of which there are apparently 3 million in 190 countries, placed by real people. As you set off to find one, you can discover through the app the terrain where you are going, difficult level, and receive hints (“low, but on higher ground). You’ll have to upgrade to a premium subscription ($5.99 a month or $29.99 a year) to access some geocache types. When you find the geocache you’ve been looking for, you might sign a physical log book, then tell others through the app about your achievement.
The popular crowdsourced Google-owned Waze app relies on your fellow driver to steer you to the most traffic-free route to a destination. You can help out other drivers, too, by pointing out accidents, speed tracks, hidden cameras and other bottlenecks on the road.
Yes, it gets hot in the summer, and you need to stay hydrated. The WaterMinder app from Funn Media helps you calculate just how much of the fluid you should be consuming daily (based on your gender, weight, etc) and can remind you when you’re falling short. The iOS version costs $4.99 but includes a Siri Shortcut feature and is integrated into the Apple Watch. The Android version is free, though there’s a $2.99 premium option which, among other features, removes the ads.
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