My wife Debbie and I recently took a trip to Québec City – we live in New York – and we made heavy use of my iPhone and iPad before and during our trip. I thought I would tell you about the apps I used to make our travel preparations easier and the trip itself less stressful and more fun. In almost all cases, the apps run on both my iPhone and iPad and I was able to use my iDevices interchangeably.
One of the first apps we used a few months earlier when we were planning the trip was TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is a great resource when looking for hotels, restaurants and things to do because it includes real user ratings and, when appropriate, responses from management. We used TripAdvisor to make our decisions on hotels and the walking tour we took in Québec City.
We decided to fly instead of driving 8 hours and used the United app to understand costs and schedules. The Seat Guru app showed the seating layout on our selected flights and helped us to choose wisely. After we booked our flight, the scheduled departure changed and I used the Flight Tracker component of the Kayak app to monitor any last minute changes to the schedule. And when we got to the airport, we used the mobile boarding pass in the United app to get through security and board the plane; on the trip home, we used the mobile boarding pass in the Passbook app (I wanted to see how that worked).
I’m a huge fan of WorldMate, the full function travel app. It automatically builds my itinerary when I forward my confirming emails to them and synchronizes with all of my devices and computers. It lets me email our itinerary to those who need to know where we are and helps with currency conversions, weather and other pertinent travel details.
When we landed in Québec City, I needed a car to drive to Charlevoix and I had used the Hertz app to make the reservation. It worked perfectly. Hertz gave me a car with their NeverLost navigation system but I found it too cumbersome to use. So I fired up Google Maps on my iPhone and let it guide us using spoken turn by turn directions. Google Maps handled the Canadian roads flawlessly, even when we added a side trip to Île d’Orléans and ran into road closures in the lovely Baie-Saint-Paul.
Of course we stayed in touch with our social network, using apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Whatsapp. Our hotels had wifi so it was easy and free to stay connected. I tweeted a photo of a delicious beer I was drinking at the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu in Charlevoix and the social media person at the Hotel retweeted me!
I design and implement websites and one of my clients needed a change made to his restaurant site for the July 4th holiday. I used WordPress to build http://americanburrito.com and used the iPad WordPress app to make his requested content change from my hotel room.
When we were in Québec City, we walked a lot. We used Google Maps and the Québec app to find our way around. The Weather Channel app came in handy (it rained once) and we were able to do more local research with the Yelp app.
During our stay in Québec City, it was Canada Day, often referred to as Canada’s Birthday, and they shot off fireworks over the St Lawrence River. We watched from the boardwalk and I used the MoviePro app to shoot hi-def video of the fireworks show over Québec City Harbor. For still pictures, I used the ProCamera app.
The clock didn’t work in one of our hotel rooms so I used the Nightstand app while the iPad was plugged in so I could see the clock during the night.
The Chrome browser app syncs my browser sessions across devices so I could look up information on my iPad in the room and pick up the session on my iPhone when we were out in the City.
Waiting time is part of traveling and I used my iPad to read using the New York Times app and the Kindle app.
So there you have it: a selection of apps to help make your travel experiences better!