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Apps you should install before departure



Current Location: Skagway, Alaska

Memorial Day weekend is right behind us, and a summer of fun travel experiences is ahead. Three years ago, Rocket Yard presented a series of tips for those who began adventure, and starting today I will bring an updated set of ideas to ease your days away from home.

In the first part of this series, I give a list of programs you might want to download from iOS or Mac App Stores before packing your bags and locking the door …

  Southwest Airlines flights in Charleston, SC. Picture of Steven Sande

Southwest Airlines flight in Charleston, SC. Photo by Steven Sande

Transport related programs

When you're on the road somewhere – either halfway around the world or just a few hours from your home – there are a number of apps that can help make your Travel is safer, less stressful and more convenient.

At the top levels, the apps are made by transport providers such as airlines, train systems, cruise lines, ferry operators, and so on. Most of the major US airlines such as American, Delta, Southwest and United, as well as international routes such as Lufthansa, British Airways and Emirates have their own apps. The apps can help you with travel planning by letting you see schedules and pricing, by booking by letting you buy tickets online, and checking in for flights in advance.

For rail travel at home and abroad, Amtrak, Great Britain's National Rail, Deutsch Bahn and France's SNCF apps provide schedules, tour status and loyalty program assistance. Taking a scenic railway like Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad? Check before you travel, so many of these railways offer apps that give you the story of scenic and historic opportunities along the route, keyed to milestones along the track

Most major cruise lines also have their own apps; These are less about booking travel, more targeted at what to do while on board a ship. Apps from Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America and Disney (among other things) allow passengers to keep up with the whirlwind of onboard and offshore activities, with some even a way of texting other passengers and booking restaurants.

Accommodation applications

It doesn't matter when or where I travel, I always reserve accommodation in advance; It just makes me more sure to know that I have a reservation at my destination for the day. But for last minute bookings for business trips or the instant trips, it helps to have an app or two for any of your favorite hotel chains.

I am a huge fan of Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honor's loyalty programs, so their apps are useful for both booking rooms and keeping track of program items. Many other chains, including IHG (Holiday Inn and other chains) and Best Western, also have apps.

These programs are very useful if you like one or two hotel chains, but what if you prefer to look for the best deals or boutique hotels? I've enjoyed Booking.com's app this year. Enter your destination and you will get a list of hotels ranging from the ultra-swanky to the non-it-great, all with reviews and reviews from the top critics around – those who have stayed at the hotels. TripAdvisor is similar, but extends coverage to just about anything about traveling, including restaurants and car rentals.

Use TripAdvisor to find accommodation and you also get discounts on activities at your destination. Whether it's a bungee-jumping adventure, a bike rental or a pub crawl, these activities are perfect for fun and learn more about the places you visit.

  Mapping is a must to find your way to local businesses and attractions

Mapping is a necessity to find your way to local businesses and attractions

Maps and navigation

You already have at least one good app to find your way to and around your destinations; Apple's Maps app. Depending on where you drive or go, you can also load Google Maps and consider downloading maps for use outside the network. For cities with a lot of traffic (and what big city doesn't have traffic problems?), Waze's crowdsoured hints and tips can guide you around construction and accidents better than the competition.

If you are a fan of geocaching or would like to learn more about this fun "treasure hunt" pastime and the places you visit, make sure you have a geocaching app loaded. The original Geocaching app has been perfected over the years and another favorite is Cachly. In either case, you can create offline lists and cached maps to find out network fun.

  Games or books can keep you or your children busy during downtime

Games or books can keep you or your children busy during downtime

Fun and games

Travel is a lot of fun, but it also has its own share of boring downtime at airports and hotels. If you check email or social media, you can kill for a while while you are sitting, but be sure to upload games that can keep you or kiddos occupied.

Since you may not have access to the Internet on a mobile or Wi-Fi network, make sure the games you choose have offline modes. One of my favorite time-wasters is Hasbro / Electronic Arts Scrabble. It does not require a network connection (although some of the Scrabble features are not available offline) and can burn up a lot of time while waiting or enjoying the beach.

Security Applications [19659003] If you read our latest Network and Security Series, you know that two of the articles are Virtual Private Networks (VPN). VPNs are very useful for traveling for two reasons; First, they can give you access to your favorite streaming video sources while you are out of the country, and secondly, they provide encryption features for secure browsing and computer use when on a public network.

Some VPN providers offer subscription packages in the subscription per month, so you can use the VPN Travel Service and then turn off if you spend the rest of the time on a reliable home network. Be sure to check out our latest comparison of some of the best VPN providers.


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