Do You Even Google? Using My Maps for Planning Your Travels

Do You Even Google? Using My Maps for Planning Your Travels

Google My Maps is an underrated gem for travel planning. Released in 2007 and updated in 2014, Google My Maps allows users to create their own maps. Here’s the idea behind it: Points, lines, and shapes can be placed on top of the typical Google Maps we all know and love. However, the style of that base map can be customized to show satellite, political, or terrain maps, depending on your preferences. For example, when I planned my recent trip to Las Vegas, I used a light political base map—I didn’t want all that fuss of extra info from Google’s default base map. Then, I was able to add points with different icons to signify places I might want to check out and refer to easily (Tacos el Gordo = plate and fork symbol). I also added lines to signify the path of shuttles. The best part is that the maps you make can be easily integrated with your regular Google Maps app, so long as you sign in on the same account. It’s a simple idea but a radically underused one. So for the trip planners with slightly obsessive tendencies like myself, Google My Maps may just be the perfect solution. – Katherine...
Gotta Catch ‘Em All. Gotta See ‘Em All

Gotta Catch ‘Em All. Gotta See ‘Em All

To an outsider, July 6, 2016, was a very strange day. People flooded the streets around the globe, zombie-like, smartphones held in outstretched hands. These wanderers congregated outside churches and libraries, standing in masses united by one purpose: to “catch ‘em all.” Pokémon Go has become a trending video game, but virtual entertainment is not the only benefit from this new app. If you’re looking for a way to wander through a city while finding interesting cultural stops along the way, this app is the way to go. This app can be used as a travel aid by going to Pokéstops. Pokéstops are locations in the real world that you can go to get free items in the virtual Pokémon world. While playing Pokémon Go on your smartphone, a blue cube will show up on the screen. That is a Pokéstop. Even though it shows up virtually, you must go there physically to get whatever items are at that stop. These items are things like healings potions, Poké Eggs, Poké Balls, and other items that will help you succeed in the game. But when you go to a Pokéstop, you’ll find more than just a virtual object. Each stop is located at a point of interest, such as an architectural landmark or a historical monument. Some of these places are well-known, while others are more obscure. This gives ample opportunities for exploring a city as long as you choose to take the time to physically explore Pokéstops. Here are some new discoveries for you to find in your favorite cities: Boston   This colonial city is full of American history....

Uber Cool Taxi Alternative

You just finished eating dinner on the pier in San Diego, California. The meal took longer than you thought, and you’re tired and feel wary of walking the couple of miles back to the hotel. Do you call a cab? Aren’t those only in New York City? Plus cabs are expensive (so you’ve heard), and you don’t even know which company to call. Then you remember hearing someone mention the Uber app. You quickly download the app, follow the instructions, and get back to the hotel within twenty minutes. Uber is an international company that is located in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide. It’s a taxi-like service that helps people get around locally but is usually cheaper than using a commercial taxi service. Uber drivers are local people who use their own cars and have passed a series of background checks. On the Uber app, you can see the name, the license plate number, and a photo of your driver as well as their ratings from other Uber users. When you submit a driver request, the app automatically pinpoints your location and an Uber driver in your area will be able to pick you up wherever you may be. How to use Uber: Access Uber on any smartphone through the Uber app. Select the kind of car you’d like to pick you up. Consider the different rates of each car in your selection. Wait for your car. Track the Uber car with the app, while waiting safely inside a building. Pay for your ride through the app. Link your debit or credit card up to the app so...
Apps on the Go

Apps on the Go

Want to save time and money on your next adventure? HotelTonight and WiFi Map are two apps brilliantly designed to aid you in your travels. HotelTonight HotelTonight promotes flexibility and spontaneity because the app’s focus is last-minute travel. In seconds, users are updated on the best deals at leading hotels. Users simply enter a city or zip code and receive instant notifications on HotelTonight’s hand-picked hotels for that area. The app includes hotels in the Americas and Europe. Each hotel includes its own profile, check-in/check-out info, the weather forecast, its address, and a map of its location. A category is also given to each hotel that reflects its overall vibe: luxe, hip, solid, basic, charming, crashpad, and high roller. The Rate Drop feature on HotelTonight allows users to track over time the prices of a given hotel. Hotels often add new rooms and drop their rates as check-in days approach. Rate Drop notifies users of these price changes, showing them the best overall rate for the hotel at that time. With 24/7 support, this free app is a necessity for all travelers. It is available on iOS, Android, and Windows.   WiFi Map Traveling is a sure way to drain phone batteries and eat up data plans. WiFi Map allows travelers to search for nearby hotspots where they can plug in and connect to the Internet. All Wi-Fi hotspots are added by users. This creates a social community where users add Wi-Fi locations, document passwords, rate connection speeds, and leave other useful comments. With over two million Wi-Fi hotspot locations, iOS and Android users can travel anywhere in the...

Travel Appropriately

Trips don’t need to be chaotic and frustrating. Make your travels easier with the use of these free and helpful apps! Roadtrippers Road trips can be complicated. What if there were an app that simplified the entire process? Roadtrippers does just that—for free! Whether your trip is short and local or extensive across hundreds of miles, the Roadtrippers app will help you designate certain spots to stop along the way. You can add URLs, phone numbers, and addresses to help you organize your trip. Roadtrippers has teamed up with Google Maps to navigate your journey, and you can share your trip with others who travel with you or want to follow your progress. Cass Hawkins, an avid road tripper from Redlands, California, says she wishes she had this app on every trip she’s ever taken: “I love having all of my stops listed in one place and on one map! I want to use this app everyday!” Google Translate There are few things scarier than feeling completely alone and confused, especially when you are in a foreign country and can’t figure out where you are or where you’re going because you don’t know the language. If you ever find yourself in this situation, the Google Translate app can help you read signs, menus, and anything else written in a foreign language. You can translate languages using voice, type, or camera. Just take a picture of the text you want translated, highlight the section you want to read, and the foreign words will turn into English! This app is free, and it translates a variety of languages. The camera function only works...
Packing Smart with PackPoint

Packing Smart with PackPoint

No one likes realizing in the third hour of their international flight that they forgot to pack socks and underwear. With PackPoint, that will never happen again.  PackPoint is an intelligent packing list builder for serious travelers. Available for iOS and Android devices, as well as Windows Phone, the app helps you organize what you need in your suitcase based on trip length, weather, and activities you’ve planned for your travels. The app is intuitive, and it remembers everything so that you don’t have to. Check the Weather PackPoint logs your destination and the length of your visit, then checks the weather forecast and climate of your destination, letting you know what climate to pack for. Build a Custom Packing List After PackPoint knows where you’re going, it asks a few questions before compiling your list: Are you traveling for business or leisure? Locally or internationally? Will you be flying, driving, cycling? Will you have access to laundry facilities? Who will be traveling with you? What do you plan to do while traveling? Will you have children with you? Plug in your answers and then access your customized packing list, which you can edit by adding items or removing what you don’t need. Share with Other Travelers After you’ve perfected your packing list, PackPoint allows you to share your list with others and tap into the community of travelers who—like you—want to avoid that forgotten-socks-and-underwear feeling. Benefit from the App PackPoint really does think of everything so you don’t have to—it even reminds you about flight departure and arrival times and when to do your laundry. For any kind of...