Tag Archives: TripIt

Apps for Your Memorial Day Weekend Road Trip

Tracey Dowdy

Ah, the great American road trip! Depending on how well your kids handle being strapped in for hours at a time, that phrase either filled you with delight or soul-crushing dread. My kids were pretty road hardy, but my friend Lilly’s daughter saw her car seat as a form of child abuse and would morph into a spider monkey if she even heard the phrase “road trip.” Getting her in the car required one of those clowns they use at rodeos to distract the rampaging bull and keep it from killing everyone in its path. At least that’s how I picture it.

Wherever your kiddos fall on the road trip spectrum, these apps can ensure things go as smoothly as possible and get you to your destination happy – and not just because you survived the tiny terror in the backseat!

We depend on our phones for navigation and entertainment while we drive but they’re not always within reach and it’s not always safe to pull over in order to find one. A car mount like Logitech’s ZeroTouch for Android puts your phone front and center and comes with an accompanying voice command app that syncs with your phone allowing hands-free calling, voice to text, voice navigation, location sharing, and voice activated music.

If your holiday includes planes, trains and automobiles, TripIt (Free – iOS, Android), is a sanity saver. Forward your reservations to plans@tripit.com and you’ll have access to all that information in one convenient location. You’ll get a master itinerary with maps, directions, and weather updates, all accessible anytime on or offline.

Waze (Free – iOS, Android), a community sourced traffic and navigation app, provides real time updates on your route so you’ll know about upcoming traffic jams, accidents, debris on the road or any of the other potential delays that will keep you from being where you need to be when you need to be there.

Automatic plugs in to your car’s computer and will report back to you on everything from your driving to why the check engine light just came on. It also has a parking map and walking directions so you’ll never lose your car again. Perhaps most important, if Automatic detects you’ve been in a serious crash, an agent will call to assist you, contact emergency services and loved ones and will stay on the line until help arrives.

The Sit or Squat app may be the greatest gift to road-tripping parents since the portable DVD player. Search and view for restrooms near you or at your destination, filter results by selecting Open Now, Sit-or-Squat Rating, Family Bathroom, Baby Changing Table, Handicap Accessible, or Pay-Per-Use toilets. (Free – iOS, Android)

Some newer model cars come equipped with 4G LTE but for those of us without, a mobile router is a great resource. Most carriers will let you add one to your existing plans so you have access to the data you’re already paying for, or choose Go from Karma with pre-paid data that you purchase by the gigabyte and that never expires.

Roadtrippers (iOS/Android) lets you find all the quirky and interesting sights along the way. Use the app to find a quick distraction when everyone is tired of the car or let Roadtrippers take you on the scenic route by choosing one of their Classic USA Road Trips. You can book hotels and share your itinerary with others all from within the app.

Despite the fact I grew up there and should have known better, a few years ago I came very close to being stranded and running out of gas in the Cape Breton highlands late at night. Gas Buddy (Free – iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry) is every road-tripper’s friend, as it not only helps you find the nearest gas station, it tells you prices so you can get the most for your money without going too far out of the way.

Finally, if the trip is taking longer than you expected or if you’ve just decided you’ve had enough for one day, Hotel Tonight (Free – iOS, Android),  is the answer, offering last-minute deals and discounted rates lower than what’s available on other apps. Search for hotels and see all the details you need – what’s close, which ones are pet friendly, have a fitness center, etc. Refer a friend and both of you receive a $25 discount when they book.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Top 10 Apps for the Business Traveler

By Michael Connolly

Not to age myself, but when I first traveled for business, I had to find a pay phone to call the airline and confirm that the flight was on time.  While I somehow got from point A to B, I have never had more fun traveling for business than today. The apps I use know me better than I know them. Below are my top 10:


What!? My boarding pass doesn’t have my frequent flyer number? I just got an email that my credit card bill is due tomorrow. My wife is calling asking what our AAA number is. My daughter forgot the Apple ID and password. With the 1Password app, I can store all my passwords in one app and take care of tasks while standing online at security. Of course you don’t want to have the same password for everything but good luck remembering all of them. That’s why this app is great, especially while on the road.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows


There are apps that have cracked my top 10 not based on productivity as much as based on enhancement of the business travel experience. Pocket stores articles for offline use. I actually smile when the flight attendant tells everyone to turn their devices onto airplane mode. Then I know it’s time to catch up on all of the articles I’ve saved on Pocket. It becomes like a customized newspaper that I enjoy creating, then reading.

Platform: iOS, Android


This app will tell you everything about the terminal you are in, security wait times, flight delays, gate changes or layover time adjustments. Last week in Cleveland, GateGuru told me that there is a Chic-Fil-A in between terminal A and B. Thank you!

Platform: iOS, Android


This is my go to for a central portal for flight itineraries. You book a flight and send the confirmation email to Tripit. The app organizes and presents the itinerary in a very readable way. The concept of forwarding an email to Tripit makes this an essential app to have.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows


Life360 tracks anyone you choose (with their consent) on a map. I have my family on there and see each of their icons on the map, which shows where they are by their phone location. No more “Honey, when will you be home?” Just look at the app. “When are the in-laws coming over?” Look at the app. As a business traveler, there are times that I may be delayed or tied up and Life360 allows my family to know where I am at all times. We have never used it in an emergency but I can imagine how useful it would be if the need arose.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows


This crowdsourcing app shows real time traffic and route suggestions. The first time I heard it say “Caution, car on shoulder in 10 feet” I thought a helicopter was following me from above. The perfect app for auto travel, particularly in lesser known cities. It has reduced the stress of just renting a car and hoping to get to my meeting on time.

Platform: iOS, Android

Business Insider

Of the hundreds of news apps, I really like the journalism associated with Business Insider.  I find myself referring to articles during small talk with clients. The articles feed you with interesting facts that are useful for people who work in a variety of industries.  It is my go to for “food for thought” information.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows


Why would a business traveler put Nest in their top 10? Do you remember winter? Nest remotely controls your home’s thermostat. I remember that one Thursday in January when I got home late and the house was nice and warm. That’s because as soon as I landed at LGA, I set the thermostat to 70 degrees. Enough said!

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows


Google? Yes. What about the weather app? WatchESPN? Don’t you want to know how the market is doing? Once I clicked on Google, all that information was there! Like 15 apps worth of information customized to my needs. A one stop shop for travel, weather, sports and anything else that I need. It proactively lists all my interests. One time it showed a sale on running shoes (I guess it saw me shop the other day).

Platform: Android

DH Texas Hold’em

Once you are up to date on news, traffic, flights and weather, what is a business traveler to do? This app rounds out my top 10 for the joy it brings during a delayed flight. While we were stuck on a runway with some people moaning and some shouting, I was in a conversation with people from Indonesia, Russia and Italy. We were all sitting around a table playing a friendly game of poker (no real money). By the time I looked up, the person in the best mood on that delayed flight was…. me!

Platform: Android

Do you have a favorite travel app for business? Share it with us here!

Best Offline Travel Apps

By Tracey Dowdy

For me, one of the best and worst parts of travelling outside the country is being disconnected from my smartphone. Though I love the freedom of being untethered, it’s not always convenient. I currently live in Canada and frequently travel to the U.S. to visit family and friends, but since Canadian wireless prices are among the highest in the world, my phone gets shut off before I cross the border.

My wireless provider offers a U.S. plan as a 30 day add-on but it’s expensive and rarely worth the cost, especially for a day trip. There’s also the option of purchasing a local sim card, but again not the best option unless I’ll be travelling for more than a day or two.

However, there are times you need access to maps, currency exchange rates, first aid advice, or you just have to find out whether the menu says “grilled chicken” or “fried iguana”.

These apps work offline, ensuring your vacation stories are more “Remember the time we almost got lost in Lima?” instead of “Remember the time we got on the wrong bus and ended up sixty miles from our hotel?”


TripIt is about to become your new best friend. Like “braid each other’s hair and have sleepovers every weekend” besties. Simply send all your travel email confirmations to plans@tripit.com and the app automatically creates a custom itinerary for you. You can sync information with your Apple, Google or Outlook calendars, get maps and directions, and share plans via email or social media.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry
Cost: Free

Google Maps
Avenza PDF Maps

Google Maps has always been my go-to maps app since apparently I was born without the gene providing a sense of direction. When I die, scientists will study my brain and say, “You know what, she was right. That gene is totally missing.” A second great option for travelers is Avenza PDF Maps, which offers a massive selection of up-to-date, detailed maps from around the world. The app includes thousands of free maps and specialty maps are available as in-app purchases.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows
Cost: Free

XE Currency

Sticking to your budget while travelling can be a serious challenge if you’re dealing with unfamiliar currencies and what may seem like a bargain can be anything but if you aren’t careful. XE Currency is simple to use, updates to current exchange rates every time you connect to Wi-Fi, and you can convert between currencies from a single screen.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, Firefox OS
Cost: Free


Renting a car can be costly and if you’re travelling in a major city using public transit is often a much better choice. HopStop offers subway, train, walking, biking, taxi and bus directions for over 600 cities world-wide. The app provides door to door directions, station maps, schedules, travel times and approximate cost, so you can easily determine the most efficient, cost effective or scenic route. Transit delays are updated in real-time, so you won’t get stranded if you’re trying to get back in time to catch your tour group.

Platform: iOS
Cost: Free


You’ve arrived, now what? Developed by two former Google employees, Triposo takes crowd-sourced information and organizes into a concise offline travel guide. Download the data pack for your chosen destination before you leave and, voila!, lists of activities, recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, sightseeing, a phrasebook, maps, a currency exchange guide, and more. Best of all, it’s free.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

American Red Cross First Aid

My sister had to go to the E.R. while travelling in Spain, my friend Gabrielle was hospitalized while travelling in Hungary and my husband needed emergency care while on a volunteer project in the mountains of Arizona – all perfect examples of how valuable a first aid app can be. The American Red Cross First Aid app offers detailed, step-by-step directions for dealing with many simple emergencies and offers helpful videos as companions to written instructions.

Platform: iOS, Android, Kindle
Cost: Free

Free Wi-Fi Finder

Most McDonald’s and Starbucks’ offer free Wi-Fi, which is great if you’re in a city or town, but if you’re hiking to Machu Picchu or relaxing in the vineyards of Provence, those hotspots likely aren’t an option. For the times you absolutely need to get online, Free Wi-Fi Finder uses your phone’s GPS and network triangulation to provide a list of over 145,000 locations worldwide offering free Wi-Fi access including a “Near Me” option to help narrow your search.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

There are over 1.4 million apps in Apple’s app store and Android offers a whopping 1.5 million, so I’m sure I’ve missed other great options.  What are your favorite or must-have offline travel apps?

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

9 Favorite Apps for Planning and Organizing Vacations

By Chantal Bechervaise

School is almost out and it’s time to start thinking about family vacations and activities. There are many apps out there to help you plan a trip and stay organized. Here are 9 of my favorites – they will help alleviate the stress of planning and preparing for your next trip.

Not Sure Where To Go?

1)      Minube (Android and iOS)

Not sure where you want to go this summer? Need some inspiration? Then this is the app for you. Minube can help you discover the best things to see and do, book flights and hotels, and make restaurant reservations. Minube does not end there – use it to sort and store vacation photos as well.

Price: Free

2)      Pinterest (Android and iOS)

Pinterest is one of my favorite apps – and not just for travel planning. It is easy to waste (er…spend) quality hours on it. Search for vacation ideas and let your imagination soar! The guided search feature can help provide suggestions as you type in search requests. You can also create your own Pinterest boards with different destinations, activities and places to eat. Think of Pinterest as an online scrapbook that you can take with you everywhere.

Price: Free

3)      Gogobot (Android and iOS)

This is another great app which lets you brainstorm places to visit but also lets you build a sample itinerary which you can share with family and friends.

Price: Free

Road Trip

4)      Along The Way (iOS)

Going on a road trip instead of flying somewhere? If you are an Apple user, you will want to download this app. Along The Way will help you find and discover venues, attractions, and gems along the way to your destination. Instead of just searching around you, search your route for anything, including food, sights, recreation, and more.

Price: $2.99

5)      Gas Buddy (Android, iOS and BlackBerry)

Find the cheapest gas anywhere in the US or Canada. You can also search for gas by location and estimate the cost of gas for a whole trip.

Price: Free

All Booked – Stay Organized

6)      TripIt (Android and iOS)

This app is the place to put all your travel information and keep it in one convenient location. No need to worry about all the different emails with flight information, hotel bookings, car reservations, etc. You send all the information as you receive it to TripIt and the app organizes it into an interactive itinerary which you can pull up on your phone. The TripIt app also includes simple explanations on how to use it.

Price: There is a free version which is adequate if you don’t travel too much and works well for family vacations. The paid Pro version works out to be $50 a year if you want access to seat upgrades and flight alerts.

Don’t Forget to Pack

7)      Packing Pro (iOS)

Packing Pro is a list building tool which you can organize by category. Select what you want for your list from a catalogue of over 800 items. If the item is not in the catalogue, you can add it yourself. This app is also great for planning day trips and weekend getaways. Never forget that charger cable again!

Price: $2.99

You Have Finally Arrived At Your Destination

8)      Google Translate (Android and iOS)

If you are traveling to a foreign country and don’t know the language, this app can help you. Google Translate supports 80 different languages and also works offline, although you have to download a large data pack beforehand.

Price: Free

9)      Foursquare

This app is great at helping you discover things to see and do near you – monuments, museums, parks, places to eat, etc. It does not provide reviews like Yelp does, but it is an easy app to navigate on the go. Other Foursquare members generally leave useful tips for you.

What are your favorite travel apps?

CBechervaise67Chantal is located in Ottawa, Ontario. She is passionate about everything related to the World of Work: Leadership, HR, Social Media and Technology. You can read more from Chantal at her TakeItPersonelly blog or follow her on Twitter @CBechervaise.

7 Apps for Planning a Spring Break Trip

By Tracey Dowdy

Planning a Spring Break trip can be equal parts excitement and dread. The promise of relaxation and getting away from it all can be overshadowed by the reality of expenses and scheduling. Whether you’re traveling alone or with family and friends, these apps can help you plan, stay within your budget and make the most of those days away.


TripIt is a godsend for planners and laid back travelers alike. By pulling all your reservation information from confirmation emails, TripIt takes all those flight details, rental car agreements, hotel addresses and so on and creates one streamlined itinerary. Best of all, TripIt is fully functional offline which is ideal if you’re travelling abroad and roaming isn’t available. (Free – iOS, Android)

App in the Air

App in the Air acts as your flight concierge. TripIt integration means you won’t miss your flight, as any delays, gate changes or updates are sent to you in real time. The app makes it easy to manage your time by breaking each trip into 4 stages – check-in, boarding, takeoff, and landing – and creating a countdown so you know how much time you have to grab a snack before boarding. If you’re traveling with a group, you can track their flights as well. Once you’re back on the ground, links to local cabs are available to get you to your final destination hassle free. (Free but with in-app purchases – iOS, Android)


Mint makes sure your vacation regrets are limited to bad karaoke and questionable sushi by helping you stick to a budget. Few things can ruin a trip faster than realizing you’re spending way more than you intended. Set a spending limit before you leave and Mint will track your expenses in real time and let you know when you’re getting close or surpassing your limit. (Free – iOS, Android)

Google Translate

Google Translate may seem like an odd suggestion but the most recent update lets you have conversations in real time via Conversation Mode. Open the app, select the two languages you’d like to converse in, tap the microphone and speak. You can also translate street signs, menus and other text by using your phone’s camera. Simply hold the camera over written text and Word Lens immediately translates the text into English. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows)

XE Currency

XE Currency takes the guess work out of “How much is that in dollars?” You can convert over 180 currencies at up-to-the-minute exchange rates. The app works off line as well by storing the most recent rates. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry)


WhatsApp is a smartphone messenger that uses 3G or Wi-Fi when it’s available to exchange messages across platforms and is a great alternative if you’re only traveling for a week or less and don’t want to change your phone plan. Just switch from SMS to WhatsApp to exchange messages, pictures, videos or audio clips with family and friends. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows)


Viator is ideal for making the most of your trip while sticking to a budget. Whether you like to explore or are just looking for an alternative to the beach on a rainy day, Viator helps you find and book the best deals on local attractions, museums, tours or even popular local hangouts.  (Free – iOS, Android)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Apps to Help You Through the Holiday Season

By Tracey Dowdy

The holiday season is upon us and to make sure that light up ahead is the light at the end of the tunnel and not the train coming at you, here are a few apps to help you enjoy and not endure the Holiday season.

Getting organized is essential to successfully navigating the holidays.

  • EasilyDo organizes everything from do-do lists to travel. Get weather and travel alerts, link to your bank accounts, email, Facebook, LinkedIn…it’s like having a personal assistant in the palm of your hand. You can track packages, pay bills, even get directions with estimated travel time for events in your calendar. (Free – iOS, Android)
  • Slice not only tracks what you bought, when you bought it, and when it will be delivered, but it will also let you know if the item goes on sale and help you get your money back. You’ll even be notified if the item is recalled by the Consumer Safety Board. Slice organizes your receipts for easy returns and tracks spending to help you stay on budget. (Free – iOS, Android)

Speaking of budget, finances are one of the top stressors for the holidays. Whether it’s purchasing gifts, travel costs, or hosting family and friends, it’s easy to end up over budget without really knowing how you got there.

  • Mint offers a comprehensive, real-time look at all your account balances. It sends alerts if you’re about to go over budget, organizes transactions, and it can even send push notifications about your bills. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
  • Snagajob is a great resource for finding seasonal work to supplement your budget. Create a profile and upload your resume to apply for jobs directly from your phone for work in retail, restaurants, and customer service. Search by location, industry, job title or company and you’ll receive daily alerts that match your specifications. You can even upload a 30 second introductory video to help you stand out from the crowd. (Free – iOS, Android)
  • Black Friday sends you constant updates on Thanksgiving sales and lets you create a wish list to save all your favorite deals in one place. You can organize deals by store, compare prices, and sort items by keywords, store or price. (Free – iOS, Android)

There are more apps to help with food or recipes for the holidays than you can shake a spatula at, but two of my favorites are from Bon Appetit and Food.com.

  • Thanksgiving: A Bon Appetit Manual manages to be both gourmet and rookie cook friendly. The app offers step by step instructions paired with photos so you know exactly what you’re doing. If planning and preparing is overwhelming, switch to Menu View and choose from pre-selected menus. (Free – iOS, Android)
  • Food.com not only has a massive recipe base which is great for all year round, it can help you create a meal from whatever you have on hand – great for using up those holiday leftovers. (Free – iOS)

Time with family and friends during the holidays is priceless, which is a good thing because Holiday travel can cost a fortune. Luckily, there are ways to get around blowing your budget.

  • Gas Buddy lets you find the gas stations nearest to you offering the cheapest gas prices. Content is user-created and for every report you post you can earn points toward prizes. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry)
  • Waze uses your phone’s GPS feature to find the quickest, most efficient routes and avoid traffic due to congestion, construction or accidents. Users submit reports on traffic or road conditions so you always know what ahead. Waze also lets you know where to fill up for the best price. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
  • TripIt Travel Organizer lets you organize every aspect of your trip in one place. Forward confirmation emails (automatic if you use Gmail or Google Calendar) from airlines or hotels and TripIt will create an itinerary for you so you can be prepared each step of the way. You can get directions, check weather conditions, link to your calendar and share your trip plans via social media. (Free – iOS, Android)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.