Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Where will technology take you this summer?

By Kim Tarasiewicz

Summer is officially here and with that comes travel. Many of us make an attempt to go “off the grid” while enjoying personal travel, but there are many ways to use technology to enhance your experiences, whether it be for business or pleasure.

As our team begins to enjoy vacation time, we are sharing travel ideas with each other and thought there are a few ideas that others might enjoy. Check out these travel apps for:

Business: 
Concur – This App organizes, tracks, saves and submits travel expenses and can even send them back to the office while you are still on the go.  Compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry. Free for 30 days, then minimal monthly subscription fee.

Transport by car:
Uber – If you need a car service, this app will work in over 100 cities around the world and will send a car for you, text you with a photo of the driver and the arrival time, then charge your credit card after the service – no cash needed. Note: Uber uses “surge” pricing, which can make rides more expensive during periods of high demand. The app is free for iPhones and Androids.

Air travel:
Seat Guru – This site / app allows you to see the pros and cons of airline seats before booking, showing everything from which seats have overhead storage to how often flights are late. Free for Apple and Android users.

Car travel:
Waze – Great traffic app showing traffic jams, accidents and detours along with gas prices and rest stops for your road trip. Free for iPhone and Android users.

Overseas: 
XE Currency – Automatically shows up-to-date currency rates with conversions. This is a free app for use on most smart phones and tablets.

WiFi:
JWire – App shows where to find access to WiFi hotspots in 140 cities around the world so you can stay connected. It shows addresses, directions and phone numbers. Free on all WiFi enabled devices.

Sleep:
Sleep Sounds HQ – For those who have trouble sleeping on a plane, or in hotels and noisy cities, this app holds 500 sounds including soft rain, rustling leaves, waterfalls or white noise such as a rhythmic train. Minimal fee at the App Store.

Families: 
Moms Maps – Find family friendly places such as kids’ parks, playgrounds, restaurants, museums and indoor play areas. Minimal fee but could be a lifesaver when traveling with kids.

Keep in touch:
Touchnote – Use your own travel photos to upload from your phone and have a printed postcard or greeting card sent anywhere in the world. App is free for iPhone, iPad and Android, cards are $2-4 including postage.

Just for fun: (My personal favorite)
The Roller Coaster Guide – For those looking for adventure, this holds a database listing more than 5,000 rollercoasters, 2,000 parks and 40,000 photos, and all can be sorted to customize your search. Free for iPhones.

While we don’t have any connection to any of these companies, we always find it interesting to try new technologies. And of course, we always want to make our lives easier for work and fun. Wherever your summer takes you this year, we wish you all safe travels!  Let us know if you try any of these apps and which one you like best.

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