Yes, summer is in full swing here in the Northern Hemisphere, and at Corel’s corporate headquarters in Ottawa, we’re currently melting into employee-shaped puddles of goo thanks to a record-setting heat wave. In fact, let’s just say that if we didn’t have some semblance of a dress code, I’d be slapping on a pair of speedos and frightening my coworkers right now.
Fortunately, a few Corel employees are taking some time off to beat the heat and enjoy a little rest and relaxation. After all, it’s hard work cranking out award-winning software and product releases like our brand spanking new app Corel Cinco for Painter (plug! plug! plug!).
With that in mind, I thought it might be worthwhile to offer some helpful smartphone apps for would-be vacationers. From travel organizing and flight deals, to tracking down the best places to eat and finding the nearest spot when nature calls, here are my picks for the best FREE summer travel apps:
If you’ve ever wanted to throw a hissy fit in an airport while trying to catch a flight, Hipmunk is the app for you. As a handy travel solution for your iPhone and Android, Hipmunk lets you search for the best and cheapest flights available. What sets the app apart from similar trip planners like Kayak and TravelAdvisor, however, is that you can also sort flights by “agony”, taking into consideration travel times, layovers and just how much of a pain in the nether regions the entire trip is going to be. The end result is a better way to fly the friendly skies. Now if only there was an app that lets you avoid sitting next to that weird-smelling dude who hogs the armrest and snores during the entire flight.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to plan your vacation, TripIt is probably going to save you a lot of grief. As an all-in-one travel planner and organizer, the app lets you combine flight itineraries, hotel bookings, restaurant reservations and even concert tickets. The app also happens to be compatible with a ton of airlines and travel booking sites, meaning you can keep all of your vacation information right where you need it. It’s the perfect way for well-organized travelers to spend more time on the beach sipping mojitos and less time fumbling for their boarding passes.
If you’re anything like me, the thing you love most about going on vacation is stuffing your food-hole full of local cuisine. Enter Urbanspoon, a must-have app that lets you track down the perfect place to grab a bite on the go. You can search by specific map locations, filter your selections by price and cuisine-type, plus check out other user’s reviews. If you’re a little more adventurous, simply shake your iPhone or Android and take a chance on a randomized chow selection. One word of advice: all-you-can-eat truck stop burritos are never a good idea.
If you’ve ever had to hop the border during your travels, you know how expensive smartphone roaming charges can be. That’s where Wi-Fi Finder comes in handy, letting you track down the nearest free Wi-Fi hot spot. There’s also the option to filter by internet providers and by location type. The app even offers directions on how to get to the hot spot once you’ve made your selection. That means you can upload your latest vacation photos without it costing you the Gross National Product of the country you’re visiting.
There’s an old saying that states when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. Fortunately, there’s SitOrSquat to the rescue, a crowdsourced bathroom locator that lets you track down the nearest place to take care of business. SitOrSquat even lets you rate bathrooms based on cleanliness and convenience. In other words, when nature calls, SitOrSquat might just be the best thing you’ve ever downloaded.
And so there you have it, my picks for some great free travel apps. Just remember that every journey begins with a single step and to always make sure to pack an extra pair of clean underwear just in case. Happy travels!
What’s your favorite summer travel app? Let us know in the comments below!