Vacationing: there’s an app for that
Published: Monday, March 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
In a time when budgeting is important for students, here are five apps that will help spring breakers get to their destination while keeping them entertained without breaking the bank.
One of the most popular travel apps, Kayak gets users off the ground when planning a trip. The app guides individuals through every step by helping them book a flight or search for a rental car. Also, by entering a destination and traveling dates the app will connect users with flight, hotel and car rental suggestions that can be booked right from the app.
Although, websites like Expedia have also conveniently condensed travel bookings, Kayak has a clever interactive world map that lets travelers select destinations based on budget restraints. It also tracks flights, converts currency and looks up sightseeing opportunities.
Exalted from the excitement of sightseeing, eating usually becomes an afterthought when traveling. The Urbanspoon app attempts to solve this problem by offering a wide array of dining options based on the part of town, food preferences and price.
Whether diners are looking for an eatery in their own city or one while traveling, Urbanspoon provides directions, reviews and sometimes menu items. Best of all, just shake the device and it randomly selects places (depending on the parameters set by the user). Although it doesn't provide reservation placement options in all restaurants, like Open Table, it does provide information on more eateries around town.
MotionX GPS Drive
One of the least expensive navigation apps, MotionX GPS Drive provides enough turn-by-turn instructions to keep travelers from getting lost. It offers a clean and simple display that's easy to follow and a sharp voice navigation system. The app costs $0.99 for the first 30 days, before having to pay extra. It isn't as keen as the more expensive navigation apps in providing extensive traffic information, but it can get anyone from point A to point B in an unknown city.
For the documentary enthusiasts or for those seeking a road trip diversion, SnagFilms provides an extensive library of little-known documentaries for free streaming (with minimal commercial interruption).
Although Netflix also offers some great documentaries, SnagFilms' selections cover niche subjects like yoga, Islam and aliens, made mostly by independent filmmakers. Their selection is largely hit or miss and an internet connection is required, but the films are mostly very intriguing, especially if paying for other viewing services, like Netflix or HuluPlus, doesn't sound so good.
MetalStorm: Wingman provides enough thrills as an aerial combat game to ease the thought that Cancun is still hours away. It is an addicting interactive game in which the player pilots a battle plane attempting to shoot down enemy battle ships on the water.
Its real catch is in the flying. The game is tilt based recreating the effect of a pilot steering the plane. The game offers decent graphics and good sound effects and, aside from the commercial hook to get players to upgrade the planes, it's a fun modern throwback to arcade combat classics that will keep the backseat drivers busy and quiet for a good while.
Andres Rodriguez may be reached at email@example.com.