Tech geeks need to stay connected wherever they go. Well, at least that is what we like to think. Whether you travel for work, or are on the road with your family during these vacation months, your iPhone can help you to stay in touch, and get the information you need. Here are ten iPhone apps, or categories of apps, to help you get all types of information, or stay entertained and amused, while you are on your travels.
Photo by cloneofsnake.
If, like me, you have a wife who requires a bathroom break every 90 minutes, you can use Have2P to locate nearby restrooms. The app will use your current location, or an address of your choosing, to give you a distance to each nearby restroom. The app also will mention whether a restroom is for patrons only and whether it has a changing table. Have2P also allows users to rate restrooms with a thumbs up or thumbs down. The information in Have2P is only as reliable as the information submitted by users. Have2P is free.
2. Wi-Fi Finder
Wi-Fi Finder does what its title suggests – finds nearby Wi-Fi hotspots. It uses your GPS (or an address input by you) to present a list of these hotspots. The list includes the business name, the address, and the distance from your current location. Clicking on an entry will provide you with more information, such as whether the Wi-Fi spot is a paid only spot, what providers the spot supports, a telephone number for the business, and a link to locate the Wi-Fi spot on Google Maps. This app is free.
3. A streaming music or radio app
To keep you entertained while traveling, try out the many apps that help you get music or radio stations on your iPhone. Those listed above are just a few. Of those listed, AOL Radio and iheartradio allow you to access terrestrial radio stations from all over the country on your iPhone, while Public Radio gives you access to public radio stations from all over the country. The other listed apps allow you to stream music in one manner or another. Each of these apps is free.
Are you a baseball fan, and hate to be away from your favorite team when on the road? MLB At Bat 2009 is the answer for you. It costs $9.99, but allows you to stream audio from every MLB game (both home and away announcers), review scores and box scores, follow along in a pitch by pitch mode, get highlight videos, and more. The app also makes two predetermined games available every day for live video streaming, subject to MLB blackout restrictions. If you are an MLB.tv subscriber ($29.95 per season, or $14.95 per month, for the normal plan), then you can stream live video from EVERY game (again, subject to blackout restrictions).
5. ATM Hunter
Everyone needs to access cash on the go. ATM Hunter makes that task easier, helping you find nearby cash machines. You can direct the app to use your iPhone’s GPS, use an address that you input, or find cash machines near an airport. The ATM list that is generated contains the name of the business where each ATM is located, the type of business, the address, the distance from you, and the name of the ATM network. Selecting an entry will give you more information, such as whether the ATM is drive through, open 24 hours, wheelchair accessible, surcharge free, and available for deposits. ATM Hunter is free.
Have you ever forgotten where you parked your car? If so, give Take Me to My Car a try. Once you park your car, tap the “Park Here” button in this app to store the location of your vehicle. When you’re ready to return to your car, tap the “Get Directions” button in the app to be taken to Google Maps, where a return route can be viewed. Take Me to My Car is free.
If, like me, your life is in Evernote, then you need the free Evernote iPhone app. The app allows you to enter text notes, take snapshots, record voice notes, or import photos already on your iPhone. These notes will be tagged with your GPS location as of the time the note was made. You can also access all of your notes anywhere that you have a connection, or access pre-designated Favorites even if you don’t have a connection. I’ve used the app to take photos of wine bottles, review my shopping list, and view PDF files stored in Evernote. The latest version of the app has been plagued with sluggishness and crashes, but the Evernote developers have reported that an updated version is currently in the approval process with Apple. The app is free, and requires you to have a free or Premium Evernote account.
Compared to the default Weather app on the iPhone, the free Weather Channel app is a full-featured weather tool. You can review weather information for predetermined favorites, or search by city name or zip code. For each location, you can review current conditions, an hourly forecast, a 36 hour forecasts, and a 10 day forecast. The app also provides severe weather alerts (available only when the app is open), videos of forecasts, and maps with radar and satellite imagery. The Weather Channel website does list a standard app and free app now. I’m not sure if the app I’ve been using, which seems to have the premium features, is indeed the premium app or not (perhaps I was grandfathered in?).
9. Any destination information app
Yelp, Yellow Pages, and WHERE all provide information about nearby destinations, such as restaurants, banks, and gas stations. Yelp attempts to leverage social media, allowing for user reviews. Yellow Pages lists destinations in a format similar to Yelp, and allows you to add business telephone numbers into your contacts. WHERE aggregates information from other services (including Yelp), and provides a realm of services, such as listing gas prices at nearby stations. Unfortunately, WHERE is plagued by intrusive ads that pop up over the content. All three apps are free.
10. AAA Discounts
AAA Discounts uses your GPS, and will display nearby businesses that provide discounts to AAA members. The real benefit of this app, though, is the ability to input your membership number to activate a Roadside Assistance button. This button will call AAA, and also provide the responder with your location, using your iPhone’s GPS.
There are numerous other apps that would come in handy for most road warriors. Some others that I’m currently checking out, but don’t know well enough yet, are TripIt, Documents to Go (in both Exchange server and normal versions), and Trapster. TripIt in particular looks promising, allowing you to forward your travel plans (airline, hotel, etc.) to the TripIt service, which then formats the various pieces of information, and makes it accessible online and via the iPhone.
How about you? Do you have any iPhone apps that you would recommend to those who are spending time on the go?