I’m officially back to work after what was a great road trip vacation to Colorado. Ryan and I camped in the Rockies, rode horses at Garden of the Gods, went to a museum and aquarium, hit the casinos, rode a train to the top of Pikes Peak, saw Royal Gorge and the Great Sand Dunes, and bunches of other stuff. It amazes me that we fit so much into only nine days and still managed to feel relaxed. Another thing that surprised me was how often we used our iPhones while traveling. Just for fun, I thought I’d do a quick post of my top five iPhone travel apps.
1) MapQuest (free) - This was definitely our most used app. We didn’t take a TomTom or any kind of map or atlas with us. Instead, we relied solely on the MapQuest app to figure out our best driving routes and estimated travel times, and it never let us down. My favorite feature about this app is that it has voice-guided turn-by-turn directions. It’s more delayed than what you’ll experience with a TomTom, but it’s still really handy. Plus, the MapQuest app is free, which makes up for that negative, in my opinion.
2) Hotel Tonight (free) - This app got us the best deal during our trip. We used it to book two nights in an upscale hotel in the heart of Denver for 70% off regular price. The premise behind Hotel Tonight is that it features three hotels with reduced rates each day. To take advantage of the discount, bookings have to be same-day. Unfortunately, the app is currently limited to only a few larger US cities.
3) Kayak (free) - For all other hotel bookings, we mostly used the Kayak app. It compares rates among several different web sites. Plus, it has some great filtering abilities so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for fast, and you can view results in list format or on a map. Using this app, we were able to reserve rooms within minutes.
4) TripAdvisor (free) - This app seemed to be the best source for reviews of activities, restaurants, and hotels. We also used it several times to find nearby restaurants while on the road. A feature that this app has that several similar apps don’t have is the ability to save listings so that you can easily find them again.
5) Camp Finder ($1.99) - This app was really helpful for finding nearby campgrounds. It’s got some good filtering abilities (such as only searching for campgrounds with free wifi), and it lists each campground’s amenities, as well, as any reviews. We had planned to camp near Estes Park, CO, and by the time we had gotten into town many of the campgrounds had already reached capacity. This app helped us to located a nearby option with tent availability within minutes.
Finally, another iPhone app that I must mention is Instagram. Although not a travel app, it was perhaps my most used app during the entire trip. This fun camera phone app is quick and easy to use, has lots of cool photo filters, allows you to share with all you social networking profiles and email. Best of all, it’s free! Check out my photography blog if you’d like to see some of my favorite Instagram photos from our trip. :)