travel & recreation
on the road
A GOOD SOURCE for finding apps for
Android and Apple devices is www.
appolicious.com, which rates the apps
by category. Here are some of the best.
on the grid
Currency (Android, iPhone; free):
Converts between currencies using
up-to-date exchange rates.
Gate Guru (iPad, iPhone; free): Allows
you to view your TripIt and Kayak
itineraries, view/post airport security
wait times and see maps and a list of
airport food, shops and services.
By Alice Shapin
LAST YEAR, my husband, Paul, and I, both
Costco members, took a vacation to Phoenix
and clocked more than 600 miles on the
road. Thinking we could navigate the trip on
our own, we decided to forgo a GPS in the
What we didn’t realize was that, after getting used to a family car with GPS, we had
totally lost our ability to read a map. Thank
goodness our tablet computer had a GPS app.
And that wasn’t all. The Yelp app gave us the
locations of hotels, restaurants and attractions
on a map tied to our current location, the
Flight Track app let us know if our flight home
was on time and we also downloaded a couple
of self-guided tours.
“App” is short for “application,” meaning a
computer program generally designed to run
on a smartphone or tablet and perform a specific function. And yes, if you’re traveling,
there are hundreds of apps for whatever your
need may be. For example, Currency calculates exchange rates, i Translate is a universal
translator and Google Goggles will tell you all
about a landmark just by taking a picture of it.
“Apps are like potato chips. You want to
have just one more,” says Chris Hall of
Arizona, a senior writer at
The website covers everything about apps.
A self-professed foodie and Costco shop-
per (especially on Saturdays, with all the food
samples), Hall remarks, “When I’m in a for-
eign land the first thing on my mind is where
I’m going to eat. If I’m looking for something
expensive, Zagat is invaluable. But he adds, “I
do love Open Table, which lets you make reser-
vations at any participating restaurant. There’s
nothing like hitting a button and having a res-
Timothy McLain of North Carolina and
his family were headed to see the space shuttle
launch. “We had pre-booked a hotel near the
launch, but after we were on our way we real-
ized we’d have more fun staying at the beach.
My wife used the Kayak app to find a hotel in
Daytona Beach. We even saved $50 a night,”
Google Goggles (Android, iPhone;
included in Google Mobile App; free):
A visual search tool that lets you take
a picture of a landmark and then tells
you about it.
Google Maps with Navigation
(Android, iPad, iPhone; free): Offers
map routing and turn-by-turn directions.
HearPlanet (Android $3.99, iPhone
$4.99): Like having your own tour
guide. Tells you what attractions
are nearby and can read the descriptions aloud.
iMedjet (Android, iPhone; free): A
comprehensive first-aid guide for travelers, detailing everything from bee
stings to stabilizing a bone fracture.
i Translate (Android, iPhone; translations free, spoken language $1.99 per
language): Translates between 60
Kayak (Android, iPad, iPhone; free):
For flight, hotel searches and last-minute changes, or if you need a new
flight or hotel.
Lonely Planet (iPad, iPhone; $5.99):
Phrasebooks and guidebooks for
virtually every destination.
Open Table (Android, iPad, iPhone;
free): Search for restaurants by location, cuisine and price; see ratings;
and make a reservation.
TripIt (iPad, iPhone; free): TripIt
Travel Organizer puts all your travel
plans right on your iPhone no matter
where your travel was booked.
The Costco Connection
Costco offers a variety of smartphones and
cellphone plans, and numerous travel guides
are available for those who can still read maps.
Alice Shapin is a Maryland freelance writer who
has been published in national publications.
Wi-Fi Finder (Android, iPad, iPhone;
free): Can locate all the Wi-Fi hot
spots near you or at a specific address.
Can download a database to help you
find a hot spot when disconnected.
MAY 2011 ;e Costco Connection 77