I travel alone a fair amount. I’m not a road warrior by any stretch of the imagination but as a woman traveling alone, there are apps that I would literally be lost without. Some of the apps I have are purely for my own daily routine that keep me mindful and present even if I’m in a hotel three time zones away. I can remember about 7 years ago, my cell phone fell into a toilet while I was in St. Petersburg, Florida at a conference. Toast. Gone. It was just a regular cell phone (not smart in anyway) but it stopped me in my tracks. How in the world was I to communicate with only landlines? The horror of it. I survived, but I can tell you, I know where my phone is any time I am near water.
I have to say that I view a 5 hours car ride or a 3 hour flight as an opportunity to learn something. I actually look forward to either hearing a book or playing brain games or learning a language while on cruise control or 30,000 miles above the earth. It’s like a blank slate of time that gets filled with a great collage of information, drama and inspiration.
So here they are. The 7 apps that no traveler should be without.
1. Waze. Waze is a navigation app that my cousin’s wife turned me onto about two years ago. It’s free. There are other navigation apps out there but my favorite is Waze. There is a communal feel about Waze. Everyone else who is on the app traveling at the same time is reporting events on the road, they are called “Wazers”. Whether there is an accident, police (visible or not visible) or an object in the road, you are alerted about half a mile in advance. It even tells you if it’s raining or snowing or the traffic is moving at 17 miles an hour just ahead of you. Check out Waze.
2. OpenTable. This is another free app that is indispensable for the woman traveling alone. This will get you a reservation in practically every city in North America (I haven’t tried it overseas). If you are traveling to Seattle, you can research in advance to find the perfect sushi restaurant with walking distance of your hotel or find a reservation on the fly when your flight is delayed. So why is this great for a woman traveling alone? Well, the last thing you want to do is to walk into a restaurant that has a 45 minute wait, is closed on Tuesdays or went out of business 3 months ago and they forgot to take down their website. In addition, you can review the menu and reviews to see if it’s in your price range and lines up with your palate. AND you earn points towards gift cheques to be used at participating restaurants.
3. Audible. I am an Audible devotee. I’ve been a member for over 4 years. Basically, you can listen to most books using this app. There is a membership fee depending on how many books you want to listen to. I have listened to everything from Gone with the Wind to Huckleberry Finn to The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. When books are recommended at a conference, I add it to my wish list. Even my commute is not a waste of time because I am constantly listening to books. As Zig Ziglar describes automobile university, “A study by the University of Southern California revealed that if you live in a metropolitan area and drive 12,000 miles a year you can acquire the equivalent of two years of college education in three years’ time by listening to educational information in your car.” Utilize your travel by learning more.
4. Do It Tomorrow. This is a free app that is basically a list keeper. There is one list for “Today” and another list for “Tomorrow”. I use these lists for everything from keeping notes in a conference, checklists for my trip (don’t forget your bathing suit!), or a running grocery list (AAA batteries, orzo and butter are on my list right now). It’s super easy to use. There are other apps that will share lists which are great as well. This has just been my default for the last two years. Make sure you either have a note pad or some other app but don’t muddle your head with trying to remember AAA batteries. Save that brain space for something else.
5. Weather. I have the default weather app on my iPhone that I can add or delete cities from anytime I want. So if I’m making a connection through Atlanta, I can look up the weather for the next seven days. I recently traveled to Tampa and while you might expect temperatures of 75 degrees in January, the highs were only in the low 60’s (perish the thought). At least I was dressed appropriately and I left my bathing suit at home. Have the weather handy at all times.
6. Routine. I have three apps that are part of my daily routine. I meditate using an app called Holosync usually while on a treadmill or running outside (kill two birds with one stone). I then spend 5 minutes using the free version of Luminosity which has brain games to improve cognition. After that, time permitting, I spend 10 minutes learning Spanish on Duolingo (there are other languages available and it’s FREE). This is part of my daily routine and it grounds me no matter where I am. When I’m traveling, it’s nice to have some things I can count on to enrich me.
7. Hotel Plus. Make sure you download your hotel app. You never know when you are going to be needing a hotel at 2 AM while driving on the belt line in DC (oh wait that actually happened to me). I was traveling to Florida a few years ago with my elderly parents. We were delayed for 4 hours and were to arrive after midnight. I used my Hilton app to find a hotel close to our destination airport and made a reservation. My parents thought I was a wizard. Make sure you have the right apps available before you travel so that you can be a wizard as well. Also, make sure you have your bank app, Starbucks if you’re a fan, etc. so that your life on the road isn’t over the top alienating.
This list could be endless but I think I have the essentials (and I realize there are more than 7). I’m curious as to what you see as an essential travel app that you can’t live without?