Monday, December 17, 2012

Apps and Sites to Make Holiday Travel Easier

Many of us travel during the holidays, some to remote and exotic locations and others to Small Town,  USA where internet and cell service might be hard to find. Or maybe you are going to have a stay-cation and enjoy the comforts of home. Here are five of my favorite go-to apps to use for holiday travel and other times, too! All the apps listed below are free and work on both Android and iOS devices as well as your personal computer.  You will want to refer back to this post again when spring break and summer travel beckons.

Hipmunk is a great site that makes finding flights and hotels easy. The interface provides a visual organization with the best possible flight combinations on just a single screen.  You can sort by price, times and more and book your flight directly from hipmunk.You can see what you give up or what you have to pay to get more or less amenities.  If you want one stop shopping for flights or hotels, then check out Hipmunk.

The Wifi Finder app will use your device's GPS, find the  closest wifi hot spot, and provide directions on how to get there. This app is a great way to save on data charges when traveling or even when you are out for the day at home. The app can access over more than 650,000 locations in 144 countries!Another plus is that you can filter by restaurant, café, hotel, etc. Download in the App Store or in the Google Play Store.

Around Me takes the guess work out of wondering what restaurants, gas  stations, banks, hotels, movie theaters,  supermarkets are nearby. No matter what your need, you can find what is close by. This super simple app uses your GPS and provides the location on a map, with easy directions on how to get there. Download in the App Store or Google Play Store.

Stay connected when you travel or anytime with Google Voice! Google Voice is a very powerful free tool. It provides you with a US phone number that you can link to your existing cell.  You can use this to receive an place calls for free. You can forward calls from your current phone to your Google Voice number and you can send and receive text messages for free.  Link it to your Google Voice account. It will allow you to place and receive call as long as you have wifi connection. You will not use any minutes/texts from your plan. All the communication will use your Google Voice number, completely free. (coming soon in an upcoming to use Google Voice in the classroom!)
Why pay $$$ and international fees when you can get Unlimited FREE, calls and texts to anyone in the world over WiFi or 3G/4G without using any cellphone minutes??  Talkatone is an app for Android and iOS devices that will turn your Droid, iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone into a true internet phone! Link Talkatone to your Google Voice number to place and receive calls as long as you have a wifi connection. These methods will not use any minutes/texts from your plan. All the communication will use your Google Voice number, completely free. This app is very useful if you are traveling abroad.
Hopefully, you can stay connected, explore your surroundings and get there economically with these free Apps! Happy Holidays to all.

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