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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Top Travel Apps for Summer



By Tracey Dowdy

In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of vacation. Whether that means sun and sand or museums and galleries, the prospect of getting away can be equal parts gleeful anticipation and nervous apprehension. With a little planning and a few helpful apps, you can make sure the biggest dilemma you face on your trip is whether to go with soft serve or gelato.

KEY - Available as a web (W) or mobile (M) app

"I love it when a plan comes together."

  • Tripit: Free, convenient, and user friendly, Tripit simplifies your travel plans by putting all your travel and dining reservations in one place. You can link to your friends to follow their trips, make your itinerary public or private, and add multiple travelers if you’re traveling with a group. (W/M)
  • Roadside America: As air travel has become more trouble than it’s worth to some, the classic American road trip is coming back into its own. With the world’s largest office chair, giant coffee pots, two story outhouses, and a 9 foot tall Abraham Lincoln, Roadside America is “Your online guide to offbeat tourist attractions.” (W/M)
  • AAA: More than just roadside assistance, with AAA you can book air, hotels, and rental cars, find discount travel options, search online maps and get point-to-point driving directions. You can even speak with a real-live-honest-to-goodness person for trip advice or to purchase travel insurance. (W/M)

"Are we there yet?"

  • GasBuddy: GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas in the area. If you’re road-trippin’, those pennies on the dollar add up very quickly. (W/M)
  • RoadAhead: My husband has an “If I can’t see it from the highway we aren’t stopping” rule when we’re on a road trip. This has been a point of contention more than once as he is usually traveling with three females and a restroom that doesn’t require a HazMat suit is a priority. RoadAhead lets you know what’s coming up at that next exit and whether the gas station really is right there or 10 miles out of the way. (W/M)
  • Kayak: Spend way more time than you intended at the World’s Largest Ball of Twine? If you find yourself in need of last minute accommodations, Kayak is the answer. You can compare local hotels and book directly from the app. Kayak also lets you search flights, car rentals, and plan an itinerary, track flight status, and check baggage fees. (W/M)

"We’re hee-eere!"

  • WHERE: In an unfamiliar area and need to find the closest restaurant? Public restroom? Gas station? With just a couple of clicks, you can find local dining, sights, and special offers for the area. With WHERE you can save your favourites, add a wish list of places you want to go, and recommend them to others. (M)
  • Coupon Sherpa Mobile Coupons: Think coupons without the clipping. You have the option to pull up coupon on your phone or print them. Coupon Sherpa Mobile Coupons is user friendly and GPS based, and a great resource for saving money on your trip. (M)
  • ShopSavvy: ShopSavvy lets you scan the barcode or QR code of any item and immediately compares prices locally and online. If there’s no barcode, you can search by keyword. It’s available for multiple currencies (USD, EUR, GBP) and gives you the option to buy the item online if you find a better deal. Sync with Dropbox or iTunes file sharing and save coupons, promos and rebates. (M)
  • Mint.com: Speaking of finances, Mint allows you to monitor just how much you’re spending on your trip. Set your budget and track expenses so when you head back to reality, you have photos and happy memories, not regret and a mountain of debt. (W/M)
  • CityMaps2Go: allows you to download maps so you’re never lost, even in areas with sketchy cell phone reception. CityMaps2Go allows unlimited downloads, incurs no data or roaming charges, and is an invaluable resource for travelers. (M)
  • Adobe Photoshop Express: While the camera on my phone is much better than the last digital camera I bought, it can’t compensate for the fact I am a mediocre photographer at best. Adobe Photoshop Express allows you to upload photos, edit and post to photoshop.com, Facebook, or Twitter. (M)
  • Google Translate: We all know that speaking louder and more slowly is the key when communicating with someone who doesn’t speak your language, but on the off chance that doesn’t work, there’s Google Translate. Speak into your phone and let Google do the hard work. Much more effective than impromptu games of charades. (W/M)

With all these resources, you’ll potentially save enough to bring an extra person along. So… should I pack flip flops or skis?

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology.



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