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9 Apps to take on Summer Vacations

Apps, unlike office chairs, will help make your vacation comfortable without adding weight to your luggage.

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Yes, it’s summer. At least in some parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Thankfully for those of us who aren’t in the warm spots, it’s not hard to travel to different places with more agreeable climates. And with your smartphone in your hand luggage, travelling got a whole lot easier. Slap in a local SIM card to avoid those unwanted calls from back home, and pay for the extra data plan to create little technology resort in your pocket. Here are nine apps that are made for vacationing, that can be used with or without an internet connection.

Vacationers rarely want to talk to clients or colleagues, but your smartphone will nonetheless give you access to travel guides, city maps, street directories, airline tickets or translators. Buying a local sim card with a data plan will pay for itself after a few short minutes, and it usually costs no more than a decent dinner. Clients or colleagues are no longer to blame for exorbitant phone bills, and, better yet, are unable to contact you if you so wish.

If your mobile device supports ‘quad-band’, compatible SIM cards can be found practically all over the world. If your phone doesn't support sim cards (like many mobile devices in the US), mobile WiFi Hotspots such as MiFi are an alternative. They conserve your smartphone’s battery power, and allow you to retain your existing number and surf with a local provider’s data rate. Since power outlets while travelling can sometimes be hard to come by, when vacationing in some regions it might be worthwhile investing in a solar charger.

Here are seven apps that will improve your mood whilst on vacation. Many of these don't require a permanent network connection:

Triposo & Foodspotting

There are a dime a dozen such apps, from the very good to the horrendously bad. But they exist for a reason. The more places you visit, the more travel guides you’re likely to have, and at the airport every gram counts. Apps like Triposo solve this luggage dilemma with a version that fits on any smartphone.

The guide can help you in at least 8,000 locations around the world. Once a particular city or country profile is downloaded, most of the program’s functions run without an internet connection. The program recommends specific locations for your trips, taking weather and the day of the week into account (though this function requires connectivity.) Users can then rate sites or locations, set check-ins and bookmarks on Facebook and build a travel log. More specialized apps like Foodspootting help you explore the local culinary delights.

Pocket

You don’t really need an additional data plan because you access enough free WiFi spots in cafés, hotels or coworking spaces? Pocket is for you. The app was previously known as 'Read It Later', but still explains the idea behind.

Each site that you save on pocket can be read later without a network connection, whether you’re in an airplane or in the middle of the ocean on a sailboat. It supports Android, IOS and Kindle - and best of all, it’s free.

TripIt

If you visit several places during your holiday, accommodation and modes of transport often change from one destination to another, and for this, TripIt makes a good travel planner. All of your hotel reservations and entries can be forwarded to the app with one click. TripIt then collects all the times and places in a single interface, synchronizes your calendar and automatically shows you the route from the airport to the hotel, even if you cannot connect to the internet. If you opt for it, the app also informs also your friends and family of your whereabouts. There is TripIt for (almost) all operating systems. The business version also organizes group trips.

World UV

Do you belong in the category of vacationers who crave the sun, spend hours lying on the beach, and feel that a successful holiday is measured by the intensity of your tan? You’re probably aware of the dangers of UV rays. And equally as aware of the sex appeal of a lobster complexion, the trigger for pity rather than envy.

For those who aren’t good at judging exactly how long they should be spending in the sun (all day is not the right answer), the British Association of Dermatologists have come to the rescue. The app predicts the UV radiation for almost every place on earth and offers tips depending on the day, allowing you to enjoy the sun but protect yourself in the process. World UV is free and is available for iPhones and Androids. The prediction, however, needs a constant internet access.

U.S. Army Survival Guide

Not every destination provides you with a hotel and sunscreen to make you comfortable. Maybe there are not even buses or cars nearby. U.S. Army Survival Guide shows you how to survive in places that haven’t yet been touched by your civilization. It explains how to kindle fire, keep a level head in difficult situations and respond to dangerous wild animals (these particular tips should be used in advance.) In Playstore the app is free for Android, for iPhone users it costs €1.59 or $1.99.

Travel Safe & First Aid

If jungle trips aren’t your style and you choose to holiday somewhere with a network connection, it helps to know emergency telephone numbers of your holiday destinations. Travel Safe knows the right numbers and also tells you where to find your embassy if you lose your passport. The app is free, and the pro version costs 99 cents.

In a medical emergency, there are many apps that help you update your first aid knowledge - First Aid on Android is the highest rated.

Kayak

Booking flights early can often save you money. As can booking flights during low-traffic times, like early morning or in the evenings. Kayak offers one of the best comparisons of various booking portals.

Kayak is also worthwhile for those whose flight has been delayed or cancelled. Airlines will often compensate the original price of the ticket in these cases, but in the meantime, finding a cheaper ticket for right now is worth your time.

Stop Mosquitos

Holiday heat and mosquitoes are often part and parcel. Some people download a mosquito-stop app. There are dozens to choose from, and most work by emitting high-frequency signals that mosquitoes can’t stand. 

It has not yet been scientifically proven. One other explanation could be that the signal irritates all those around you, driving them away, and the mosquitoes away with them.

Apps such as those against mosquitos have very simple functions. Behind these simple programs often lie spammers who then bombard users with advertising. Make sure to read through the user feedback on iTunes or PlayStore before downloading. This will ensure you spend less time deleting unwanted spam messages, and more time enjoying your break.

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