One of my responsibilities as a member of the academic technology team is to discover the latest and greatest apps for mobile devices that may prove useful for College of Liberal Studies students and faculty. In doing so, I also discover apps that my family can enjoy.
Many of us didn’t grow up with technology at our fingertips. I certainly did not. I did grow up taking summer trips with my family, though. My older brother and I thought we were fortunate to have Little Professor and Mattel Electric Quarterback games to take on trips.
Mobile devices have certainly changed, but I still love technology as much as I love traveling. Luckily for me, my son and husband also share my burning passion for adventure. Technology has empowered us to do more, see more and live more. Because of the mobile smartphone and a variety of intelligent apps, we feel comfortable setting out to journey across the United States and abroad.
Whether you travel alone or with company, you gain an education in culture and community. Every journey offers an experience, and technology can certainly lend a hand in making your experience extraordinary. I hope you will find these apps to be useful in your next travel adventure.
When we travel in the States, we take our Volkswagen camper that is more than 40 years old. When you own a vehicle that isn’t reliable, it’s important to take a smartphone on the road with you. We rely on apps like Gas Cubby, not just for fuel economy, but because our fuel gauge only works on good days. Gas Cubby will track your fuel use and alert you when it’s time for an oil change.
Another app we use when we need gas or, in some cases, when we need to walk to a nearby station, is the AroundMe app. Like its name implies, AroundMe is designed to find your location and then list all of the places around you. We use it when we travel, but we also use it when we are in our hometown and can’t decide where we want to eat. AroundMe can find just about anything from hospitals to concerts and even local guides. It really comes in handy when you are in a city that you have never visited.
We try to visit a new city or country each time we travel. One summer, my husband and I took our teenage son and his buddy on a road trip to the Northwest. We opted not to take the VW and instead traveled with camping gear in tow. We used the Google Maps app to track our trek and record all of our important travel information. With Google Maps, I was able to store all of our KOA camping reservations, along with phone numbers and a short description of our stay at each location.
We tend to make a lot of stops when we travel. Stopping to look around is all part of the adventure, isn’t it? One of the apps we use when we stop in an interesting location is the Geocaching app. Geocaching is using a smartphone to track your GPS location in order to locate a hidden treasure. Geocaching isn’t just a treasure hunt for kids. There are well over 2 million active geocachers. It’s quite amazing how many hidden treasures are in cities nationwide and overseas. Hunting for a treasure with only a hint and some GPS coordinates can be exciting, and it can prove to be a real workout.
Getting a workout is part of what sent us to the Pyrenees Mountains on one summer trip. The Pyrenees are located in Andorra between Spain and France. You don’t have to zip-line over the peaks to see the spectacular views, but I highly encourage it. We went for the delicious food and the tremendous hiking trails. Of course, we used an app to find trails nearby, but also to keep track of our speed and elevation.
MapMyWalk is an app that will map your walk, record your daily food intake and save your hike. It’s a great app if you enjoy hiking or simply walking through the city to grab a bite to eat. It will alert you when you reach goals and when you need new shoes. We even use it when we hike around our back pasture.
Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.