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Monday, December 10, 2012

Travel Apps and Websites

Travel Apps and Websites

Over the past year, I have written posts about a few of the more recent travel apps and websites that I have found particularly useful. Since my last app post, I’ve received email suggestions and uncovered a few more useful travel apps for an iPhone or an Android smartphone, along with a couple helpful websites. Have you found one that you like in particular? If so, share your thoughts here.

Here are some recent additions to the digital travel tool landscape:

iExit
I recently learned of this app at TUAW, and it sounds like a wonderful tool for travelers, especially if you are planning to spend some time on interstate highways this holiday season. It’s called iExit, and like other similar travel tools, its aim is to highlight attractions and other destinations. But unlike other apps, iExit’s on-the-road view provides information about what can be found at exits up ahead. Can you wait to refill the tank until the next town? Where’s the closest restroom? Many times when you try to answer these questions with your mapping applications at highway speeds, you’ve just passed the appropriate turnoff once you’ve gotten your bearings. iExit can provide alerts well in advance. You can filter the results as well, so if you are looking for ice cream or a particular brand of fast food, the app will find that too. The app also includes coupons for discounts at local destinations.

TravelNerd
Of course, airports are particularly busy this time of year. Just in time for holiday travel, a new travel app called TravelNerd aims to help travelers save time and money when they are at the airport. Waiting for your flight and wondering if there is a Starbucks in your terminal? TravelNerd will help you find your way. While it may not be complete in its current form, the developers' goals are to create a one-stop app so to speak—providing all of the handy terminal and travel information together in a singular package. The app itself is organized with categories that can make searching easy, even if you aren’t looking for something specific. Once you’ve found what you are looking for, the information can be presented on terminal maps rather than a simple list. Currently the guide provides information for about 50 airports (including MSP International).

Passports with Purpose
I’ve written about the app in previous posts, but TripIt provides an easy way to organize your travel itinerary and other information into one single location, be it a smart phone or online calendar. Simply forward confirmation emails from anywhere you book to plans@tripit.com and TripIt automatically creates the itinerary. The program continues to offer new updates. TripIt Pro and TripIt for Business offer even more tools for serious travelers. This week, the travel app is teaming up with fellow sponsors Expedia.com, HomeAway, Travellerspoint, Hostel Bookers, TBEX, Go with Oh and more than 175 travel bookers from around the world to raise $100,000 for five wells in Haiti through a partnership with Passports with Purpose and Water.org. Each well will serve an average of 370 people in Boucan Carre and Mirebalais. Five dollars will be donated for every gift of TripIt Pro purchased through December 15.

Take Your Pet
If you are going to be making travel plans with your pet, you might want to start your planning by visiting Takeyourpet.com. Since it was first launched in 1999, this website has offered travelers access to an ever-changing database of pet-friendly accommodations, vacation rentals, and resorts. The site provides advice on everything from airline travel to pet policies in America’s national parks. It also contains useful contact information on local veterinary and emergency services, as well as forums for pet owners to share tips and advice for their fellow travelers. You’ll find discounts on car rentals and lodging as well.

TourMSP
And finally, from the team that provides useful, local travel information in such publications as Minnesota Monthly and Where Twin Cities, not to mention this blog, we here at Greenspring Media Group are putting the final touches on our own mobile travel site as well: TourMSP. Simply point your mobile web browser to tourmsp.com while you are in town and you will gain access to rich information about area dining, shopping, entertainment, and more near you. Find contact information, websites, and maps to area attractions, including helpful “editor’s picks” to guide you to some of our favorite finds.

Again, this list of travel applications doesn’t even begin to highlight the myriad options available for both iPhones and Android smartphones. Don’t forget to download Explore Minnesota’s travel app, which recently offered an update to include new seasonal information about regional activities. As always, if you have a favorite app, we’d love to hear about it. Safe travels!

Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012 in Permalink

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Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

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