Tech Trips: Smartphones and the Summer Vacation Season

From airport guides to maps, mobile technology is an essential part of any vacation.

By on June 5, 2013

More people plan to boost spending this year on leisure travel according to research conducted by American Express – and family trips are particularly popular as 60 percent of parents plan to bring the kids along this year, with some families including grandparents as well for multi-generational trips.

Whether you are traveling with a family of four or 14, technology can help you plan and problem-solve on the go.

As you head out for your road trip, look for inspiration on social media. Store your family’s favorite spots on your smartphone through the Place Book app, which allows you to log destinations in custom lists and connect to Yelp, Foursquare and Google Places for reviews, tips, check-ins, street view and more.

Between stops, crowdsourcing apps such as Gas Buddy help you find the least expensive fuel on the road by pinpointing the nearby gas stations and reporting their most recent updated price. 

Plenty of families are planning to take to the skies this summer as well, with July being the biggest month for family air travel. A little mobile pre-planning can help you simplify the airport experience. Download an airport guide app such as GateGuru to help identify dining spots during layovers, track flight schedules and find ground transportation. Also, TSA’s app provides answers to most commonly asked questions about flying as well as airport status and even expected security wait times.

Whether in the car or at the airport, entertainment is in your pocket with your smartphone or tablet. Parents can keep kids entertained by downloading top apps such as Motion Math: Hungry Guppy for the youngsters or Junior Astronaut for older children. Teens can plug into their favorite tunes via Pandora radio or iHeart Radio.

Once you reach your destination, keep kids interested with apps such as Mom Maps, which highlight kid-friendly restaurants and nearby play areas. Or, for fun for the whole family, check out Spotcycle, which shows a digital map of bike rental stations. Pick up bikes, take a ride and then check the app for the nearest drop-off point. It’s available in 30 different cities.

This summer, simplify your trips and make the most out of your family time.