I love when people tell me they like to rip-out and save my columns for future reference. Paul Ferri suggested I write an end-of-season “keeper column” compiling highlights of my favorite apps and websites. Great idea! This Part 1 of 3 has apps and websites that I thought would come in handy for summer adventures.
Trusted Traveler program, Global Entry globalentry.gov is a must for international travel to quickly enter the US at 60+ airports using dedicated kiosks (and receive TSA Precheck clearance). Starting this summer, it will also allow access to ePassport gates in most EU countries and the UK.
Returning to US waters from the Bahamas? Clear customs through the Customs & Border Patrol CBP ROAM app (cbp.gov) which allows pleasure boaters to report their arrival online and clear customs with a video chat with a CBP Officer. Also download their free Mobile Passport App allowing US and Canadian travelers to process US customs on your phone.
TripAdvisor app (tripadvisor.com) offers in-depth reviews with photos of hotels, restaurants and attractions.
Viator Travel with an Insider app (viator.com) puts any city in the palm of your hand with private VIP experiences, tours and more.
Lounge Buddy (loungebuddy.com) is an app that lets you view, book and access over 2000+ airport lounges at over 800 airports around the world with a list of amenities and photos.
Seat Guru by TripAdvisor (seatguru.com) lets you choose the best seats on a plane by flight, route or airline with detailed seat maps including in-flight amenities and photos of the seats and cabin.
Grab: Order Airport Food (getgrab.com) is a neat app that lets you preorder and pay for food and bypass the line at airports in the US and UK.
The award-winning Citymapper Transit Navigation app (citymapper.com) connects you to public transit (subways, ferries, buses, scooters and bikes) in 39 major cities around the world with real-time departure info and maps.
The Opentable app (opentable.com) is my go-to for finding restaurants and reserving tables in over 20 countries.
Passing through a town for the day? The Dayuse app (dayuse.com) offers hotel rooms during the day (mostly 9-5 and some late evenings) with up to 75% off in 22 countries. Enjoy all the amenities of a 5-star hotel while you enjoy the beach, spa, restaurants, etc.
The Get My Boat app offers water experiences (think jet skis, snorkeling, fishing charters, boat rentals, kayaks, paddleboards, etc.) in 184 countries. Imagine running your own electric boat on the Seine… Wow!
The Roadtrippers app (roadtrippers.com) helps plan your journey from point A to point B with fascinating detours, local diners, and quirky roadside attractions in North America, Australia and New Zealand.
My all-time favorite driving app is iExit (iexitapp.com) which finds your current highway location and lists directions to restaurants, lodging, attractions, and more at each upcoming exit on your route.
The Winnie app (winnie.com) helps you find parks, activities for kids, family dining suggestions, child care options, places to play and even where kids eat free – all near your current location.
Download the Flush Toilet Finder (jrustonapps.com/apps/flush-toilet-finder) to find the closest toilet to you with directions and whether they are handicap accessible or require a key or a fee (even when your phone is offline).
In the Palm of your Hound:
Every dog owner should have the Bring Fido app (bringfido.com) on their phone with worldwide listings of parks, beaches, pet-friendly restaurants or hotels, and services. Their free canine concierge at 877-411-FIDO or firstname.lastname@example.org is a lifesaver.
CertaPet.com (certapet.com) easily registers a pet as an Emotional Support Animal (different than a Service Animal certification) for home or travel (or both) – great for flying commercially with your pet (in the cabin) at no extra cost.
The Furbo interactive dog camera and app (furbo.com) lets you see, hear, talk to, and toss treats to your pet from afar. Purchase the camera device on Amazon.
Before you pick up a rod this summer, be sure and purchase a fishing license. Visit takemefishing.org to find one for any state.
Have you ever thought of mounting your prize fish? The MarineMax Ship’s Store recommends Gray’s Taxidermy (graytaxidermy.com) to memorialize your catch with a fiberglass fish replica.
Not sure if the fish you caught is a keeper? Size it up with Apple’s measure app (or Google’s measure app for Android phones) – these augmented reality tape measures quickly measure most anything (except for the one that got away).
Fishing Guru Mona Brewer likes weather apps Weather Bug (weatherbug.com), Weather Underground (wunderground.com), and Windfinder (windfinder.com) whenever she fishes.
The GardenAnswers plant identification app (gardenanswers.com) identifies plants (as well as pests and diseases) with cutting-edge plant identification technology.
The free Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Merlin Bird ID app (birds.cornell.edu) quickly identifies over 3000+ species in North, Central, and South America and Europe.
Grab your water bottle and download the Alltrails app (alltrails.com) with trail guides worldwide – it even works offline while still pinpointing your location with GPS.
Head and Heart:
The award-winning Instant Heart Rate app (by Azumio) (azumio.com/apps#heartrate) is one of the world’s best instant mobile heart rate measurement apps.
Living with a cardiologist means we have our own portable AED – perfect for travel. We like Philips’ HeartStart Home Defibrillator (heartstart.com), but Amazon has many to choose from.
Face to Face:
Visit Facebook to stay in touch with your friends this summer and connect with the Ocean Reef Facebook page (facebook.com/OceanReefClub) as well as the private Reef Tag Sale page and the Ocean Reef Gals page with nearly 800 OR gals posting and sharing, informing and supporting each other.