It’s important to remember that summer extends beyond the inevitable approach of tank tops, jorts, and Ray-Bans. Here are the Tribune’s picks of apps to augment the summer experience, whether it’s a soul-searching trip to South East Asia, one last road trip with friends after graduation, or the familiar comfort of that hometown sunshine.
Offline access is by far the most important thing to consider when picking apps to be used abroad. Depending on the country, data plans may not be available, and WiFi can be spotty at best. CityMaps2Go offers detailed and comprehensive maps for cities and regions around the world, from downtown Chicago to rural Romania. Download maps before leaving home and access them later. Most smartphones have built-in GPS capabilities that don’t require data. Use the GPS system and the app’s pins to make navigating new cities a breeze.
PackPoint is an app that curates packing lists based on the destination and type of activity. Triposo is a wiki-style app that offers detailed readings on different areas; use Triposo to brush up on the history of a city, a region’s customs, or the different types of food in a country. XE Currency offers conversions between different types of currency, and updates to real-time values whenever WiFi or data is available.
Skype is invaluable in making phone calls whenever WiFi is available. Different residence preferences beget different apps; use Hostelworld to sort local hostels by price and rating, and use AirBnB to find cheap residences for a more local experience.
Home sweet home
Some of the most enjoyable summers are spent at home with a beer in hand and friendly company. Oftentimes these opportunities lend themselves perfectly to a BBQ and grill session, which is where GrillTime comes in. By selecting the meat, thickness, and preferred level of doneness, this app recommends a grilling time and temperature, with flip reminders to boot.
The app BandsInTown Concerts displays dates for upcoming shows and allows the user to curate the bands displayed based on the music on his/her phone and a set radius. With summer’s propensity for high heat and fewer clothes, it’s important to keep in shape for the exhausting summer festivals and inevitable beach photo.
Use RunKeeper to maximize outdoor cardio sessions; the app features a route and distance tracker, pulls music from a specified playlist on the phone, and tracks the user’s progress towards his/her goal.