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3 iPhone Apps That Will Make Your Summer Vacation More Enjoyable

Venturing out on a summer getaway? Summer is a great time to pack your bags and escape your mundane everyday life for something more adventurous.

Planning your excursion can sometimes be a stressful experience. These three mobile apps can help you find fun and interesting things to do, stay within your budget, and even include pets in the excitement.

LocalScope

LocalScope is an iPhone app that scours the web for information and presents it all to you in a neat, convenient fashion. For just $2.99, you can easily search for local food, museums, hotels, gas stations, coffee shops, shopping centers, and anything else that may pique your interest.

After searching, you’ll be presented with nearly every bit of information you need – pictures and reviews to restaurant menus, contact information, and even maps.

What makes LocalScope unique is that it pulls information from all your favorite websites, and some you may not have even heard of, including Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, Foursquare, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Garmin.

You’ll also be able to navigate to your destination of choice from within the app. Once you’ve enjoyed your local attraction, you can easily post reviews and pictures and share your experience with your friends from within LocalScope.

Trail Wallet

When you’re relaxing on vacation, it’s easy to spend more money than you planned. That’s why Trail Wallet is here to help.

Once you set your daily budget for either your trip or the whole month, Trail Wallet lets you enter in all your purchases and define tags and categories to help you organize them. You’re allowed 25 items per trip in the free version; after that you must pay $4.99 to unlock unlimited items.

You can create your own tags and categories, and then use them to narrow your search results to make finding what you’re looking for easier.

Trail Wallet boasts a very intuitive interface, making it easy for you to navigate your purchases and get an overview of your trip expenses. It is a joy to use, with several themes and interactive avatars to choose from. You can view very detailed charts of your spending data, with plenty of filtering options so you only see what you want to see.

If you happen to be visiting another country, Trail Wallet will even automatically convert your money to the local exchange rate of over 200 countries.

Power users can also export trip data from the app into their favorite accounting software.

BringFido

If you’re like most pet owners, you want to take your furry friend everywhere you go. With BringFido, you can easily find pet-friendly hotels, outdoor restaurants, parks, and beaches near you. Most entries contain detailed photos and reviews, which you can also submit yourself.

BringFido includes a built-in map, displaying nearby pet-friendly attractions and how to get to them. You can then contact the destination you’re interested in with the information provided in the app.

Booking pet-friendly hotel rooms through BringFido is incredibly convenient. You can enter the size of your pets and how many you have, then be given detailed pricing and booking for your desired destination. However, it is worth noting that some users have complained about the reliability of booking within the app, but regardless, it is a great start to your hotel search.

If you don’t have an iPhone, BringFido also offers a website with all the convenience of the free app.

I’d love to see and hear about your summer excursions. Email me your stories and photos at christian@calibre-cs.com.

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These Two Apps Made Getting Around D.C. A Breeze

The painfully sore blisters on my pinky toes remind me I need to buy a good pair of walking shoes before my next excursion.

Many of you know I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure tickets to attend the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. No matter your political stance, the privilege of watching American history in the making live, in-person, and up-close is something I’ll never forget.

Although my friend and I rented an apartment only a mile from the White House, we walked thousands of steps as we explored our nation’s capital for the first time.

Two apps on my iPhone quickly became our best friend for our five-day adventure: Uber and Google Maps.

We flew into Washington-Dulles International Airport on Thursday. Since Washington doesn’t have mass transit fully finished to that airport, Uber provided the fastest and most direct way to get to our apartment.

As a new Uber user, I secured a $15 off coupon for my first ride.

We used Uber several times throughout our stay, including once when my poor feet hurt so bad that I absolutely couldn’t walk another block.

The Uber app is super-easy to use. It automatically detects your current location and asks where you would like to go. You’re then given several Uber vehicle options, depending on what’s available in your area.

Alec and I often used UberPOOL. You’re given a guaranteed, low-cost fare because you’re sharing the ride with one or two other people going the same way you are. Our average was about $3.50 for the both of us each time we used UberPOOL.

Within moments, an available Uber driver accepts your request and heads to pick you up. The app shows your driver’s first name, a description of their vehicle and the license plate number. Often times, the driver calls your cell phone as they near your location so they can watch for you.

Because of the massive crowds using public transit, Uber made navigating long distances throughout the capital convenient.

When Alec and I chose to explore the sights and landmarks of D.C. on foot, the Google Maps app gave us the turn-by-turn directions needed to make sure we didn’t get lost. It also told us how long it would take to reach our destinations.

I used Google Maps as we explored the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, and the Washington Monument on the cool, misty, foggy Saturday night.

On Sunday, the Google Maps app helped us time our rides on the Washington Metro trains to visit Arlington National Cemetry, the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, the Pentagon, and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

I encourage you to make these two apps an important part of your next road trip or vacation. They’ll make life a lot easier!

Oh – be sure to take a portable battery charger. These apps run in the background on your phone and can quickly drain the battery.