Do you need to get away from it all? Well if you’re taking a fabulous vacation or just tooling around town, here’s a few Apps you should definitely have on your iPhone!
First, you’re going to need some gas (even if you’ve got one of those classy hybrids). Well say no more:
Gas Bag is a nifty little gas pricess app that will show you local gas stations on a map, prices included. It’s a social network, so coverage may be really good or really bad in your area. It all depends on how many locals use the network and actively record their purchases.
Even so, it has a great interface, is easy to use, and many commenters on iTunes seem to think it works very well for them.
The thing I like most is that it has Google Maps integration. While this isn’t a novel feature, it’s been implemented well. Gas Bag can either determine your position with GPS (or pseudo-GPS) or you can manually search for your location. After it has your location, it displays the six or so closest gas stations. You can zoom in or out for more or less options.
Once you decide to purchase some gas somewhere, there is the option to enter your purchase into the network. I won’t go into the specifics of exactly how that interface works, but I’ll say it’s much better than the webapp I used to use to track my gas consumption. I stopped using that webapp because the interface was a bit too tiny and when you’re in a hurry, entering gas data isn’t something you always have time for. Let’s see if this one lasts any longer on my iPhone.
Now that you’re all gassed up, you’re going to need some traveling music. Well obviously you’re carrying around an iPhone/iPod, but just as the last App helped you pick a gas station, the following one will choose some music for you.
FlyCast is a pretty decent iPhone radio application. Usually I use Pandora’s iPhone App whenever I need some impromptu tunes, but sometimes I crave the discretion of a DJ and a mix of music that doesn’t necessarily match my exact taste.
Over the course of my life, I have been generally disappointed with internet radio because either the selection is way too limited or the player is really difficult to use. On both counts, FlyCast makes up for all that lost time.
The lists of stations for each genre isn’t terribly long, but everything is still pretty well represented. Also, FlyCast pulls from several different radio sources so if one doesn’t work out, you can try another. They are still expanding their line-up, but it looks like they already have over 1000 stations.
The interface is the part I like best about FlyCast. After you select a station (which admitedly can be a bit confusing), it takes you to the main player. From here you can play/pause the music as well as adjust the volume.
I’m a bit confused as to why there is a separate slide for the volume (alongside the iPhone’s volume controls), but I assume it has something to do with the incoming stream needing to be controlled differently.
When the stream is building up a buffer, the WiFi logo blinks blue. The number next to that indicates how much music is buffered ahead of where you’re listening. This is a great feature because it tells you how long you can get out of sync with your signal and still have an uninterrupted experience.
Most stations pull in cover art and song information along with the signal. Because it’s just a regular iPhone page, you can double-tap any cover art to blow it up to full size. If you want to surf the web (especially to find out about the songs you’re listening to there is an integrated browser that should keep the music running as you surf.
The rest of the features are a little confusing. I had trouble labeling anything as a favorite and most of the other options didn’t seem to have any function. Detractors aside, the core function of this App is solid and in a world of terrible internet radio players, this one does remarkably well.
With music in your soul and fuel in your vehicle, it’s time to fill your body with food!
Urbanspoon is probably the best App on this list. First of all, Urbanspoon is already a really great food review site that lets people rate their local eating establishments socially.
On their network you can have friends too, so you can see who likes what. The iPhone App is partially an extension of that network because you can sign in and benefit from having an account. On top of this, though, there are a few terrific features that can help jazz up your night on the town.
Above is the “shake” interface, which lets you lock in location, style, and/or price and then give your iPhone a hearty shake. This starts the unlocked sections spinning (complete with some fun sounds). Where it stops nobody knows! After the selection is made, you can either shake it again for a new one, or click the item for information. The App can give you the address for directions or simply show you ratings and pictures to help you make the best choice. If this interface isn’t for you, a more low-key “browse” window lets you search all the places near you by rating, style, or closest proximity.
Hopefully at least one of these Apps will make your next trip a little more fun! … Oh and, in case you’re travelling abroas make sure to check previously posted 10 Travel Websites that should be Bookmarked.
Let us know if you have any other favorites for traveling.