Guidebooks and handheld maps are from a bygone era. They are fast being replaced by travel apps. Though we are hardcore romantics at heart and can’t resist the charm of unraveling a good ol’ crinkly map or flipping through the heavy depths of a colorful guidebook, we are certainly not immune to the benefits of travel apps. Travel applications are now being colossally integrated with Social media. Countless prospective traveler turn Twitter and Facebook to broadcast their travel plans and seek advice. From dos, don’ts, cultural references, and safe zones to affordable accommodation, helpful phrases and culinary expertise, the knowledge is out there and it is Social. “Friends, followers and frolickers, lend me your fears,” seems to be the mantra of Social, which lets you stay smart, stay informed and of course, stay safe. Here is our pick of burgeoning applications which make your next Grand Canyon Vacation safe, social, smart and an incredibly rich and positive experience.
Instagram: Remember those endless post vacation hours of sorting, editing, sharing photographs and replying to comments? Instagram aims to change all that by letting you share pictures on the go. With cool filters that put a whole new spin on your photographs, turn into a professional travel photographer and showcase new found skills and scenery with your friends. Instagram lets you post pictures through Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, so your friends always know where your travels a taking you. A picture does speak a thousand words, so say more by saying less with Instagram.
Foursquare: For a long time we ignored this app, by mistakenly associating it with a cigarette and/or hotel brand. And we regret our ignorance, for Foursquare is veritable melting pot of information hungry travelers, enthusiastic gastronomes and even those that have a predilection to gaming. With Foursquare, simply post a check-in at a venue and connect with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Score points, earn badges, earn Superuser statuses and even be crowned Mayor of a particular venue! Cash in these points for rewards and discounts, all the while exchanging relevant and hyper-local information regarding specific venues.
Dopplr: Dopplr is a less intrusive and more private social app that lets you share business and travel plans with people you trust. Find unique tips for cities around the world and get travel advice from other smart travelers. Dopplr ensures that all information that is disbursed is from trusted and experienced travelers as opposed to those that are often vicarious in their experiences.
CouchSurfing: Backpacking finds a whole new level through CouchSurfing. If you don’t particularly trust the budget hostel that has been offering too-good-to-be-true deals, and yearn for an experience from a local perspective, then CouchSurfing is for you. The ever expanding CouchSurfing network comprises a network of reliable hosts that let you stay at their place for a pre-determined amount of time, with no monetary expenses incurred, save for food or sightseeing. This is a great way to save money, time and factor that local know-how into your travel experience.
Jauntlet: Jaunts have never been more fun! Jauntlet is a travel app that lets you create an interactive timeline of all the places you’ve visited so far. Using aggregates from Facebook timeline and check-ins from Foursquare, Jauntlet creates a map for you which can be shared with friends, followers and fellow travelers. What’s more, you can tie in posts and images from Twitter and Instagram as well. Share your future journeys, find travel companions, gather tips, swap stories and create a robust travel experience through Jauntlet.