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« Boulder Awaits | Main | The Ideal Setup »

Technology = Good

We have an iPhone and we ADORE it. We use it for so many things on the road. Most of the features we use every day are built-in functions of the email, internet, GPS, etc. Those 3 items have saved us time and energy beyond measure.

We ALWAYS recommend that any full-time traveler have some sort of smart phone...the uses on the road are endless. We also use an air card for mobile internet, but the iPhone is a nice compliment to that.

Here are some of our favorite apps:

We use this one ALL the time. If we're pulling into a town and want to know where the best Thai food is, Yelp is the first place I check. Best coffee? Best bubble tea? Best mechanic? Yelp has ya covered.

Local Eats
Similar to Yelp, but this one lists restaurants by "Best" in each category as well as the overall top 100. I check this one, and then check the restaurant on Yelp as well. It does only work in the large metropolitan areas. Not in small northern Minnesota villages. I tried.

State Lines
This fabulous app is a must-have for anyone who travels. Our friends, Chris and Cherie (Technomadia) are the masterminds who created it, so give 'em some love and buy it! It's basically a database of all kinds of useful information that changes when you cross state lines. Everything from taxes to speed limits to seatbelt/helmet laws and much more. Love it.

We.Love.Groupon. Oh my goodness. We've gotten so many great deals by using this awesome coupon site/program. If you're not on it...sign up right now to start receiving deals in your area.

Words With Friends
This is our favorite "game app" right now. We love playing against our friends and family in this Scrabble-like game. Caution: It's addicting.

Everyone's favorite pastime...but on the iPhone :) It allows us to keep in touch even when we've left our computers back at the RV.

This is my favorite Twitter app (and I've tried several). Let's me keep track of my favorite people from around the world.

I'm a total Flickr geek, and this feeds my addiction.

This app locates the nearest Starbucks and tells you if it has wi-fi, drive-through, etc. I like to go to Starbucks to work, so this is quite helpful.

If you have a Paypal account, you can track your balances and payments from your phone. Handy.

A fun vintage camera app. Love it. Even though I have my "fancy" camera, I use the iPhone a lot when I don't want to drag the heavy one around. There are a lot of camera apps now that make it even more fun.

This Craigslist app is helpful when we need to buy something as we pass through a city. Matt uses it a lot for RV research.

Not an app (it's built-in)...but worth mentioning. I use YouTube a lot to stream hooping videos because I can't stream them on the air card (uses up too much of our allotted upload/download time).

What are some of your favorite apps? Travel related or not...


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Reader Comments (21)

Thanks for sharing these. I just downloaded the demo for me and the husband, we play scrabble against one another, but I'm hoping the version you shared here can work across the network (instead of just on wifi/close proximity).

Apps I love: Cooking Dash (game), the kids love Diner Dash (game), smack talk (favorite among adults and kids), and white noise lite. I have tons of kid apps - Make me a Princess, iwrite words, grovers numbers, elmo monster maker. Just to name a few.

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynds

Thanks for listing these. There are a few I've never heard of that I'm going to add on to my phone now.

We LOVE our Smartphones too. What in the world did we do without them? :)

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennie

I really wish that you could use some of these on android! I have an android phone, which I love, don't get me wrong, but some of these sound awesome!

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersabbath

Oooh yes! I got my iPhone as an upgrade a couple of months ago and I *adore* it. Seriously it's made things sooo much easier. I love twitter/facebook most of all. Have heard great things about hipstamatic too, might have to try that next ;) xx

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

We really love our Blackberrys although I can't say I'm loving the monthly payment. Honestly though, we have never had to buy an official GPS. Riki just uses his Storm GPS to get to our that's a real perk...and of course having some kind of internet without wifi is nice, even if it is limited and I complain about it not being as good as the computer...

not real big on apps. It just takes too much time for me to look them up and figure out if they are worthwhile. I do like my slacker radio and daily horoscope.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Ok, so tell me this: do you pay once for the app, or is it a monthly charge for the iphones? And, is it the same with other smart phones, I'm told that at&t (that's the only coverage that you can get with iphones, right?) doesn't work well in my area, we have verizon and never have a problem with reception. I've heard there's an app to keep track of grocery store prices and you can find what stores have the cheapest prices, it sounds so cool!

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I was wondering if you could do a post on the "nuts & bolts" of RV living. I feel so drawn to this lifestyle but I want to know as much as I can before I bring it up to my husband. How much does it really cost to do this? Is there hope (job-wise) for someone like my husband, who is going to school to study computer science & programming?

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Wow! I bet I can get most of these on my ipod touch. I need a good calendar app. What do you recommend?

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatelin just pay one time for the app and it ranges from free up to $4-5. Most are in the $1-2 range. I don't know how apps work on other phones... might check out Chris and Cherie give great tips for living on the road. Also, you might check out this site: There are TONS of computer/IT people living on the road full time.

Katelin...I just use the one that comes on the iPhone...haven't ventured into a 3rd party app for calendars. If you find one, let me know :)

June 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterSara Janssen

Love your blog(s)! You've inspired me to hoop again! It was a childhood love. I told my nieces (ages 8 and 11) we can't afford a big vacation this year so it's big sunglasses and hoops in the backyard! They were totally stoked to hear we could actually MAKE our own hoops! Also, I just joined Groupon! Thank you so much for the link! It's awesome...I'm so excited I was screeching at all the fun stuff! :)

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSue glad you've found the hoop again! And Groupon, yes...I know :) It's awesome.

June 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterSara Janssen

Hi Happys
I love reading about your travels, food, hair and shoes! Found you through googling about dreads, as I seriously want to get my hair done and I now do this from my iPhone. This is the best timesaving gadget ever.

I like to try free apps and my 2 year old loves bowling so Strike Knight is good. Also waterslide, traffic rush for my 9 yr old. Our 13 yr old bought himself an iPhone and he got me into an addictive game called Depict and air hockey FS5 which you play with other iPhoners! Bump is a good way to share photos or pass contacts to another. Talking Carl! is hilarious and had me and my sister crying with laughter. Well worth the 59p!

Lisa xx

June 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Igo

I love all of these! I also get a lot of use out of my White Pages app, especially if I know the name of a business but not quite how to get there. It automatically sends me to the GPS app with the directions.

June 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley SP

Hubby and I both have iPhones and our 8 yr old, Sofia, just bought herself a Touch off Kijiji (a Cdn craigslist-type site) last week. Sofia's favorite app is Bacon Farts -- she likes to put a song on the ipod and then play the farts in time to the music (quite entertaining, esp when the choice of song is a ballad) but I am glad I can now remove it from my phone. My fave app's are the recipe ones: esp. Whole Foods Market (you can choose course, category and special diet) and VeganYumYum (in which the pics are divine). Hubby's fave app's are a tie between World Series Poker and Facebook.

Thanks for the app update -- it's good to have recommendations. :-)

June 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin D.

We use the built-in Maps app *all* the time when we're getting into a new area. I also just type "Starbucks" into that and it shows me all the closest locations -- I'll have to try the dedicated Starbucks app, though.

Other apps I use daily include...

Tap Forms -- Allows you to create your own "database" apps to store info. I created a TF database where I enter writing ideas, one with ideas for the kids' school stuff, etc.

Lose It! -- One day when I'm not round I'll delete this one. Until then, it makes it pretty quick to keep track of what I'm eating each day. I envy people who don't have to think about what to eat. *sigh*

PayPal -- Already mentioned, but I check that first thing in the morning. Nothing like waking up to find more sales came in while I was sleeping. =:)

Wurdle -- Our favorite word game in the family right now. Kind of like Boggle.

Shazam -- When neither you nor your spouse can remember what that song is on the radio, fire up Shazam and let it "listen" to 30 seconds of the song. Then it tells you the name of the song and artist. Like freakin' magic!

Wordpress -- Allows me to update my blogs when I don't have time to fire up the laptop.

aSmartHUD -- At night you set your iPhone on the dash and it reflects in the windshield to give you a "heads up display" like a fighter pilot would have. Speed, direction, etc. Way cool -- kind of a "guy thing" I think.

Sleep Cycle -- Fire up this app and lay the iPhone on the corner of your bed while you sleep. It measures your tossing and turning and when you awake it shows when you were in deep sleep, dream states, etc. The alarm attempts to wake you up when you're not in a deep sleep so you don't feel like a zombie.

Also some other games, things related to my programming, etc. But these are some of the coolest that others might be interested in.

June 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJay Jennings

This is such a great post! I'm heading out on the road in my 73 Winnebago Brave later this summer and planning on blogging the whole time, so I definitely need an air card. I currently have an ancient phone from 2005, but I have been considering upgrading to an iPhone for the trip so I can have gps and all those wonderful, helpful apps on the road. I wonder if Woodalls has an app...

June 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDelightfully Tacky

Probably my most used app is Pandora. I listen to it in the car now ALL the time. I also like BillMinder which is a app to track your monthly bills. Really handy, it gives you alerts when a couple days before your bills are due and tracks what has been paid, balances, accounts, etc. A must have for me! Our Groceries is a list making app that you can enter different grocery stores and make lists and then cross off the items when purchased. Period Tracker Lite, for...well you know, keeping track of my monthly cycle in the palm of my hand! Epicurious for finding recipes..I could go on and on. I love my I-Phone! Don't know how I managed without it.

June 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrandy

Hi Sara,
I've been following your blog for a while, and have been wondering about your footwear - especially about what appear to be green translucent rubber shoe/socks! Where did you get those? Is it an alternative for you to going barefoot?


June 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I completely forgot the best app! Geocaching!!! There are a couple free ones that work wonderfully. I think your family might really love it. It involves using your iPhone to look for treasure! Free fun that gets you outdoors is always a plus...

June 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin D.

Since you're on the road so much, another app you might like is Around Me. It will tell you restaurants, coffee, gas stations, hotel, hospitals, etc. that are nearby. Love it! I use it a lot when I'm traveling.

Also, This American Life has an app and you can stream episodes. This is awesome on long road trips.

Safe travels! I was in Boulder recently and so sad (and shocked) that they don't have a raw restaurant. But if you visit Colonel Wheatgrass (Cornelius) at the Whole Foods on Arapahoe and Broadway, he'll hook you up with the best juices and always some uplifting thought of the day.

June 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

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