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Have apps, will travel
Let these budget-boosting travel apps hone your sightseeing, pinpoint delicious eats, even reduce your line time at Disneyland.
Pocketbooks aren’t the only things taking a beating these days. Time, especially time spent reconnecting with family and friends, is another commodity that seems to be in short supply. So, when you’ve got it, make the most of it. Below are a few of our favorite apps — ones that make travel easier, faster, more enjoyable, and less expensive. And, best of all, you don’t have to pay a penny for any of them.
Southern California | MouseWait — What’s the first thing on your mind when you arrive at Disneyland… besides Mickey Mouse? Wondering how long the lines will be at your favorite rides. In addition to letting you know the wait times for various rides, MouseWait provides information on where to eat, where to park, and which attractions are open or closed. This indispensable little app, which covers Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney, is also a great source for real-time Disney news and updates. Available for Android, iPhone and iPod Touch.
New York | American Museum of Natural History Explorer — Whether you’re exploring exhibits about the brain, the Antarctic or butterflies, this navigation system and personal tour guide will pinpoint your current location within New York’s famed museum, providing turn-by-turn directions to get you to the next exhibit, a café, or anywhere else via the most expedient route. The app, which allows you to design your own custom tour, also comes preloaded with guided tours, a fossil treasure hunt for the kids, digital exhibits, and the latest event information. Available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Philadelphia | Find Your Philly — Pining for a Philly cheesesteak? Or maybe you just need to know what’s playing at the planetarium at The Franklin Institute. This app can help. It also features special “treks” (tours) to guide you to the City of Brotherly Love’s highlights. It provides small, fun challenges, such as solving a riddle, snapping a specific photo, or scanning a code to earn points and unlock special Philly-themed badges. Available for Android and iPhone on SCVNGR.
Houston | Houston Travel Companion — Embracing the “everything’s bigger in Texas” mantra, this multimedia app is jam-packed with maps, YouTube videos, event information, special offers and photos. Everything you’ll need to enjoy Houston’s coolest sites, including Space Center Houston, The Children’s Museum, Downtown Aquarium, trendy restaurants, ballgames and more. Available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
San Francisco | Golden Gate Park Field Guide — Produced by the California Academy of Sciences, this attractive, helpful app allows users to easily navigate Golden Gate Park’s 1,000 acres (405 hectares). You’ll discover the birds, mammals, plants and reptiles that live in the park’s environs. The app’s self-guided itineraries are organized by foot, bike or car to find both popular attractions and hidden park gems. Its latest feature enables visitors to share their photos and the locations of animal and plant sightings with other park-goers. Available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
*Above images all courtesy of iTunes Store