HopStop…Better Than a Map

Navigation is not my strong suit. I’m usually the driver so I have little experience with the use of the Garmin GPS device in the car or any of the map apps on my phone. Sure I’ve used several of these apps and can manage with Google Maps, but that’s about all I do…manage, with lots of missteps along the way.

When traveling to a city, it’s not just driving from point A to point B that requires navigation, but moving about an unfamiliar city also requires the use of a map, and this is a problem. How do I get from the hotel to Ford’s Theater? What’s the best way to get to the Department of Interior museum? How do I get to a particular restaurant?

How is this map useful?

IMG_7574The answer…HopStop. This app provides directions for walking and driving as well as using public transportation in eleven U.S. cities and Moscow (why Moscow of all places?). But what makes this app perfect is that it provides written directions, not just maps. Yes, there’s a map option for those who prefer following the path on a map, but I’m much more successful with written step by step directions with just a quick peek at the map.

Not only does it provide turn by turn directions, but it also includes estimated times.

IMG_7571

You can even compare routes and times. Should you walk? Take the bus? Ride the metro?

IMG_7572

There’s even live updates on delays.

IMG_7573I’ve used HopStop in New York City and Washington, DC and don’t know how I’d have managed without it.

HopStop is the must have app for traveling in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Fairfax, Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, or Washington, DC.

And did I mention it’s free?

 

 

 

7 Favorite FREE Travel Apps

How did we ever travel without a phone and all the great apps that make the trip easier to plan and enjoy? After returning from NYC, I realized how many of these apps improved our time away from home.

Postagram – Use the pictures you take while away to create your own postcards. With this app, any picture on your phone can be sent as a postcard for only $1 and best of all you don’t need to find a post office or buy stamps. Select the image, create the postagram and message, include the address of the recipient, and friends or family members will receive the Postagram postcard in their mailbox in less than a week.

HopStop – Simply input your location (or let the app use your current location) and your destination and HopStop develops routes for walking, using mass transit, or a taxi. Routes, estimated time, and cost are provided for each route. For city travel HopStop is a must!

TripIt – This “all-in-one” trip organizer tracks reservations for flights, hotels, restaurants, or events to create a master itinerary that can be shared with traveling companions or those back home that you want to make jealous. I was amazed that my airline reservations automatically appeared in my TripIt itinerary. Someday when I become a world traveler, I may even upgrade to the paid version of TripIt Pro.

History Here  Perfect for a history geek. This travel guide uses your current location and GPS to locate nearby historical locations including descriptions, pictures, hours of operation, and admission price. History Here led us to Theodore Roosevelt’s Boyhood home, a National Park in NYC with free admission, guided tour, and lots of interesting information about the city and its history.

FlightAware – An easy way to track the status of flights including flight status, gate number, delays, cancellations, and live flight tracking. This may even be a better app for those picking up travelers at the airport.

Yelp – A terrific city guide to places to eat or shop or visit based on the experiences of others. With the help of Yelp we found Amici II, a great restaurant in Little Italy.

Zinio – This app with the free magazine collection available from the public library made for a better flight. Just download a few magazines before leaving home for hours of reading pleasure at the airport or on the flight. No more last minute trips to the airport newsstand!IMG_1718

I’m still looking for the perfect weather app. I’ve downloaded five, but I’m still looking. Any suggestions?