Summer is here, which can mean hot sun and high stress. Before you put on stylish shades, apply generous amounts of sunscreen and hope for the best, you might want to check these apps — they’re specifically tailored to help you spend more time resting and relaxing.
Where to Travel, Where to Stay
Kayak PRO is a travel search-and-booking app available for Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Based on criteria such as price, distance or time period, Kayak will scan for the cheapest flights and nearest accommodations at your destination, as well as offer customer reviews and photos for hotels. You can also use Kayak to book and pay for the flight, hotel room and rental car.
The app has a sleek interface, and it’s very simple to use, with a caveat that prices within the app sometimes differ from the final pricing, so make sure to pay attention to the closing price of your flights or accommodations. There are two versions of the app (free and $0.99), the only difference being that the paid version has no ads.
Don’t Forget Kevin
In case my “Home Alone” reference, above, passed unnoticed, maybe the fact that you forgot your laptop charger on that last trip will remind you how packing is the most boring and, at the same time, the most essential part of every tourist adventure. Things get left behind, misplaced or forgotten, and if you forget something essential, it can well ruin your entire trip.
Never fear, Packing Pro is here. Packing Pro is a traveler’s to-do list. What sets it apart from other list apps is a flexible interface, as well as a robust item-categorization system and an interesting Expert list feature, which automatically creates a packing list based on your input (number of travelers, gender, age, duration, destination, etc.).
In addition to a default set of items, you can also input your own items and categories for yourself, as well as for the rest of your family. Being able to simply tick off items from the list ensures that handling even a long list is quick and easy. The app comes with a $2.99 price tag and is available for the iPhone and iPad. Note that some of the mentioned features may require in-app purchases.
One for the Road … Trip
Let’s say that instead of a magnificent transcontinental journey, another equally magnificent journey awaits: a road trip across the state. It’s going to be a six-hour drive and you’ll be behind the wheel. Wouldn’t it be great if it was sunny all the way? Although there are plenty of weather apps out there, I haven’t found many that help you plan a road trip by taking current forecasts into consideration. One of the few that do is Road Trip Weather ($0.99 for iPhone and iPad).
Using the app is dead simple. After selecting three stages of your trip (beginning, middle, end), the app will help you decide the best time to leave and how safe the roads are during every stage of your journey. Road Trip Weather is still a bit rough around the edges, but its unique feature has earned it a place on my list.
Protect Your Skin
You finally arrived at your destination! In just a couple of hours, the entire family is strewn across the golden sand sunbathing, and as you slowly drift to sleep on a summer breeze, the sun burns your skin to a crisp. Not what you expected, right? Forgot to apply that sunscreen again?
Next time you feel those third-degree burns, remember that there is a simple iOS app called Sunscreen (it’s free) that could have reminded you to reapply that sunscreen. The app comes with a sunbathing timer, an alarm and an interactive UV map forecast, as well as comprehensive sunbathing guidelines.
“Wish You Were Here …”
We know the phrase above is how you’ll brag to your friends. Instead of posting pictures from your vacation all over various social networks, you could try something different this year. Send them a good old-fashioned postcard with a twist — send it from your iPhone. As a postcard cover, use that awesome sunset-beach-mojito shot. Yes, there’s an app for that. Actually, there are quite a few apps, but I’m especially happy with how Touchnote Postcards works.
Touchnote Postcards is a free iPhone/Android app that boasts a very clean and simple interface, and is a joy to use. The postcards your friends will get are glossy and have a quality feel to them. Although the app is free, you will pay for your postcards and the quality of the printed photo will depend on the quality of your images, so make sure you pick a good, high-resolution photo.
That’s it: Five apps to improve your fun in the sun! I’m sure there are hundreds more awesome apps you could use to make your summer holidays even better. Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments field below.
This article originally appeared on MarketWatch.com and is reprinted by permission from Marketwatch.com, ©2014 Dow Jones & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.