Travel Tips for the Holidays!

It’s Holiday Season and time for many people to take big road trips.  Our family does this every year.  Most of our family is on the East Coast, others are near Los Angeles, and we’re here in snowy Colorado! So someone is driving or flying every year – this year it’s our turn so I want to share some of my favorite Holiday Travel Tips and Weather sites.

Travel Tips:

The first site I visit is Google Maps. It’s easy to enter all the addresses you will visit. For example, I’ll enter my sister’s address as the endpoint, and then I can enter the address for my friend in Des Moines and my other friend outside of Toledo.Holiday Travel Tips - Google Maps The other thing I like about Google Maps is that I can alter the route if I know that I have a preference. For example, I know that I’ll choose the northern route even though it is 10 minutes longer.  If I were to go into the city, I would likely hit more traffic.  The northern route is all cows and farms with very little traffic.

I also like that Google gives me the option to click and drag the route around an obstacle or construction that they might not know about.

Weather Travel Tips:

When it gets closer to our departure date, I’ll take a look at a few different weather sites to see if we need to leave a day earlier or later. My go-to website used to be The Weather Channel.  I could enter where I was traveling from and to and it would tell me what kind of weather I’d see on my way.  Unfortunately, they’ve discontinued that feature. Now, my favorite site is WeatherUnderground.  (FYI WeatherUnderground is better as an app.  There seem to be fewer ads when I view it on my iPhone.) I like that it tells me approximately how much snow I’ll see and when there will be sunshine.

Travel Tips - weatherunderground

I also like the NOAA website, especially during hurricane season!  Here’s their map for Thanksgiving week:

Travel Tips - noaaI’ve published a list of my favorite sites two years ago.  Here is where you’ll find that list.

Conclusion:

Whether you’re driving or flying, you’ll want to take a peek at the forecast before you leave.

Do you have favorite travel websites I didn’t include here? Write a comment below!

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Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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5 Navigation Apps To Get You Where You’re Going

I got our first GPS way back in 2005. (Way before smartphones and Navigation Apps!)  It was the perfect gift for Chris so that he could easily find his way to our customers homes and businesses. In the past ten years, GPS and mobile navigation in general has changed tremendously.  Now, Smartphone apps include traffic problems, construction detours, and multiple alternate routes.  It’s nice to be out there with your iPhone, Android, or other smartphone, so you’re able to get where you’re going with minimal issues.

Navigation Apps

My favorite app is the one that came with my iPhone.  It’s simply called “Maps”, so I use it on all of my road trips.  There have been a few times when it has steered me wrong, but mostly it is right on.  One issue I have with it though, is that it is a battery drainer.  So for long road trips, I keep my phone plugged in and charging when I have the Map app running. Another issue is that it doesn’t allow me to take a prettier back road without telling me to “make a U-Turn”!

Other Navigation apps that people like include:Navigation Apps

Google Maps

This is what I use at my desk computer to help plan road trips. Firstly, it synchronizes nicely with Google Calendar.  Secondly, I like that it shows me local businesses who have a Google listing.  However, the smartphone app doesn’t show accidents or construction, so I don’t use it on the road. Available for iPhone, Android

Waze

This is a highly rated app and not only gives you info on Traffic, but also upcoming Hazards, as well as Gas Prices, etc.  When I downloaded it I noticed some problems right away.  First of all, it won’t give you directions to a location more than 999 miles away.  Also, you have to drive at least 100 miles with Waze on before it will tell you where the cheap gas is.  So, while others rate Waze highly, it gets a pass from me! Available for  iPhone  Android  Windows

Komoot

I wish I’d known about this app before my kids started and finished the Appalachian Trail.  Techlicious writes “This navigation app from a German startup covers an exhaustive range of North American bike paths and mountain trails, with topographic maps for hiking and biking routes near you. Its database is built from open-source info as well as user-submitted data to suggest trails for different fitness levels.” Available for Android & iOS

CoPilot

I haven’t used Co-Pilot, but I like that you can download your map ahead of time.  Consequently, you’ll save on data.  Techlicious writes “A full-fat nav app like CoPilot is a good idea if you’re overseas, for instance, and don’t want to use roaming data or depend on Wi-Fi stops to update Google Maps.” Available from copilotgps.com

Which of these apps do you use? Are there others that that I didn’t include? Let me know your favorites in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  Maybe I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Adventures!

As some of you know, our kids are taking an epic trip this year.  They’ll be hiking the entire Appalachian Trail.  They start at Springer Mountain (north east of Atlanta, Georgia) next week and plan on arriving at Katahdin (Maine) by September.

Can you say “Wow!”?

Our son has been doing the back-country adventure thing for awhile so he has most of the gear he needs.  But our daughter needed more modern gear.  Most of her gear was hand-me-down stuff from friends and family.  An eight pound pack and six pound tent just won’t cut it when you’re walSPOT Messengerking 2200 miles with them on your back.  So, she’s been getting all the equipment she needs over the past six months or so.  Some of the things she’s acquired include an ultra-light tent and backpack, a bear-bag, an efficient stove, and a warm sleeping bag.

One of the things we got – more for our peace of mind than anything else – is a SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger.  Josh had one several years ago and we liked being able to see where he was, and, more importantly, that he was still alive!  At the push of a button, the SPOT Messenger lets you tell your friends and family:

    • Where you are
    • That you are okay
    • or, That you need emergency assistance

Because it uses satellites, and not WiFi or the cellular system, you can use it just about anywhere.  I think it will update a website too, but we’re still looking into that.

Have you ever thought about an amazing adventure like this one?  Here are some…

Helpful Links:

You can follow their adventures on Bailey’s blog – AT-2feet  She’ll be keeping it up-to-date using the WordPress app and camera on her iPhone.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area.

 

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