Summertime is all about unwinding and unplugging, but there are a few smartphone apps that can help you get the job done. Here's a look at what's worth downloading as the summer heats up:
For those gearing up to travel during the summer, FlightTrack ($4.99) provides real-time departure, delays and gate number information whether you’re in transit throughout the United States or internationally. The app will also update you on cancellations and help you find an alternate flight. It even syncs with your phone’s calendar, offers zoomable maps and gives weather forecasts for destinations.
Weber's On the Grill
Nothing says summer like a good old-fashioned barbeque. The Weber's On the Grill app comes with hundreds of classic recipes to fire up on the grill, along with recipes for rubs, marinades and sauces. It also boasts a built-in timer, so you know when it’s time to flip and serve.
EWG Sunscreen Buyer's Guide
Worried about the sun, but can’t decide which sunscreen to buy at the store? The EWG Sunscreen Buyer's Guide app from the Environmental Working Group includes ratings for 1,700 SPF products, including sunscreens and SPF-labeled lip balm, makeup and moisturizer. Analysis is based on sunscreen ingredient listings obtained primarily from online retailers.
Summer beach reads no longer have to be in novel or e-reader form. The Kindle app gives users access to more than 950,000 books through Amazon's Kindle Store, and even if you forget your e-reader at home, Amazon Whispersync automatically syncs your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across devices (including Kindle ), so you can pick up where you left off on another device.
SitOrSquat: Bathroom Finder
Whether exploring different cities or spending the day in a local park, the SitOrSquat app helps you find nearby restrooms when you need it most. The free app not only details where the restrooms are located and which amenities they feature — from handicap accessibility to changing tables — it even provides ratings and pictures of the toilets before you go.
The Weather Channel
The app from The Weather Channel goes beyond the program that comes with most smartphones. It provides detailed, interactive radar maps, extended forecasts, severe weather alerts and pinpoints your location to provide the latest temperature updates.
Summer travelers can keep up with the local language of their destinations with Google Translate, which translates words and phrases in 50 languages. It also allows you to speak phrases and hear the corresponding translations. If you encounter a language you're not familiar with, Google Translate will automatically detect the origin of the text and then translate.
Various city apps
Many cities and destinations have their own apps that offer information for tourists. For example, the Chicago Way app will help travelers find subway stations, coffee shops or Wi-Fi hot spots in the Windy City. Exotic getaway destinations are also getting in on the trend. St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the southern Caribbean has a new app that provides information, maps and video highlights about what to do when visiting one of its 32 islands.