Best iphone apps for Vegan travel

Back in the day my friend Sandra and I used to drive across the country quite a bit. She had  a little book that had every vegetarian restaurant in the USA listed. We had so much fun cruising around places like Kansas City or Boulder comparing the atlas with the guide. It was so much more interesting then stopping at the same places along every single highway. But, invariably, places would be closed down forever or have moved to other locations or have inconvenient open hours.

Things have really changed. I used to always talk about opening an interstate franchise called “The Vegan Oasis” where you could get healthy food and there was even a fenced in spot place for your canine traveling companion to stretch his legs. I still think it is a great idea but now it isn’t nearly as necessary because of that magical technology that we can’t imagine living without: the internet. For me, my iphone has made traveling as a vegan about a bazillion times easier then even a couple years ago when I would research a town before heading there and then print out a google map. Now it is all so acceseible because of my wonderful device. Since I have been on the road a lot this summer, and just about to head out to the Vida Vegan convention I thought I would share with you some of my favorite apps for traveling because they make life so much easier.

Travel

VeganXpress – At first, I thought this app was pointless for me since I live in a vegan friendly city and avoid chain restaurants whenever possible. Then I left my fabulous town by auto and was super happy to find out exactly what I could order at Taco Bell.
  Happy Cow – The happy cow app has a nice map feature and will tell you all the veg restaurants in town with ratings. I have found a lot of things are out of date so remember to cross reference.
  Yelp – I like the app a lot more than the site. The other day I was in Chicago at 11 pm and I just searched “vegan” and could easily see every place around me and what time they were open. The reviews can be incredibly annoying but Yelp seems to be the best way to find newer restaurants in strange cities and non-vegetarian restaurants from other cultures where you can usually find something fantastic.
  Maps – Once I realized that I could use public transportation from the directions in the maps app my life changed forever. How cool is it to be in a city you have never been, tell the app where you want to go and it tells you where to walk, which bus to take, how much it’s going to cost and maybe most importantly, when to get off the dang bus! You can just watch your little blue dot travel along your route, I love it. I also like dropping a pin at places that I am going to have to come back to, like where I park my car at the airpot.
  My Maps I usually make a google map if I am traveling to a city with all the places I want to go and stay marked along with all the vegan restaurants I want to go to. My Maps let’s you save these offline so if you can’t access 3G or wi-fi you can still figure out where you need to go. Love it!
  My TSA – Yes, this is the official app of the TSA which makes me feel a little scared even having on my iphone. What if it spies on me somehow? Or takes nude pictures of me. I can only hope that the app isn’t that advanced yet. What I love about it is the database that tells you wheater you can bring something on the plane or not. I will never again get into another argument about whether peanut butter is a liquid or a solid! You can put just about anything in the search (peanut butter and jelly sandwhich? YES Hummus? YES but only if it is less then 3.4oz) and it will give you a solid answer. It also tells the wait times at the airport but I haven’t found that to be terribly accurate since it relies on others who use the app inputting the data.
  TripIT – This app is so awesome if you are traveling with someone else and you are both making different parts of the arrangements but it is handy just for one as well. Basically it keeps your itinerary and confirmation numbers all in one spot. If you are going somewhere where you have scheduled a flight, a rental car, and a hotel you can just forward the confirmation emails to your account at trip it and it will automatically populate your trip. It was so handy when my friend and I were in Hawaii because she could see what flight I was on and that I got there super early so she was able to make arrangements. Plus you don’t have to go searching through your email for every little thing.
  Gate Guru – Have you ever been at the airport and eaten some pathetic garden salad with no dressing only to later realize that there was a fantastic looking burrito place right by your gate? I have! It sucked. This app is so cool because you can call up any airport and it will tell you every single restaurant, bar, and shop in the airport and what gate they are in including what terminal. It starts the search right where you are standing so if you need a quick bite you can instantly find something en route. If you are stuck at O’hare for 3 days because of wind you can explore those far flung restaurants at K-93, because don’t worry, you aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
  Kayak – This is my favorite flight planning aggregator, I like the way the site and the app are set up. You can easily see which is the cheapest way to go. Southwest airlines isn’t on any of the aggregators though and I usually find the best deal there. And they are nice. And you can check two bags for free where the other airlines will charge you 50 bucks!
  Southwest etc – The airlines all have apps and some of them are nice because you can check in on the app. Don’t let them fool you though with the mobile boarding pass. I’m sure it works sometimes but I almost missed a flight once because the scanner wouldn’t work, always get a paper back up just in case.

Photography

  Instagram – I love this app for taking pictures, the filters are not always great for food but fun foreverything else and it makes sharing so easy with everything from flickr to foursquare
  PS Express – Photoshop for iphone is super easy to use if you want to change the levels saturation and things like that
  Flickr – If you keep your pics on Flickr this app is great to have, you can upload right to the cloud which I really like because my phone is always filling up so quickly (you can probably see why). I like that I can make sets and rename pics with ease. I also like that I can look a pics on the site on my camera and it works exactly the same as when I look at them on phone.
  Camera + This one is really cool to play around with, it is like Instagram mixed with PS Express with even more functions. It isn’t as simple as either of those and it isn’t free but a nice one to have if you love to take pictures.

Fun

Foursquare – I love using this app to “check in” to places when I am traveling. You can add pictures and then when your trip is over you can have a nice record of everywhere you have been. It was really helpful in Hawaii to spell places like Waiʻanapanapa and tell the different beaches apart. If you use it a lot don’t publicize every check in on twitter or facebook because that drives people crazy. And don’t befriend people you don’t know in real life because you don’t want to end up with a stalker or someone robbing your house.
  Qrank – This my favorite game on the phone. It is a daily trivia game that interfaces with your facebook & twitter so you can see how you compare to your friends and celebrities. You also get different badges when you play in other states and countries which makes me really happy for no reason.
  Scrabble – This one is nice on a trip because you don’t need the internet to play. You can play against the computer or pass and play with a friend which is super nice if you are waiting in a long line somewhere.
  Smurfs – I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to playing this game every day. I guess it is a lot like farmville (which I have never played) but with adorable smurfs. Just don’t buy any smurfberries and it’s slow moving fun to build up your smurf empire. And check out Smurfs village Guide along a community website that will help play the game.
  Netflix – I always thought the Netflix app was silly, why would I want to watch movies on my phone? That is, until I was staying at my Grandma’s where everyone goes to sleep by 9 am and my room has no TV. I was so happy I could watch Star Trek all night.
  Twitter – I know some people hate twitter but it is the best way I have found to get recommendations in other towns. Just two weeks ago I was in Chicago and I asked if anyone knew a good vegan friendly happy hour and minutes later someone told me about a mostly vegan bar right around the corner from where I was staying. If you don’t have a lot of followers feel free to ask me@veganLazySmurf to retweet, usually someone will write back pretty quickly!

10 thoughts on “Best iphone apps for Vegan travel

  1. mollyjade

    I hate the yelp reviews that say “If you’re vegan, what the hell are you doing in X kind of restaurant anyway.” Not helpful, and there often ARE things a veg can eat at that restaurant.

  2. lazysmurf Post author

    Fran – Teaching technology is my day job and eating chocolate is one of my top hobbies so sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

  3. Pingback: Best iphone apps for Vegan travel « Lazy Smurf's Guide to Life … | Apple iPhone Apps

  4. Smurf

    Great post lazysmurf. I agree smurfs village game is farmville-like game. By any chance do you think you can add a link of our smurfs village Guide along with your smurfs village App description. Is just community website, thanks for your help in advance🙂

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