We all know about the travel apps that help you book your flight, find a hotel room, rent a car, locate the town’s best hot dog, quiet your chatty seat companion (OK, that last app hasn’t been invented yet, but Silicon Valley really needs to get on that)…
But there’s a whole new class of travel apps that go beyond the standard flight-hotel-food genre. They’re so crazy, so weird — and, in their own way, so useful — that you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of them first. That is, when you finish laughing:
Am I Going Down?
This app will certainly make you the hit of the airport gate. Am I Going Down? uses international flight data to calculate the odds of your plane crashing. All you do is enter in your airline, aircraft, and departure and arrival airports. I tested it out on a flight that my colleague Brittany Jones-Cooper recently took: London’s Heathrow to New York’s JFK aboard a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340. You see the results above. Yes, Brittany flies a lot, but nowhere near a flight a day for 21,235 years. Imagine the frequent flier miles.
The Daily Mail calls it “Tinder for travelers.” LobbyFriend is a social media app for hotel guests, enabling people staying in a particular hotel to connect with each other and arrange meetings. Once they check in to one of the 40 hotels equipped with LobbyFriend (it works over the hotel’s Wi-Fi connection), guests create a profile or sign in via Facebook. Once in, they can contact other guests through their smartphone, video monitors in the lobby, or the TV in their room. In addition to private messaging, there’s a news feed with info on local events and group meetups. When guests check out, their profile and all their details are erased. It’s much more efficient than striking up conversations with strangers in the lobby bar (but not nearly as exciting).
Take Me Home, I’m Wasted
You’re out drinking with friends until the wee hours of the morning. When the bars close and everyone disperses, you crawl into the back seat of a cab. You start to tell the cabbie where to take you, but then you realize that you’re too wasted to remember where you’re staying, where your hotel is, etc. Does this happen to you? If yes, then you really should go to a meeting. Or there’s another solution that lets you keep partying: the Take Me Home, I’m Wasted app. All you do is enter the address of your home — or, if you’re traveling, your hotel — in advance. Once the app has that information, you don’t have to remember it any more. Should you find yourself in an inebriated state, just open the app, and out will pop your saved address along with directions for getting there. Just try not to get so wasted that you don’t have the motor skills to operate the app.
Does a bear you-know-what in the woods? Yes, but it can use this app to find a nicer place to take care of business. (Photo: SitOrSquat)
Unfortunately, when we travel, nature doesn’t always call at the most convenient times. SitOrSquat is a database of thousands of restrooms all over the world. Not only can it help you find the bathroom nearest you, but also it features reviews of the bathrooms submitted by SitOrSquat users (the app implores users to keep the reviews informative and “consistent with ‘good taste’” — presumably to minimize the number of poop jokes). The app is produced by toilet paper giant Charmin — how’s that for vertical integration?
If you order correctly in the language of the country you’re visiting, the natives will respect you. But if you curse correctly in the language of the country you’re visiting, the locals might buy you a drink. Swearport, available on Android, can help you learn how to drop f-bombs in other languages as if it’s your native tongue. Just choose the R-rated word or phrase you want to use and the language into which you’d like it translated (45 languages are available). Swearport then comes up with the correct foreign curse word and an audio pronunciation to make sure you say it correctly. It even gives each word an “intensity rating.” And it comes with a randomizer; just shake your device, and out pops a random bad word to add to your international arsenal. Just the thing you need to be offensive in any language.
There’s a better way to shop for melons! (Photo: Thinkstock)
Don’t wander into international markets unprepared; take the Melon Meter with you. It uses the microphone on your mobile phone to listen to the sound the melon makes when you knock on it, and then it tells you how ripe the melon is. Of course, passers-by might stare at you because you’re holding your phone on top of a melon. But you’ll never have a bad melon again.
Your guide to ripe melons (Photo: Melon Meter)
You ain’t scared of no ghost — if you have Ghost Radar. (Photo: Ghost Radar)
Perfect for those weekend getaways in Transylvania or Amityville. Ghost Radar claims to detect the paranormal activity in your surroundings by using a variety of your phone’s sensors (the app’s makers caution that “since results from this application cannot be verified scientifically, the app should be used for entertainment purposes). Let’s hope this works as well as the ghost detector they used in Ghostbusters.
Anti Mosquito Sonic Repeller
Photo: Anti Mosquito Sonic Repeller
If you’re traveling to a mosquito-heavy region and want to maximize your chances against those disease-carrying pests, there’s an app for you. The Anti Mosquito Sonic Repeller emits three different inaudible frequencies that the makers claim will repel mosquitoes. There might be some scientific basis to that, but using this app in lieu of insect repellent or mosquito nets is ill-advised (plus side: When you get malaria, you can use your phone to call for help).
The best part about sleeping on trains: The constant, gentle rocking motion makes you sleep like a baby. The worst part: You might sleep through your stop. Sleepy Traveller uses your phone’s GPS to alert you when you’ve arrived at your destination.
Sleepy Traveller uses complex satellite technology to make sure you don’t miss your stop. (Photo: Sleepy Traveller)
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