Wednesday, October 29, 2014

7 Travel Apps to Keep You on Track

It’s no secret; we’re all addicted to our tech devices. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. Sure, casual, face-to-face conversation has suffered, but in return, we have the knowledge of the world at our fingertips. Whether via Internet search or smartphone app, there are myriad topics to explore. There are apps for fun, music, education, and, of course, travel. We have compiled a list of apps that will make your travels go a bit more smoothly. As a bonus, we've included three apps for young travelers. Read on to learn more.




In order to ensure accuracy, app descriptions have been taken directly from the app developers’ notes on the app store.

Google Maps
Apple | Android

The Google Maps app … makes navigating your world faster and easier. Find the best spots in town and the information you need to get there. 
• Comprehensive, accurate maps in 220 countries and territories
• Voice-guided GPS navigation for driving, biking, and walking
• Transit directions and maps for over 15,000 cities and towns
• Live traffic conditions, incident reports, and automatic rerouting to find the best route
• Detailed information on more than 100 million places
• Street View and indoor imagery for restaurants, museums, and more

Gate Guru

Apple | Android

Introducing GateGuru 4.0 – the ONLY travel app that provides all of the flight and airport information you need to manage your ENTIRE day-of travel. Now with a new gorgeous, seamless, and traveler centric design!

GateGuru is the only travel app (free or paid) that provides real-time flight status with push notifications along with a wealth of airport content specifically customized to YOUR itinerary.

And now, users can reserve last-minute airport rental cars at significantly discounted rates that are exclusive only through GateGuru!

GateGuru brings back what the day-of travel was supposed to be – efficient, relaxing and even fun. Download now and see the difference!

Travel List
Apple

Travel List is the easiest way to get ready for your next trip. Plan your itinerary, create a packing list in an instant and you’re ready to go! Travel List makes sure you don’t leave anything behind.
Features:
Packing List
Create your list super-fast using helpful preset items, organized by category. Presets are fully customizable, and you can add your own items. And with Auto Reminder, Travel List alerts you if you pack for a trip but leave without something.
Alerts
Create reminders so you don’t forget things like charging your camera’s batteries every day. You don’t have to worry about changing time zones while traveling. The alerts will always go off at the time you’ve set, no matter where you are.
Schedule
Keep track of your trip’s itinerary.

Trip Advisor
Apple | Android

Millions of traveler reviews, photos, and maps from TripAdvisor. Plan and have your perfect trip. With over 150 million reviews and opinions by travelers, TripAdvisor makes it easy to find the lowest airfare, best hotels, great restaurants, and fun things to do, wherever you go. And booking options for hotels, restaurants and flights are just a tap away.
The TripAdvisor mobile app is free and easy to use.
• Browse millions of reviews, opinions, videos and candid photos by travelers
• Find the best hotel for you, including Travelers' Choice award winners
• Explore restaurants and reserve tables online
• Discover cool things to do in any destination
• Compare airfares and find great deals
• Use Near Me Now to discover places near your current location
• Get answers to your specific travel questions in the forums
• Add your own reviews and photos
• Download maps, reviews, and your saves for over 300 cities worldwide onto your phone for free; avoid using expensive data roaming plans while you travel

FlyVPS
Apple | Android

FlyVPS Airport's Official App featuring real-time arrival and departure information. Get information on transportation, parking and general travel info for Destin Florida and Ft. Walton Beach. Whether you are departing from VPS or returning, be sure to check the status of your flight before heading to the airport.
Airbnb
Apple | Android

Make travel planning as mobile as you are with the Airbnb iPhone App! Airbnb opens the door to the world’s most interesting places to stay and is the simplest way to earn money from your extra space. With over 600,000 listings in more than 34,000 cities, Airbnb connects you with the experience that’s right for you.

Message hosts and guests, gush over your itinerary, explore fairytale destinations, and add unforgettable digs to your Wish List. Make that penthouse, yurt, or treehouse your next home...or open up your own space to travelers.

Tripit
Apple | Android

Organize your travel plans in one place with TripIt® from Concur. Simply forward your travel confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com and TripIt automagically creates a detailed daily itinerary for every trip.

Kids’ Apps


Hoopa City

Apple | Android

Plan and build in Hoopa City! Combine different materials to build roads, houses, and much, much more with your favorite Hippo from the Dr. Panda games! Can you find the secret combination for each building?

Let your imagination run wild and build a village, town, or even a huge city of your own design in Hoopa City! Use different materials and combine them to create all sorts of buildings! Fill the landscape with shops, roads, schools, and even theme parks or stadiums! Each building takes a special combination of materials to create, so don’t be afraid to experiment! Whether you want to build a shopping paradise, a beach resort, or a quiet forest town, you can with Hoopa in Hoopa City!
Hoopa City is designed with kids in mind, but people of all ages can build and have fun!

My First App – Vol. 3 Airport
Apple

Explore and discuss with your child the different areas in the airport. Get a peek behind the scenes as you watch luggage being loaded and your plane’s cabin being cleaned. See all the areas of your airplane including ones you wouldn’t normally be able to visit -like the cockpit! You and your child can do all of this and more as you play four different games in one app.

First Camera – The Camera for Kids
Apple

FirstCamera is the must-have app for kids who love to take photos. Our 5 year old daughter would always ask to borrow our phones to take pictures. We'd end up with dozens of photos saved to the camera roll, mostly of cats and feet. That's when we decided to build a camera app just for her.

We know you’re connected, but hopefully we have introduced you to at least one new app to make your life easier; that’s the convenience you expect. What is your favorite travel app? Tell us in the comments or on Facebook.

Click. Pack. FlyVPS.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The #1 Beer Fest on the Coast

We like to be where the people are. In mid-October, the people will be at the Baytowne Wharf Beer Fest in Sandestin. The 7th installment of this beer festival will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 17th and 18th. Saturday’s main event will feature more than 200 craft beers of both domestic and international origin. There will also be live music and a new event that will have the crowd yelling. If that’s not enough to get you going, how about a chance to win two tickets from VPS? More on that later.

The fun kicks off on Friday at 6:00 pm with first ever Beer BINGO at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. Guests can pick up their BINGO cards at the Events Plaza Stage. From there, they can visit the merchants on-site until the BINGO card is filled in. At 9:00, all cards will be turned in and entered to win prizes from Yolo, Grizzly, Power Up Sports, Adventure Zone, and Rum Runners.
Beginning at noon on Saturday, VIP tent will feature a special beer tasting and a BBQ. VIP guests will also receive a commemorative beer glass. The VIP tasting will last until 2:00 when the main event begins.

The craft beer tasting will take place from 2:00 until 4:00 and features approximately 200 brews from more than 40 breweries. Each brewery will have a representative on-hand to answer questions and discuss beer styles, flavors, and attributes.

Confirmed breweries include:
Abita • Anchor • Angry Orchard • Asahi • Ayinger • Back Forty Beer Company • Bell's Brewery • Bitburger • Blue Moon • Blue Point Brewery • Carlsberg • Chimay • Cigar City • Dogfish Head • Good People • Goose Island Brewery • Grayton Beer Company • Green's • Highland • Idyll Hounds • Kona Brewing Company ** New to this year's Festival! • Kostritzer • Labatt • Lagunitas • Lazy Magnolia • Leinenkugel's • Lil Kings • Linderman's • Magic Hat • McGuire's Irish Pub • MillerCoors • Murphy's • New Belgium • Newcastle • NOLA • Orval • Oskar Blues • Oyster City Brewing Company ** New to this year's Festival! • Paulaner • Pensacola Bay Brewery • Peroni • Radeberger • Redd's • Rouge • Saint Arnold Brewing Company ** New to this year's Festival! • Sam Adams • Samuel Smith • Shiner • Sierra Nevada • Spaten • Stone • Straight to Ale • Sweetwater • Terrapin • Twisted Tea • Victory Brewing Company • Warsteiner • Well's / Young's • Westmalle • Woodchuck Ciders **Gluten Free • Yuengling Brewery

Live entertainment will be provided by The Owsley Brothers from 2:00 until 4:00, and then Native Run will perform from 4:00 until 6:00. The entertainment portion of the event is open to the public.
Tickets are available on the Baytowne Wharf Beer Festival website, but you can enter for a chance to win a pair from the Northwest FloridaRegional Airport.

For more information, email contact@baytownewharf.com


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Self-Service Baggage Options Are Coming

Checking bags is a pain. We admit it. We have noticed a trend over the last several years…fewer and fewer checked bags. People prefer to carry-on as much as they can fit in hopes of not having to check a bag. Of course, there is a fee for checking baggage, but that’s not the real turnoff for most people. It’s the wait. Checking a bag at the ticket counter takes extra time, slowing the check-in process for everyone. This may be changing.

United Airlines is beginning to roll out self-service bag checking. The airline is currently offering the service at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Passengers who so choose now have the option of printing their baggage tags at a kiosk where they can also pay for the checked bag(s). Bags will still need to be brought to an agent at the counter who will verify the passenger’s name and ID before sending the luggage on to screening and then to be loaded on the plane. American Airlines offers a similar service which it launched in 2013.

Using the automated system isn’t requisite, and the airline doesn’t expect that it will be. The option of checking bags at the ticket counter is still available, but United hopes that passengers will opt for the self-service option as it can lead to a 15-30 percent increase in efficiency at the ticket counter, according to Ken Bostock, managing director of airport strategy at United.

“All around, it should be a better use of everybody’s time,” Bostock said.

The United ticket lobby at O’Hare has 24 kiosks which can issue boarding passes, check in passengers, and print luggage tags. Currently, the fee is $25 per bag to check with United. There is no fee or discount for using the self-serve option. This service is not yet available at NorthwestFlorida Regional Airport (VPS).

What do you think; are self-serve baggage check-in kiosks a time-saver or just a way for airlines to cut back on one-on-one customer service? Let us know on Facebook.