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Apps for summer

Apps for summer

Summer’s here, and for us that means vacations, cooking on the grill, catching up on some entertainment, and generally having a good time. To that end, we’ve put together a list of awesome apps that will help you get the most out of your summer.

(Though we had fun using an “air travel” theme for this article, the apps below are just as good for road trips and elsewhere.)

Trip Planners

When traveling, some people like to play things by ear. Here at The Sweet Setup we prefer to have a plan, and we use some great apps to help us keep things organized (and our sanity in check).

  • TripIt — ($0.99): It’s not the prettiest app in the world, but it’s an awesome and easy way to put together a trip itinerary. Forward all your travel confirmation emails (hotel, flight, car rental, and restaurant) to TripIt and they’ll automatically add relevant information to your itinerary, saving you a bunch of copying and pasting. Given the right email provider, you can even allow TripIt to automatically pull all travel-related emails without input from you.

  • Rego for iPhone — ($4.99): While Day One (which we’ll talk about in a bit) is the ideal place for capturing memories, Rego is a more specialized app for bookmarking and organizing your favorite locations (as well as those you have yet to visit). Create location collections–which are totally private unless you choose to share them–to plan out all the places you want to visit at your trip destination.

In-Flight Entertainment

The view from an airplane window is only mesmerizing for so long, and sooner or later you’ll need something fun to do. These are our favorite ways to pass the time in the sky.

  • Kindle app — (Free): The Amazon Kindle enjoys the largest ebook store in the world, and we love it for that, but the iPad is a far more versatile device. To save room in our bag, we just bring along the iPad and use Amazon’s free Kindle app. It works quite nicely and uses the same Whispersync service to sync your progess and content across devices.

  • Instapaper — ($3.99): The venerable service is our go-to choice for saving webpages to read for later. With excellent iOS applications that save text for offline reading, Instapaper is a great way to blast through some articles while traveling.

  • Pocket Casts — ($3.99): In our opinion, the best podcast app for iOS. It auto-downloads new episodes for you in the background, so that’s one less step to worry about before your trip.

  • Rdio — ($0): Summer wouldn’t be summer without your playlist. Rdio is our favorite music streaming service because its apps are well-designed, it has a vast and ever-expanding catalog, and it makes finding new music a breeze. Not only can you build a bunch of your own playlists, you can invite others to contribute and build a shared playlist for your cookout.

Wheels Down

So, you’ve arrived at your trip destination. Time to see the sights, find something to eat, and log the important things so you never forget them.

  • Yelp — (Free): Yelp is the go-to app/service to see what’s good to eat, drink, and see in your area. With its crowd-sourced reviews, Yelp is a trusty way to make sure you don’t end up eating a lousy meal on a trip.

  • Day One ($4.99) is the best journaling app for iOS and Mac. There’s simply no better way to capture important moments in your life. Record your thoughts, maybe attach a photo, and Day One does the rest by auto-adding your current location, activity, music, and even local weather conditions. Entries are taggable and searchable, and if you’re in a sharing mood they can even be published to the web.

  • Uber for iPhone — (Free): Uber is a taxi service that’s just…nicer than your average cab. The app uses GPS to locate you and connect you with a driver. Major cities often have multiple service levels, so an in-app tool can be used to compare (and even split) fares.


If you go on a trip, and come back with no photos of it, did it really happen? We’re kidding of course, but if you’re like us and always want to have gorgeous shots of your vacation experience, you will love the apps below.

  • VSCO Cam for iPhone — (Free): Our favorite iPhone photo editing app is perfect for capturing those special moments. With more filters than ever before, getting that timeless summer look—or any look, really—is easier than ever.

  • Instagram for iPhone — (Free): With its recent massive update, Instagram is giving VSCO a run for its money. In addition to its well-loved set of filters and sharing features, this photo sharing app now has plenty of editing tools that make it a lot more powerful than it used to be.

  • Litely — (Free): Litely is a relative newcomer in the world of iOS photo editing, but has quickly become a top contender thanks to its focus on beautiful, subtle preset tones. Though we still like VSCO Cam more, Litely is a tool worth having around.

Grilling / Cooking

Just because you’re back from the trip doesn’t mean summer is over yet. Fire up that grill and get cooking with these helpful apps.

  • Timer — (Free): If you’re tackling a long, involved grilling job with lots of intermediate steps to think about, Contrast.co’s Timer app is a good way to coordinate the timing of everything. Save up to fifteen customizable timers, each represented by a button on the main screen. Tap to start, tap to stop, tap-and-hold to edit. That’s it.

  • Paprika ($4.99, non-universal) is our favorite recipe manager for iPad and iPhone. It lets you easily import recipes from any website, then automatically creates grocery lists based on ingredients you need for recipes added to your Meal Plan. While you’re cooking, tap whichever recipe step you’re working on to mark your place.