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Spring Break Apps & Tech

It’s Spring Break, which for some people means a temporary escape from gadgets, apps, and the like as they hit the road (or take to the skies) for a trip to the beach. We don’t feel it’s absolutely necessary to leave those things behind, as long as they can enhance your trip rather than pull you away from it.

Here are a few things to help you get the most out of your Spring Break vacation.

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Overcast for iOS »

Overcast for iOS. (Free, with an in-app patronage model to unlock more features)

Overcast for iOS. (Free, with an in-app patronage model to unlock more features)

Whether you’re going on a road trip or taking a plane, you should bring some podcasts along to keep you entertained.

Overcast is our favorite podcast client for iOS, and it recently got even better. It now conserves more battery usage, syncs faster than ever, sounds better with the built-in iPhone speaker than it used to, and if you’re a patron — via the in-app purchase of $1/month, with installment periods of 3, 6, and 12 months — you now have access to a gorgeous “dark mode” theme.

VSCO for iOS »

VSCO (formerly VSCO Cam) for iOS. (Free, with in-app purchases to unlock more filters)

VSCO (formerly VSCO Cam) for iOS. (Free, with in-app purchases to unlock more filters)

If you go on a trip and take no pictures of it, did it really happen?

Kidding aside, we love VSCO for editing photos on iOS. If you’re like us and come back from vacations with a ton of photos, VSCO is a fantastic way to select a few of the best ones, polish them up with filters and tweaks, and share them wherever you like.

Google Photos for iOS »

Google Photos is our favorite cloud photo-management solution. Get the iOS app, enable automatic backups, and your photos will be continually saved to your Google account. You can choose to save photos in reduced file sizes for unlimited storage, or save original copies that count against your Google Drive storage (the free tier is 15GB max).

If you’re not into Google as a company, or you simply want redundant copies of your photos in the cloud (you can never have too many backups), the Dropbox iOS app is another great way to seamlessly back up those captured moments in the background. Basic 2GB Dropbox accounts are free, but we’d recommend a higher tier for more storage.

Flickr’s iOS app also offers a similar feature for free, though they recently made the desktop version a Flickr Pro-only feature and we can’t help but wonder if the same will happen to the iOS app someday.

Nest Cam Security Camera »

The Nest Cam wireless IP security camera. ($199)

While you’re away, you may want to check in on your home from time to time just to make sure everything is okay. The Nest Cam, a wireless IP security camera made by the same company behind the Nest smart thermostat, is a great way to do that.

Jason Snell, writing for The Sweethome, dubbed it the best wireless IP camera for most people:

It offers a simple way to capture what’s going on in your home while you’re away and can alert you to unexpected sounds and movements. The Nest Cam provides a clear high-definition video stream with a field of view wide enough to encompass almost any room (larger than most competitors). Video is crisp and clear, with fine detail across a variety of lighting conditions; the Nest Cam performs as well or better than the other models we tested. It also sports an easy-to-use, frequently updated mobile app.

Foursquare for iOS »

Foursquare for iOS. (Free)

Until recently, we relied on Yelp to find the best restaurants and other great spots while traveling. After hearing about former employee Talia Jane’s story and her subsequent firing, we felt it was maybe time to give Foursquare another go.

As it turns out, ever since they separated the “check-in” stuff to another app, Foursquare has become the more superior tool for finding restaurants and coffee shops in a given area. Not only are the recommendations top-notch (especially when you add a variety of “tastes” to your profile), but you can save places to custom lists (for example, “Places to Try” or “Favorites” or “Best Pizza We Ate in NYC”).

Highball for iOS »

Studio Neat's Highball app for iOS. (Free, with in-app "tip jar" options to support Studio Neat)

Studio Neat’s Highball app for iOS. (Free, with in-app “tip jar” options to support Studio Neat)

Mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts will love Studio Neat’s app, Highball, the premier way to save and share cocktail recipes. Create and edit recipes to your heart’s content (including its name, ingredient quanities, and directions), customize each recipe’s image and background color, and even add a credit to any recipe where credit is due.

Once a recipe is stored in the app, it can be shared as a “card” image with a tiny QR code at the bottom. Once someone imports that image into their own copy of Highball, the QR code is interpreted such that the cocktail is stored in their list and can be edited to their heart’s content.