Most people would agree that summertime is fantastic! Since many children don't have to go to school during the summer, it's a great time for families to bond.
I remember looking forward to the family vacation every year when I was a kid. It didn't matter whether we drove across the country for a fun-filled adventure at an amusement park or if we took a quick flight to visit family and friends. It was always special and left me with memories that will last a lifetime.
You don't have to travel to create special memories though. Sometimes all you need is beautiful weather, a grill and a few of your closest friends for a great get-together. Yep, summer is the perfect time of year.
Innovations in technology can make summertime even more enjoyable. There are apps available that can help you with everything from finding the cheapest gas to grilling that perfect outdoor meal.
Let's look at the 5 best apps to help you survive summer.
Ever fill up your tank and then drive by three more gas stations with cheaper prices? It can drive you crazy.
Since you can't return gas, grab the GasBuddy app! This amazing app will show you a map of frequently updated gas prices in your area, so you know where to find the cheapest gas in town.
When you're traveling across the country with the family on vacation, this app will let you know where to stop for the least expensive options to fill-up. You can search for gas stations based on distance or price.
Before setting out on a summertime adventure, it's good to know what type of weather you are going to encounter. The weather affects nearly everything we do. It determines how we dress, if we go out or if we stay in.
The Dark Sky app provides detailed information and predicts when it will rain or snow, down-to-the-minute, at your exact location to help you plan for the day or week. The app uses your phone’s GPS to know exactly where you are standing and works remarkably well.
While in Maui recently, I was packing for a hike when the app sent a notification that it was about to rain in 16 minutes. Sure enough, in 15 minutes dark clouds covered the sun and a drizzle started.
Dark Sky has a slew of built-in notification options for rain and severe weather alerts. You can also set your own notifications. The app developers give an example such as setting a custom alert to let you know if it’ll be too cold at night for the plants in your garden.
While on iOS the app is a $3.99 purchase, Dark Sky is a free download on Android. The free version provides current conditions, the next 24-hour forecast, a detailed next week forecast, and our weather maps. But then there’s an in-app purchase to upgrade to Dark Sky Premium, which unlocks the magic mojo: the hyperlocal minute-by-minute forecasts, the fancy notifications and alerts, and widgets.
There’s a two-week free trial period for the full set of features, so you can see for yourself what Dark Sky can do before committing to the Android version. Dark Sky Premium is a $2.99/year subscription for Android.
Who doesn't love a good burger straight off the grill? What about steak? And don't forget about the grilled veggies. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
But whenever you're grilling, you aren't necessarily able to stay with your food the entire time. Stay away from the grill too long and your juicy burger could be a hot, burned mess. Conversely, if you undercook the food, you could make yourself and others sick.
Never let that happen with the GrillTime app. It's a grill timer made especially for all your grilling needs. Just tell it what you're cooking, how thick it is, how well done you want it and you're all set.
Next, GrillTime will set the appropriate timers, for multiple items, and will alert you when it's time to take the "shrimp off the barbie" or even just flip your burgers. The iOS app is even available for the Apple Watch, so it's OK if you don't have your iPhone handy.
On top of that, GrillTime has a step-by-step guide for hundreds of items and how to grill them to complete perfection. The app is available for iOS and costs $1.99.
Click here to download the app for iOS.
Psst! Click here for a similar app that is free for Android.
Summer is also a great time to catch up on your reading. Few things in life are more peaceful than sitting quietly reading in the shade.
Over the last few years, eReaders have gone from novelty items to must-haves for many book lovers. But what if you don't want to spend money on an eReader?
That's where the Kindle app comes in handy. You can use your existing smartphone, tablet or computer to read all the eBooks you've purchased on Amazon. Just load the Kindle app on your smartphone or tablet and the entire Amazon eBook marketplace is available.
What's even better is that you can load the app on multiple gadgets. So when you switch from your tablet to your desktop, or from your Kindle to a smartphone, you never lose your place.
The Kindle app even transfers annotations and highlights you've made. You can also make the text bigger, adjust background colors and you can even search for terms in your book with YouTube and Wikipedia.
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