Apps for iPhone can connect you
For perpetual procrastinators, the iPhone has proven to be one of the handiest travel tools since the invention of the map.
“I didn’t do a lot of research when it came to finding bars and places to go,’’ says software developer and self-confessed procrastinator Jason Sutherland, 32, of his recent trip to San Francisco. “So I used my iPhone. I ended up going out to more places than I normally would because I had a lot of information. And I could see the other kind of people who were there.’’
There are a number of gay-specific apps for the iPhone that travelers such as Sutherland have come to rely on for finding everything from gay clubs to gay-friendly bed-and-breakfasts. A quick search of “Gay Travel’’ in the iTunes stores reveals plenty of choices, many of them free. Most large cities — and several countries — have their own gay-specific travel apps. Here are some favorite apps for gay travel.
Gay Cities: An easy way to track down gay and gay-friendly hotels, bars, shopping, and even health services when you’re on the road. The app uses your current location to inform you of nearby hot spots. Once there, you can use the Check In feature to tell friends (and soon-to-be friends) which hotel you’re staying in, or which restaurant or bar you’re patronizing. Very easy to use and free to download.
Out Guide: Out Magazine’s cleanly designed travel guide features city listings of restaurants, bars, shopping, and hotels. What it’s lacking is the social networking that many sites now incorporate. But there are vivid descriptions of the locations, including prices, and the kind of crowd you’ll find there. It also incorporates an ambitious number of cities. Free to download.
Human Rights Campaign Buying For Equality: The gay lobbying group makes supporting gay-friendly companies a bit easier with this app that rates companies on a scale of zero to 100. Using criteria based on diversity training, equal opportunity hiring policy, and domestic partner benefits, the HRC gives a rating. Although it’s not strictly travel related, it’s a handy resource to have when choosing airlines and hotels. Free to download.
iTranslate: In the event that you find yourself looking for the nearest gay bar in Salzburg, simply enter your question into iTranslate, and it will tell you how to ask the question in German. There are a total of 52 languages available to help you chat with the locals during your vacation. The app is free to download, but if you want to learn how to pronounce your phrase, you’ll need to shell out $1.99.
Bump!: One of the most complete mobile travel apps, Bump! features gay and gay-friendly listings, accommodations, and restaurants based on budget, lists of suggested websites to visit, an events calendar, plus local places of interest beyond the bars. Well written and well designed, Bump! even tells you average temperatures and currency rates for those all-important shopping trips. There are currently guides for a dozen cities, each is $2.99.
Gurl Scout: Gurl Scout lists lady-friendly bars, restaurants, cafes, accommodations, and even locally available gay newspapers and magazines. The design is basic, but there is a comprehensive listing of places located everywhere from small towns to big cities. The app is free to download.
Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com.