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Staycation, all the apps I ever wanted

Susie Ochs | Sept. 2, 2013
Everyone loves a long weekend, and these apps can help you make the most of it by finding great activities, events, meals, and hotels in your city.

Labor Day is the greatest weekend of the year—the entire point of the holiday is to have an extra day to take it easy. And while the airports and highways will be jammed with people trying to squeeze in one last trip of the summer, to truly take it easy you don't have to go far from home. It's time for a good old-fashioned staycation. These apps can make sure you have a great one without sweating too much over the planning.

Find a cool new restaurant

Whether you're at home or on the road, you gotta eat. To spice up your staycation, try to find new-to-you places instead of your normal haunts. These apps make it easy as pie—pie you didn't cook yourself.

While Field Trip (free for iOS and Android) is absolutely perfect for exploring a new city, it can also help you find cool places in your hometown, spots you might not otherwise know existed. From Google's Niantic Labs, makers of Ingress, Field Trip uses your GPS location and a robust database of sources (from Scoutmob to local blogs) to "surface" nearby places by buzzing your phone with information about the things you pass by, everything from out-of-the-way restaurants to public art.

We had mixed feelings about Field Trip's iOS version, but the Android version is (understandably) better implemented, with the results hitting your home screen as Google Now-style cards. If you are among the fraction of the 1 percent who has Google Glass, a heads-up version of Field Trip is even available, like a virtual tour guide on your face.

Savored, a free app for iOS and Android could use a facelift—it's got that skeuomorphic black leather texture with fake stitching across the top, and while it was updated in January 2013 it still isn't optimized for the iPhone 5. But like a truly great app, it does one thing, and does it well. Savored lets you book reservations—anywhere from tonight to a month out—at fancy restaurants in 10 major cities, and score a discount on your bill at the same time, from 20 to 40 percent.

When you arrive just let the restaurant's staff know you booked through Savored, and they'll apply your discount. Unlike dollar-based deals like Groupon and Restaurants.com gift certificates, Savored's percentage off doesn't lock you into spending a certain amount—you can splurge on cocktails and dessert or split an appetizer and call it a night. You can search by neighborhood, see results in a list or on a map, and check out a review of each restaurant and its menu, too.

 

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