familyitripsAs a mom planning a vacation means not just picking out the location but making sure the kids will be entertained and safe. It means packing for every possible scenario like sudden rainstorms or running out of supplies. It also means trying to plan in advance where you are going to eat. There is nothing that will squelch the fun on a vacation faster than a hungry kid.

So, we plan.
 

And when we get home we often feel like we need a vacation from our vacation.

One of the great things that has happened for families that like to travel is the development of the travel app. This past week I had the opportunity to review FamilyiTrip travel apps. 

Background Note: I love using apps for education, reading, fun, quick information but I still haven’t figured out Angry Birds. Another thing about my app habit is that I get impatient with apps that don’t load very fast or are confusing to use.

FamilyiTrips Washington D.C.

It was a very pleasant surprise to find out how fast and easy these apps were to use. Washington DC is one of our favorite family vacation cities and so I wanted to see if this app matched up with my expectations of providing good information for families with kids of all ages. The app had every activity organized in very easy to find categories using bright icons that easily conveyed the message of what they represented.

For example, one of the places we always recommend families of teens and tweens put on their MUST SEE list is the Spy Museum.  It is not one of the Smithsonian museums and so they do charge a fee to enter but once you get inside you want to make sure to give yourself plenty of time to see and do everything the museum has to offer.  I was happy to see that the Spy Museum was on the FamilyiTrips recommended sites.

 
Here are just some of the things I loved about these apps:
  • Easy to understand categories

  • Top recommendations making it easy to find the best of the city especially if you are planning a short  visit

  • Pictures of the locations making it easy to find the places you are looking for

  • Very fast loading maps of all sites

  • Activities organized by age level
Best of the App ( as determined by me )
 
But one of the things I loved the most about this app was the playground listing. Traveling with kids can be exhausting. They never seem to run out of energy. They can also have a limited attention span going through museums no matter how many dinosaurs there are there. Being able to find a nice, clean and safe playground where they can run and jump and slide while you sit for a short time can really save a vacation. This app had a special category just for playgrounds that includes a picture of the playground so you can check it out before committing to finding this location.
 
These apps are available for purchase on iTunes as well as through the FamilyiTrips.com website for 2.99 to 4.99.
 
In a recent review of app use by Famigo ( see the infographic HERE ) kids are using apps much more than parents which is no surprise but they also found that parents are primarily using FREE apps. I am one of those parents. I seek out free apps. When I was asked to review the FamilyiTrips apps my first concern was the cost. 
 

After having taken these apps out for a test run I can tell you that these apps are 100% worth their cost. If you are traveling to DC or Boston I highly recommend you get these apps. Whether you are using them to help you plan your trip, or just using these apps mid trip, you will find something on these apps that will help make your tour a little bit easier.  You will spend more on a cup of Starbucks coffee in either one of these cities.  I’m not knocking Starbucks because as we all know traveling with kids often requires caffeine throughout day.

Also be sure to check out the FamilyiTrips website if you are planning a trip anywhere in the NE United States as they will be adding more cities to their collection of apps.

Now if they could only explain Angry Birds…..

About the Author:  Mary is a regular contributor to the TravelingMom.com website, on the Famigo parent advisory board, and a volunteer with Wired Safety.  All opinions are her own. Mary is a strong supporter of the use of technology to bring families closer together.  Follow her on Twitter @maryheston

*This post was sponsored by TravelingMom.com all comments and opinions are my own.