Finally a list of apps to accommodate you, wanderlust music lover. You know you want to get up and move, but you’re not quite sure where you want to go. You adore the music you fill your iPod with and your appetite for new sounds is just as passionate.
You want to stay keyed in to the local scene without the cost of a fancy hotel and the concierge service that comes along with it. You’re a visual person, often remembering the cover of the album but not the name of the band. Sometimes, you just want that super hot track instead of all that album filler. These are the top five apps for you, in no particular order, because you live your life on shuffle.
Functionality: For iPhone & Android • Price: Free • Download
For some, the journey will begin on four wheels. And there are plenty of solid apps to guide you through the iconic American road trip. But for many others, the skies will be the mode of transportation. The upfront ticket cost is more, but you don’t have to fret about gas prices. The lack of storage gives you an excuse to take only what you need. Once you exit the plane, you’ve only got to worry about yourself and your immediate belongings.
But where many airlines and travel sites get it wrong is assuming you know where you want to go. Where’s the sense of adventure in that? With Skyscanner, all you need to know is what town you’re leaving behind. Simply plug in the “everywhere” option from there and off you go. No matter the day or time, Skyscanner will offer up every possible flight from your specified location as well as the cost of a ticket on any given day. From Bermuda to Poland and back to the Chicago, the only limitation is whether or not you have someone to feed your cat (named after David Bowie) and water your plants (most likely a small marijuana grow operation).
Even without the clever “everywhere/any time/any day” options, Skyscanner would still pull rank as one of the premiere travel apps available for the iPhone and Android. It’s clean, simple and -- with the ability to see the costs of flights on any given day months in advance -- certainly doesn’t hide anything from the consumer. It’s a shock that the app is currently available for free, so pick it up now before someone on the administrative end wises up.
The Vinyl District
Functionality: For iPhone & Android • Price: Free • Download
For the average traveler, you’d think the hierarchy of needs would be something like, “Hop on a flight, land and find food and/or shelter.” But any music lover or musician will prioritize finding the nearest record store versus the nearest hostel. Trips are often entirely built around record shopping. Vinyl District makes it all too easy to neglect your need for shelter and nourishment.
Barely two months old, the Vinyl District app takes your location and quickly displays the nearest independent record stores near you. It’s clean, easy and quick. While the app does have some shortcomings -- including utilizing Yelp for pertinent information like reviews, store hours and contact information -- it does boast a nifty social element and map/list viewing options. Best of all, the listings of local record stores runs deep, popping up a few surprises even in your own backyard.
Functionality: For Windows Phone 7, iPhone & Android • Price: Free • Download
You’ve arrived, you’ve spent some time perusing the local record stores and now you want to stuff your face with local cuisine. Skip the ridiculous reviews of Yelp and follow local foodies like you would the Grateful Dead with Foodspotting.
Like Yelp, the power is in the hands of the user. But instead of reviewing the entire restaurant, Foodspotting is built around Foodspotters posting pictures of individual dishes at local haunts. It’s an extremely visual app, giving you the option to judge for yourself rather than be persuaded by a well-written but not always honest review.
Of course, as music lovers, we know this can go both ways as the cover photo of an album can often be far more appealing than the music its advertising. Impressed by someone’s quick-hit review or photo of a dish? Follow the rest of the work, which will (more times than not) lead you all over town on a culinary adventure. Or create your own fanfare by documenting your dishes with the click of a button and a snap of a photo.
Falcon Downloader + Media Player Pro
Functionality: For iPad & iPhone only • Price: $1.99 • Download
Wherever you decide to go and however you choose to spend your time, you will end up meeting people who love music just as much as you do. Of course you’ll talk shop, dishing in your favorite bands until you’re exchanging files like an IRS audit clerk. But where to keep all that new music? Your smart phone is an obvious choice, but a power adapter isn’t the only thing you’ll need if you’re traveling overseas or dealing with some serious audiophiles.
That’s where the Falcon Downloader + Media Player Pro app comes in. It handles pretty much any type of file you toss at it from the basic (mp3) to the obscure (multi-part RAR files), managing playlists as you go. Falcon also handles all types of video files and allows you to plug into the nearest TV to share movies, photos, etc. So, no matter where you are in the world, you’ll be able to handle just about any file tossed at you.
An ideal complement is the free Dropbox app, a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos from your home computer to anywhere you go.
Functionality: For iPad & iPhone only • Price: Free • Download
And now it’s time for the wanderlust music lover to rest. Why bother with an overpriced hotel in a seedy part of town? Keep your traveling experience rich yet inexpensive with CouchBug.
Now, it’s important to note right off the bat that while CouchBug allows you to access the CouchSurfing community -- the international non-profit network that connects travelers with local couches in over 230 countries -- the app is not directly developed or endorsed by CouchSurfing. CouchBug is merely a way to access your account via your iPhone, which is very handy nonetheless.
Because what better way to tap into the local music scene, experience new tastes and customs than actually sleeping on a local’s couch? This is the app built around the service that allows you to find the right couch at the right time in the right locale.
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