iTravel: Plan your trip with Kentucky apps
By Kathy Witt from April 2014 Issue
Looking for a romantic getaway package? Anxious to learn about a museum exhibit where your view is unobstructed by other visitors? Want to know which Louisville bar has the largest selection of bourbons? Download an app. They're all free.
In Kentucky, several apps will help you derive maximum quality and value from your travels.
Two of the largest app providers are Apple's App Store (for iPhone users) and the Google Play store (for Android phones). Most people download apps directly onto their mobile phones or tablets, choosing from more than a million apps at the App Store alone, many of them free and others around $1.99.
You can research apps on your computer before purchasing them by going to the online stores.
For Apple products, go to https://apple.com/iphone-5s/app-store, click on a category at the bottom, which launches iTunes and the App Store. Or follow the latest on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AppStore.
For Android products go to Google Play, https://play.google.com/store/apps, or follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/googleapps.
Available: App Store, Google Play
The National Corvette Museum's recently launched app will let you plan your visit, move to the head of the line (virtually) to learn about exhibits, find out what's on the Corvette Café's menu, even sign up to learn more about the latest raffle.
"It provides an audio tour and details on some of the cars to make it easy to zoom in and read—especially when other guests may be blocking the view of the reader boards," says Katie Frassinelli, marketing and communications manager, who created the app's graphics and content. "It also gives visitors the ability to take a photo, share it with us, and have it appear in our gallery on the app."
Available: App Store
The Bed & Breakfast Association of Kentucky app includes info about member B&Bs, social media links, frequent-stay form, and lodging and promotional specials, such as the aforementioned romance packages.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Available: App Store, www.KyBourbonTrail.com (under Map tab to download)
Urban Bourbon Trail
Available: App Store, Google Play, www.BourbonCountry.com (under Things to Do/Urban Bourbon Trail/The App)
Given that Kentucky is Bourbon Country, it only makes sense there would be apps to guide visitors along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour and the Urban Bourbon Trail.
The former covers the eight distilleries on the official tour; the latter is an electronic "pub crawl" of 26 bourbon watering holes in Louisville. Get information like GPS directions, interactive maps, tour hours, admission fees (where applicable), and other information like where to stay and eat, links to restaurant and bar Web sites with menus, and bourbon cocktail recipes.
But don't worry. While there is an option on both trails to have your bourbon trail passport digitally "stamped," you can still pick up its paper counterpart—a coveted collectible for many trail blazers.
Kentucky Wine Trails
Available: App Store, Google Play, www.KentuckyWine.com
Bourbon not your bag? With Kentucky holding the distinction of having the country's first commercial vineyard, it makes sense that it would have not only lots of wineries, but Wine Trails crisscrossing the state and the accompanying Kentucky Wine Trails app.
Available: App Store, Google Play, www.511.ky.gov
Here's an app that delivers right-now info in real time: Kentucky 511, developed by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, is an official source of traffic and traveler information, providing invaluable statewide road reports, ramp closures, traffic speeds—even camera locations—for interstates, U.S. routes, and state highways in Kentucky.
Available: App Store, Google Play, Mobile App at www.kentuckylake.org
Planning a visit to Kentucky Lake? The Marshall County Tourist Commission developed an app to make sure you make every minute count. Get the scoop on accommodations, shops and restaurants, outdoor activities and entertainment options—and find your way around with a location map. There's also a mobile app that you can download (scroll to the bottom of the Web site and look for the icon to download).
Visit Map Dot, Kentucky
While not an app, Map Dot, Kentucky, www.facebook.com/MapDotKentucky, was created by adventurer Cory Ramsey to be "a catalyst, to wake people up and let them know what's going on in Kentucky."
Every single dot represents a place you can go and immerse yourself in—from crossroads and dead ends to back roads, blinks, and misses. The site celebrates the old-fashioned traveler, small-town USA, the romance of travel.
"You can take that road trip, park your car and get out, take a picture, and post it to Facebook or Instagram," says Ramsey, who describes Map Dot as being set up like a reality show. Thousands follow his small-town strolls, "liking" and responding to Ramsey's pictures and commentary posted in real time.
"Any part of Kentucky is my back yard," Ramsey says. Yours, too.
Read Kentucky Living's June 2013 personality profile on Cory Ramsey.
More travel apps
The following apps are available on both Apple iPhone and Android smartphones. Download the apps directly from Apple's App Store (for Macintosh devices) or the Google Play store (for Androids). Some are available on other platforms. Or download the free mobile app directly from the Web sites.
OANDA Currency Converter by OANDA Corp. converts exchange rates for more than 180 currencies. Available: App Store or Google Play, www.Oanda.com (click Currency Converter at top, then at right click on "Try also...Mobile Currency Apps."
Gas Buddy knows where the cheapest gas is.
Available: App Store, Google Play www.GasBuddy.com
GateGuru comes through with restaurants and tips specific to the airport if you're stuck on a long layover or unexpected delay. Available: App Store, Google Play, or www.GateGuru.com
Kayak compares hotel, flight, and car rental deals.
Available: App Store, Google Play, www.Kayak.com