A few of my favorite apps

Do you have a smart phone? If so, have you taken a recent look at all of the apps available out there? If you’re anything like me, you may have even downloaded quite a few that you just didn’t end up using. Personally, I like to download them to try out and see what all the fuss is about. I have to admit though, many times they just end up sitting there on my phone, and I never open them again. Still, there are some I use on a regular basis. Because people are always asking, and sharing their favorites, let’s look at some of the ones I find the most useful.

I like to keep up with people using social media, so of course I have a myriad of apps such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. The thing you have to watch when downloading these apps is all the third party versions out there. Many times, companies will put out their own app, but simultaneously someone else will put out an app. I don’t trust my information to the third party provider, so I never use their apps. There’s just something about giving up my username and password that irks me.

Because of the nature of my job, I travel frequently. For that reason, I have a slew of apps to use while on the go. First and foremost, I use Google maps, and the built-in Apple maps on my iPhone. I also highly recommend the Waze app. It has some really neat features for avoiding traffic jams. In addition to navigation apps, I also use the FlightView app which allows me to see details about any flight, whether I am the one traveling or just picking someone up from the airport. It’s very handy because you get real-time updates on your flight’s location. You can even find out your plane’s history of flights that day so you know whether or not you will be delayed.

Once you get to your destination, there is always the issue of getting to the hotel. Of course, there is a line of taxis out there always waiting, but I have recently begun to use the Uber service. I won’t say it’s always the best value, but it’s nice to have the option. Many times, Uber has saved me quite a bit of time and money. Most hotels also have an app now, so you can sign up for rewards and keep your itinerary on your person in digital form. I like to use hotels.com when traveling to get good deals, so I use their app as well.

When you get to the hotel, you may have the opportunity to access their Wi-Fi. In that case, I like to find out just what speeds I’m dealing with, in order to best judge what I can and can’t do, using the service. For that purpose, I love the Speedtest app. It senses where you’re located and then finds a server to ping in order to show you what kind of bandwidth the hotel has provided. By the way, you can also use that app to see whether or not you’re getting what you are paying for at home.

Finally, I try to stay on top of my finances at all times, so I also have my bank’s app loaded on my phone. Most banks have one now, so check with yours to see if it’s available. The app lets me review my account to be sure nothing has been compromised, and I can even schedule payments on the go. In addition, I keep one credit card account on there as well. That way, I can get access to my credit card account in an emergency, even if my wallet is gone or I don’t have the card. Of course, you may need to also watch your credit score to be sure no one is messing with your identity. The Credit Karma app does a great job of providing that service for free.

As I’ve written this column this month, it has dawned on me I use too many apps to list at once! Hopefully, this short, very incomplete, list of the ones I use sheds a little light on some helpful apps you can find for your own personal use.

Do you have a favorite not on the list? If so, take a moment to visit www.icl.coop, find the Powered Up section, and share!

See you next month!