10 Apps to Help You Survive the Summer

Whether you’re planning a vacation or a staycation, here’s how to use your smartphone to help you and your family make the most of the season.


To save you from sunburn…

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Now you can relax outside without constantly worrying that you and your family are frying in the sun. The Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App ($.99, iOs) calculates exactly how long you can be out without burning based on your complexion, location, time and the SPF you’re using. It also provides a UV forecast for wherever you are.


For a don’t-leave-home-without-it packing list…

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Simply plug in the details of your trip, and what’s on the agenda—say, hiking, a business meeting and a fancy night out—and PackPoint (free, Android and iOs) figures out exactly what you should bring based on the weather during your trip and your activities, right down to how many pairs of socks. Better yet, the app saves your list for future trips.


To inspire kids to become wilderness explorers…

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Here’s how to keep little ones entertained even if it’s just in the backyard. With the interactive field guide app, Project Noah (free, iOs), kids go on missions to discover local flora and fauna and upload their photos to learn more about what they’ve found.


To turn a ho-hum night into a star-studded evening…

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Whether you’re a total amateur or a budding astronomer, Sky Guide ($1.99, iOs) teaches you how to spot constellations, planets, and even satellites simply by pointing your smartphone towards the sky. It even makes stars more visible in an overcast sky and works practically anywhere, even if you don’t have a data signal.


For more efficient pit stops…

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Along the Way ($2.99, iOs) works equally well for discovering attractions and sights during road trips or finding the nearest coffee shop or gas station on the average day. But what’s really great about it is that it points out desired destinations directly on your route instead of taking you way off course.


To painlessly plan your vacation…

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Peek (free, iOs) is a one-stop shop that helps you take the guesswork out of sightseeing, offering fun experiences in over 20 major tourist destinations—say, a chocolate-tasting tour of San Francisco, surf lessons in Cabo or a New York City gallery walk—that you can book straight from the app. Search by intuitive categories like “what to do if it rains,” “what to do with kids,” and “what to do in groups” or choose from the planned itineraries of tastemakers, like Wolfgang Puck and Diane von Furstenberg.


For your very own personal tour guide…

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Field Trip (free, Android and iOs) shows you cool points of interest, like historic spots, interesting architecture, or film locations, wherever you happen to be. As you reach each destination, a card pops up (or if you want the full effect, a voice speaks to you via headphones or Bluetooth) to pepper your exploration with little-known fun facts and details about the locale.


When you want to escape the hustle and bustle…

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Studies show that time spent in nature reduces the effects of stress and depression and improves overall well being. Clueless where to go? Look to RootsRated (free, iOs) to get the inside scoop on local swimming holes, trails, bike routes and other outdoor adventures. The detailed guides provide practical info (how to find it, where to park) as well as thorough reviews and expertise straight from in-the-know experts.


If you need some water therapy…

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You don’t have to spend an arm and leg to spend the day on the water. Check out the listings at GetMyBoat (free, Android and iOs), which works like Airbnb for boats, offering 30,000 crafts—from kayaks and fishing boats to sailboats and yachts—available in 135 countries.


And when the kids are driving you absolutely batty…

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Just open Back 2 School Countdown ($.99, iOs) and remember that there’s only one month, 2 weeks, 5 days, 14 hours, 22 minutes and 45 seconds until the first day of school.