Here I’m sharing my Top 5 FREE Apps to help you plan ahead for any holiday, and great info on an affordable plan for family-friendly mobile services.
Did you know that making plans for special holidays, family travel, and other activities is as close as your phone? There are loads of FREE apps for scheduling events, making travel plans, booking flights, making restaurant reservations, reviewing restaurant menus, researching hotels, getting directions, creating to do lists, and much more.
These days there are free apps that create event reminders on your phone, location-based weather forecasts for your events, and these apps integrate with a variety of other services, such as Evernote reminders, TripIt plans and Google Maps. Set reminders, travel plans, and even research restaurants and hotels w/ free apps!
Need to make reservations to take Dad out for Father’s Day at a nice restaurant? — There’s an app for that. Traveling out of state this summer and need to book a hotel room and rent a car? — There’s an app for that. Visiting friends for the Fourth of July and need directions and a take-out bakery along the way? Yup – there’s an app for that too.
Here I’ll provide a list of my top 5 personal favorites and offer tips to help busy families get-it-all-together with the use of simple, free apps for your smart phone. Pocket calendars and paper planners are a thing of the past. Now the phone you use everyday is also your personal digital assistant. Ahhh – I think we all need a personal assistant.
Why use apps on your phone?
Have you ever forgotten an appointment? Library book? Bill payment? Has your spouse ever complained that they would just like to know where you are during the day because they have a hard time reaching you (or vice versa)?
Did you know you can sync calendars with your spouse (giving them insight into your crazy schedule), set reminders that beep, squak, or buzz at you when needed, set up calendar notices for significant events and more? It is possible to get a handle on everything but it takes a little prep in the beginning — and weekly updates to keep everything running smoothly.
The time invested in setting up your new system will pay dividends. No more embarrassing phone calls to let you know you forgot to return your library books. I confess, sometimes I’m late on library books.
5 FREE Apps to help you Plan Ahead
Many of the tools I’m sharing here are easy to find on a cell phone using an app store or Google play. If you have any trouble, simply connect to the internet and search the tool name to locate it and download it to your phone. In case you’re curious, the phone pictured here is the Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro. It’s less than $65 for the device and it’s 4G Capable. The Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro includes a 5 Megapixel camera with a 4.5″ qHD touchscreen. I picked it up at Walmart when I activated our family’s Walmart Family Mobile Plan powered by T Mobile. More details on this very affordable family mobile plan below.
- Sunrise Calendar – This is a FREE calendar app made for Google Calendar, Exchange and iCloud. The logo for Sunrise is an orange ball – it looks like a sunrise over water. It’s been downloaded by over 1 million users and is ranked highly on the Google Play store. The app integrates with many other services including – Facebook, Evernote, Foursqaure, and TripIt. One of the things I like about this calendar app is that I can invite my husband to see it on his Google account. We can both add events and activities and “see” what the other is up to. I love how clear the graphics are on the the Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro. You can organize schedules for every member of the family using Sunrise.Since it even syncs with birthdays on Facebook, Sunrise can help you stay up to date with all the events happening in your life. Sunrise automatically syncs between your phone, tablet and computer, so you can access your calendar from anywhere. You can use this app to plan ahead and make like a little easier.
- Evernote – Have you ever gotten to the grocery store and realized you forgot your grocery list? How about the notes you made at a conference you attended and you need to review your notes? Or how about a recipe you found on a blog that really want to try, but now you can’t find it? Evernote is your go-anywhere notepad. Set reminders with locations and details. Write and collect images in a single note file. Evernote can also be used as a checklist that you check off as you complete tasks. Since it’s on your mobile device you can clip and save images and data from the web in Evernote – including recipes.
- Foursquare – Foursquare is your ultimate city guide and it’s a FREE app for your phone. Find the best places to eat, drink, shop, or visit — in any city in the world. Access over 60 million short reviews from local experts. Perfect for everything from visiting a new city, to making reservations at your favorite local restaurant. Download Foursquare and make Father’s Day dinner plans easily. Preview the food photos from the restaurant on your phone. You can see some of the menu offerings clear as day on the Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro — pictured below.
- TripIt – If Father’s Day or other summer plans take you out of town, TripIt is a FREE app you can use to plan every detail of your trip and share that itinerary with whomever you desire. If there is bad weather anticipated for your end destination, TripIt will send you an alert to warn you ahead of time. TripIt keeps track of past and future trips, and it can track airline points or milage if requested. Bonus: TripIt connects directly to the Sunrise Calendar- keeping all your travel plans connected to your planning calendar. Make your summer travel plans using TripIt and keep and store all your travel details right on your phone.
- Google Maps – Another app our family uses all the time is Google Maps. Google Maps comes pre-installed on the Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro. You can use it to get directions, plan a road trip, find fast food restaurants en route, and plan “via” stopping points along the way. Google Maps is a crucial tool when you wan to plan ahead. Bonus: It’s probably already downloaded onto your phone.
Affordable Solutions for Planning Ahead
FREE Apps on your phone are the most affordable way to get everyone’s schedules organized, plan trips, find new restaurants, and set important reminders. They are easy to use and they make planning ahead much easier. In addition, you can get all the functionality of having your own personal digital assistant with the Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro phone and the Walmart Family Mobile plan. The Walmart Family Mobile plan offers 4G LTE service for only $29.88/month (for the first line) Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan which includes up to 1G of 4G LTE data.
To get started, you just need to select the phone (other makes and models are available at Walmart) with a $25.00 starter kit. The Walmart Family Mobile plan is one of the lowest priced unlimited plans available and includes unlimited talk, text and data. Great for not only accessing all the planning tools I’ve shared here, but perfect for taking photos and staying in touch with friends and family.
Busy Schedule? How do you keep everything organized?
These are the apps I’ve found most helpful for our family. Do you have a favorite app for making dinner plans, booking a flight, or setting reminders? How do you keep everyone’s schedules coordinated? Please share with this online community by leaving a comment below – I love to hear from HappyandBlessedHome.com readers.
P.S. This shop was previously compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #Save4Summer #CollectiveBias.
P.P.S. – I blog to encourage moms, offer free preschool tools, and share ideas for family fun. If you enjoy free recipes, printables, crafts and games for little ones, ideas for family fun and encouraging posts for moms, sign up and have Happy and Blessed Home delivered to your inbox. Simply enter your e-mail address here:
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