The only thing more fun than planning a party is having a party. But preparing for one can also be pretty great. Whether it’s a dinner party, a birthday bash, a wedding, or a cocktail event, there are always lots of decisions to make……
A Day’s Outing, a website dedicated to helping users find nearby day trips, weekend get-aways or quick excursions across the U.S., has just launched its new iPhone app [iTunes link], making it easy to find ways to spend these dog days of summer, whether you’re traveling with family, in small groups or on your own.
We got a chance to play with the app to see what it offers and how it compares to other location destination apps, like Goby. We’ve also got 100 copies of the app to give away to our readers (it normally retails for $2.99).
Many mobile applications utilize location, but most of them utilize it for finding a specific place, checking in as part of a game, or reading and leaving reviews.
While there is a nice niche of mobile travel guides, what’s less common are applications that are designed to help you find destinations or activities nearby. The immediate use-case for this sort of application is when you are visiting a new city or on a vacation. Say you decide to go the beach for a few days, and then it starts to rain (or I don’t know, some catastrophically awful oil leak gunks up the beaches) — if you’re not in a big city or a place that is a known tourist destination, figuring out how to spend your time, especially while on the go, can be difficult.
The website, which is free to use and access, is a great way to find different parks, museums, theaters, special events, historical landmarks, zoos and more. What we really like about the app is that it isn’t just made for big cities, it’s for smaller cities too.The app is pretty easy to use; it can select your location automatically, or you can enter in your location by city, zip code or street address. Then you select how many days you want the search to cover and how many miles you want your search to encompass.
You can also just search for a specific event if you have an idea of what you are looking for.The results are brought back in a list by category, and you can also view the results on a map to see where things are in relation to your starting point.
Once you find a place or outing that looks interesting, you can access more information, including the phone number and address, and visit the website for the destination all in the app. You can also see how much admission and parking is.We do wish that there was a way for users to leave reviews of different destinations, because that would be helpful, especially for people new to a specific area.
Although A Day’s Outing is similar in many respects to Goby, it’s focus on more family-oriented activities and historical landmarks sets it apart. We really think that families are the types of users that would most benefit from the application.
That eventually leads to a long list of things to do, clean, make, and buy. Check out the apps below to guide you through the party prepping process.
The Invitations app makes picking out party invites an awesome and simple task. First, start with selecting a card—choose from 12 artwork, 13 image, and 15 paper cards. Designs include flowers, animals, cupcakes, sunset, old rice paper, and thick and heavy. Then choose one of five stock messages—I’m having a barbeque, wedding, party—and tailor it to your liking by changing the color, size, and typeface of the font. Then email it to your friends and invitations are taken care of — and they look first-rate!
Drinks Planner ($1.99)
The Drinks Planner app is super simple, to the point, and kind of genius. It solves the one problem I never know how to handle when prepping for a party: how much liquor to get. You type in how many people will be attending, the duration of the event, and what kind of drinkers your friends are — light, normal, or heavy. Next, a few questions come up — what kind of liquor will be served and in what currency are you paying. Then the app calculates your responses and gives you back the quantity of each type of liquor you need to purchase, along with an approximate cost quote. No more guessing with this app.
100 Greatest Dance Songs of the 90s ($1.99)
You know the party’s getting good when you hear the lines “Oh, my, god Becky, look at her butt. It is so big!” from Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” With songs like Snap’s “Rhythm is a Dancer,” Daft Punk’s “Around the World,” and Boyz II Men’s “Motownphilly” following on Sir Mix-a-Lot’s heels, you would have to actively try not to have a great time dancing to these hits courtesy of 100 Great Dance Songs of the 90s. And don’t forget about dance favorites like Santana’s “Smooth (featuring Rob Thomas)” and Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman.”
Dinner Party Food Street (99 cents)
Party or no party, the Dinner Party Food Street app rules. Choose from soups, salads, appetizers, main courses, side lines (gotta love the name), and desserts. Once you click on a meal, get 10 to 20 delicious recipes with easy to follow directions for each. And these aren’t just any recipes either. The meals range from basic to exotic with dishes like “Famous Macaroni Salad” and “Grilled Salmon,” to “Jalapeno Potato Soup” and “Pumpkin Pie Dip.”
Party Pizza ($1.99)
If there is any one food — at least in America, but maybe even in the whole world — that most people can agree on, it’s pizza. The Party Pizza app takes pizza up a notch by offering it served on English Muffins. At the beginning of the app, you are prompted to select a number of guests—12, 24, or 48 — and then, accordingly, you are given a shopping list of how much to buy and a recipe of how much to make. Each includes the option to check ingredients off as you buy or use them. Also included are photos of each step of the process. By the last step, those pizzas are looking tasty!
Let’s Party! (99 cents)
When you get tired of dancing and you’ve eaten until you’re full, there’s nothing else to do but get your game on. Let’s Party! offers a range of games for every kind of occasion. Is your anniversary coming up? How about playing the “Compatibility Check” game, where your knowledge of your significant other is put to the test? Are you in the mood for some drinking games? If you don’t already know how to play “Quarters,” the game where you bounce a quarter off the table and into a glass, this app spells it out for you. Other highlights include “Fruit-Legged Beach Relay” for beach games, “Scavenger Hunt” under boys’ pajama parties, and “Chinese Whispers” (also known as “Telephone”) for the whole family.
If you want to try the app out but don’t want to pay $2.99, go to this page and enter in your e-mail address. The first 100 readers will get a code to get the app for free. You can then redeem that code in the App Store.What do you think of location-based applications that help you find local destinations rather than just restaurants or places of business? How do you find things to do when visiting from out of town?