Favorite Travel Apps From SXSW Interactive

Where have you stayed board at SXSWi travel meet up 2015 (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

The “Where have you stayed?” board at SXSWi travel meet up 2015; shows a lot of lodging variety and preference for ridesharing (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

One of the features of the massive SXSW (South by Southwest) Interactive tech conference in Austin, Texas is the variety of community-based one-hour meet ups that are part of the conference schedule. It’s an effort to help people find their tribes among 30,000+ registrants plus hundreds of panels.

Fans of the paranormal, Latina entrepreneurs, podcasters, people who like Burning Man, health IT, ghostwriters, vegans, accessibility, fashion stylists, Reddit, cyclocross, UX, font nerds, PR people, civic hackers….and those who love travel and travel technology.

This year’s travel meet up was hosted by Portland, Oregon-based Provenance Hotels; they did a great job of getting the attendees to mingle, handing out prizes for good tweets, and plying us with mimosas.

They posted questions on paper all around the meet up room, and one of them was, “What are your favorite travel apps?” Included among the obvious ones like Yelp – definitely one of my favorite travel apps – were some others that I didn’t know about, so I thought I’d bring them back here to share. Most are iOS only because it’s cheaper and simpler to build an app for just one platform rather than the multiple phone types using Android OS – a big factor if you’re a startup.

Packing List – Pro Version

The Packing Pro travel app (iOS only) includes sample lists (typical male or female, light or super-light packer,) alerts, ability to add photos and share lists with others, CSV file sharing if you use Excel, Numbers, or Google Docs to track your packing needs, and backup. Since I’m all about the best way to pack a carry-on suitcase, this would be a favorite if I didn’t own an Android phone.

Happy Cow

Happy Cow travel app sticky SXSWi travel meet up 2015 (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Happy Cow travel app sticky at SXSWi travel meet up 2015 (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

There’s a website, forum and blog, plus a Happy Cow app food guide for traveling vegans and vegetarians.


Transit and transportation directions of all sorts (walking, biking, wheelchair routes) on the HopStop app (iOS only) plus some city guide information. Toggle to choose your city.

Bring Fido

BringFido sticky SXSWi travel meet up 2015 (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

BringFido sticky at SXSWi travel meet up 2015 (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Yep, just what it sounds like: the Bring Fido app (iOS only) guides you to dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, cities, parks, and pet services like grooming.

Dark Sky

The weather geeks will love Dark Sky (iOS only) with its well-designed layout and incredibly precise weather information. Will it rain in the next 20 minutes in your exact location?

Hey Lets & Class

Brand-new apps: Hey Let’s for sharing local recommended experiences, and Class for hotel bookings.

Not really an app – at least not yet – but I liked this website and community….


VizEat sticky SXSWi travel meet up 2015 (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

VizEat sticky at SXSWi travel meet up 2015 (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

I spoke with co-founder Camille Rumani at the meet up; she works with the VizEat meal-sharing website that connects travelers with local hosts who cook a meal in their home. It’s a wonderful way to learn local culture and food; current cities with hosts include London, Boston, Haifa, New Delhi, and Brussels.

Do you have favorite apps or mobile travel resources? Please share with us in the comments….

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  1. daydreamer March 23, 2015
  2. Sheila Scarborough March 24, 2015

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