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Appy Friday: Apps for Discovering a New City (Or Rediscovering Your Own)

Ditch the paper guides and go digital.

Lauren Goode

Vacation season is approaching — perhaps you already have a trip on the calendar, or you’re just starting to think about where to go. Traditional guide books and the Web can certainly be good sources of information. But there are also some great apps that can serve as your tour guide or travel adviser.

Willie Geist of the “Today” show likes to use Field Trip (see video below), and it’s also a favorite with the Re/code reviews team. Available as a free iOS or Android app, Field Trip notifies you about points of interest based on your current location. It can serve up restaurant recommendations, historical facts, upcoming events and more, right to your phone. It’s not only a great way to explore a new city, but also to discover hidden gems in your own hometown.

TagWhat works similarly to Field Trip, as it uses your location to alert you to nearby attractions and landmarks. You can choose from a range of categories, such as music or restaurants; then it will pull information from various sources, including Wikipedia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and regional touring groups.

TagWhat also plugs into your social networks, so you can check into places and post updates from within the app. TagWhat is free, and is available for iOS and Android.

If you’re looking for vacation ideas, Stuck on Earth is a good brainstorming tool. The free iOS and Android app offers “Top 50 Lists,” and lets you peruse photos taken by people who have visited a given location or are visiting that location. If inspiration strikes while you’re browsing the app, there’s a built-in trip builder so you can start planning your vacation right then and there.

Finally, for those who like traditional guide books but don’t want to have to deal with lugging a book around during your travels, Frommer’s offers digital guides for around $9.99 each.

(Appy Friday is a series by the “Today” show and Re/code that highlights some of today’s best apps. NBCUniversal is an investor in Revere Digital, which owns this website.)

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