Easy & Free Traveling Apps

With a smart phone, traveling is easier than ever. But the thousands of apps can become overwhelming especially when you have to weed through the good and bad.

For the tech- savvy traveler and even those that are just getting started, here are some apps that I have found useful in my travels.These apps are easy to use, actually work, and FREE.

With the help of Travel Weekly. I have created a list of some of the most helpful apps for travelers.

Google Maps

What many people don’t realize is that Google Maps isn’t only for driving directions. In many traffic congested places like San Francisco, public transportation or walking are the best ways to move around. When using the bus or public transportation setting, Google maps gives you exact locations of bus stops and bus numbers. I’ve used this app in Europe and it still works just as well. This is available for iPhone and Android devices.

Here’s a video of a step-by-step tutorial of Google Maps

Evernote Food

If you’re like me and getting tired of the paid reviewers on Yelp, Evernote is the perfect substitute. This app allows you to search for new recipes, add your own recipes, and discover nearby restaurants.

In the words of Evernote,”Let Evernote Food remember the long list of restaurants you want to try. Search nearby (or anywhere in the world) for restaurants you want to check out and add them to your list in Evernote Food. The app gives you a location-based list and map search feature to find the next hot restaurant on your list.”

This is available for iPhone and Android devices.

Here is a video tutorial to help get you started.

Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers combines all your planning, booking and navigation into one engaging road trip planner. Using your location, this map gives you options for attractions, history, shopping, and food. The app is very easy to navigate and you can also plan your trip beforehand on their website and then import your saved spots to your phone. The app also gives you the option to meet up with and chat with other roadtrippers as you go. It is, however, exclusive to the US.

This is available for iPhone and Android devices.

Here is a video to guide you through the app.

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Valentine’s Day

Because it is named the Happiest town in America, SLO is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway for the blossoming relationship or for those who want to rekindle that spark. To make it easy on you, Valentine’s Day has been broken down for you into three sections: the hotels, activities, and restaurants. All you need to do is chose and book.Untitled Infographic (1)

Bigger, better visit SLO

Picture courtesy of Flickr of SLO from Bishop's Peak.
Picture courtesy of Flickr of SLO from Bishop’s Peak.

One of the most important aspects of writing this blog is that I enjoy doing it. I love traveling and exploring new places so I take pride in finding the best places and activities for my readers and followers as best I can.

All of my viewers have been from the United States, which is what I have strived for as locals would be more likely to actually visit SLO. I have received 65 views, 35 visitors, 9 likes, and 2 followers but no comments. I would appreciate feedback from my viewers and followers in the comments so that I could find out exactly what you all like and dislike.

I’ve tried to create a website where visitor information about San Luis Obispo is centralized, simplified, and insightful. Here is how I am going to fully achieve this goal:

1. Better writing.

While my posts have improved from week to week, I still have a lot of room for improvement. I will create work that has writing with more depth and insight to better engage and inform my readers.

2. Better layout.

I have a simple blog layout that is generally easy to follow but its (what seems to be) endless scrolling can discourage viewers from scrolling through the end of the blog. I will find a layout that makes pictures the center of attention and not the endless writing.

3. Bigger, better pictures.

Because San Luis Obispo has such beautiful, natural beauty, merely describing it in words does not do it much justice. I will make it a point of adding more vibrant pictures to my blog posts so that my viewers can get a real feel for SLO.

A whole day in San Luis Obispo for less than $10

You read that correctly.

A day already planned out for you from start to finish for $10. Start your day off in downtown SLO and end up in Avila Beach while only spending as much as $10 per person. All of the eight places pictured below are free for anyone to visit except for the two restaurants where meals cost about $10 and open to all ages.  Meals can cost more or less.

Below is your plan for the day in pictures. Start the gallery by clicking on the first photo.

SLO Good Desserts

To accompany the glorious weather and stroll through downtown San Luis Obispo, you need a sweet treat. Here are a few places to enjoy unique desserts.

Batch

How do fresh cookies and ice cream sound? The downtown San Luis Obispo “hole in the wall” business, Batch, sells make-your-own old fashioned ice cream sandwiches.

The smell of cookies takes over your taste buds as soon as you walk in and the small layout gives a homemade feel.

Start by choosing a cookie and a flavor of ice cream. The batch of cookies made varies from week to week. This week’s were:

  • chocolate chip
  • oatmeal
  • peanut butter,
  • gluten free fudge
  • fudge

As for ice cream, they offer

  • chocolate
  • strawberry
  • vanilla
  • chocolate chip
  • Irish cream
  • butterfinger
  • coconut
  • pomegranate & lemon sorbet

To top of your sandwich you can add mini chocolate chips, crushed malt balls, rainbow sprinkles, mini marshmallows, nuts, potato chips, pretzels, or toffee.

If you’re overwhelmed by the choices, Batch employee, Amber, recommends having chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream or oatmeal with strawberry ice cream.

Ice cream sandwiches are $4.00, cookies and milk is $3.50, a root beer float is $3.50, a dozen cookies is $6, and a single cookie is 75¢. They are open everyday at 12 pm and close from Thurs. to Sat. at 10 pm, the rest of the days at 9 pm.

They are located at 1108 Broad St. San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.

Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream sandwich from Batch. Picture taken by Ilianna Salas.
Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream sandwich from Batch. Picture taken by Ilianna Salas.

Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab

For a more traditional but edgy ice cream shop, Doc Burnstein’s is the place to be.

Also located in downtown SLO, Burnstein’s makes more than 20 interesting flavors. Ranging from the classic vanilla and chocolate to original flavors from the lab such as Cookie D’oh, Coffee Toffee, and lemon meringue pie.

For the adults, Burnstein’s has flavors like Motor Oil which is a combination of dark chocolate, fudge, and Kahlua. Their Jack Daniel’s flavor tastes just like the liquor and has about a shot per tub.

For St. Patty’s Day, Burnstein’s makes their original Guinness Beer ice cream, for the Christmas season, Reindeer Droppings, and for the 4th of July, Red, White, and Blueberry

Some of their most popular flavors are birthday cake and sea salt caramel, highly recommended by Burnstein’s worker, Kristen, for the first time visitor.

You can order, shakes, malts, root beer floats, and sundaes.

Scoops start at $3 for a mini, $4 for a single, and $5 for a double.

They are open every day at 12 pm and close at 10 pm except for Friday and Saturday, 11 pm.

860 Higuera Street San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

SloCo Pasty CO.

This downtown SLO restaurant is famous for its pasties. What exactly is a pasty? Simply put by the company, “A pasty (pronounced PASS-tee) is a full meal of your favorite foods wrapped and baked in a delicious pastry crust.”

The pasties are in the shape of a semi-circle and look like a miniature Italian Calzone. They are freshly baked and served hot out of the oven.

Their traditional pasties are filled with steak, ground beef, pork sausage, pork loin, or chicken. The SloCo original pasties have pork loin, chciken curry, tri tip, or marinated chicken. Pasties for the veggie lover are also available.

This post is going to focus on the dessert pasties.

SloCo has four delicious options: Apple Pie, Caramel Apple Cheesake, Cookie Dough & Nutella, and a combination of Nutella, strawberries, & bananas.

The Apple Pie pasty is filled to the brim with large chunks of apples and cinnamon. It is the most popular and recommended for the first time visitor.

The dessert pasties are about $5 and you can add a scoop of ice cream for $1.50.

SloCo is located at 1032 Chorro St. San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

They are open everyday at 11 am and close at 9 pm except for Friday and Saturday, 11 pm.

SloCo Apple Pie pasty. Picture taken by Ilianna Salas
SloCo Apple Pie pasty. Picture taken by Ilianna Salas

SLO’s Finest Beach, Budget, and Local Hotels

Visiting a new town can be overwhelming, so the best hotels, inns, and motels have been sorted out for you with the help of Jeanne Cooper from the SF Gate.

Here’s the breakdown:

Best Beach Hotel

The beach city of Cayucos, a 20 minute drive from downtown San Luis Obispo, has generous, sandy beaches and mellow weather. There are a multitude of attractions for the food lover. On the Beach Bed and Breakfast is within a short distance from this town’s attractions including the ocean.

The inn has 14 bedrooms and is only two floors but offers a comfortable stay. It is suggested to book a town-view room to get the most “bang for your buck.” The hotel offers free breakfast and desserts and wine in the afternoon to accompany the sunset.

Rooms start at $149 per night.

The Inn at Avila Beach offers beach view rooms and a large sundeck. Prices start at $149 per night.

Economic Hotels

The Cambria Inns Collection in Cambria (35 minute drive from SLO) offers a variety of options depending on the guest:

For families, the Sand Pebbles Inn is recommended, The Blue Dolphin Inn and Moonstone Cottages are a favorite among couples, and The Castle Inn is for anyone looking for a low-cost stay. Rooms start at about $100 per night.

The Hotel Obispo, a short walk from the SLO train station, offers rooms for as low as $27 a night.

Hotels in San Luis Obispo

The Apple Farm Inn is a hotel and family restaurant offering homemade food with fresh ingredients, a local favorite. The Inn was constructed in 1988 and offers 69 uniquely adorned rooms. Prices start at $99 per night.

The world famous Madonna Inn is popular among travelers with its individually decorated rooms. The hotel offers various excursions such as horseback riding. Rooms start at $189 per night.

For those on a budget, the Trellis Court motel has recently renovated rooms, free rides to the Amtrak, and free hot apple cider in the lobby for guests all day long.