Traveling With Children, With Help From Apps

NY Times Reviewby Monica Drake, September 6,2012

Figuring out an itinerary for children can feel like a game of Whac-A-Mole. That puppet show in Boston that your niece loved during her last stay? She’s aged out of it. Your 17-year-old son is happy to crash lectures at Georgetown during a trip to Washington? His 10-year-old brother is not so into it.

The makers of Family iTrips may have a solution: they have updated their “DC With Kids” app and added apps on New York and Boston as well. (Virginia and New England are due out next month.) The apps, which landed on iTunes’s hot list last month, allow users to nimbly explore listings, including shops, hotels and restaurants. But they also offer filters through which to explore the cities: by budget, by activities that are “like a local,” and by attractions according to age group. (Above, a screen shot on what to visit in Washington.)

Candyce H. Stapen, who created the apps with Deb Geigis Berry, said in an e-mail that they were a natural progression. “As family travel journalists and authors of several family travel guidebooks, we felt there was a need for user-friendly, interactive apps designed specifically for making planning and experiencing family trips,” she said. “We include lots of helpful details, whimsical icons, photos and illustrations that put everything families need to know about exhibits and experiences best for different age groups, as well as little known gems right at your fingertips.”

So in case you end up at, say, the Paul Revere House in Boston with a teenager who is mum, the app offers trivia that could spur discussion. Who knew that the place was once a candy store?