Best Travel Apps

by Katie on May 18, 2016

11221710_758958784080_7788536356889706288_nAs always let U.S. Cellular make it easier by using the Parent/Child Cell Phone Agreement to set some ground rules for cell phone and device usage.

I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade. I received an Apple iPhone6S and am being compensated for my time.

Our family loves to travel and have several trips planned for this summer. As much as I like to use vacations as a time to “unplug” I also can’t deny the fact that my phone has so many helpful features and uses while traveling.  Some of the apps listed below are ones that I use regularly while traveling. What are your favorite apps to use while on the road?


Memorial Day just around the corner and families and friends are packing their bags to kick off the summer travel season. Using smartphones and tablets for travel purposes is on the rise. According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 76 percent of smartphone owners used their phone to assist them while traveling in 2015, up from 68 percent in 2014.

With today’s mobile devices, such as iPhone6S, top-rated apps and a nationwide network that works in the middle of anywhere, people can manage transportation, lodging, adventures and dining from the palm of their hand.

With vacation season coming up, U.S. Cellular recommends the following apps to help travelers with everything from planning their journey to finding the best restaurants once they arrive:

    • TripIt: By forwarding confirmation emails from airlines, hotels and restaurants, TripIt creates a detailed itinerary in one place. Users can access their plans on any device. The app also links to Google Maps to provide directions.
    • Uber: Users can avoid taxi lines and get a reliable ride in minutes from Uber. The app connects to a phone’s GPS signal to find a driver near its location and provides a fare estimate. Users also can watch their driver arrive and leave anonymous feedback for future customers.
    • Currency Converter: Traveling outside the United States can present a different set of travel challenges, including determining the exchange rate. This app contains more than 190 currencies and updates exchange rates frequently. Users also can set favorites used most often for quick access.
    • OpenTable: New food and restaurants are often highlights of any trip and finding the best options in a new city can be a challenge sometimes. With this app, travelers can read reviews, look at menus and make reservations. If plans change, travelers can make adjustments through the app.
    • Dropbox: This is commonly used to share work files and store other important documents, and it can be used for travel as well. Create a picture folder to upload photos at the end of each day. This frees up memory on a device and ensures users have properly stored their memories.


Letting Kids Be Kids

by Katie on April 20, 2016

12771585_10153824797656826_3443625610929779849_oMy kids very rarely ask me to play with them.

Probably because most of the time I tell them no.

Sure, I play board games and read books and can occasionally be found coloring alongside them but that is about all they get out of me when it comes to playing.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t?

My mom didn’t play with me and I’m guessing most of your moms didn’t play with you either.  Somewhere along the line things changed and the idea that a parent is suppose to spend every waking hour catering and entertaining their kids came to be. I just can’t get behind that.  I want to raise boys who grow into independent, thoughtful, and creative men and for me that means not hovering around, letting them take some risks and giving them the tools so they can make their own fun.

IMG_2799I want them to play on the playground while I read a book on the bench…not because I don’t care but because falling and scratches and bruises are part of being a kid.  I want them to learn how to ride their bike in the street so they know how to look for cars. I want to let them run around the block…while I nervously wait for them to get back.  I want to listen to their chatter out in the backyard while I make supper. I want to be OK with my kitchen being a mess if that means they made their own trail mix.  I want to step over piles of Legos while I fold laundry. I want to hear all about the chapter book my oldest read before bed.  I want to hang the picture on the fridge that my youngest drew while I talked to a friend on the phone.

My boys know they are loved and are always safe with me. They know that taking them on adventures and special dates is my love language.  They know they will always see me on the sidelines of their soccer games cheering them on. They know that Fridays after school means a trip to the gas station for a special treat. They know that I will always say yes to a trip to the movie theater and butter on the popcorn. They know that I will probably never say no if they ask to sleep on our bedroom floor.

They also know that I’m there if they ever need anything …just as long as it does not involve Legos.


National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

by Katie on April 19, 2016

As always let U.S. Cellular make it easier by using the Parent/Child Cell Phone Agreement to set some ground rules for cell phone and device usage.

I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade. I received an Apple iPhone6S and am being compensated for my time.

IMG_2328I take my phone with me pretty much everywhere. I use it to talk to my husband throughout the day, text with friends, check my email, see what is new on Facebook, and listen to music. I always have my phone with me in the car and usually have it in my cup holder right next to me. It is distracting.  I have been really trying to make an effort to not touch my phone at all while I’m driving. I have two little boys who watch my every move and I want them to know that using your phone while driving is simply not an option.  U.S. Cellular is providing us with some helpful tips to help with distracting driving.



April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and it’s safe to say distracted driving has become a relevant issue over the last few years deserving attention and education. With drivers both young and old on the streets, staying attentive on the road and surroundings is more important than ever. Smartphone devices, such the Apple iPhone 6s can be paired with wireless accessories to increase safety and maintain productivity on the road.

Distracted driving is not limited to using a mobile device, but also includes eating, drinking, grooming and talking to passengers. In 2013, there were 3,154 deaths in relation to distracted driving. According to a U.S. Cellular survey, 43 percent of smartphone owners use their device while driving. However, the same survey revealed 34 percent of smartphone users get annoyed at others for using their smartphones while driving.



Here are some tips and accessories that can help stop smartphone users from getting distracted:


  • Take away distractions. It is easy to be distracted by the phone buzzing in the console. If the noise is too disruptive, switch to the Do Not Disturb mode on the iPhone 6s during drive time. Friends and family will understand the commitment to limit distractions.
  • Prepare yourself beforehand: Enter the address into the GPS on a smartphone before hitting the road. Make sure to place your mobile device in a spot where directional prompting can be heard to prevent missing a turn.
  • Utilize accessories: With accessories such as the Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset, carrying on a conversation during a commute is easy, convenient and safe. According to the same U.S. Cellular survey, 74 percent of those who use their phone while driving utilize a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth headset or in-car Bluetooth system.
  • Enlist the help of passengers if it can’t wait: Remember, distracted driving not only affects you, but also impacts the safety of others. Passengers can help you if a message or phone call absolutely can’t wait. If driving alone, consider pulling off the road briefly to use a device.
  • Make a family commitment: Make the commitment to not text and drive. With the popularity of texting, it is no surprise that 87 percent of smartphone owners text daily. U.S. Cellular’s Parent-Child agreement allows families to create a customizable contract with family members to make the conversation easier and clearer. The agreement focuses on safety and etiquette, even when it comes to bringing smartphones into the car.



Smart Ways to Help Improve Your Password Habits

March 20, 2016

As always let U.S. Cellular make it easier by using the Parent/Child Cell Phone Agreement to set some ground rules for cell phone and device usage. I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade. I received an Apple iPhone6S and am being compensated for my time. Passwords. Seriously, passwords cause me so much trouble […]

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