On Location

The author on her "West Coast Tour," with a new friend at Coachella DANNY LEIST PHOTO

The author on her “West Coast Tour,” with a new friend at Coachella DANNY LEIST PHOTO

It’s so good to be back on island! I missed you! I just got back from a three-state vacation that I’m calling my West Coast Tour.

I started in Palm Desert for my first-ever Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (which was amazing), then took three days in Hollywood to recharge before heading up to Denver for a cancer convention. After that, I hopped over to Washington state to see my sister graduate from Washington State University’s pharmacy school (Go Cougs!). A doctor in the family! It’s exciting. It was also nice to be able to see my family and have an early Mother’s Day brunch with my sister and my mom before heading back home.

I usually leave the island at least twice a year for work, or in this case, vacation. There are a few apps that have become crucial for me whenever I’m on the road. These apps leave me wondering how I ever lived and traveled abroad before smartphones existed. It definitely involved a lot of pre-planning, maps, asking strangers for directions and scribbling notebooks full of information. Sometimes, you just had to forego your plan to go with whatever was happening. It was a good time.

Today, it’s just not needed to go through all that. While I’m still on the fence whether having so much information at the tips of our fingers is really a good thing, it definitely helped me out to know where I could get some cold pressed juice or a vegan lunch while traveling. An app that helped me do this is one you have probably already heard of or used in the past, but it’s so much better now: Foursquare!

Its earlier iteration was more of a show-boat sort of look-at-me-and-where-I-am app that got annoying very fast. Now they have updated it to be more of an on-the-ground resource. Let’s be honest, who cares how many badges your connections have for eating at the same pho place? Foursquare these days is more about getting the details and listing venues in order of ratings, similar to what Yelp does, but with none of the 500-word dissertations with back-stories and often-unrelated personal beefs that tend to saturate the reviews. I just want to know if it’s good, if it’s open and if there’s parking.

Introducing a ton of useful analytical tools, Foursquare 2.0 (that’s just my name for it) has turned what originally existed as a social network into a city guide that stretches across the world. It also learns individual user patterns, getting to know you and what types of things you prefer. Are you vegan? Love wine? Have a thing for rooftop settings? The more you tell the app, the better customization it can provide for you. Your new electronic travel buddy!

Available for free for Android and iOS, this is a must-have for anyone who might not know where they are like the back of their hand.

Since I got back to town, I’ve been directing a few visitors around Honolulu on their first trip here — a sort of Foursquare IRL. It feels good to be able to help people find the greatest things to do, see and eat. If Foursquare had human feelings, we would probably be really great friends.

@SUPERCW

CHRISTA WITTMIER IS “SUPERCW” ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA. FIND HER ON SNAPCHAT, SOUNDCLOUD, TWITTER, VINE AND INSTAGRAM. BY NIGHT, SHE IS KNOWN AS DJ SUPERCW. BY DAY, SHE IS KNOWN AS SENIOR MARKETING DIRECTOR FOR YOUNG’S MARKET COMPANY OF HAWAII.