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Chill out for spring break with these Android apps

by Kristen Nicole

The winter chill is starting to break, and beach bodies are coming out of hibernation, ready or not. Your pre-summer vacation is the perfect time to hang out with friends, take a road trip and escape the cold (unless you’re heading to Vail this year). From travel search to managing money across friends, Android’s got you covered.

HomeAway (Free)

Tired of hotel stays? Looking for a cheaper alternative you can split with friends? HomeAway is a mobile search tool for vacation rentals, and is particularly ideal for group vacations. Their database has more than 260,000 rental properties across 145 countries, ranging from homes to condos, castles and cabooses. You’ll get a map view along with sorting tools to filter by price, number of bedrooms and more. See property details including photos, and inquire directly from the mobile app. You can even share your favorite properties on Facebook and Twitter, as well as email which comes in handy during the planning process.

PageOnce Travel Pro ($0.99)

Once your travel search is over, your flight and hotels booked, you’ll need to stay on top of your trip with PageOnce’s travel app. A real-time management tool, PageOnce Travel gives you access to your full itinerary and will send you an alert whenever something changes, like your flight time. PageOnce Travel also comes with live weather reports, route maps and hotel and car rental information, all updated automatically. You can even keep tabs on your travel rewards, centralizing several aspects of your trip beyond the planning process.

GasBuddy (Free)

Spring break often provides just enough time to take a road trip, and GasBuddy’s Android app will help you save money on this variable commodity. Find the cheapest gas in the area, with support for U.S. and Canada stations. Better yet, this crowd-sourced tool rewards you for your contributions, as you’ll earn points towards prize giveaways whenever you report a gas station’s prices. GasBuddy has been a useful app on Android’s platform for quite some time now, and its community only continues to get better.

Urbanspoon (Free)

You’ll have to eat during spring break, so why not take advantage of your vacation to try something new? The adventure is less risky if you have the Urbanspoon app, helping you decide which restaurant is worth your time and money. Shake your phone and you’ll get recommendations for restaurants nearby, or search for whatever it is you’re looking for. You can lock in certain search attributes, such as cuisine and price range. Each restaurant comes with directions, contact information, ratings and reviews.

Travel Money - Share Expenses (Free)

Especially for college-aged travelers, spring break often turns into a group affair. It’s hard enough to keep tabs on your travel plans, and things can get even trickier once money’s involved. Travel Money lets you track your expenses and manage the spending across the group, and supports different currencies to simplify the conversion process as well. Mark how much each person owes and how much they’ve paid to a given person in the group. You can create events to organize transactions for a given affair, and even pin transactions on a map.

MSW Surf Forecast (Free)

Headed to the beach for spring break? Grab the MSW Surf Forecast app to see the conditions of over 2,000 beaches around the world. You’ll get long range information on popular beaches including the MSW star rating, swell height, swell period, swell direction, wind strength and wind direction and temperature. The app is particularly helpful for surfers, kite boarders, those that like to fish, jet-ski or sail – all the fun things to do on spring break.

Lightbox Photos (Free)

For all that fun you’re having, you’ll want to take and share photos on the fly. While Android users can’t yet enjoy Instagram, there is the Lightbox Photos app to offer a great alternative. With an eye for design, this app is easy to use and makes photo-sharing an easy affair. Enhance your photos right after taking them, with retro effects and color tweaks. You can make photos public or private, and create your own Lightbox photo blog for a spring break collective. You can also share photos across top networks including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare.