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Going on tour? Get these apps!

Apps for dancers on tour

It’s 2016 and, let’s be honest, my phone hardly ever leaves my side. Especially while performing on tour for the past year, my phone assured me that I could stay connected to my family and friends with just the touch of a button. But beyond text messages, Instagram and Facetime, I’ve come to love a number of iPhone apps that enhanced my touring experience.

Money: Finances can often be stressful, especially for those in the performing arts. The following apps can help you manage your money, track your spending and plan your savings while still allowing you some room for fun and frivolity.

Venmo: This app, my friends, is ingenious. Connect your debit or credit card to this app and give or request payment from friends or co-workers. Easily split the bill for dinner at a restaurant amongst your friends without having to sort out exact change in cash. Request rent payment from your subletter and see the funds immediately transferred into your bank account — no checks required. Or simply split the cost of laundry with your roommate without hoarding coins in your wallet.

Mint: Mint is a great learning tool to track your incoming and outgoing finances. Each month, input your income and delineate various expenses (housing, food, entertainment, healthcare). The app creates a pie chart that allows you to visualize where your money is actually going. Mint helps you save much of your weekly paycheck, but it also makes you realize your allotted finances to shop, explore and have fun in the city you’re in.

Travel: Traveling by bus or plane is an inevitable part of life on the road. Make the most of those miles with the apps below.

Uber/Lyft: Yes, download both of these car service apps. While Uber is available in more U.S. cities, Lyft can often be cheaper and/or closer to your pick-up location. Both apps offer deals and discounts for first-time users, referrals for your friends/family to download the app, and for gaining five-star ratings from your drivers. And instead of racking on a $0.25 fee (it adds up!) for splitting a ride with your castmates, charge the whole ride to one Uber/Lyft account and then split the cost via Venmo.”

Airlines: Download specific apps for the airlines you use to travel (Southwest, Delta, American, United). Create an account and either call the toll number or manually enter your ticket information so you can rack up the miles and earn points for free trips and future vacations.

Wellness: When you’re living on the road — living in hotels, eating at fast food chains, and traveling on a bus — it can be tough to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Even if you wake up in the morning and can’t even remember what city you’re in (it happens to the best of us), these two apps can provide some stability and security so you can take care of both your physical and mental wellbeing while on tour.

Sworkit: No gym? No excuse. Sworkit is the all-in-one fitness app that provides video workouts anywhere between five and 60 minutes — no equipment required. Choose from strength, cardio, yoga or stretching, and follow along with the interval-training instructional videos. Build your own workouts (like your own personal pre-show warm-up), or click on one of the app’s go-to plans (i.e. full body, core strength, or seven-minute workout). What’s more, this five-star app is both free of charge and free of annoying advertisements.

Headspace: Think of this app as a gym membership for your mind. Plug in your headphones and “turn off” the outside world with guided meditations anywhere from two to 60 minutes long. Practice breathing and mindfulness, or focus on specific topics like relationships, health or insomnia. While the app itself is free, the $7.99/month subscription fee is well worth it. Whether you’re on the bus, in your dressing room, or in your hotel room, Headspace can be your saving grace — granting you that personal moment to center yourself, reflect and recharge.

Social: To be honest, apps like Facebook and Instagram can be soul-sucking while you’re on tour. Even though you’re “living the dream”, it can be hard to see what all of your friends are up to back in the city — scoring tickets to Hamilton, booking another great gig, spending time with family. Instead of social apps that center on “sharing and comparing”, download apps where you actually communicate — personally — with your close friends and family. Keeping in touch with these important people in your life will make tough tour days more manageable and connect you to a community outside of your cast and crew.

Airtime: Airtime is the way of the future. Think of it as Facetime, Brady Bunch-style. In this app, you can create different chat rooms (family, castmates, college friends) to text, send messages/videos or video chat all together. Simply enter a chatroom and press a button to signal all of its members to come online. You can also easily share gifs, music, videos and podcasts with just the touch of a button.

Track My Tour: This app is most used by bikers, runners, campers and road-trippers. But it is perfect as a pseudo-blog while on tour. Pinpoint your location on your virtual map, write a short blurb, and post photos to document your stay in each city. Family and friends can follow along and comment on your posts as you track your tour. (A friend from college commented with her favorite coffee shops in Kansas City, and a former work colleague happened to be able to catch the show in Dallas!) After your tour is over, you can print out your tour map, journal entries and pictures as a neat little photo diary.

Entertainment: Besides Spotify, Netflix and HBO Go, here are a few other apps to keep you entertained on long travel days.

Amazon: Buy a Prime membership. You won’t regret it, especially on tour. The “free next-day delivery” is wonderful while on the road. Out of laundry detergent or in need of new headphones? Order on the app and have them delivered to your next hotel stop. Amazon Prime also comes with video streaming of hundreds of popular movies and TV shows. You can download them onto your phone and watch them on long bus days without waiting for buffering or using up your data plan.

Snapchat: Yes, I am telling you to download Snapchat. This simple and silly app makes memories in the moment through quick captures and fun filters. Send video or picture snaps to individual friends and family or compile them onto your daily storyboard. Familiarity with Snapchat is also a great skill when theaters may ask someone in your cast to take over their account for a day.

By Mary Callahan of Dance Informa.

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