South by Southwest (SXSW) kicks off Friday, March 11. You and your friends are headed down to Austin, Texas to enjoy everything the set of music, film, and interactive technology conferences and festivals has to offer. How can you make the most of your time at SXSW? Using these five apps, you’ll be able to enjoy as much of the festivities as you want, while still keeping up with your friends at and away from the event.
1. Know what's happening when
The official SXSW app
The first thing you want to do is plan your time at SXSW. You can browse the lineup of happenings and create your own personal schedule using the official mobile app for the event, SXSW Go. You can build your schedule online at the SXSW Web page, and have it sync directly to your iPhone. The app will help you know everything happening at SXSW, where things are located, and even network with thousands of other attendees.
2. Make your travel planning easier
All of your travel planning needs in a single app
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in Austin, Texas, you’ll have to make travel arrangements to get to SXSW. You’ll have to book your flight, arrange for hotel rooms, and possibly rent a car. Then, you need to remember your itinerary and keep track of your flight status, just in case there are delays or cancellations. Of course, you also want to make sure you’re getting the best possible prices. Using Kayak, you can accomplish all of that in a single app. Download and keep Kayak on your iPhone to help you with those travel arrangements as well as keeping tabs on things as you make your way to Texas.
3. Keep a weather eye out
The latest weather forecasts with a dose of sarcasm
Texas weather can be … unpredictable, to say the least. You’ll want to keep an eye on what the skies are doing, but why not have some fun while you’re at it? Carrot Weather, the talking forecast robot, will give you the current and future conditions along with a side of snark. Carrot Weather provides the most hilarious forecasts and statements on current conditions, so it’s a must-have for your iPhone.
4. Keep in touch with your friends
The walkie-talkie reinvented
You’ll want to keep in touch with your friends, both at SXSW and back at home. At the same time, you don’t want to miss anything, so texting or phone calls might be too time-consuming and cumbersome. Using the new Tribe video messaging app, you can let your friends know what’s happening and even share some of the excitement of the festivities. It’s quicker than text messaging and easier than live video or phone calls.
5. Find out where your friends are
This app has its roots in SXSW
If you and your friends split up to enjoy different parts of SXSW, you probably want an easy way to find each other for lunch, dinner, or just to catch up on the fun you’ve been having. What better way to pull that off than with an app by folks who made their successful launch at SXSW? Yes, I’m talking about Foursquare’s Swarm app. Not only can you find out where your friends are hanging out, but you can compete with each other based on the places you go.
Above all else, enjoy yourself
These apps will help you make the most of your time in the heart of Texas. Be sure to take the opportunity to explore Austin beyond the admittedly huge confines of SXSW, though. Each of the five apps I’ve listed will help you explore not just the festivals and conferences themselves, but also the sights and sounds of Austin.