Summer is approaching. Vacation is on many people’s minds. For those who are religious, traveling to remote locations or even road tripping across North America sometimes presents unique challenges.
I asked people in various groups across social media platforms which websites, apps, and appliances they used when traveling to make the experience easier and more enjoyable.
Here are some of the popular suggestions:
MyZmanin: MyZmanin allows you to search for the zmanin in any city around the world. It gives you a wide range of zmanin, including the earliest time you can put on tallis and tefillin, sunrise, time for Shema, plag mincha, nightfall, and so forth.
MyZmanin is an app and website (www.myzmanin.com), and can be translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, French, Dutch and English.
Godaven: Godaven is a worldwide minyan database (www.godaven.com) that allows you to search for a minyan near you. Godaven provides pertinent information about all the minyanin within a self-designated radius, such as the address, telephone number, rabbi’s name, exact directions from your current location, and the time of the next minyan. You have filtering options too, such as time, distance, tefilla and nusach.
Minyan Finder: This is a concept similar to Godaven, but on an app.
My Siddur: There is a wide variety of siddurim both in the App Store and in Google Play.
Kosher GPS: Using your location, the Kosher GPS app enables you to find kosher restaurants, mikvaos and minyanim near you.
Kosher Near Me is similar to Kosher GPS, except that it is exclusively for food establishments, and it provides you with more detail on the restaurant or store.
Is It Kosher is another app for the kosher consumer, catering specifically to those outside the U.S. who don’t necessarily have the luxury of relying on kosher symbols.
Mikvah.org: This mikvah directory allows you to search for kosher mikvaos close to your current location. It is both a website (www.mikvah.org) and an app (mymikvahcalendar).
Shabbat Times: If you want to know when Shabbos begins and ends in your current location, you might consider downloading the Shabbat Times app. The app also has articles about the parsha of the week.
Shabbat.com: Shabbat.com allows you to host or be hosted for Shabbos meals. Not only does it beat spending Shabbos in an Airbnb or hotel room, it also gives you the opportunity to meet new members of the tribe.
Chabad.org: Chabad.org has a database of Chabad emissaries around the world. This can be especially helpful in case of emergencies, or when you need a shul or mikvah. It also lists Shabbos times based on your current location. Some Chabad Houses in vacation spots offer kosher food for a fee for travelers.
Kosher clock: Traveling through different time zones can throw off your internal clock. Kosher clock has three different modes: Shabbos mode, weekday mode and travel mode, thus enabling you to set the precise time you want the alarm to ring, on different days.
Shabbos lamp: The shade around the Shabbos lamp allows you to darken your hotel room before you go to sleep on Friday night. If a Shabbos lamp is too bulky to bring on vacation, you can always stuff a Shubulb bulb or an old-fashioned timer into your suitcase.
For those who are traveling for extended periods of time and would like the option of home cooked meals, a sandwich maker, charcoal grill, George Foreman grill, Instant Pot and foldable hot plate (for Shabbos) are some appliances that are easy to transport, relatively inexpensive, and enable you to cook (or warm things up) in remote locations.
There are also a variety of power converters that plug into the cigarette lighter input plug connection in your car, allowing you to charge multiple devices and/or small appliances while simultaneously driving across America.
Enjoy your trip!