Mardi Gras never fails to draw a huge crowd to the streets of New Orleans. The parades and festivities brought more than 1.5 million people together to celebrate last year, with tourists and locals alike taking in the excitement Mardi Gras brings.
The noisy and colorful parades, with their fantastic floats loaded with folks decked out in feathers, masks, and beads, are the main draw for revelers. Having so many people together in one place is always a little chaotic, especially when you’re outdoors. It’s easy to get turned around or lose track of friends or family members.
Nothing ruins a vacation or a night out like having to stress about where you are, where your group is, or where you’re supposed to be going. Particularly when you’re just a tad bit too tipsy to problem solve effectively. This is where planning ahead makes a huge difference. Thanks to our ever-present smartphones, it’s easier than ever to stay organized.
Set yourself up with these 5 smartphone apps and accessories before you hit the crowded New Orleans streets, and enjoy everything Mardi Gras has to offer without a care in the world.
1) Apple Maps or Google Maps
Apple has upped its map game in recent months, expanding the availability of public transit data and directions for users. This added information lets users mix streetcar, bus, train, and walking directions together to make getting from point A to point B as straightforward as possible by creating a single route for you to follow. Apple even offers Amtrak options to help you cover all of your bases.
All Apple Maps routes are color-coded for simplicity, and feature network logos where appropriate. They’ve done a great job of making the app easy to use and easy to follow, making sure you can follow the provided directions with minimal concentration required. The app stores previously searched routes and locations, which is great for heading back to your hotel or train station at the end of the night. If you’re a little fuzzy on names and addresses when you decide to call it quits, the app has you covered.
Android users can put Google Maps to work, with access to real-time transit and traffic updates. Street View options can make navigating a little easier for non-locals by offering images of storefronts and other landmarks, and the app allows you to save locations to your device for added convenience.
2) Mardi Gras Parade Tracker
Mardi Gras Parade Tracker is the go-to app for anyone planning to check out the parades in New Orleans. This app offers the most coverage of any parade tracker app available for download, giving users up-to-the-minute location information for 67 Mardi Gras parades. The app creators have a team member physically walking each parade route and providing GPS location data to be relayed back to the app users. Wherever you happen to be – Uptown or in the French Quarter, in Metairie or on the West Bank, Chalmette, Houma, Thibodaux, or Covington – you can find the exact location of the parade you want to see at any given moment thanks to their user-friendly custom Google maps.
Whether you’re out with the kids or a group of friends, it’s always a good idea to make sure you can keep tabs on each other no matter where you end up. An easy and convenient way to keep in constant contact with your group is using the Zello walkie-talkie app. This app works with smartphones and tablets and allows you to coordinate with your group on a private and password-protected channel.
The group chat function is especially handy since it takes annoying games of phone tag and long texting chains out of the equation. Even if your whole group scatters, you can check in with all of them at once with the push of a button.
4) Anker PowerCore II Slim Portable Charger
Your smartphone is going to get a lot of use during Mardi Gras. It’s your GPS, your means of connecting with your friends or family, your camera, and your portable search engine. Needless to say, all that continued usage is going to drain your battery, and the last thing you want is to be stuck with a dead phone in the middle of a crowded street.
A portable battery charger is a perfect solution to this problem. The Anker PowerCore II Slim is lightweight, compact, and totally portable. Grab your charging cable and slip it and the Anker PowerCore into your pocket to give yourself 3 full charges for your smartphone, whenever and wherever you need them. A complete charge takes about an hour and a half, but since the device is portable, you can keep moving and keep using your phone while it’s plugged in.
5) OtterBox Defender Phone Case
It’s easy to drop your phone at the best of times, so trying to navigate through a dense crowd makes that even more likely. You might not be able to avoid having your phone tumble to the ground, but the right case can protect your device against a cracked screen or other damage.
The OtterBox Defender comes in several different colors and is available for both Apple and Samsung phones. Impact resistant with a raised bumper edge to stop your screen from hitting the ground, this tough case is perfect for making sure accidents don’t leave you without the use of your device. Investing in a durable screen protector in addition to an OtterBox case will add an extra layer of shatter-proofing to your smartphone.
What’s the best way to make sure you enjoy Mardi Gras? Knowing your business is safe and secure while you’re away from the office. Give BIOS Technologies a call at (504) 849-0570 to learn how we can help make that happen.