New iOS 8 widgets make these five travel apps even better

So you have upgraded your iPhone to iOS 8 -- now what? You'll be pleasantly surprised that some of the top travel apps in the iTunes Store have enhanced their offerings for iOS 8 -- and it makes no difference whether you have the newest iPhone or an old 4S, as I do.

My favorites of this small bunch were upgraded specifically to enable "widgets" -- a function that lets you access them from the drop down "Today" view. (You can get the Today view by swiping down on your phone; see more below.)


Some of these apps are available with this Today View feature.

AFAR, free. Get "on-the-go" travel guide information based on your current location and what's nearby." AFAR's top 20 recommendations closest to you are highlighted in the Today view across their five categories: eat, drink, shop, stay and do.

Camera Plus, $1.99. A new version of Camera Plus was added in conjunction to the release of iOS 8. The Air Snap feature -- which connects two Apple devices, one as a camera and the other as a remote control -- offers a full preview screen in the iPhone. Videographers will enjoy the new focus modes, and you can use Camera Plus' Pix'd, Filters and Text editing features from within the iPhones Photos app.

Hotel Tonight, free. If you're curious about what hotels have same-day deals on offer, you don't even have to open the Hotel Tonight app. Add it to your widgets section for your Today view and find out in one easy swipe.

Storehouse, free. Previously available on iPad, Storehouse, the visual storytelling app sure to turn an average traveler's photos into a luxe magazine-like photo spread, released its iPhone version at the same time as iOS 8 came to life. Some of the new additions include the ability to hashtag your stories, a new Explore section featuring top categories and trending hashtags, and the ability to find friends on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

WorldMate, lite version free or $9.99 annual subscription. When using your WorldMate app in the Today view, you can access your upcoming trip information when you pull down the drop menu. If WorldMate alerts you about a flight delay, there is a new share button that allows you to pass on the information, for example, to someone who is picking you up or waiting for your arrival. 'This function is new with Apple's "interactive notifications" released with the new iOS 8. It is not available on the Android version of WorldMate.

How to add apps to the Today view:  First, make sure the apps you want are already downloaded to your iPhone. Next, pull down the Notifications window from the top of your screen. There will be two sides, "Today" and "Notifications." Click on "Today" and scroll to the bottom until you see the "Edit" bar. Click on Edit and then add the apps you'd like to see in your Today view by hitting the plus sign.

Going forward, just pull down your Today view and see information from those apps. For example, Hotel Tonight shows you "The Top Deals Near You" with the description bar signifying if the hotel is a "Solid," "Basic, "Luxe" hotel or other category familiar with the Hotel Tonight app.

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