For spring break this year, a group of 8 friends and I went to New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. for about 8 days. All four major smartphone operating systems were represented. This is the story of how BlackBerry 10 helped us survive the trip.

When you stick 9 adults in a 15-passenger van for a 24-26 hour time span, things are bound to get interesting. At the start of the trip I immediately realized that Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, and Windows Phone were all represented by our little group.

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In my mind (and on Twitter) I wondered which device would prove to be more useful. Needless to say, BlackBerry 10 came out on top as the product that made a majority of the trip possible. Here’s a few apps I used and how they saved the day.

BlackBerry Messenger

The first and most obvious app that was pertinent to our survival in the Big Apple and beyond was BBM. A couple of weeks before the start of the trip, I invited all of our trip mates to download BBM and then invited them to a group I created, which is pictured above. 8 of the 9 of us were in the group, all but the girl with a Nokia Lumia running Windows.

In the group, we chatted about what we would do (along with tons of jokes and laughter), posted pictures of different things we could do (along with tons of jokes and laughter),  created lists of things that we needed to pay for and buy for our rented loft (along with tons of jokes and laughter), and once we got into the city, adding events and itineraries in the calendar. Not much to joke about in that area, but we had our fill in the others.

There’s no app out there that can beat the convenience of BBM when it comes to what we needed to get our trip organized. Plus, the ability to all chat as a group really helped pumps us all up and get even more excited for what ended up being a great vacation.

BlackBerry Maps

Our main driver owns a T-Mobile BlackBerry Z10, while the back up driver owns a Nexus 5. BlackBerry Maps was the map app of choice for the whole trip there and back because it was simply more reliable. Granted, our main navigator is a magician when it comes to getting around pretty much anywere, so all he really had to do was glance at a  map for a few seconds and we were good to go.

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Once we got into NYC, BlackBerry Maps was what we would use to get around. When we wanted to know what good pizza place to eat at in Little Italy, my Z30 and the Nexus 5 were pulled out. We searched in our respective map apps, and my phone usually found a place first. If we were far from a subway station, I once again pulled out my Z30 and used it to figure out not only where we were, but which station was closest to us. This brings me to my next life-saving app.

NYC Subway

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This is a native BlackBerry App built by mxData Ltd that is a map of the MTA in New York, as well as a trip planner that keeps you updated on the status of the many rail lines in the city. If you’re not used to public transportation (like most of my group was, since we live in a city without it), viewing the subway map can be a bit daunting. Well if you couple this app along with my supernatural ability to navigate trains and buses, you’ve got a recipe for success. The trip planner works excellently, and got us around Manhattan so easily, you would think we were natives.

BlackBerry OS 10.2.1

What sets this wonderful OS version above all other BlackBerry updates of the past is the ability to directly download Android APKs to my phone. Some of you may see this as cheating and putting Android ahead of BlackBerry, but I beg to differ. We all know BlackBerry is all about productivity and the ability to keep moving. Since BlackBerry is the only smartphone I’ve ever owned, I’ve been trained on that mindset for the past several years.

Put the wide selection of Android apps together with the BlackBerry process of thinking, and you’ve got a powerful tool at your disposal. There were only two apps that I used that weren’t available on BlackBerry that helped with our trip.

Airbnb was the first, and it was used mainly before we left, as it was what I used to find us an amazing loft in Jersey with a view of Manhattan that can’t be beat.

Secondly, I used Instagram and created the hashtag #GP2NYC to chronicle our journey from Grand Prairie, TX to New York City. I met up with Niko for breakfast one day, (It was my first time meeting him. He’s very tall.) and he wanted to know why I didn’t just use iGrann. While I love me some iGrann, Instagram seemed like a better choice at the time.

My Spring Break this year will definitely be remembered by me and the others who went on this trip, and I can confidently say that BlackBerry 10 is largely responsible for that. My wonderful Z30 saved the day on more than one occasion. Yes, the other operating systems have their strengths, and yes, BlackBerry 10 has its weaknesses. However, when it comes to this trip, BlackBerry 10 came out on top and proved to be the best OS for the job.

Has BlackBerry 10 ever made your vacation a breeze? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below, and over in our forums!