My Favourite Travel Apps
These days I never go anywhere without my phone and it seems that no matter what I want to do my phone can help me out. Want to know if your flight connection is long enough to sample a local brew in the airport bar? There’s an app for that. Want to find a coffee shop for breakfast close by? There’s an app for that. Want to ask out that cute bartender but you don’t speak Norwegian? There’s an app for that. Here are some of the travel apps that I’ve found especially handy on the road.
If you’re tired of carrying around a ton of printouts of airline confirmations, hotel reservations, etc. then TripIt is for you. It compiles and organizes all of your travel reservations in one place. It also does handy things like automatically giving you directions from the airport to your hotel and providing a local map. You can either email your reservations to [email protected], let TripIt scan your emails for you or input things manually. The app stores the information on your device so you’ll only need a data connection if you want updates.
If you’ve got a data connection, Google Translate is faster and easier than whipping out a phase book. Sure it’s not perfect but it’s better than my own Spanish is currently. Especially handy are the audio tools. You can say the phrase you want translated. You can also have the translated phrase played back for you (good for when you don’t know the pronunciation). I imagine this wouldn’t work all that well if the bar where you’re trying to pick up Lars is noisy but you could always just show him your phone. Kan jeg kjøpe deg en øl?
Often enough I find myself with flight connections over meal times. You can’t always find a terminal directory and I’ve been burned by going through security only to find the only food available on the other side is chips and pop. GateGuru will let you bring up terminal maps and directories, user-posted checkpoint wait times, reviews, and tips for a ton of airports. You can also use the app to track flights but I mainly use it to scope out airports.
If you need to find any sort of restaurant, shop or service in a new city, Yelp is your one stop shop. Want to get your nails done but don’t want to pay a small fortune or get a fungal infection as a souvenir? Check out the reviews on Yelp first. You can sort lists by any number of factors or see items on a map. Only really useful when you’re travelling in North America or Europe but that covers a pretty big chunk of Earth so I recommend the download.
XE Currency Converter
How much is that pint going to cost me in Canadian dollars? What should I get back in colones if I convert American dollars? I find myself using XE Currency a lot when I travel to other countries because I can’t always calculate the exchange rates in my head. I’m probably going to buy those shoes or that pint anyway, but it’s nice to know how much it’s setting me back.
- 4sqwifi – Need to find free wifi? I mean, who doesn’t? This app scans foursquare tips for “free wifi” and spits you back a list or a map.
- Instagram – A great way to share my photos instantly. Filters not necessary.
- ProHDR – If you’ve got a subject that’s not moving, like a landscape, you can really get some stunning results
- Skype – Great for keeping in touch with back home if you have a wifi connection.
- TripAdvisor – Since I mostly use this site for comparing hotels, I tend to use the website before I leave on my trip rather than the app, but if you don’t plan ahead as much this is a great tool.
What apps could you not live without when planning or going on a trip? Or do you prefer to shun technology when away from home?