I think by now most of us have smartphones, at least most of us who travel often, because, frankly it makes life a lot easier to carry one thing that can play music, get emails, make phone calls, provide a gps for when we’re lost, and most importantly provide distraction with Angry Birds and Words with Friends.
The best part about smartphones, besides Angry Birds, is that we can structure them to our own lives. A gamer, a traveler, a financial guru, a health nut, yea basically there is and app for that!
So, in this post, we’ll focus on some of the best and most convenient apps for traveling. No hate to those non-iPhone users, but since I do have an iPhone for the time being, I only have experience with these apps. But, I am more than happy to hear about great apps from android, blackberry and other smartphone users. The more tips, the better, it ends up helping us all out.
Around Me – I dig this app because, it works, I guess. I like that when I am off in other parts of the country and need a pharmacy or a tea, I can find one pretty quickly and accurately.
Urbanspoon – Can you tell food is important to me on vacation? I like this app because it’s a really quick and easy way to find some hidden food gems. When I was in Williamsburg, Virginia in April, I used Urbanspoon to find a fantastic (and cheap) Thai place, Saigon Pearl, and a great restaurant, Oceans and Ale, that had really fresh seafood and good local beer.
Google Maps – Let’s just say if I had been tapped to be on the Lewis and Clark expedition, we would have ended up in Nova Scotia. I have a very wonky sense of direction, and this helps me greatly in trying to figure out where I am, whether I’m driving, walking or riding my bike.
Gasbag – This is a great one for you road trippers, it will give you up to date pricing and location of gas stations all over the country, find the best deals and track your own mileage.
Skype – Yup you can get this baby for your iPhone. WHich makes a big difference when you are abroad, call back home or locally to make reservations and you won’t get dinged with outrageous calling fees. All you need is a wi-fi hotspot.
GateGuru – Use this one for a delay in a flight, or if you get to the airport too early, it will give you a heads up on what’s nearby for food or entertainment.
Oanda – I think the best currency converter out there, I use the web version quite often at work, and it never fails me. If you need to get an idea of where your precious money is going, in the exchange rate, check out this one.
Photobucket – Organize the photos you take with your iPhone in super easy and simple steps, it makes life a lot easier once you get home to already have your photos organized to brag to all your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
MetrO – This is a public transportation app in one handy space. It covers 400 cities and helps plot routes, which can be huge especially in a foreign place.
Evernote – A ton of people love Evernote for general ‘note taking’ use – but it can also prove to be a really great tool for travel. Using the website, you can keep a ton of notes on your destination, tips, tricks, phone numbers, people to meet up with, etc., and then easily get it off your phone without needing the net.
TripIt – This is an app that allows you to have all of your itinerary information in one easy place, in a super readable form.
So here is the first group of apps that I think are really useful to travelers both in North America and abroad, if you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
And stay tuned next week, I’ll take a look at some of the paid apps that can make your life easier!