In the hustle and bustle of today’s business and vacation travel, “smart” travelers wouldn’t leave home without their smart phones. Yes, they are necessary for emergencies and for last-minute changes to your plane and hotel schedules, but loaded with some great travel-related apps, these phones morph into handy resources that take the place of a stack of books, folders and unwieldy maps.
Here are a few useful apps for travelers. Most are free to download, connecting a wealth of practical and valuable information to your fingertips.
1. Pack The Bag (free)
Before you head out your own front door, you need to pack for your trip, whether a long weekend or a month in Italy. This app allows you to create and name as many “packlists” as people traveling (think Mom, Dad, Sarah, Jack). It provides a list of places and activities one may encounter on their travels such as beach, business, hiking, golf, etc. Each category includes a list of items that might be applicable to your trip. For example, the “beach” category lists beach bag, towel, goggles, snorkel, sun hat, etc. so there’s no reason for you to mentally figure out what you need. There are comprehensive lists that remind you of common items (alarm clock, business cards, spare glasses, umbrella) as well as important items (driver’s license, passport, tickets, health insurance card) that you can click off as you pack.
2. iTranslate ($4.99 for voice recognition)
This is a voice to voice translation app. No more flipping through bulky translation books to find the Swedish word for “train.” You tap the microphone to say your word or sentence and choose the translation from 92 languages. The translation appears in text and in audio. It allows you to select a male or female voice and control the dialect and speech rate.
3. Trip Splitter ($1.99)
If you are traveling with others and need to split or divvy up expenses, this is the app for you. Every expense can be entered, divided and stored in just seconds. You can have an unlimited number of participants, create even or uneven splits, and convert currency. It allows you to attach receipts, view daily expenses, and even add photos.
Yelp is an awesome guide to finding the best (and the reviews to back it up) pizza parlor, hot breakfast, coffee shop, drycleaner, wine shop, hair salon, you name it, while traveling. According to Yelp, there are more than 50 million reviews on businesses world-wide. Each business listing includes its phone number, address, hours of operation, map, directions, photos, and reviews by real travelers, just like you. So when you are craving the best cheese, chutney and gluten-free bread in Edinburgh, you’ll find the right place.
5. Weather + (free)
There’s not much we can change about the weather, but we can plan for it (use your Pack The Bag app for reminders of rain hats, slickers, umbrella). One of the best weather apps is the International Travel Weather Calculator, Weather +, which gives you the current weather conditions and a five-day forecast worldwide. Features include a world clock, ability to easily go back and forth between different locations (see what the weather is like at home), and an easy switch for Fahrenheit/Miles to Celsius/Kilometers.