Turn your phone into a tour guide: Top travel apps for the technologically inclined vacationer
May 21, 2012, 8:38 a.m.
Wouldn't it be great to be able to enjoy the benefits of a well-informed tour guide every time you go on vacation? Nowadays, this is entirely possible through the implementation of smart travel apps that you can download right to your smart phone. Before you plan your next trip, download these top 5 most helpful vacation apps, guaranteed to turn your trip from unfamiliar territory into a truly stress-free experience.
Tripit (Free) -- You can find a boatload of itinerary apps on the download market, but if you're looking for something that will help organize your vacation, Tripit is it. This handy dandy smart phone application takes some of the best elements of niche travel apps and rolls them into one, allowing you to create a specifically catered itinerary that covers everything from flight numbers to reservation confirmations, and even has a place where you can store important phone numbers and addresses of people and places you plan to visit.
Google Maps (Free) -- If you've ever hopped onto your computer to enjoy a bird's-eye view of just about any conceivable location on the planet, you'll know how valuable an application of this sort can be when you're vacationing. As far as travel apps go, you can't do much better than Google Maps, which is now enabled for voice-guided GPS navigation to help you find attractions you might otherwise miss if you had to rely solely on your sense of direction. Google Maps also has a feature called Places, which populates helpful lists of nearby hotels, restaurants, ATM machines, and just about anything else you can think of.
Weather Bug (Free) -- Remember the days of old when vacationing meant the possibility of being greeted with weather conditions you weren't prepared for? With vacation apps that can deliver accurate, real-time weather reports, this is now a thing of the past. Weather Bug is a comprehensive, easy to use smart phone app that even delivers weather alerts so you won't get caught unawares by inclement conditions. It even offers live webcam views of locations throughout the world so you can see current weather situations for yourself.
Google Translate (free) -- Why bother learning the language before you head to a foreign destination when you've got an application like Google Translate? Although there are many other vacation apps like it, Google Translate beats them all with its simple, easy-to-use interface that lets you type or speak a phrase and have it read back aloud in a variety of languages. If you've ever had to thumb through a translation book to be understood a single word at a time, you'll find Google Translate the equivalent of having a real-life translator at your beck and call.
Flight Track ($4.99) -- One of the few travel apps actually worth paying for, Flight Track eliminates the need to check airport arrival and departure boards for flight statuses and puts the information right into the palm of your hand. This handsome application not only gives you a satellite-image view of specifically chosen flights, but it also gives you real-time updates on international and domestic flights so you can tell if your flight will be on time, or if you're going to have a few hours to kill at the airport bar and grill.
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