If you’re like me, you sure want to have all the practical information handy way before you land in a new country. And even though you might have visited it before, you certainly didn’t get the chance to see all the places that are to be seen. Unless you’re Chris Guillebeau. Travel apps are always your best friend in this case.
Want to go to a certain restaurant because one of your friends tweeted the picture of the most perfect, yummiest dish you’re craving? Or check out that gallery that’s running a timely exhibit of your favorite artist? Or maybe there’s a particular running route you want to cover within the next few days after you reach your destination? All of them are on these high-tech apps whenever you need them.
So, before you pack your bags and see the world, check out this list of travel apps that should anticipate all your on-the-road needs.
1. Travel List
If you need a little help to pack properly and not forget your charger or toothbrush at home, the Travel List app helps you easily organize the items you’ll put in your suitcase. You can add a reminder for the things you have to pack at the last minute, so you’re all set before you leave. This app can also help you plan every stop of your trip and won’t let you miss out on anything. Add events to your calendar or set one-time or regular alerts. (Cost: $1.99; for iPhone)
With more than 3,000 airports and 1,400 airlines, FlightTrack Pro has got you covered. You can manage your international flights with real-time updates using zoomable maps. Updates on flight delays and cancellations are now at your fingertips. It also includes push flight alerts, Tripit, terminal maps and weather delays. (Cost: $9.99; for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry)
3. Trip It
Your mobile trip planner, Trip It shows all your trip details at a glance: flights, hotels, car, map, directions—all in one place. You can sync your travel plans with your online or mobile calendar, share itineraries and post travel plans on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. (Cost: free; for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad and Windows Phone 7)
Kayak provides a fast comparison of hundreds of travel sites on your tablet or smartphone. Some of the features include comparing flight, hotel and car rental deals; booking your accommodation; tracking flight status; managing itineraries and accessing airline numbers and airport info. (Cost: free; for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad, and Windows)
5. Google Maps
Taking Google Maps with you is one of the best options to explore new places. Traffic updates, public transit, city tours with 360-degree street views, plus a voice-guided, turn-by-turn GPS navigation are merely some of the features this mobile app offers so you can navigate like a pro. (Cost: free; for iPhone and Android)
Pin your key locations as you pre-plan your route with CityMaps2Go. The app includes city guides for top cities (e.g. New York, Paris, London, Rome, Berlin etc.), offline maps, local tips from experts, millions of points of interest, and includes subway maps. (Cost: $2.99; for iPhone and Android)
GateGuru helps you manage your full day of travel. You can navigate the app as you like. The Home screen gives you direct access to your AirportCard, already pre-populated with a list of the closest airports. You enter your itinerary and GateGuru connects the dots for you. Some of the relevant info a traveler can get are: airport food and amenity information customized to your arrival and departure terminal; airport weather; and airport maps and tips, which are useful if you’re in an unfamiliar airport. (Cost: free; for iOS, Android and Windows)
8. Seat Alerts
How much do you hate that moment when you realize the plane to your favorite destination is full and the only available seats are the middle ones? Seat Alerts monitors the available seats until the flight’s departure. If a window or an aisle seat becomes available, the app alerts you and you can change your seat once you’re notified. You just need to get in touch with the airline you’ve booked the ticket with. (Cost: free for a single alert, 99 cents for additional alerts, from $4.99 for an Expertflyer.com account with up to 30 alerts; for iOS and Android)
If you’re a runner and want to stay in shape at your destination, WalkJogRun offers you a huge selection of the safest running routes in more than 1.6 million cities worldwide. Take advantage of the most accurate iPhone GPS and discover new routes while exercising without injury. There’s a training plan for everyone, from beginners to advanced walkers and runners. (Cost: $4.99; for iPhone)
10. Google Translate
You won’t feel completely lost at your destination if you have access to Google Translate. You can either type into a word box or use the speaking option to translate a phrase. You can translate 58 languages in text and hear 23 languages worth of converted phrases. (Cost: free; for Android and iPhone/iPad)
This is another app that will help you not get lost in translation. Equipped with more than 300 useful phrases in 12 languages, it quickly comes up with the correct expression. (Cost: free for basic version, full versions of languages require in-app purchases; for iOS)
With Foodspotting you can find the dishes you crave the most in any restaurant, from dumplings to the juiciest burgers. The photos, at least, are totally to die for! Learn from what your friends, experts and foodspotters love to eat and share. (Cost: free; for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry)
13. Chefs Feed
Chefs Feed offers the top chefs’ recommendations on the best restaurants and dishes in London, Canada and the US. Mouth-watering photos and competent advice for every foodie out there. (Cost: free; for iPhone)
With Mint you can easily organize your finances, keep an eye on your travel budget and track your expenses during your trip. It’s absolutely safe and secure. That because it’s a “read-only” service, which means that you can’t move funds between accounts, and neither can anybody else. (Cost: free; for Android and iPhone/iPad)
Oanda uses an easy interface that gives you access to daily filtered rates for more than 190 currencies, which are used by corporations, tax authorities, auditing firms, and financial institutions. The app keeps frequently used currencies on quick access and uses a big-button keypad to quickly enter conversion amounts. Besides that, you can use the Interbank rates, which are seldom available to the general public. (Cost: free; for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad and Windows)
In case of emergency, ICE gets you covered. The last thing you’d want to happen to you when you travel abroad is to have any medical issues. But, just in case, the app keeps details about your medical conditions, your doctor’s primary contact details and insurance information that can be accessed even if your phone is locked. Among other features, it also translates the stored information in 10 different languages. (Cost: $3.99; for Android)
To complement ICE, American Heart Association’s Pocket First Aid and CPR app is worthy of being added to this list. It provides clear instructions to care for you and your loved ones. It’s easy to use and saves your medical information for fast retrieval. And you can review first aid procedures anytime, anywhere. Besides that, this is the app that saved someone’s life in the Haiti earthquake. (Cost: $1.99 for Android and iPhone/iPad)
Last but not least, stay in touch with your friends and family while you’re on the road exchanging real-time messages without paying for SMS. All you need is a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. (Cost: free; for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Nokia, Windows phone)
That said, safe travels wherever you’re headed to!