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20 Top Travel Apps and Tools

20 Top Travel Apps and Tools

In today’s tech age, it really pays to employ every tech tidbit available that may work in your favor. Today, the answer to every problem can be solved with this solution: “We’ve got an app for that!” Navigating the global unknowns is no exception to this rule. Traveling is always fun, but reducing the stresses through some good app choices can go a long way toward having the trip of a lifetime. After all, who doesn’t want to spend less time managing messes and more time making memories?

Apps To Be In the Know:

1) Packing Pro

If you’re like me, you hate to pack, and with airline restrictions on weight and number of bags, deciding what to bring certainly hasn’t gotten easier. Therefore, it helps to have an app that makes this necessity a bit easier. Packing Pro can help you create a list of what to pack from scratch. Or, if you suffer from packers block, you can use a set packing template with categories for men, women, business trips, camping, and more. You can also create a collection of reminders to include things you often forget, such as socks or the often-abandoned phone charger. This app also reminds you to lock up valuables and buy travel insurance, which is a nice safety net should the unthinkable happen.

($2.99 for iPhone/iPad)

2) Mint

When you finally decide on your dream vacation, you need to have a plan to fund it. Mint can help you create a budget to set aside money for travel and also help you track your spending while you see the world. Mint is also synonymous with privacy protection. Money can’t be moved within the app and your data is protected by banking-level encryption.

(Free for Android and iPhone/iPad)

Apps To Be a Travel Pro:

3) FlightTrack Pro

Airline apps are always a good investment, as staying updated on the fluid status of flight times and seat assignments is critical to maximize your travel effectiveness. FlightTrack Pro gives you airport terminal maps, gate numbers, and updated flight times so you always have the most current status on your airline adventure. This trusty app even looks at past historical data and can forecast delays for certain flight plans. It also utilizes SeatGuru’s seat charts to show you the best seats for leg room and amenities.

($9.99 for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone/iPad)

4) Lookout Mobile Security

Are you worried about losing your Android phone or your information on it? Then this app will give you the peace of mind you seek. Lookout regularly backs up the data on your phone and allows you access to it from the web. This little security gem also scans for malware to protect your data. And, in case you lose it, you can access an online tracking feature to find it quickly. Should your phone fall into the wrong hands, using the premium version ($2.99), you can remotely wipe your phone clean of all information to ensure your private data is kept safe.

(Free for Android.)

5) TripIt

This is the organizer’s dream app! Forget dealing with messy itineraries, slips of paper everywhere, and random facts all smashed into your pockets. TripIt lets you put everything for your trip—hotels information, confirmation numbers, car rentals, dinner reservations, daily excursions, and flight information—in one convenient place. You can also access it online or export it to your calendar to help plan day-to-day activities.

(Free for Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone/iPad)

6) Kayak

Kayak is a way to put together multiple scenarios for your trip and chose the best one for your budget and preferences. You can easily filter through different price points from multiple airlines and companies and book hotel rooms, flights, and car rentals all in one place to craft your ideal getaway. You are also be notified of price changes on flights you are considering. Kayak makes hotel selection more easy by providing descriptions, reviews, rates, and photos while directing you to the best site to book your stay.

(Free for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad, and Window)

7) Spotify

Need some tunes to stay entertained on the plane? This great music-streaming app allows you to create playlists for a database sporting 15 million songs. You can download your music to your phone to save for times you are offline for some in-flight entertainment. You can either pay a $10-per-month subscription fee or simply purchase track lists to your computer individually.

(Free; for Android, iPhone/iPad, Palm and Windows.)

8) Kindle

Need some reading material while you fly the friendly skies? You don’t need to waste precious carry-on space with bulky books. Now, you can read any book from your PC from the e-book marketplace. To make your reading experience more personalized, you can highlight, change font size, page color, orientation, bookmark and look up definitions. This is a great app to bring an amazing e-book library right to your fingertips.

(Free for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone/iPad)

9) Angry Birds

If you have an addictive personality, this game can pull you in quickly. While blocking out the outside world for one of birds with anger management bent on rescuing their eggs before they become omelettes may not be the most productive use of vacation time, this is a great app to keep you sane if you get stuck waiting in line or on the tarmac. You really can kill two birds with one stone, or in this case, several piggies with one bird.

(Free for Android and iPhone/iPad)

Apps to Use On the Go:

10) WhatsApp Messenger

Do you want to stay in contact with friends by text, but have worries about roaming charges? This app eliminates the uncertainty. You can text your friends for free as long as you have a WiFi or 3G connection. You also don’t have to remember phone numbers, since WhatsApp uses your address book to locate your friends easily. (99¢ for Android, Blackberry and iPhone)

11) Skype

Skype is a great tool for calling people, especially when outside the US, since you can talk and text through Skype accounts for free through WiFi or 3G. If you need to call a cell or land line phone, you can make calls for a very low long-distance rate through Skype’s credit program.

(Free for Android, Blackberry and iPhone/iPad)

12) Vocre

You don’t have to travel far in the world to learn that English isn’t often the mother tongue. This app helps you to communicate with locals and translate your thoughts into their own language. Simply choose from English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish, speak into the mic, and then turn your phone to your new friend and the app will say and write your message so they can understand you.

($4.99 for iPhone)

13) Google Translate

Another great translation app is Google Translate—an app that allows you to translate 58 languages in a very easy-to-use format. You can type or speak the phrases you want to translate and then, with a touch of a button, the language barrier becomes a non-issue.

(Free for Android and iPhone/iPad)

14) Word Lens

Confused by signs and menus in a foreign language? This app helps you figure out if you ordered snails or haggis, or if you are driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Simply take a picture of the printed unknown signage (handwriting won’t work), and translate the text immediately.

(Free to download, but $9.99 to purchase a translation pack for iPhone)

15) Help Call

While no one wants to think about encountering an emergency, it is always good to be prepared. This app locates your global position and then gives you access to local ambulances, police, and fire stations in 126 countries. If you are unable to see to dial the numbers, it even offers the option to shake the phone to make a life-saving call.

(99¢ for iPhone)

16) Pocket First Aid & CPR from American Heart Association

I’m sure you aren’t expecting catastrophe, but emergencies are rarely scheduled events. This app offers step-by-step life-saving information, with images and videos, on how to assist in medical situations. You can also create a personal medical profile with medications, insurance information, and emergency contacts. You even have the option to add it to your phone as wall paper so first responders can easily see it.

($3.99 for Android and iPhone/iPad)

17) Oanda Currency Converter

Confused by exchange rates? If you are tired of doing conversion equations in your head, let this app solve your math headaches. The tool is up-to-date with more than 190 currencies and four metals. You can also enter bank rates easily.

(Free for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad and Windows)

18) TripAdvisor

Become a globe trotter with the inside scoop with this handy app that compiles hotels, flights, restaurants, and points of interest in ratings, reviews, and recommendations. Read real feedback from previous travelers, scan through photos, create your own experience, and then let your voice be heard for future followers to benefit. You can also book restaurant reservations through a partner app called OpenTable.

(Free for Android, iPhone/iPad, Palm and Windows)

19) OpenTable

Wondering where to go for dinner? This handy app allows you to search restaurants by location or name, filter results by price and cuisine, enter your diner party size, and reserve a table. You can also cancel reservations through the app if plans change.

(Free for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad and Windows)

20) Instagram

If you don’t want to drag along a bulky camera, Instagram for iPhone (or Lightbox for Android) makes your smart-phone pics look like you had a photojournalist document your trip. You can also play with filters to jazz up your pictures, and then upload them to sharing sites like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

(Free for iPhone/iPad)

More by this author

Sarah Hansen

A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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