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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 May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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