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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)

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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