Remember the days when you used to lug around heavy Lonely Planet guidebooks and maps in that heavy backpack of yours, instantly adding on an extra twenty pounds of dead weight? Not to mention the fact that it can get pretty annoying when you have to stop every couple of miles during your ascent of Mount Makalu in Nepal or while hiking through the Amazon Basin just to double check your map in order to make sure you’re still going in the right direction.
We live in a world where apps are second nature; that of course includes travel apps, which offer a range of capabilities, from providing maps and tips to organizing your itinerary and giving you an insider’s look at special deals and promotions to help you save money and time, leaving you a lot more time to adventure. Check out the following apps before and during your next journey.
Airport Eateries: When you have an extra fifteen minutes before your plane boards, sometimes you just want to grab a quick bite – but you don’t have time to run all over the airport in search of food. GateGuru make it easy: simply punch in your airport and terminal, and the app will tell you which stores, restaurants and other food joints are nearby. In addition, users provide reviews on all the places, so you know which ones are good and which ones to avoid. As if that wasn’t enough, the app also highlights major deals going on, so if there’s a free food giveaway or other promotional offer, you can take advantage of it before it expires.
Hotel Helper: Accommodations are one of the most important aspects of any trips but they can also be the most annoying to deal with. Hotel Tonight allows you to book last minute from their vault of unsold hotel rooms with the best values and offers. Your luxury suite upgrade is just a click away.
Legal Advisor: FlyersRights is the perfect lawyer-on-the-go. Occasionally, tragedy does occur while you’re en route to paradise – such as losing your seat on an oversold plane or your luggage mysteriously vanishes – but this app gives a full explanation as to what you are entitled to, if the airline is in violation of the Passengers’ Bill of Rights, what your airline owes you, and so forth. For example: if you’re bumped from a flight and arrive at your destination several hours later, you can actually be reimbursed 400 percent of the one-way fare.
Flight Tracker: With iFly Pro, you’ll never have to deal with the inconvenience of discovering at the last minute that your flight has been delayed. This detailed app keeps track of flight delays on all the airlines and also allows you to navigate airports around the world, giving you the goods on everything from restrooms and airline lounges to cafes, bars and layover ideas.
Currency Converter: Rupees, baht, pesos? Traveling to another time zone can be overwhelming, especially when you have to adjust your internal clock and your wallet. The XE Currency app quickly calculates dollar values using real-time exchange rates so you’ll know exactly how much money you have in your hands, no matter where you are.
Map It Up: Physical maps can get annoying…especially when you have a lot of them. If you want to keep a low profile and avoid the whole “tourist-looking-at-oversized-map-on-street-corner” look, City Maps 2Go lets you forego all of that. Instantly access thousands of maps for different cities, provinces, islands and so forth. What if you’re stuck out on the island of Vanuatu and don’t get any service? No problem. This app doesn’t require Internet.
Pocket Translator: Say goodbye to heavy language guidebooks forever. While we still recommend brushing up on the local language before you go, Google Translate is a great reference tool for when you encounter last minute language emergencies. It translates more than 70 languages and allows you to speak, type, write or take a picture that can then be translated into the language of your choosing. It’s not completely foolproof but it is certainly great when you need a quick phrase or forget how to say a word or two.
“In the Know”: Every country is different, and it’s best to be aware of the different laws, rules and regulations prior to embarking on your overseas adventure. Smart Traveler breaks down everything, from criminal penalties to safety and security, embassy locations and entry/exit requirements for the country that you are visiting. You’ll never end up on an episode of National Geographic’s “Locked Up Abroad” with this handy app in your back pocket.
Wi-Fi, Where You At?: Sometimes we just take things for granted, even our Wi-Fi. When you find yourself in unfamiliar territory without a Starbucks on every corner, finding Internet can be one of the most challenging tasks you’re faced with. Free Wi-Fi Finder instantly locates free public hotspots near your current location so you’ll never have to go through the aggravation of walking around aimlessly, playing the “hot and cold” game until all of the service bars on your phone light up.