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Ten Handy Vacation Apps

Published: July 23, 2012

Couple taking pictures of themselves with mobile phone. Courtesy of Shutterstock.

Couple taking pictures of themselves with mobile phone. Courtesy of Shutterstock.

Traveling with sufficient resources used to mean carrying a lot of books, guides, and other documents, but now you can bring all that information on your portable device. From checking your flight itinerary to finding the best places to eat to sending postcards, it call all be done from your smartphone or tablet. And you don’t have to spend a bundle to have it all at your fingertips.

Kayak app icon.

 

1. Kayak

Kayak makes it easy to search for flights, hotels, and car rentals. And features a packing list maker. Track your flight, convert currency, and check out tours or attractions around your destination all in one app.

Download: Kayak for iPhone and iPadAndroid, or Windows Phone.
Price: Free

TripAdvisor app icon.

2. TripAdvisor

Find travel information, customer reviews, and travel forums at TripAdvisor. You may find a bunch of Facebook friends are already on TripAdvisor writing reviews! Know before you go which restaurants and hotels are worth visiting. TripAdvisor posted reviews are delayed for verification, to minimize suspicious content and keep everyone honest. TripAdvisor also alerts the owner or manager of any establishment that receives a negative review.

Download: TripAdvisor for iPhone and iPadAndroid, or Windows Phone.
Price: Free 

Tripit app icon.

3. TripIt Travel Organizer

TripIt organizes your itineraries so there is no need to print them out. Just link your email account to TripIt, and TripIt will pick up every confirmation number you receive into your inbox. Whether it is a flight, hotel, or dinner reservation, as long as it contains a confirmation number, TripIt will organize everything into one easy-to-access itinerary. If there are any flight delays or last-minute changes sent to your email account, they will also be updated automatically.

Download: TripIt for iPhone and iPadAndroid, or Windows Phone.
Price: Free 

Where app icon.

4. Where

Eat. Drink. Play. There’s an app for that. Where uses the GPS chip inside your smartphone to create an all-purpose tool to take with you when you travel. Walk, drive, or fly, and Where will find your location and give you on-the-spot information on where to get cheap gas, what the weather will be like, movie showtimes, the best places to eat, traffic conditions, or news headlines. Browse the Yellow Pages or the Yelp directory.

Download: Where for iPhone, Android , or Windows Phone.
Price: Free 

MapQuest app icon.

5. MapQuest

Even if you’re not venturing far from home, it’s always good to have a GPS system with you just in case, and MapQuest is the best free app for that. MapQuest makes it easy to find hotels, restaurants, gas stations with prices, and coffee shops at your fingertips. Use the text search option to find less popular locations such as campsites. All locations are labelled along your route to make pit stops easier on the go.

Download: MapQuest for iPhone or Android.
Price: Free 

Google Translator app icon.

6. Google Translate

Google Translate saves you from not only buying a library of language books but carrying them around, as well. Google Translate offers over 50 languages, from Afrikaans to Yiddish. Type in a phrase or a word, and have it translated on the spot. Google Translate will give you the written translation and the option to hear the phrase spoken. Newer versions of Google Translator Toolkit use human translators to translate entire documents.

Download: Google Translate for iPhone and iPad  or Android.
Price: Free

XE Currency app icon.

7. XE Currency

XE Currency calculates the conversions between more than 180 worldwide currencies. Access live foreign exchange rates, up-to-date currency news, and historical rates. You can also choose to receive email updates with currency rates and news or follow the economic indicators calendar. Use XE Currency to create and track comparison charts and to calculate prices even in remote areas.

Download: XE Currency for iPhone and iPadAndroid, or Windows Phone.
Price: Free

Urbanspoon app icon.

8. Urbanspoon

Shake up your next great meal, literally. Just give your mobile device a shake and watch nearby restaurants fill your screen like a slot machine. Urbanspoon uses the GPS on your smartphone to pick popular local restaurants throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia.

Download: Urbanspoon for iPhone, iPad, or Android.
Price: Free

Wikitude travel app.

9. Wikitude

Wikitude turns your smartphone into a virtual tour guide. Point your smartphone camera at a monument, landmark, or street view, and the augmented reality guide overlays user-contributed content onto the image, putting a wealth of information about the view at your fingertips. Wikitude matches your position to the landmarks you point the camera at and tells you about them.

Download: Wikitude for iPhone and iPad  or Android.
Price: Free

Postagram app icon.

10. Postagram

Postcards for a new generation, Postagram turns sending touristy postcards with clichéd phrases into a cool piece of mail for your family and friends to receive while you’re gone. Just take a photo using your smartphone, and the Postagram app does the rest. Postagram prints your photo onto a postcard along with the mailing address and message you provide from your device, then sends it through the mail. Without even doing so much as buying a stamp, you can send Postcards from all over the world.

Download: Postagram for iPhone  or Android.
Price: Free plus 99 cents per postcard

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