The age of technology is well and truly upon us, whether we like it or not. Long gone are the days of actually having to work stuff out for ourselves when lonely and lost in a foreign land. However, what we have to do now is actually work how the blazes all this new fangled technology works and that, supposedly, will help us with our original dilemma.
And of course nothing quite tops the iPhone for packing an almost-instantaneous, on-hand application for every conceivable quandary. It should really have the words “Don’t Panic” written in large, friendly letters across its case. Plus of course everyone and their dog has an opinion about which of the literally thousands of travel related apps are the best. So, we present a selection, in no particular order really, of some of the best of what’s out there.
10 – Packing (+TO DO!)
Coordinating what you need to bring for both short and extended trips is often an exhaustive exercise in memory and attention. Luckily, this Packing application helps take some of the preparation stress off travelers by allowing users to create packing lists and check items off as they’re packed. Not exactly sure what needs to be on the list in the first place? Well, Packing allows you to also view recreated sample packing lists or templates built for a variety of common trip types.
Lists from previous trips can be saved for future reference should travelers want to equip themselves in a similar fashion. From a practical standpoint, the application can be just as helpful for reminding users what not to forget when returning as it is for pre-trip organization.
• Cost: US$0.99 • Click here
9 – Currency
Unless your name is Thomas Crown and you’re prepared for international travel at a moment’s notice, chances are you’ll need to exchange some money in order to get by. Available as a free download, Currency is a useful tool for converting money from over 90 different countries and helping users better understand just how much cash they should expect to receive in the event of an exchange (before fees).
Since it makes use of the iPhone’s internet connection, exchange rates throughout the app are also updated as new information becomes available, insuring your exchange calculations stay up to date with the changes in the international currency markets.
• Cost: free • Click here
8 – WeatherBug Elite
Sure, a quick glance at a bare-bones widget or mobile website will provide the five-day forecast, but WeatherBug Elite gives you live local weather and hourly forecasts. So not only will you know whether or not to bring an umbrella when you leave the hotel for the day, you’ll know the time of day to keep it handy. We recommend the ad-free Elite version, which provides radar animations and unique benefits for various smart phone platforms.
For example, the iPhone app lets you touch anywhere on a map to get the forecast for that location, while the Android version gives you home screen widgets for multiple locations. BlackBerry owners will love the deep integration with the OS, including forecasts for events in your calendar and weather alerts pushed to your inbox.
• Cost: free (Basic), US$0.99 cents (Elite) • Click here
7 - Pano
Going on vacation often means taking more than a few snap shots of your adventures to share with others at a later date. Of course regular snap shots will always remain a standard, panoramic shots can sometimes be the best solution for capturing especially beautiful landscapes. Along those lines, Pano is an amazingly easy-to-use app that allows even novice photographers to shoot panoramas with up to 16 photos using the iPhone’s onboard camera.
Simply point the camera at the desired panorama scene, and follow the app’s handy semitransparent guide to help line up each shot perfectly. From there, the software’s advanced alignment, blending and color-matching algorithms do the rest of the work to create seamless images which can then be stored directly to your iPhone’s photo roll.
• Cost: US$2.99 • Click here
6 – Kayak
Once you’ve used this app, you may never book another trip with your laptop again. Kayak makes searching for deals on flights, hotels, and car rentals a cinch, thanks to the convenient scrolling calendar, and Kayak results return very quickly. You can also filter results (airline, airport, price, stops) with just a tap of your finger.
Don’t feel like doing everything electronically? Kayak gives you the option of booking online or clicking to call an agent from the app. Kayak First Class for iPhone users lets you search for first and business class airfares. Android phone owners will like the direct link to Kayak’s Twitter feed, which includes travel tips.
• Cost: Free (Basic), US$1.99 (First Class) • Click here
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