Another Travel App Post

Today, every traveler knows that carrying an app-loaded phone can transform everything from planning a trip to navigating a new city. The question is, which apps are the most useful? Here are several apps I rely on when I travel. I’d love to hear what apps you use and why in the comments section.OpenTable
I have no idea how we ever made got along before OpenTable. Not only does this free app (and online service) offer a simple way to make reservations but it also provides customer ratings and reviews. The key feature for me lately has been its GPS location finder. I am able to mark my location and then OpenTable tells me places near where I’m standing. I can quickly review ratings and reviews and then map it to get both walking and driving directions. This has saved me many times when traveling with grumpy, hungry companions.

I know MapQuest sometimes gets a bad rap but I have to tell you its free iPhone app rocks. I love that it can use my current location through the built-in GPS and then provide not only voice activated driving directions but step-by-step walking directions. This handy little app recently helped me find a CVS in Charleston to purchase makeup I had forgotten to pack. The best though was when I had to direct the cabby on how to my hotel.

FlightTrack Pro
I adore this app. I really do. It has saved me on multiple trips. The app displays flight data provided by the airline, FAA, and airports including real-time flight status, gates, terminals, delays, cancellations and even baggage claim information. In the Pro Version you are able to view weather information and maps of the airports you are visiting along with a few other cool features. A few other features FlightTrack provides:

Covers more than 4,000 airports worldwide
Enables you to find alternate flights
Can synch with your phone’s calendar
Live flight tracker maps with satellite and weather radar imagery
You can share flight information with your friends via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail

I do have a tip though, if you are traveling through Chicago O’Hare make sure to add your flight information BEFORE you get to the airport since WiFi isn’t free (even on an iPhone using the Edge network). That way your flight information will be able to regularly update. (I’ll have a post soon on top reasons why I hate O’Hare. If you have reasons now, please send me a note and I’ll include in the post.)

I wish I could just drink coffee but I’m a latte drinker, which can make finding the nearest coffee shop an adventure in the morning when traveling. I’ve come to rely on the Starbucks app that can map my location and then tell me where the nearest Starbucks is. Very useful in large cities but not as useful when traveling to smaller, remote locations.

There are countless pedometer apps on the market but I really like Pedometer Pro GPS+ by Viaden. Not only does it measure the distance I travel/walk but it estimates the calories burned, provides maps via Google Maps and many other helpful features. I loved knowing that I walked five miles one day in Charleston and burned nearly 800 calories. I was able to justify a piece of pecan pie after dinner.

So I have not used this app too much when traveling since most of my travels in the last few years have been domestic but I fully intend to put it to use later this year when we travel to Russia. However, I have recently been using it a lot to brush up on my Spanish to help my three-year-old who is learning Spanish in preschool. My point is, there are many ways this app can be useful.

You simply type in the word or phrase you want translated and the app translates it for you. You can view the translations in written form or have it spoken to you. That aspect is very useful when trying to ensure you’re saying the phrase correctly.

Gate Guru
This free app lists all the businesses near the gate your flight is located at, along with user ratings, reviews, pictures, and maps. Right now it is only in 100 airports around the world but that number is increasing. (I find this to be very helpful in trying to decide where I would grab a somewhat healthy lunch in-between flights.)

Helps you avoid traffic tickets; it’s not quite a radar detector, but the GPS-enabled system gives you warnings abut speed traps, cameras at intersections, and common police waiting areas—all laid out on a map.

Maps the route with directions for subway, rail, bus, walking, or taxis (or a combination of transportation methods) in more than 15 cities across the U.S. and Europe.

I’d love to hear what apps you use and why in the comments section.  

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