Before I purchased my Ipod Touch last month, I couldn’t give two hoots and a holler about apps. I saw it as just another way to waste time and for someone to separate you from your money. Now….I see the error of my ways. It’s my new addiction and “I don’t need no cure!”
Seriously, you could literally find yourself sliding your fingers back and forth over a rectangular piece of glass for hours on end and somehow manage to not get committed! There’s something for everyone….even for morons.
There is a whole host of applications for every possible situation, especially for travelers. After doing a littl…erm…a lot of research, I have picked eight must haves if you are serious about traveling and staying organized and entertained and won’t cost a cent.
1) Tripadvisor is something that I always refer to when I’m planning a vacation or even activities at home. It’s pretty much a review site that rates accommodations, activities, and restaurants from all over the world.
The reviews are written by fellow travelers who have first-hand knowledge, so you get their opinion of their experience and probably a few choice words on how things could improve if they were displeased.
The good news is that you get the good reviews too. It’s just nice to get some insight before booking and regretting it later. Compatible with iPhone, Android, Ovi, Palm and iPod.
2) UrbanSpoon – Hungry and in a new town? Urbanspoon allows you to select a location, the type of food you want and the price that you want to pay. What could be simpler?
3)Hipmunk – is a portable flight search engine that allows you to view results in a timeline. This app doesn’t show you the cheapest flights first, instead, they are listed according to factors like the number of layovers and the length of the trip. If you are more concerned with picking flights with a lower ‘agony’ factor than price, this is the app for you.
4 ) All Subway – Ok, so I lied. This is the only app that will cost you…99 cents. But it’s so worth it and an important tool for all travelers to have! It has the actual subway maps of major cities that you simply select, click and the map appears. What a convenience to have them all in one place and not have to worry about toting around various subway maps.
5) Tango Video Calls – I learned about this application from Michael at Strux Travel. Tango allows you to make video and voice calls over your smartphone’s Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G networks. If you’ve ever Skyped from your personal computer, you’ll understand the concept. Basically, you download the app, create a free account, then launch the application. It will automatically populate with the contacts from your address book who already use Tango. Or, you can invite your friends & family to join up by sending them a text or email. Once both parties have the app, you just make a call. It’s that easy!
If you’re in your local calling area, you can call anyone in the world for free. Or, if you have access to a Wi-Fi network, you can call anyone anywhere, even when you are abroad. (Just make sure you are on airplane mode so you aren’t hit with roaming charges.) I can see it being particularly useful to reconnect if you and your travel partner are separated in a crowd. Currently, the app is available for the iPhone and Android.
6) Gas Buddy – Finds the cheapest gas on the go – for free! In one click, locate gas stations near you and see their current gas prices. Never overpay for gas again. GasBuddy is a community of users working together to update gas prices and help everyone save on gas!
7) MetrO – The smartphone universe is chock full of public transportation apps for cities across the world. MetrO, however, covers some 400 cities, and while most individual city apps may be a bit more comprehensive, MetrO is more than adequate for most traveler’s needs. Users download the app and then add the cities they want. MetrO can plot routes for you and shows your location on a map so you can see what’s nearby. Compatible with Palm, PocketPC, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Smartphone.