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Travel App Tips for Better Trips

by Joel Martens
Sunday May 18, 2014

The world has gotten smaller. The amount we travel and our mobile devices have shrunk it even more. The who, what and where of our lives is compressed into that convenient handheld wonder. Travel-related apps can pretty much tell you how to get there and do it cheaply, how to pack, where to sleep, where to eat, what to see, how to organize the trip and for that matter, even with whom to do it.

Here's a list of must-haves:

Booking a flight can be daunting, especially when trying to choose the best phone travel app with which to do it. There are so many it made one's head spin; here are the top three that consistently rated the highest.

Remember, best doesn't always mean most popular or cheapest. The broadest comparisons we found suggest that was the most frequent winner as far as lowest prices (though flights are painfully lengthy at times), followed by and then .

When we tested them multiple times, with multiple dates and locations, the recommen- dations were pretty spot-on.

You want to go to Paris, St. Petersburg or Poughkeepsie, but you aren't sure what's there? Well before you even get started, hook up with TripAdvisor, the app that helps plan what to do, where to go and what to see. With one of the largest repositories of hotel and destination reviews, ratings, photos and other information, we think you'll manage to find what you need.

This app doesn't just collect information from other data sources; it actually helps to plan your trip from beginning to end. So if you have a specific destination in mind, but don't know anything about it, TripAdviser can walk you through the entire planning process and it will keep that information organized. Not only that, it will tell you what's available when you arrive, nicely rated and reviewed by users, so you get a pretty good picture of what's what.

So instead you've decided to play your own travel agent. You have your multi-destination vacation set, now how the heck do you keep track of all that singular plane, train and automobile information, hotel reservations and even those made for your chosen restaurants? Not possible you say? Well my friends take a look at TripIt, the little mobile app that could. This app searches your email accounts and compiles all of your travel information automatically. It hunts up confirmations for flights, hotels, rental car reservations and even restaurant bookings, listing them in one place
and in order.

Packing 101: The smaller the suitcase, the easier it is to travel and not piss off everyone who is kept waiting as you try to shove that you-knew-it-was-too-large-in-the-first-place- case overhead. Not so good at "putting it together?" Then take a look at Packing Pro. Enter your trip destination, length of stay and how many travelers and it will compile an essential list of what you should need. It even categorizes them by must-haves (that pesky passport), clothes and gadgets and breaks them down for you - but you do still have to pack successfully, silly. iPhone only, for Android check out PackMeApp


XE Currency: A quick and easy-to-use app that uses live conversion rates for complete accuracy - it's the little freebie that could.

TravelSafe Pro: You are in a foreign land and you've fallen and you can't get up, been mugged, or have lost your passport. This life-saving database contains crucial personal information and vital emergency locations (police, medical and fire) for just about any country you may be visiting -including embassy locations.

Hailo: Getting around isn't easy and hailing a cab, lorry, or hack can be intimidating. Well let go of that fear, this little app uses your GPS to make the cabs come to you. Just tap the "Pick Me Up"and watch the little cab icons - magic!

Wi-Fi Finder: One word for roaming data charges, OUCH! Knowing where to find a wi-fi hotspot is essential when travelling. Just fire up this little sucker and follow directions. You can do that, can't you?

Pin Drop: Lose those pesky guidebooks and open up this app. The wonder of GPS allows your phone to tell you what's around; best sights, sounds and pretty much everything else.

FourSquare: When you start this app once you have reached your destination, not only does it tell you a myriad of information on what's hot around you, as recommended by other users, it gives you tips on how best to take advantage of that hotness.

PhotoSynth: You totally have to love technology. Can't communicate enough about the awesomeness of that panoramic view? Well, now you can with this app. It stitches together individual shots for stunning panoramas that you can share!

Trip Journal: You have a ton of photos from your fabulous trip, but trying to remember the details and organizing them... oy. Problem solved: This app not only organizes, thanks to your GPS, it creates maps of your explorations, geo-tagged with pictures, videos and notes - whoo-hoo!

There you go travellers, a little of this, a little of that and a bit of help, all in your pocket. Wait, now where did I set my frickin'phone?

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