Top 10 Travel Apps – Smart Phone Programs for Your Vacation

in Trip Planning

As more people around the world embrace smart phones and their technology, we’re learning that apps offer more than time-wasting games and novelty programs. These handy cell phone applications can help you get the most from your vacation without connecting to the internet. And best of all, many of them are free to download! Following on from last year’s travel app roundup, we take a look at ten more essential vacation apps that won’t cost you a cent.


TripIt is your key to staying organized on vacation. Simply forward your flight and hotel confirmations to the TripIt e-mail before you go, and the app will create a clever itinerary. It features more than flight details and confirmation numbers; you’ll also find maps, driving directions, and heaps more. A more advanced Pro version is available for $49 a year, but most travelers should be happy with the basic app’s free features.


Gone are the days where everyone books their travel well in advance, from the comfort of their own home. These days many travelers live by the seat of their pants, moving to their next destination whenever the whim takes them. It’s these travelers that Kayak is made for. The app lets you search for flights, hotels, and car rentals from your phone. So who needs to plan ahead?


Taking its cues from the website of the same name, OpenTable allows hungry holiday makers to book a table at more than 20, 000 restaurants in North America, Asia, and Europe. The app allows you to browse menus and read the opinions of other diners before you make your reservation. It’s a great tool for the United States and Canada, but the options do get a bit limited when you step outside the continent.


Urbanspoon can help you find your ideal restaurant with just a shake of your phone. Simply choose your city, the type of cuisine you’re after, and the amount you want to spend, and with a shake Urbanspoon will tell you where you want to go. Restaurants in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia are rated by other Urbanspoon users. And many even have tempting foodie photos!


Every traveler needs a public transport app, and few have the coverage of MetrO. Individual city guides might be more comprehensive, but MetrO details the transport systems in more than 400 cities around the world. Just download the cities you’re visiting before you go and you can plan your route once you arrive without ever getting online. The app updates weekly to account for system changes.


If the opinions of others matter, you’ll love Yelp. There are millions sounding off on everything from eateries to attractions and essential facilities. The app makes use of your smart phone’s GPS to help you find the sites near you. This program is great for travelers who want to experience their holiday destination as the locals do.


Avoid leaving your hostel room without a necessary coat or umbrella with WeatherBug. The free app accesses weather stations across the United States and thousands of international locations to bring you the latest daily and weekly forecasts. The program also offers fast access to up to 10 saved locations do you can keep an eye on the conditions in your next holiday spot.


Nobody likes an extended layover, but sadly they’re one of the inevitable downsides of flying. Whether your flight was delayed, you took an inconvenient route to save cash, or you’re a victim of another airline-grounding volcano ash cloud, you’ll find the time passes more quickly with GateGuru. The program has maps marking the essential facilities of 86 American airports, 12 Canadian ones, and Heathrow in London. It also has reviews, so you know which restaurants are passable and which ones are best avoided. Unfortunately though, at this stage it’s only available for iPhone, so Android and Blackberry users are left out in the cold.


Another unfortunate downside to travel is that a bathroom isn’t always where you want it to be. We’ve all experienced that desperate search for amenities, and that goes double for parents traveling with children! This bathroom locator works really well in the United States, but isn’t so reliable in other international locations. Perhaps that’s where the “squat” part of the title comes in!

Cell PhonePlayground Finder

And finally, here’s another lifesaver for parents. Just as moms and dads often need to find a bathroom at a moment’s notice, the need to find a place to play can often be just as urgent. Reviews and photos help parents find the most exciting places for their youngsters to blow off steam.

It’s worth noting that while all the apps above are free to download, there may be some roaming charges associated with accessing all the app features in international locations. Use your commonsense when accessing the internet around the globe to avoid cell phone bill shock later.

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