Must-Have Travel Apps

Must-Have Travel Apps

by Bilal Kaiser, May 2010

For many Americans, summer means it's time to travel. Thanks to mobile phone apps, travelers can be more prepared for any kind of travel challenge they encounter.

For those heading somewhere new—domestic or abroad—check out these fantastic must-have travel apps designed for the modern traveler.

Travel Guide Apps

If you're taking your iPhone with you while traveling abroad, you should really consider downloading the Frommer's Travel Tools app. The all-in-one app includes a tipping guide, currency converter, and time zone chart. Available for free for the iPhone.

And if you're a fan of Lonely Planet travel guides, check out the iPhone-ready city guides designed for off-line use. Available for the iPhone; pricing varies.

Translation Apps

Figuring out what that French sign means may take a bit of time without a translation app. The myLanguage app provides quick and accurate translation of common words and phrases in various languages. Available for free for the iPhone; a paid version includes transliteration capability.

Food/Dining Apps

After a day of sightseeing you're bound to get hungry. Sometimes it's fun to randomly try an unknown restaurant and hope the food tastes good. Other times, you want something a bit more special. That's when you pull up the Zagat app and pick from more than 40,000 reviewed establishments. Available for Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Palm OS and Windows Mobile; pricing varies.

Or, if you don't want to pay for Zagat to Go, check out Urban Spoon's free app for restaurant suggestions in certain cities. Available for free for the Blackberry and iPhone.

Money: Currency Converter Apps

Digging that stylish pair of pants while shopping in another country, but not sure how much it costs in dollars? Pull up the currency converter app from XE, the Internet's most popular currency tool, type in the amount, and voila: the price of your new pants appears in your preferred currency. Available for free for the Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone.

Health Apps

While you never anticipate a medical emergency while you're traveling, it's a good idea to have your personal medical information on hand. The In Case of Emergency app, or ICE, was developed by a partnership between Donate Life America and LegalZoom. The free app stores contact information for your emergency contacts, as well as notes on your current medical conditions, allergies, and blood type. Available for free for the iPhone.

For Fun: Soda Snap Postcards

Some apps are meant to be just for fun, and that's exactly what Soda Snap is about. When you come across a famous landmark or beautiful landscape that you want to share with a friend, take a photo of it using the Soda Snap app and send a digital postcard with a message and your location information. It's the new way to say, “Wish you were here.” This travel app is available for free on the iPhone.

For more info on these top travel apps:

Saving Lives With ICE

Blackberry Travel App Store

iPhone Apps for Traveling

National Geographic's Travel Tech: Top 20 iPhone Travel Apps