MOBILE MAY: Travellers’ friends


16 May 2011

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One of the best things about travelling with a mobile device is all the resources it can contain. No more lugging around unwieldy maps, dog-eared guidebooks and tea-stained print outs of flight itineraries. Thanks to travel apps, planning, booking and enjoying a vacation has become a much more streamlined process. Tina Costanza takes a look at apps to help scratch that travel itch.

Google Maps

Google Maps is packed with features to help travellers reach and navigate their destinations. For starters, the app comes with turn-by-turn GPS for driving or walking, and for those in a hurry, real-time traffic helps find the quickest route.

Maps in 3D, directions, compass mode and the Places icon will help travellers find and reach anything from pizza parlours to post offices. The app also contains a search engine, and results churn out information, photos and reviews of a place.

For Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows and Symbian or S60.

Yelp

Yelp not only provides lists of what establishments are nearby, it provides reviews of said establishments by the public as well, so travellers can know which business or attraction is not to be missed. The app categorises just about anything users may be looking for and provides the distance between themselves and the location – no more wandering around aimlessly looking for a burrito. The app also includes check-in offers.

For iOS, BlackBerry, or visit m.yelp.com.

Yelp

Lonely Planet Audio Phrasebooks

Habla Español? No? Well, no worries, with a Lonely Planet Audio Phrasebook you soon will be. Besides Spanish, these apps are available for those wanting phrases in Mandarin, Cantonese, Czech, Thai, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Vietnamese. Each app includes more than 600 phrases under various categories. Upon selecting a phrase requiring translation, a tap of the screen reveals the foreign language translation and the phrase’s audio pronunciation.

For iOS and Symbian.

Phrasebook

JiWire Wi-Fi Finder

Those who have travelled with an internet-enabled device will know that turning off its cellular data will be required upon crossing a border, lest they want to spend a fortune.

Enter JiWire Wi-Fi Finder to help reduce roaming charges. It finds the nearest public Wi-Fi spot, out of some 500,000 free and paid Wi-Fi hotspots in more than 144 countries. Users can also obtain details of and directions to a hotspot, and download a Wi-Fi hotspot directory for offline use.

For iOS and Android.

Ji-Wire

FlightTrack – Live Flight Status Tracker

Live Flight Status Tracker lets users check gate numbers/departure information and keep an eye on delays and cancellations. The app, which features international coverage, will even help travellers find alternate flights at more than 5,000 airports worldwide. The app includes zoomable maps and real-time updates.

For iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Palm

Flight tracker

Xe Currency

Xe Currency is a currency conversion app that uses live currency rates and charts. Users can compare several currencies on one screen, calculate prices with the converter (even while offline), refresh rates every minute and personalise their settings, such as set the frequency of rate updates. The app also tracks precious metals.

For iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

Xe currency

TripIt – Travel Organiser

TripIt – Travel Organiser parses confirmation emails from hotels and airlines, no matter where they were booked, thus keeping itineraries at the ready on one device, even when the user doesn’t have internet access. Users can forward travel confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com to build a trip itinerary.

For iOS, BlackBerry, Android, Palm, Symbian and Windows Mobile.

TripIt

DK DK Eyewitness Travel Apps – Top 10 Cities

DK Top 10 apps offer top 10 lists on the best a city has to offer visitors. It also provides a top 10 list of things to avoid, so it’s handy when it comes to planning a trip, be it a budget or luxury getaway. The app also includes maps, interactive city walks, an ‘inspire me’ feature and more, such as restaurant reviews and information on transportation. Apps for New York, San Francisco and several European cities are now available, with more to come soon.

For iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Symbian.

Tina Costanza


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