The days of nervously flicking through a phrase book whilst trying to communicate in an unfamiliar tongue with the natives abroad are thankfully over! In fact, one look at the Apple App Store will see you faced with thousands of travel apps for the iPhone and iPad which can help the traveller abroad – from location based service apps which can tell you where the nearest metro station is , to apps which tell you where you will find the best 4 Seasons pizza in town.
Globe-trotters and travellers can avail of a seemingly overwhelming array of general travel apps as well as some cool niche specific travel apps. We look at 5 of the best and most useful travel apps around, whether you’re going to the Alps or Lower Manhattan.
Five Useful Travel Apps
Translator with Speech- Sparkling Apps (Free)
This is a translator with a difference. This app has the ability to translate spoken English into a huge range of nearly 60 Languages, from German to Vietnamese. What’s great about this app is that you don’t have to type out phrases or whole sentences and paragraphs, making for a far more easy and simple mode of translation. Another fantastic feature is the app’s capacity to store previously translations created on the road or in preparation for the trip and play them back without internet, although you will need internet access to create a new translation.
XE Currency Converter – XE.com Inc. (Free)
As any traveller will tell you, working out how much things cost when abroad can sometimes be a tricky task. The XE Currency Converter app enables you to convert every world currency on-the-go, with live currency rates and charts. A particular bonus to this app is that it stores the last updated rates, so even when there’s no internet access, you can still convert prices.
Urban Spoon – Urban Spoon (Free)
You’re in an unfamiliar city and have no idea where to go for food, this is where Urban Spoon steps in. Using GPS, the app will scan the local area for restaurants and bring up a list of nearby eateries for you to browse. The app will also give you the option to make a reservation and check out ratings and reviews from newspapers, bloggers and fellow eaters. Urban Spoon covers all of the United States and Canada, as well as large parts of the UK and Australia.
Packing Pro – Quinn Genzel (£1.99)
Nominated for the Best App Ever Award for the last two years, this app makes it easy to create and manage your own packing lists, eradicating that common fear of forgetting something for your trip. Features include a built-in catalogue with hundreds of suggested packing items, a packing tip section, complete with helpful articles on packing methods and packing aids, and the option to email your packing lists to other Packing Pro users. Quick, simple and reliable, Packing Pro is the perfect travelling companion for anyone embarking on a vacation.
FlightTrack Pro – Mobiata (£6.99)
Winner of the 2011 Best App Ever travel award, FlightTrack Pro gives you real-time flight status and map tracking for airline flights. Users may import flight data from confirmation emails, gain real-time status updates for gates, delays and cancellations and also check out alternative flights in a quick and easy fashion. A top feature of the app is the ability to browse extensive, zoomable, live flight tracker maps with satellite and weather radar imagery, even when offline. More than 4000 airports are covered worldwide, with full international flight coverage for 1400 airlines. What’s more, the crisp and sharp graphics allow for effortless browsing on the iPhone 4’s high resolution Retina display.
The future of travel apps – Augmented Reality and LBS
Recent innovations in location-based services combined with augmented reality development and research (e.g. Google’s announcement of their “Project Glass”, and Oakley’s AR Glasses project), means that it’s almost a certainty that that applications for travellers in the not-too-distant future will become ubiquitous when seemingly inevitable mass adoption of these devices occurs.