Best FREE travel iPhone apps

Right now, I’m traveling the US on a three week tour of the West Coast. Though I brought my trusty MacBook Pro along, I installed a fair number of apps on my iPhone so that I could get to them from my fingertips at any time.

Here’s what I found really handy. (Of course I didn’t install ALL of them! Some are based on findings and recommendations by friends). They’re my unbiased reviews of apps I’ve found. Do feel free to share with others if you have favorite apps of your own.

Clock

Need to find out the time in various parts of the world? Use the in-built World Clock app that comes with all iPhones. Select the cities and countries you’d like to keep tab of and you’re all set. Simple and effective!

Google Maps

It comes installed by default with iPhones and it is simple the best application for locating where you are, restaurants and hotels nearby and so much more. It’s saved me on quite a few occasions. It’s already installed, so use it. The only downside is that you will need to be connected to the Internet to get access to it.

Airline apps – Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines

If you’re traveling a lot in the US, these airline specific apps will help you out to no end. For Southwest (my airline of choice! No, they don’t pay me a cent!), you can even make reservations, check-in for flights or get push notifications for special deals. On Alaska Airlines, you can check existing reservations, check-in and view flight schedules.

Booking-related apps – Priceline, Kayak, Travelocity

Find hotels, car rentals and airfares quickly and based on price. These sites compare various vendors and provide you the best possible options. You can even book via these apps.

Unit Conversion – MultiConvert, Currency

Coming from a country that uses the metric system, the US is a nightmare. From kilometers to miles, liters to gallons and shoe sizes that are non-standard! Convert more than 1,000 different measurement units with this nifty app.

And what about converting the cost of an item to your native currency? Is your mushroom soup really worth it? Or should you be buying the seemingly cheap Coach bag from the factory outlet? Find out quickly with Currency – the simplest and FREE app you can find.

Location based recommendations – AroundMe, Local Picks by TripAdvisor

Looking for something to do in your vicinity? Or, looking for great restaurants but don’t know where to start? Local Picks is a service that pulls up restaurants based on the extensive TripAdvisor database and displays it in a manner you choose. Sort by rating, name, distance or price. AroundMe helps find points of interest based on categories, such as banks, gas stations, hospitals, hotels and lots more.

Communication – Fring, Skype

Keep in touch with your office or loved ones with both these apps. Fring will allow you to connect to your existing instant messaging networks for text based chats. If you need to make free Skype-to-Skype calls, or cheap VOIP calls, use Skype and call from the nearest wifi hotspot.

Update your friends – Facebook, WordPress, TweetDeck

Who can live without Facebook these days? We all have an inherent desire to broadcast what we’re doing and brag about the sights and sounds to all those back home, right? Grab this app, and you can update your status and upload photos instantly on-the-go.

If you blog using WordPress, there’s also an app that connects you with your loyal readers. You can upload photos, approve comments and more. Finally, you can leave your notebook behind!

You do know what Twitter is, and you already use TweetDeck on your desktop/notebook, right? Continue using the same familiar software on your iPhone to broadcast your messages and keep in touch.

Travel Organization – TripIt, TripAssist by Expedia

If you’re traveling for a fairly long duration in different cities and hotels, whether for business, pleasure or your honeymoon, you’re better off installing one of these apps. They are gorgeous because they keep tabs on flights you have to catch, hotels you are staying at and more. They also help when you’re doing your pre-travel planning.

Weather – The Weather Channel

Nobody wants to get caught with the wrong clothes while traveling, or plan to go to the beach only to find it pouring! Avoid freezing to death and getting drenched by simply checking on the weather report before you arrive. Thus far, it’s been pretty spot on for us while on our travels. It’s not foolproof, but it does offer some guidelines to follow.

3 Comments

  1. robinng (Robin Ng Photography) - March 3, 2010

    Twitter Comment


    RT @TheBackpackr: Traveling abroad soon? You might want to install some of these handy iPhone apps. [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  2. Mary - December 8, 2010

    I don’t know why really as I should expect it by now, but I am constantly amazed at the apps that are available now. I’ve only had my iphone a few months now but I really don’t think I could manage without it now – forget the suitcase just pack the phone.
    Mary at Food Processors

  3. marty - December 11, 2010

    Hey – I’ve just downloaded a few of these to my iPhone – I like the booking apps – great when you’re on the move.

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