Top Free Travel Apps for Android and iPhones

So many apps, so little time!  In November 2010, it was announced that there were over 160,000 apps on the Android Market and iPhone boasts over 250,000 apps available.  While all those apps can make our lives easier in many ways, it is likely that you will get bogged down in trying to find the best ones out there!  Here is our list of the top travel related apps for the Android and iPhone.  Enjoy and happy travels.

Amazon’s Kindle Reader – Android/iPhone

Anyone who travels knows that the extra weight of those books – even paperbacks – can add up.  Not only do they take up space, but with airlines counting every ounce and charging you more for heavy bags, the Kindle app is much appreciated.  Using it is much like using the Amazon Kindle.  You can bookmark, highlight and even use the dictionary.  If you have the Kindle, you can also share those books you purchased on Amazon with your phone thru this app for free.

CheckMyTrip – Android/iPhone

Do you like to keep your flight details organized in one place and up to date?  The CheckMyTrip app is for you.  This app will help you manage your flight itineraries, which are updated real time so you will have access to the most recent flight information.

ConvertMe – Android

There are many currency conversion apps out there but what makes this one different is that it converts everything under the sun!  Not sure what your shoe size or clothing size is in the UK? Africa?  You do with this app.  The ConvertMe app also has weights, measurements, and distance conversions to keep you in the know, no matter where in the world you are.

FlightStats – Free app Lite, full version $4.99  – Android/iPhone

Another flight status app with a few more bells and whistles.  The lite version provides the usual flight stats info.  If you don’t mind upgrading to the full version you will also be able to add hotel, car rental info, live airport delay updates and a flight finder in the event yours gets cancelled.  You will also find arrival and departure gate information as well as times.  If you use TripIt, you can import your information from that account into the FlightStats app for an optional upgrade costing about $2. 

FlightView – Android/iPhone

Along with your flight information, this app also shows you the actual plane positioning, updated weather reports as well as airline contact information.  A big difference here is that you can share your itineraries, including any changes, with your social network.   We all love to Tweet our latest status after all..

Google Goggles – Android/iPhone (called Google Mobile on iPhone and includes Googles)

It does not get much cooler than this.  The Googles app makes us wonder what could possible come next, while we get goose bumps thinking about it.  This app is like a Google search, but uses your pictures to find that product and then gives you all sorts of info on it as well as links to websites for more information.  Certainly fun to play with.  I have read that this app also will help you out with foreign language translation, but have not tried that one yet!

Google Maps with navigation – Android

Who needs a GPS anymore?  The app is driven by a data connection and cannot store maps, but if you have the right data package, you are in good shape.  Google maps has navigation and you will get directions in various ways – whether you are driving, walking, or even using public transit.

Hotels Near Me – Android/iPhone

Let your phone guide you.  This app uses your phones GPS to locate the hotels nearest you.  If you are planning a trip you can also choose a different location.  Once you get the list of the hotels, you can sort by the usual methods: price, distance, rating etc.  After you read some of the reviews, you can easily book the room right through the app.  Pretty convenient for on the road users who find themselves in a need of a room for the night.  There are over 70,000 hotels in over 70 countries, so hit the road knowing you will find a place to stay!

Layar Reality Browser – Android/iPhone

Another one of those cool apps that you will find yourself using more out of curiosity than need.  Break out your phone camera for this one.  Point your camera to a location and the app will “layer” information over it.  It can even pull information from some of your other apps like Twitter, Wikipedia, and Yelp.  Nice way to pass the time while sitting at that outdoor café in Paris.

Places Directory – Android

Similar to the Hotel Near Me app, this app will locate places near you using your phones GPS.  You will be able to find the nearby restaurants, theaters, banks, ATM’s, and even hotels.  Using Google Maps you will also get directions to the place you want to get to.  The app also includes photos of most places and a rating to help you decide your next stop.

Postman – iPhone

It can get expensive to send postcards while on the road.  With this app, you can make a personalized postcard using your own photos.  Take your photo then add a personal message and send it off to friends and family.  At the very least you know that the postcard will get to them before you get back home!

Sheriff Android Lite – Android

There’s a new Sheriff in town!  An alarm for your phone, your bag, or even your hotel room!  This app runs on the background of your Android phone and when activated it will emit a loud alarm if it detects movement.  This will let you know if your phone has been moved, or if the bag it is in was moved.  Place it on the floor near your hotel room door and if someone enters the room you will both know it!  You get the full version for less than $2 which has a few more bells and whistles.

SitOrSquat – iPhone

When you gotta go, you gotta go.  Another fun and useful app for the iPhone.  By using your phones GPS you can locate the nearest bathroom to you.  Of course there are full bathroom reviews so that you can find the cheapest, cleanest one out there.  Sounds like something you would rarely use, but you will be surprised.  As a user of the app, and of course the bathroom, you can add your own comments and even newest lavatory locations.

StarTranslate – Android

With over 50 languages all in one place this handy app will help you out when language becomes a barrier.  This app provides both translation and dictionary access to help understand a sign or communicate with a new friend.  Not sure you can pronounce that word?  Press the speaker icon and the app speaks it out for you.

TripIt – Android/iPhone

This app is another great organizational tool for your itinerary, regardless of where or how you booked it.  You simply forward your reservations, airline or hotel, to a designated email address, and they will appear in your app.  The usual arrival information is available for your destination city, including of course the Google Maps!  While exploring your destination, you can even access other places such as restaurants, hotels, and more.  If you don’t mind paying for the premium version, you can use it to help manage your frequent flyer mileage accounts.

Wikitude – Android/iPhone

Like having a travel concierge in your phone!  Like Layar, this app can use your camera to focus on a landmark and you will soon have a description and other information about the object of your picture.  The process called “augmented reality” will overlay all sorts of interesting info from Wikipedia as well as other user provided content over the phone’s camera view.  A nice way to learn some history about the place you are visiting.

XE Currency conversion – Android/iPhone

Looking for that great deal while wandering the streets of Bangkok?  If you need to know the rate of the Thai Baht to the Euro or Dollar, this is your app.  There are many out there, but this was the easiest for us to use and had an easy refresh process so that you were always accurately converting your money.

Yelp – Android/iPhone

Yelp is a great app for finding information on restaurants, bars, and much more.  You are able to check out the rating from other Yelp users, get directions, an idea of the prices and hours of operation.  Bring on the Google map and follow it to the hot spot in town.  So your not great with directions, always getting lost?  No worries!  There is a Monacle feature, which presents a red dot on the screen when you hold the phone up showing you the exact location.

So there are the 18 apps we use most often while on the road, or even roaming around our home town!  We can’t try them all so we would love to hear what YOUR favorites apps are.  Let us know if you have a favorite app that you just don’t leave home without!

Safe travels!

About the author

Cheryl MacDonald left the corporate world in 2007 to pursue a dream of living life to the fullest. She and her partner, Lisa Chavis continue to travel the world inspiring others to Live Their Dream!

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