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Apr 12, 2012

Top Travel Apps Worth Paying For

Travel apps abound for the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch users. It can be a real headache wading through all the options, so a few of the most interesting, useful, and high-rated will be provided here. One consideration was selecting those that can be lifesavers but often overlooked; the other was to provide one choice each for three distinct elements of the travel experience. None of the three are free, but all are inexpensive and according to the ratings and raves, well worth it.

Packing is an art that is honed over a lifetime, often through a series of errors; too many shoes, too many wrinkly outfits when you end up wearing three, improper items for the weather and culture, crammed-in toiletries that security makes you toss or take out (or which leak or explode) – the list goes on. There are a few left-brained analytical and visual-spatial types for whom this application may be less necessary, but for the rest of us there, there is hope in:

“Packing Pro”

This app has the distinction of being nominated for the Best App Ever Award for the last two years. It can be used on the iTouch, iPhone, and iPad. Features include the Expert List Assistant, which takes into account number of travelers of all ages, length of trip, location, weather, food preparation, and clothes washing options and preferences. Lists include the reason for travel (camping, business, etc.), and there are four main sections: Packing, Catalog, Design, Help. A “Master Catalog” includes 800 items that take into consideration items for babies, pets, cooking, and more. What’s more, you can customize and save lists. You will never have to slap your forehead again due to forgetfulness, inexperience, et cetera.
Cost: $2.99; Rating: ****

“FlightTrack Pro”

This is a widely beloved app that multitasks better than most. Some of the features include: importing of flight data from confirmation emails, real-time status updates for gates, delays and cancellations for thousands of airports, quick and easy alternative flights locator, and live flight tracker maps (which does not need online connection!). One fantastic feature is its veritable “Crystal Ball”, which detects past patterns to anticipate possible future delays. It can be used in conjunction with TripIt; when you forward confirmations to plans@tripit.com, they appear on your app!

There are fantastical other features too numerous to detail here; you’ll have to see for yourself! Forbes, Time, and the New York Times are just three sources that have provided raves. This app is from the company Ben Kazaz.
Cost: $9.99; Rating: ****1/2
           
“Translator with Speech” by Sparkling Apps

This is one of myriad translators available; the beauty of its ability to translate spoken English! Most require typing phrases or whole sentences and paragraphs, which can be tedious for you and the recipient of your halting language “skills”.  Another genius feature is its ability to store previously created translations either created on the fly or in preparation for the trip. No more clumsy book-flipping or constant retyping as with most translators (note that internet access is needed to create new translations). Another bonus is that nearly sixty languages are supported, and it’s likely that more will be added with each update.
Price: $1.99; Rating ****1/2

These gems are just a few sparklers in the minefield of the travel app world, but all three resolve a sticky set of travails and tribulations as you journey. Bon voyage!

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