Though most iPhone owners may view their device as a critical tool for handling the details of their everyday lives, thanks to a bevy of incredibly useful applications, this pocket-size wonder can also be a tremendous help whenever it's time to get up and go. Spanning the entire gamut of the trip -- from packing to making your flight to finding a hotel to changing money -- these 10 apps will, without question, improve your overall travel experience. In fact ,we're willing to bet after one trip you'll start to wonder how you ever managed to travel without them.
No.10 - Packing (+TO DO!)
Coordinating what you need to bring for both short and extended trips is often an exhaustive exercise in memory and attention. Luckily, this Packing application helps take some of the preparation stress off travelers by allowing users to create packing lists and check items off as they're packed. Not exactly sure what needs to be on the list in the first place? Well, Packing allows you to also view recreated sample packing lists or templates built for a variety of common trip types. Lists from previous trips can be saved for future reference should travelers want to equip themselves in a similar fashion. From a practical standpoint, the application can be just as helpful for reminding users what not to forget when returning as it is for pre-trip organization.
No.9 - Hampton App
If you're the type who prefers traveling with the knowledge that they can count on the same great level of accommodation and service anywhere you go, Hampton's free app should be a huge source of relief. Designed to help travelers find, book and get directions to any of the chain's 1,800 locations, the app comes in especially handy when computer access is out of the question. Some of the advanced features offered throughout the app include turn-by-turn directions from your current location to nearby hotels, easy booking and reservation changes, rewards point management, and even the ability to find the best available rates around your area using the iPhone's internal GPS.
No.8 - Currency
Unless your name is Thomas Crown and you're prepared for international travel at a moment's notice, chances are you'll need to exchange some money in order to get by. Available as a free download, Currency is a useful tool for converting money from over 90 different countries and helping users better understand just how much cash they should expect to receive in the event of an exchange (before fees). Since it makes use of the iPhone's internet connection, exchange rates throughout the app are also updated as new information becomes available, insuring your exchange calculations stay up to date with the changes in the international currency markets.
No.7 - Pano
Going on vacation often means taking more than a few snap shots of your adventures to share with others at a later date. Of course regular snap shots will always remain a standard, panoramic shots can sometimes be the best solution for capturing especially beautiful landscapes. Along those lines, Pano is an amazingly easy-to-use app that allows even novice photographers to shoot panoramas with up to 16 photos using the iPhone's onboard camera. Simply point the camera at the desired panorama scene, and follow the app's handy semitransparent guide to help line up each shot perfectly. From there, the software's advanced alignment, blending and color-matching algorithms do the rest of the work to create seamless images which can then be stored directly to your iPhone's photo roll.
No.6 - Eventful
Curious to know what's going down in your destination over the course of your stay? Eventful.com's iPhone application allows users to find local events by location search or simply by using the iPhone's GPS to find activities close by. Currently, the site's database contains millions of events to choose from, as well as the tour dates for over 130,000 performers and the schedules for all types of venues. Plus, if you're worried you'll forget something worth seeing that you discovered through previous research, the Eventful app can even set up e-mail alerts tailored to your interests, as well as connect you with over 6 million other event-goers.
No.5 - HotelPal
While we'd always recommend securing a hotel at your destination before you travel, it's understandable that sometimes sorting those details out once you arrive just can't done. Created with these scenarios in mind, HotelPal uses the iPhone's GPS functionality to show all the hotels around you. Going further, it also allows users to view rates after inputting their desired length of stay, see pictures of the hotel in question and view a compatible list of the hotel amenities. In other words, it's a great way to avoid endless drives searching for vacancy signs.
No.4 - World Customs
When traveling to a foreign destination, it's always a good idea to have a firm grasp of the local culture's dos & don'ts in order to avoid sending the wrong message. Well, World Customs puts essential cultural facts related to the greetings, communication style, etiquette, gender issues, taboos, and law & order of over 165 countries all at your finger tips. For times when you're not exactly sure what country you're in or passing through, the application can also use your GPS to pull up the area-relevant facts.
No.3 - Local Eats
Perfect for U.S.-based travelers in search of the best restaurants in the country's top 50 cities, this app is based off the national book series entitled Where the Locals Eat, and is undoubtedly a foodie's best friend. For each city, users can browse the app's selections alphabetically, by category, rank, and even neighborhood location. Naturally, you can also search for nearby restaurants on the list based on your current GPS location. Better yet, the list does not include a single chain restaurant, so no matter what you decide to eat, it's guaranteed to be local and unique to that city. We should also note that the best 100 restaurants in this case does not necessarily imply it's simply a list of the most expensive places to eat. Instead, Local Eats listings use price as one factor along with many with other details such as taste, atmosphere and service for determining its overall rankings.
No.2 - Lonely Planet Phrasebook App
It goes without saying that your ability to communicate plays a tremendous part in your travel experiences. Unfortunately, since we all can't grasp languages like the Swiss, most international travelers will benefit by keeping Lonely Planet's Phrasebook app close at hand. Offered in 17 different languages, such as Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Czech, Swahlli, and Vietnamese, each app contains more than 600 common phrases for everyday situations, organized into subject categories such as transportation, health and shopping. Every phrase is spelled phonetically to help guide proper pronunciation, but just in case that doesn't work, one tap can also trigger an audio recording to hear a voice speak the phrase. So if worse comes to worse, you can always pass your iPhone over and hit play to convey with certainty that you need a bathroom pronto.
No.1 - oMaps
Though the iPhone's built-in maps application is unquestionably useful for understanding where you are, it often requires 3G connections to function properly. So, if you happen to be out of the country and roaming, the cost of this 3G access can become overwhelming quite quickly. Luckily, oMaps allows iPhone owners to download maps to destinations ahead of time,then browse them on the phone without the use of 3G or a connection to the internet. Based off the OpenStreetMap service, otherwise referred to as the Wikipedia of map pages, this service may not be as detailed as Google, but overall should be more than suitable, especially in heavily populated areas.
For instance, it still provides point-of-interest info related to restaurants, ATMs and mass transit stations. Also, since your phone's GPS functionality does not require a data connection to work, users can still press the GPS button to view where they are located on downloaded maps. Considering the savings this application offers, along with the possibility to still provide quite a bit of guidance in areas where there is no cell phone signal, it's an iPhone user's best friend for avoiding being completely lost in a foreign place.