Smartphone & Tablet Travel Apps

This is one of the most exciting technological tools for travelers to come along since GPS. With your Apple iPhone or iPad, or Google's Android-based smartphones or tablet computers, a world of travel assistance applications ("Apps") are tagging along with you in your pocket or purse.

On this page we will periodically review and recommend those Apps we think are the most helpful and entertaining. We're not going to bother with the most familiar ones, like Expedia, Orbitz, Trip Advisor, Kayak, Hotels.com, etc. You probably already know about those sites and should already have their Apps installed. Instead, we'll focus on useful, but not-so-common ones that may be special purpose, but can really come in handy in the right circumstances.

Having just said that, we break the rule for the following category:

Guidebook Apps
Most of the big name travel guidebook companies also now make available electronic versions of these books that you can install on your smartphone or tablet computer. Leave the paper book in your hotel room (or at home) and carry that guidebook in your phone. And with your phone's built-in GPS, the guidebook knows where you are and can recommend a nearby restaurant or hotel.

My favorite is from the Lonely Planet. (www.lonelyplanet.com) This has always been the budget-minded traveler's best reference. Now, in electronic form, LP has over 300 city and country travel guidebooks available for $5.99 each. LP has, by far, the largest selection of mobile guides.

Foder's (www.foders.com) has city guidebooks available for New York, London, San Francisco, Rome and Paris. These are currently only available for Apple's iPhone, and can be purchased for $5.99 at the iTunes store.

Frommer's (www.frommers.com) has mobile apps for New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Hong Kong, Paris and Oahu. According to their website, these are available for the iPhone and iPad at $4.99 each.

Check out these companys' websites for the latest availabilities.
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What follows is our "living list" of travel Apps we think you should take a look at. We call it our "living list" because this technology changes so rapidly that, over time, we anticipate frequent additions, updates, and maybe even deletions to the list.

Room 77 is another one of many "Book a Hotel" from us Apps. But here's what's cool about it: Given the right city and country, and given the right hotel, these guys have created digital floor plans that allow you to check out the views from each room's windows. They claim to have over a million hotel rooms mapped thus far, and the list is continually growing.

See more about Room 77

Yelp is the best traveler's resource for local knowledge. Need a recommendation for a dentist in a strange city? Ask Yelp. Best pizza in town? Where to to find an emergency(!) beauty salon while traveling? Yes, ask Yelp. All recommendations are user generated (like in TripAdvisor ). Totally trustworthy. I used the site once in Las Vegas to find the best homemade soft ice cream in town. I found the tiny A-frame hut hidden away on a side street off of the North end of the Strip. The huckleberry & mocha sundae made me an instant believer.

See more about Yelp

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A whole collection of Apps are available in the category "Itinerary  Management Apps.

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