I’m a recent convert to smartphones. I held onto my flip phone until it was beyond embarrassing, but I didn’t want to turn into one of those phone zombies. You know who they are, those people who are constantly staring at their tiny screens, more interested in what’s displayed there than in what is actually going on around them. But I finally caved. I converted. The choice was pretty much taken out of my hands because I needed a new phone and the only non-smartphones available looked like my Grandma’s phone (big buttons, etc.).
So, it’s been a little while now, and while I’ve definitely had a bit of a smartphone honeymoon phase (with some screen-staring and LOTS of quality time together), I think I’ve managed to avoid becoming a zombie. There’s one aspect of the phone I LOVE, though, and that’s finding great new apps.
It took me awhile to get into the whole app thing. The first few weeks I barely played with the phone, terrified of accidentally using up all the data and then getting slammed with a huge bill. Once I convinced myself that I could check Facebook without derailing my monthly budget, I started to warm up to everything the phone can do. But the apps were overwhelming, at first (to say the least). So many choices…do I pay attention to the reviews? WHAT DO I GET?!! But after some trial and error, I finally have a solid assortment.
Needless to say, most of the apps I have are travel-related. It’s just what I’m interested in, and anything that can make travel (and travel planning) easier/more fun/more organized, is something I want. So, here are a few of my favorite travel apps.
Hipmunk: I love this app (and its corresponding website) because you can search for flights and sort results by something they call “agony.” So instead of getting results sorted only by price or date/time, you can see which will be likely to cause you the least amount of headaches. Because sometimes I’m willing to ante up the extra cash to avoid 2 layovers. Also, their little chipmunk in flight goggles is a totally adorable logo.
GlobeTipping: I hate that awkward moment when you’re sitting in a restaurant, in a country you’ve never traveled to before, and the check comes. Instant panic. What’s the tipping protocol here, again? I don’t want to stiff anyone, but I don’t want to throw away money if the tip is already included. That’s why I love this app; it’s not only a tip calculator, but it has tipping etiquette for any country you could think of.
SeatGuru: This app is just a nerdy travel thing I love. I like being able to plug in my flight details and check out specifics about the plane. You can also click on any seat and it will give you the details on it. Some of the info I got while tapping random seats was “this seat has a misaligned window” and “proximity to the lavatory may be bothersome.”
TripAdvisor City Guides: This app offers city guides for tons of places, from Asia and Australia to Europe and North America. The best part is that once you download the guide for the city you’re in, you can access the info without an Internet connection (no roaming/data charges)! TripAdvisor is my go-to site to check reviews, anyway, so this app makes it easier to quickly get recommendations on the go.
Kindle: Ok, this isn’t strictly a travel app but it’s awesome to have my whole library on my phone. I’m loving the convenience factor. And sometimes, when you’re standing in line waiting, it’s nice to be able to read a few pages of your current book to pass the time.
Share your favorites in the comments. What are some great apps that I missed?
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