11 Best Travel Apps

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Smartphone apps make the world go 'round, and some just help us get around the world. Just think of all the everyday travel mishaps (language barriers, bad meals, flight delays) that are easy to avoid if only phones were armed with handy apps.

Smartphone apps make the world go 'round, and some just help us get around the world. Just think of all the everyday travel mishaps (language barriers, bad meals, flight delays) that are easy to avoid if only phones were armed with handy apps.

We asked ShermansTravel.com for their list of favorite, wave-of-the-future travel apps that are sure to lead people to exclaim "this is genius!"

Text and captions courtesy of ShermanTravel.com, adapted from "Top 10 Travel Apps." Plus, check out a bonus app that's one of our favorites here at AOL Travel.

All photos via Apple.com.

Best Travel Apps
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11 Best Travel Apps (PHOTOS)

AllSubway HD takes the confusion out of confusing undergrounds (ahem, London). The travel app features subway maps for about 128 different cities around the world, from Amsterdam to Sydney to Vancouver. Each map is available offline, which is perfect for navigating from the depths of the metro.

Why ShermansTravel.com likes it: It’s now a cinch to prepare a plan of attack for getting to and fro in a new city. Make use of down time at the airport and use these maps to figure out the best route.

Available on: HD version on iPad, non-HD version on iPhone and iPod touch

Cost: $.99

Flaws: No frills here. These are simply maps with no interactive features.

FlightBoard may be a simple app, but it’s an invaluable one. With FlightBoard, users can view any airport’s Arrivals and Departures screen on a phone and receive push alerts with real-time flight updates. It also allows users to communicate delays via Twitter, email or Facebook.

Why ShermansTravel.com likes it: Airport pick-up duty is a drag. If a loyal friend has signed on for the job, he/she deserves a heads up if a flight is late.

Available on: iPhone, iPad, Android

Cost: $3.99 for FlightBoard, $4.99 for FlightTrack

Flaws: The FlightBoard app alone is pretty basic, and to get the added functionality of FlightTrack (FlightBoard’s integrated counterpart; view plane's location on a map), it costs $4.99 extra.

The social website, Foodspotting, allows users to recommend specific dishes at restaurants and “nom” (nominate) the dishes they absolutely love. The app also shows nearby restaurants, selects best dishes and allows photo sharing.

Why ShermansTravel.com likes it: Foodspotting finds the nearest joint to fulfill cravings. Pizza in Chinatown? Oh yes.

Available on: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android

Cost: Free

Flaws: The app doesn't allow negative reviews, so items can be missing from the menu if no one has "liked" it. 

Avoid “connection withdrawal” with the Free Wi-Fi Finder app. The database of hotspots is updated weekly (users can add new locations themselves, too). No internet connection needed.

Why ShermansTravel.com likes it: This app makes it easy to bypass obnoxious $10-per-hour internet fees at hotels by scouting out local hotspots, many of which are free.  

Available on: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Cost: Free

Flaws: Every hotspot is verified by JiWire, so it may take up to 6 weeks before a new location is added, and hotspots may not be listed in every corner of the world. Bottom line: It still may be difficult to find Wi-Fi in the boonies. But, a resource of more than 545,000 hotspots in 144 countries is still pretty darn awesome.

Google Translate might be one of the most useful apps those not adept in languages. It can translate words and phrases into 57 different languages using voice recognition software. Speak (or type) the phrase and the translation will appear on the screen, or depending on the language, on audio playback (not all languages offer audio playback just yet).

Why ShermansTravel.com likes it: This app is here to save. If in Paris, and the cabbie pretends to not understand, spell or sound out the words to avoid confusion.

Available on: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android

Cost: Free

Flaws: The voice recognition software can be a bit wonky at times, and audio playback is available for most but not all languages. Some exceptions include Thai, Welsh, Catalan, Armenian, Albanian, Basque, Afrikaans, and Slovenian.

Gowalla resembles the popular social location bookmarking site, FourSquare, but this free app was made specifically with the traveler in mind. Gowalla allows people to check in and review places; it also allows users to build up virtual passports, follow pre-planned trips, share photos with friends, and earn rewards. 

Why ShermansTravel.com likes it: Imagine the possibility of traveling without a heavy guide book (some trips are created by trusted experts, too, courtesy of CNN and Nat Geo).

Available on: iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm

Cost: Free

Flaws: Gowalla has not yet reached Foursquare popularity. Still, the trips and tours available provide a much more focused product for the traveler.

Gain access to high-resolution trail maps in 15 different national parks across the country, including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon , and Yosemite. The allows trip-planning, showing points of interests in the parks, and, best of all, pinpoint exact locations on the map to avoid unnecessary detours.

Why ShermansTravel.com likes it: A sense of direction is no longer required to navigate the wilderness. The maps allow users a deep zoom option to better pilot trails; plus the maps work offline for when users are in no man’s land.  The “distance mapping” feature allows users to estimate a hike's length.

Available on: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Cost: $4.99

Flaws: ShermansTravel.com’s only gripe is that they want more maps to more parks.

For anyone that has ever struggled trying to figure out who owes what when sharing the cost of a trip or even just a dinner tab, the Share-a-bill app for iPhone and iPad is a godsend. How it works? Simply input participating individuals (use coefficients to manage specific costs, e.g. Sally had a salad so she only owes $10) and see how the numbers fall.  The transfer option allows easy debt settling.

Why ShermansTravel.com likes it: At just $3.99 for the full version, it seems a small price to pay to keep tabs on who is covering the costs for everything (and who is mooching). 

Available on: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Cost: $3.99 full version, free lite version

Flaws: Share-a-bill will not help with debt collection, but it does allow users to create a breakdown report via email to help spur the action.

The Word Lens app offers an immediate translation service using an iPhone or iPad'sthe camera. Hover over the text in question and the translation appears almost instantaneously. It’s like x-ray vision, but instead of seeing through something, users see another version in place of the original.

Why ShermansTravel.com likes it: Besides the sheer brilliance of it?

Available on: iPhone, iPad

Cost: $9.99 per language pack

Flaws: At present, only an English-to-Spanish pack and a Spanish-to-English pack are available. If the camera is at all shaky, the translation has a tendency to roll to other  possibilities (therefore, not 100 percent accurate).

It may seem right out of a "Seinfeld" episode (in fact, George Costanza invented the fictional version “iToilet” on an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm") but locating the nearest – and cleanest – loo in a foreign city is no small feat SitOrSquat simplifies the search. Its database contains the location of over 100,000 toilets around the world and growing. Search by city, zip code, or, best of all, geolocation.Toilets also come with ratings (a sit or squat stamp depending on cleanliness), sometimes a photo, and a note if the location of the toilet is currently closed.

Why ShermansTravel.com likes it: This app is a savior for those with small bladders. Enough said.

Available on: iPhone, iPod touch, Blackberry Cost: Free

Flaws: Listings can be sparse in less popular cities. However, the sponsorship by Charmin® assures us that the app will continue to increase restroom sites with funding.

The latest app from Autoblog conveniently includes connectivity to AutoblogGreen (for eco-fiends), Translogic (for techies) and AOL Autos Best Deal Program (for constant car shoppers). Users can also surf the latest in auto news and browse galleries of the latest cars and auto accessories.

Cost: Free

Available on: iPhone & iPad

Flaws: Not available on the Blackberry.


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