Best Apps and Sites to Use While Traveling
We've all been there. You have everything planned down to the very last detail. The perfect location. The perfect flight itinerary. The perfect hotel. But then you arrive. And suddenly you remember-you didn't bother to look up any good restaurants. And all the museums you planned on visiting? You saw it all in the first day. So now what? That's where these sites and apps come in.
You're hungry, but you want to be more adventurous than just going to the places that are in every guidebook. Check out Chowhound.com for an online gathering of very opinionated food lovers who want nothing more than to share exactly how they feel about their local restaurants and bars, from what people really think of those guidebook favorites to recommendations for more off-the-beaten-path ethnic eateries worth the trip.
With 31 cities and growing (including London and Paris), you'll need this site to help you get around once you've exhausted all the cab money you care to spend. Easy point-to-point directions and options for bus and subway routes make this site totally easy to navigate and a true life saver.
OANDA currency converter (free)
With the ability to convert amounts for over 190 currencies, you'll always know exactly what your money's worth, no matter where you are. Another cool feature for frequent travelers: The converter automatically lists your 10 most frequently used currencies for easy access.
Convert Units for Free (free)
Even the smartest traveler can be easily tripped up converting miles to kilometers, pounds to kilograms, and even Fahrenheit to Celsius. That's why this app is so great, whether you are trying to decide just how far it is to the next museum or whether 20 degrees Celsius means putting on a sweater or not.
You always promise yourself that you will keep a detailed record of everywhere you went, every place you ate, your every thought on the hotels you stay in. But then you have to decide between packing a novel and packing a journal, and the book always wins. Instead, download this app that will help you log all the meaningful experiences right on your phone -- no pen required. Everlater also lets you store and show photos and videos and record favorite restaurants and hotels.
This app is especially useful when traveling with children, since it quickly finds nearby restrooms based on your global location. You can see them on a map or in a list sorted by distance, and the app also shows which are open and even offers ratings of the toilets and lists special features, like handicap accessibility, baby changing tables, high-speed hand dryer availability, etc. Ingenious.
The newest, coolest way to keep in touch when traveling is a return to the good old days of postcards. Well, sort of. The Postman app lets you snap a photo, pick one from your own personal library, or use a Google Maps shot of your current local, then chose a theme, add a greeting, write a message and wham, bam-you know the rest. It's today's postcard. Trust us, your mom will love it.
Ever been a new city and spent way too much time driving around searching for an open parking spot? It can ruin a whole day. This cool app offers instant access to parking garages and compares prices in U.S. cities. Using the iPhone's GPS to find your location, the Spotasaurus can sort out all of the nearby parking garages, tell you which ones are cheapest and sort them by hourly, daily or monthly rates. It also provides address, phone numbers, and information on whether or not the garages accept credit credits. Done and done. Now get out of the car and get on with your trip.
Word Lens ($9.99 per language)
So you managed to book a trip to Spain without actually learning the entire Spanish language? That's okay -- you can ditch the heavy Spanish-to-English dictionary and download the awesome Word Lens app instead. This innovative app translates printed words in real time right on your iPhone. All you have to do is point your iPhone at that Spanish menu and magically it will appear in English right on your screen. While it's currently only available in Spanish-to-English and English-to-Spanish versions, Quest Visual, the app developer, has plans to offer additional languages very soon.
Touted as "the World's Largest Audio Guide," this app offers over half a million voice files on anywhere that's anywhere to be on your trip. With global coverage on hundreds of thousands of locations, geolocation capabilities for instant info on what's nearby and an easy-to-use search function for anything from closest cafes to best local bookstores, you'll never run out of things to do on your next vacation.
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