10 must-have travel apps for summer

July 15, 2011

Kara Ohngren is a writer and editor at SecondAct. This article originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. —

Summer’s here and more than likely you’ll be driving, flying or cruising somewhere soon. From planning to packing to dealing with airline delays, there’s no doubt that traveling can be stressful.

To make things easier, be sure to upload these practical apps before you leave town.

1. FlightBoard
Price: $3.99
Forget shuffling for position in front of those tiny arrival and departure monitors at the airport. This iPhone/iPad app allows travelers to check real-time flight info for 4,000 airports and 1,400 airlines worldwide. Modeled after the classic flight board at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, the simple interface is easy to read. Users can also share flight info with friends via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail.

2. TripIt
Price: Free
Between airline tickets, hotel and rental car confirmations and maps, you need a filing cabinet just to keep all your travel docs in order. But this app organizes all of your trip details into one master itinerary — even if you booked arrangements on multiple travel websites. You also can book restaurant reservations, theater tickets and other activities from within the itinerary, which can easily be shared with family members and friends online.

3. GateGuru
Price: Free
Stuck in an unfamiliar airport with a long layover can really put a damper on your day. This app helps you locate the best food, shopping and service options close to your gate.

4. Foodspotting
Price: Free
Finding good eats while traveling isn’t always easy. Eat like a local with this ultimate traveling foodie app that answers the question, “What’s good around here?” You can see photos of the nearest, latest and best foods close to your current location. . If you’re in the mood for something particular, you can search for it, and once you’re at a restaurant, the app helps you determine what to order.

5. Ship Mate
Price: $1.99
This app for Royal Caribbean travelers is helpful while cruising the high seas on those gargantuan vessels. Along with tracking the ship’s location, you can organize the day’s activities, access deck maps, learn about your destinations, check the weather and track your expenses.

6. PackTM
Price: $1.99
You may not think you need an app to pack your bags, but this one might come in handy on long trip where you need several bags. This app allows unorganized travelers to create lists of the items they’ve pack in each bag for multiple trips. The app also suggests how much to pack, based on the duration of your trip. The Packing Catalog creates a master categorized inventory of everything in your bags.

7. Roadside America
Price: $2.99
This iPhone app makes spicing up a long road trip easy. Never miss a giant twine ball, crazy museum or funky roadside statue again. Find the nation’s most unusual attractions and tourist traps along your route.

8. Cheap Gas!
Price: Free
With sky-high gas prices, it’s important to find the best deals while traveling. This free app helps you find the cheapest fuel nearest to where you are, then maps a route to the station. The coolest feature is the augmented reality, or “Cyborg View,” which displays prices on the screen when the iPhone camera is pointed at a given gas station.

9. Google Translate
Price: Free
Hablas Español? No need. This new app translates voice input for 15 languages, and you can translate typed words or phrases into more than 50 languages. You also can listen to your translations spoken out loud in one of 23 languages. You can enlarge the translated text to full-screen size, making it easier to show to the person you’re communicating with.

10. SitOrSquat
Price: Free
Face it, finding a restroom while traveling can be a real challenge. This app tells you where to find the closest place to relieve yourself and whether that place is worth sitting or squatting (or standing) at.

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