These day I wouldn't dream of traveling without my mobile phone although I rarely use it to make calls. Built in GPS means that I almost never get lost (unless I stray out of reach of a decent signal) and my collection of Travel apps keep me amused and informed.
An internet enabled mobile phone is also a great guide book and reference tool. Wondering when that Cathedral was built? Looking for a cheap place to eat? Need to work out a currency conversion? Google has all the answers and more.
Below are 5 of the best mobile Apps for travelers all of which are free to download and use. Some of these Apps are available on other platforms, if not there are likely to be alternatives. If you have anything else to add please do so in the comments.
1. Flightview [iPhone] [Blackberry] [Web]
Flightview lets you keep up to date with flight schedules, weather conditions and the status of your flight. Enter your Airport code (LDN, JFK e.t.c) and your flight number for real time information.
"Receive alerts concerning flight status changes, flight delays, flight cancellations and gate assignment changes, whether your app is open or closed. Use the Notes feature to add car hire and hotel reservation numbers, and other important trip information."
2. Google Maps App [web] [mobile]
The most used feature of my phone when I travel, Google Maps lets you see where you are when combined with the built in GPS which most Smart Phones now have. You can find directions and follow your progress on the map in real time. Use the search feature to locate cash points, coffee shops and train stations. You can also read customer reviews of restaurants and hotels to help you make up your mind.
3. Wi-Fi Finder [Web] [iPhone]
Its pretty obvious what this one does but why? Well roaming data rates can be extortionate so using Wifi can save you a lot of money on your return. Also if you happen own a iPod or non 3G iPad then you are reliant on a Wifi connection to get online. If you can find a free Hotspot then it is a much better option than visiting a cyber cafe.
4. Urbanspoon [iPhone]
Urban spoon helps you to choose where to eat which is particularly useful when you find yourself in a new city with no local knowledge. The user interface is a pleasure to use, simply select a location, a type of cuisine and a price range then shake to see what is suggested. If you don't like what come up then just shake again until you get a satisfactory answer.
5. AccuWeather [iPhone]
Being away from home it can be difficult to keep up to date with the weather forecast. When you are traveling the chances are you will be outside a lot of the time and therefore will need to dress appropriately. The AcuuWeather app using you location and gives you a fairly reliable indication of the approaching weather conditions.