Cambodia boat people on Ton Le Sap
Ice cold Coca Cola in the middle of Ton Le Sap, Cambodia

It would be remiss in 2011 to ignore the multitude of mobile apps being developed for travel purposes.

In full disclosure**, I’m not currently using any of these apps other than through my Blackberry’s web browser, but have done some research to provide you with an overview of the capabilities. As I’m typing this, more apps are being developed in more formats; this list is just the first stage and it will be updated whenever I discover must-have apps.

Check the fees associated and consider what impact using these apps will have on your data plan when accessing from international locations.

I’ve included links when available. Otherwise you may have to do some digging to find these apps.

Trip Research and Planning app for searching and booking hotels

Air BnB – book B&Bs in 170 countries with photos. iphone

Conde Nast Traveler City Guides – iphone/ipod touch – available from the itunes store

Zagat – restaurant reviews for 100+ cities worldwide including 40,000+ reviews. GPS-enabled searching, recommendations and instant online reservations. iphone, android, blackberry

Time Out London Guide – more cities in the works

Footprints – guides to more exotic locales, like Havana and Hanoi. iphone/ipod touch. Android soon come. This is not the same as the Footprint app that tracks your every move.

Berlitz Language/Dictionary Apps and Travel Guides – apps for languages and guides for major cities.

Inn Touch – guide to US inns and B&Bs. iphone

LocalEats – provides top 100 lists from noted food bloggers and newspaper food columnists/critics of the top restaurants in America’s 50 largest cities. Focus is on local restaurants, not chains.

Trip Preparation – my favorite foreign currency site has just released a mobile app

Weather Channel apps 

UNESCO World Heritage – list by country of UNESCO sites – iphone/ipad and ipod touch

On the Trip

Instagram – social, mobile, local. Photo, share and like pictures of everything. For those who want to document every minute of their trip, everything they ate and more.

FlightTrack – live flight status checker. Check delays, gate info and more. iphone. Mobiata, the developer, has a number of other useful travel apps like FlightBoard.

Car Care & Roadside Emergencies – iphone/ipod touch. Available on itunes.

Red Cross First Aid App

Shazam – tells you the artist/title of any song playing on the radio – various platforms

Yelp and Urbanspoon have good apps for finding restaurants.

Paris Pastries – Over 300 of Paris’s best pastry, chocolate, ice cream and candy shops chosen by David Lebovitz.

TKTS App – for discounted same day theater tickets for major cities like NYC, London, Washington DC. For iphone and android

Smartcity Paris App, London App – available on iTunes or for Android – search for other cities. In English and French.

AroundMe – geo-aware app shows restaurants, bars, gas stations, etc. closest to your current location. Available at itunes.

My City Way – started for NYC – now 50+ cities. Travel essentials like wifi, public restrooms, museum exhibits. For iphone, ipad, Blackberry, Android

Snapshot Postcard allows you to send photos from your iphone that arrive as emailed postcards.

The TomTom App will turn your iphone into a GPS.

Sit or Squat – Charmin sponsored user maintained guide to public restrooms. iphone

Wi-fi finder. iphone

TripIt – maintains your itineraries and links to hotels, airlines, restaurants, car rentals. Maps too. iphone, android, blackberry

Gasbag – guide to gas stations and their price for gas, by location. iphone. available on itunes

Skype – needs wifi not G3 to work, but will reduce your worldwide long distance costs substantially. Free calls to Skype users, and pennies to call landlines.

TripJournal – document your trip in real time. Uses GPS to track your route. Upload and share photos. iphone, android

ColorSnap – not really a travel application, but this cool Sherman Williams application enables you to create custom paint colors you provide from photographs.

Google Apps:

Google Earth – most platforms – free

Google Translate – iphone/ipod touch, Android – free

Google Goggles – immediately identifies the subject of any photo snapped on your phone. iphone/Android

Lonely Planet Mobile :

Lonely Planet City Guides with phrasebook – iphone/ipad

Trippy for Android

Nokia City Guides and Phrasebooks

**5/2/13 UPDATE: Well, I’ve joined the 21st Century and now have a smart phone thanks to my departure from Corporate America. Bye bye Blackberry! Some of my favorite travel apps: TripIt, Oanda’s Currency Converter, Kayak, Tripadvisor, FlySmart and GateGuru (not sure which of these I like more, so I have them both), HotelTonight, English to Spanish Dictionary. Vivino to track all the wines I’ve had and/or am curious about tasting. Groupon for deals, searchable by city. And, too many great city specific guides to list.


This article originally posted on May 19,2011

Some Pretty Cool Mobile Travel Apps