- June 26th 2012
Yesterday, I started a list of must-have free Android travel apps, as I get ready to switch to a new smartphone. Here’s the rest of that list.
Need to find a hotel near where you are staying? That’s exactly what Hotels is design for. Including more than 160,000 hotels in 101 countries, this app uses your phone’s GPS to find nearby hotels and allow you to book at great rates.
We’ve mentioned Kayak before for other platforms in our previous travel app roundups and there’s a reason why it’s also in this list. It’s because it’s one of the best ways to check out deals for flights, hotels and car rentals and also make bookings when you find the right deal. It includes trip management, flight status information, info on baggage fees, airport information and contact numbers for airlines.
Another great Android travel app is Tripit, which lets you organize your travel itinerary and share it with others. All you have to do is forward all reservations to TripIt and you get a beautiful itinerary which you can look at any time you want. An ad-free paid version is also available.
With this app, the name says it all. It’s a one stop shop for nearby local places – stores, restaurants, local businesses and more. And it’s got a social side, so you can share favorite places with friends and see where they like to hang out.
With Wikitude, augmented reality comes to your phone. Point it at what you are looking at and you can see what’s around you, get more info, bookmark favorite places and much more. Share your top spots with friends and check out tweets, Wikipedia articles on more on the places you are visiting. This is a mind-blowing app which you are sure to enjoy (it’s been installed around 5 million times, so you know people love it!)
Bonus: Angry Birds Space
No, this isn’t a travel app, but a girl needs some entertainment on a long trip and for me, Angry Birds Space is it. Having tried all the PC versions of this popular game, that’s the one I plan to install on my new phone when it arrives.
So, what are your free Android travel app recommendations? And which apps are you willing to pay for?
Planning your vacation? You can make summer savings on airport parking with Park Ride Fly USA.
- June 25th 2012
Well, I’m finally thinking of making the switch to an Android phone. Since my trusty Nokia, previously one of my favorite travel accessories, has started crashing randomly a few times a week, it has to go. And though I’ll be sorry to say goodbye, I can’t help feeling excited about finally being able to check out some of the great apps for travel that are available.
Want to be sure exactly how much you’re spending when you travel abroad? Then you can’t do without this free tool so you always know what’s happening with your money. With up to date info on currencies you will always be able to tell if you’re getting a bargain or getting gypped.
If you need to keep track of your business travel expenses then there’s no better way to do it than with Expensify, a free tool that most business travelers rank among their must-haves. Incorporating credit card and bank account sync and receipt scanning, as well as standard expense logging, this program will take the hassle out of generating expense reports.
Real time flight info is essential when you travel and FlightView’s free flight tracker gives you just that (provided you are tracking flights that start or end in the US. Set up flight status alerts, share itineraries and check out delays. There are also paid versions of this ad-supported app.
The free Google Maps app is one of the best ways to take advantage of your phone’s GPS features. It has 3D buildings and Street View so you know what you are looking at, voice guided navigation and directions for public transit, cycling, walking or driving. There’s even info on traffic jams and local search is also built right into the app.
Rated a top app by more than 200,000 people (and counting), Google Translate allows translation between 64 languages, allows you to speak the phrase you want to translate (in 17 languages), reads the translation aloud (can anyone say Universal Translator?) and much more, including, of course, a built in dictionary.
Those are the first five on the list of must-have Android travel apps. Tune in tomorrow for part 2.
Planning your vacation? You can make summer savings on airport parking with Park Ride Fly USA.
- November 3rd 2011
For the last couple of months we’ve been running a series of travel blogger profiles here on the Taking Off Travel Blog. It’s been fascinating to find out more about the travel bloggers we meet online. I asked them to complete this sentence: ‘I never travel without …’ Here’s what they said:
One of the questions I’ve asked them is ‘what don’t you travel without?’ Here’s what they said.
Some travel bloggers are snap happy.
- I never travel without a good book, a diary and my camera because you’ll never be bored if you’ve got them to entertain you and you’ll go home with some great stories and photos too. – Annabel Candy
- I never travel without my camera because you just never know when you’ll snap that once in a lifetime moment. – Lola Akerstrom
- I never travel without a digital camera which is obviously used for travel photos but also because it’s useful to keep digital copies of important documents with you. – Lea Woodward
- I never travel without my camera and pashmina. I am a total shutterbug snapping picture all the time. Photography of beautiful places, architecture, nature, and scenery inspire my heart to dream and just thank God for His goodness. My pashmina is so light and comfortable it comes in handy on a chilly plane ride and also as a stylish around the shoulders wrap. – Angela Pettit
Others need to stay connected.
- I never travel without my laptop! Unfortunately and actually very fortunately, my business is 100% location independent, so I can work from anywhere. But that also means not going anywhere without my computer. – Marina Villatoro
- I never travel without my Mac laptop because it’s the key to our travel lifestyle that allows me to stay in touch with family, blog, school, etc where ever we are in the world. – Soultravelers3
Fitness is important for some.
- I never travel without my running shoes, because fitness is so important to me. (Plus it’s a great way to fight fatigue and jet lag.) – Andy Hayes
- I never travel without my Yoga mat because practicing Yoga keeps me flexible and healthy. – Barbara Weibel
And this one’s my favorite response to date:
- I never travel without an open mind, because you can miss so much if you visit a place with a preconceived mind set. – Brian of Discovering Puerto Rico
You can read all the travel blogger profiles so far here:
- Featured Travel Blogger: Annabel Candy
- Featured Travel Blogger: Lea Woodward
- Featured Travel Blogger: Marina Villatoro
- Featured Travel Blogger: Andy Hayes
- Travel Blogger Profile: Soultravelers3
- Featured Travel Blogger: Barbara Weibel
- Featured Travel Blogger: Brian of Discovering Puerto Rico
- Featured Travel Blogger: Lola A. Akerstrom
- Featured Travel Blogger: Angela Petitt
Get in touch via this post (Travel Blogger Profiles – Want To Be Featured?) or the contact form if you want be be featured in our Tuesday travel blogger profile slot.
- October 5th 2011
Here on the blog, we’ve been running an occasional series on best travel gadgets. One of the recent travel accessories featured was my Amazon Kindle. But with the recent launch of 4 new Kindles (including a tablet), does my own Kindle suddenly look less shiny? Let’s have a look at the new options.
First of all, the Kindle 3 is now the Kindle Keyboard, with Wi-Fi and 3G versions – no particular appeal there, except the graphite finish and the slightly smaller size and weight than my Kindle 2. These also hold 3,500 books and are priced at $99 and $139. Not much change either to the Kindle DX, as far as I can see.
Then there’s the Kindle, an entry level Wi-Fi Kindle with a 5-way controller and no keyboard. If you’ve already got a Kindle, I don’t see the point, as it holds fewer books and has a one month battery life, but at less than 6 ounces the weight is appealing and you can’t argue with a $79 price tag.
Then there’s the Kindle Touch, the cheapest new Kindle with its new touchscreen interface. I have to admit this one appeals. Compared to my Kindle 2, these have a longer 2 month battery life, are lighter at 7.5 ounces for Wi-fi and 7.8 ounces for Wi-Fi plus 3G), hold more books (3,000) and will stop me from ever having to click again. I’m wondering if the narrow area for paging back will work well, as this is a function I use a lot. The two versions are priced at $99 and $149 respectively.
The new hotness, as my sister would call it, is the $199 Kindle Fire, which aims to take market share from the iPad. This is the first color Kindle device and it looks good. Touch enabled, this Kindle has a 7 inch color screen, has 8GB of onboard storage, runs on Android, has a new browser (far better than the experimental version on other Kindles) and more. It allows you to run apps and games, play movies and browse the web. What it doesn’t have is a camera or microphone, so you won’t be able to Skype your friends (at least, not using video).
There’s no denying that the idea of seeing magazines in color is appealing and at $199, the price tag isn’t too shabby either. If you want a reading device on which you can also play games, watch movies and browse the web, then why wouldn’t you have the Kindle Fire? If you want a more interactive web experience, then it probably won’t cut it compared with the iPad. However, if you don’t need to Skype and want an all purpose entertainment gadget for your kids, then this will knock the socks off other gaming devices.
As for me, I just like to read on my reading device, so the Kindle Fire isn’t likely to be my favorite travel gadget anytime soon. However, I could be tempted by an upgrade to the Wi-Fi Kindle Touch once the international edition is available. Which one would you choose? Check out all the options on Amazon.
- September 5th 2011
One of my favorite travel accessories is a real workhorse, so it seems fitting to feature it today – the rucksack (or backpack). I had my first rucksack more years ago than I’m prepared to reveal and since then I’ve loved the sheer convenience of it. It’s great to be able to carry stuff on your back while leaving your hands free, and somehow the weight doesn’t seem as bad when the load is spread, especially if you choose one with broad, highly padded straps. I especially love rucksacks with lots of zipped pockets because it makes it easy to organize your stuff. Here are some of the ways I’ve used them:
- as a handbag – though bigger than the average purse, the various pockets make it easy to carry everything you’d normally have in a purse without being weighed down.
- as a laptop bag – my first laptop was heavy and the only way to carry it comfortably was on my back.
- as a shopping trolley – there’s no better way to store your purchases when you browse the markets and stores on your trips.
- as a pillow – if you’ve ever had to sleep in a car or wanted to take an afternoon nap after a picnic in a park, a full rucksack is a great place to rest your head.
Over the years, I’ve struggled to curb my laptop addiction. Now that I’ve got a smaller laptop and since carry-ons have got much smaller, my rucksack of choice at the moment is a yellow open-topped yellow model with a single zipped pocket. That said, I still find myself looking at rucksacks whenever I’m in the luggage section. Do you like rucksacks? What’s the best one you’ve ever had?
Check out more favorite travel accessories.