Before you pack your holiday bags for a trip to visit your folks or for a European Getaway, the travel aficianados have advice for what to pack in your smallest piece of luggage —your smartphone. The apps recommended by prolific freelance travel and food writer, Gayle Keck, will help you phone home, find your destination, secure restaurant reservations and translate languages. The staff at travel book publisher, Avalon Travel, has app recommendations for self-guided walking tours, finding rest areas on car trips, navigating most airports, keeping your air itinerary handy and getting around subway systems.
Gayle Keck ( a freelance travel and food writer) Recommends:
-Skype (iOS, Blackberry, Android and Select Verizon phones)
“If you’re traveling internationally it’s indispensible if you have access to Wi-Fi. There are incredible cost-savings. I’ve usually had good luck with call quality.”
-Google Maps (Android, Blackberry, iOS, Nokia or S60 and Windows Phone)
“If I’m driving in the US, I look to see what the traffic is like. I may switch my route based on traffic.”
-OpenTable (Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows Phone and webOS)
“If I already know of a restaurant in a particular location, it’s a fairly easy way to make a reservation on the fly.”
-Google Translate (iOS and Android)
“It’s good enough to get by when you can’t find someone who speaks English. You can type in whole sentences.”
Favorite Apps of Avalon Travel Books Staff:
-Truck Stops USA (iOS)
“During our cross-country move I used the Truck Stops USA app for finding rest areas, services, weigh stations (had to take the moving truck through the scales), local fuel prices, and current weather conditions. It was pretty handy having all that information in a single app.” — Gayle Hart, Web Content Editor.
-Metro Paris Metro Subway (iOS)
“If you’re planning a trip to Paris, the Metro Paris Subway app is a must! There are similar apps for the London Tube and the NYC subway, but the Metro Paris one is the best.” — Sierra Machado, Publishing Assistant.
-Trip It (iOS, Android Blackberry and Windows Phone 7) and GateGuru (iOS and Android)
“When I’m taking a vacation and flying to a destination, I like keeping all my itinerary information in one place with the Trip It app. I also love Gate Guru for finding what shops, restaurants, and service options a particular airport has. It’s prefect for layovers and long breaks between flight connections because I don’t have to hike the entire airport with luggage in tow.” — Gayle Hart, Web Content Editor.
-Rick Steves’ Walks & Tours apps (audio tours on Android and iOS, mapped tours iOS)
Want an accomplished tour guide on your trip without constant supervision? Avalon Travel author Rick Steves shows you around Europe with audio tours of cities and attractions. An interactive walking tour where you can click on tourist attractions and restaurants for detailed information is available for iOS users only.
Don’t see your phone or phone’s operating system on your favorite app? Search for a similar app compatible with your smartphone. You may find an app with a similar name by the same app creator.
Reyna Gobel is a freelance journalist who specializes in financial fitness. She is also the author of Graduation Debt: How To Manage Student Loans and Live Your Life.