The Mac vs. PC debate continues to rage on, but you can’t argue with the fact that the iPhone is an exceptionally handy little gadget. With the help of just a few apps, you can shop for your favorite items, find new restaurants, get alerts for upcoming events, and even get customized turn-by-turn directions to get you from point A to B without buying additional equipment. The iTunes App Store is packed with thousands of applications, which gives you plenty of ways to customize your iPhone, but it can be frustrating to wade through the duds. For travelers, apps can improve your globetrotting experience ten-fold and can range from fun to functional – send your friends back home a personalized ePostcard with one, and navigate the New York City subway system on another. Check out these 15 exceptionally helpful apps which can help make your journey around the globe a lot easier, all coming in at $5 dollars or less.
1. TripIt (Free)
With Tripit, you can organize all of your upcoming trip info, itineraries, and rental car information in one app that links to your online Tripit account. Plus, you can email your travel conformations to Tripit and it will automatically sort and detail your plans.
2. Flight Status ($5)
Not only can you check thousands of flights in real-time with Flight Status, but you can view weather maps for your destination city, as well as terminal and gate info.
3. Urbanspoon (Free)
Leave your dining plans in the hands of Urban Spoon, which uses restaurant popularity, neighborhood, and price to select a dining place near you. Don’t like what Urban Spoon suggests? Just shake your iPhone for a new option.
4. Where (Free)
Where is your all-in-one app that shows you what’s around you. From gas prices, traffic travel times, movie listings, and where to find the nearest Starbucks for your coffee fix, Where can do it all.
5. Babelingo ($1)
It’s hard enough being in a foregin country where you don’t speak the language, so worrying about whether or not you’re botching the language is an additional stress no one likes to experience. Instead of fumbling your way through, just use Babelingo. Packed with over 300 phrases, and translating to over 11 languages, Babelingo allows you to show a phrase on your iPhone screen, rather than trying to pronounce it. Need to get to the airport? Flash the phrase to your cabbie and he’ll know exactly where you need to go.
6. Skype (Free)
Instead of racking up the international roaming fees, hop on to any WiFi signal and use Skype to make free calls over the internet instead.
7. CurCon ($1)
CurCon lets you quickly convert currencies from over 170 countries and regons with a stylized scrolling wheel.
8. Hear Planet ($5)
Forget those expensive guided tours, turn your iPhone into your own personal tour guide with Hear Planet. With global coverage, Hear Planet finds landmarks, museums, and historical sites based on your location, then provides an audio tour to give you insider information on your surroundings.
9. Iamhere ($1)
Lose your travel buddy? Just activate Iamhere. With a few taps on your screen, Iamhere sends your pal an email complete with your location on a map, and directions on how to get to you.
10. Spots ($2)
If you can’t disconnect from your online life and checking your email is a daily routine, try using Spots to find a free wifi signal. Spots works offline to locate the wireless hotspots around your current location, so you can still find a signal even if your iPhone can’t.
11. Google Earth (Free)
Find your place in the world no matter where you are with Google Earth. The Google Earth app supplies you with the same satellite and aerial imagery as desktop version, and with a swipe of your finger, you can travel the world virtually.
12. Lonely Planet City Guide ($1 and up)
Leave the bulky guidebook at home and download a Lonely Planet City Guide instead. Coming in at a fraction of the price of the paper guidebook, the travel app is packed with all the great info you’ve come to expect from Lonely Planet with easy access from your iPhone.
13. Gate Maps ($1)
Gate Maps provides you with airport terminal layouts for over 30 airports, and is adding to the database everyday. Gate Maps operates offline, so you can check gates and terminals of your destination airport while in-flight, allowing you to make a quick and smooth exit.
14. Postman ($1)
Make your friends jealous of your latest excursion by sending them a custom epostcard with Postman. Just snap a photo, include a message, and select a contact, and the postcard is on it’s way!
15. Travel Channel Go (Free)
Take along tips and hints from your favorite Travel Channel hosts with the Travel Channel Go app. Use audio and video guides to get the most out of your next trip, and share your favorite spots with fellow Travel Channel Go users.