Travel is a broad category and there are as many iPhone travel apps available as there are needs. Among the most popular are ones that help you find businesses and services near you. Searches can typically be made based on proximity to an address you input or, with GPS, based on your current location. You can find restaurants based on name, price, style or quality rankings. You can even look for the best place to get pizza, a burrito or sushi locally. Hotel information can be similarly found. For times of desperation, there are even a couple of iPhone travel apps that will direct you to the nearest restroom complete with descriptions and photos.
Many travel apps can be tailored for any number of destinations worldwide while others are geared only to a particular location. You can find comprehensive travel guides for major cities such as New York, Washington D.C. or Istanbul. There are other local guides that are very specific in nature. For example, you can get a detailed map of Shanghai’s subway or a guide to free tours in Boston. Some tell you how to call a taxi for your location or how to tune in to a local radio station of your liking.
For air travelers, there are apps that will provide up-to-the-minute flight schedules including changes that according to developers, often reach your iPhone more quickly than they are posted at the airport. Planning a departure can be simplified by programs that offer gate assignments, delays based on weather or traffic, and even expected wait times at security check points.
International travelers can find the confidence to communicate in a wide range of languages with apps that offer translations that can heard and then repeated or others that allow you to type in a phrase in your own language, then display it in written form on your iPhone to someone else in his or her native tongue. This feature can be particularly helpful when translating to a language that uses a different alphabet or characters. There are also several currency converters that easily convert to and from the world’s many monetary units.
The driving traveler has not been overlooked. Many programs offer driving directions, but these are specialized ones which help avoid motoring hazards like traffic jams, construction delays and speed traps. Many areas worldwide display live feeds from local traffic cameras onto your iPhone. GPS-based programs can help you locate hotels, restaurants, and even the nearest and lowest priced gasoline.
Information offered by travel apps can generally be obtained from other sources, so in order for any of these apps to be valuable, they must make that same information more easily available to you. When choosing travel apps, be careful to determine specifically if you’ll need information based on locations you type in or if you want the program to give you information based on your GPS location. Make sure that the application has information for the locations you expect to visit. Details of the Beijing subway are worthless if you’re trying to catch the tube in London.
When traveling, you typically need information right away. Make sure the interface is simple and intuitive and that the information provided is clear and concise. You’ll simply ignore any application that is difficult to use or understand.
You won’t be wowed by the graphics in travel apps as you might be with a game. Look for displays that are clear and easily legible particularly regarding maps. Type should be large enough to simply glance at it for your information. Don’t expect live shots such as traffic cameras to be exciting, but they should be informative.
As with any other app, it simply has to work reliably. If it freezes your handset, you have the double problem of not getting the information you’re looking for and also of losing your communication link.
Travel applications vary widely in size from less than 0.1MB to several hundred MB with translation programs ranking among the largest. Just be aware of the size of the program you’re considering and the available memory on your device.
iPhone travel apps are perfect for the globe-trotting set as well as exploring in your own hometown. The best apps will help you locate the hidden gems in most any locale, communicate with the natives and add pleasure to your overall trip. Considering buying an iPhone 3G? Be sure to read our iPhone smartphone review. You might also be interested in our GPS reviews for both navigation and recreation. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™