So in about 2 weeks time, I’ll be trekking my way over to America. It’s been around a year since my last overseas trip. And I guess last year I was spoiled as my sister planned pretty much everything. We spent a lot of time Facebooking, Wiki-ing, printing, Lonely Planeting. So most of the information we needed ended up being quite scattered. It was a good thing my sister was well organised though carrying around a folder full of printouts..
So in planning this US trip, I figured there has got to be an easier way. So I found some really useful sites and applications. So much so that I hadn’t even had the need to open my Lonely Planet guide that I got for Christmas. So here are the travel apps that I found most useful (note I didn’t try every application, but these are the ones that worked great for me).
Trip Advisor (www.tripadvisor.com) is a great resource for finding accommodation and touristy places to see. Being community driven, there are community ratings on what the hotels like. What I found really useful was that it allowed you to search multiple hotel websites from the one place. This added an extra level of convenience instead of having to search each site manually. There were also City Guide Android applications (e.g. Los Angeles) which provided offline content and maps which I think will be extremely useful when I’m over in the US.
I’m going to tell you now that if you’re not using TripIt (http://www.tripit.com) to store your itineraries then you really should. What TripIt provides is the ability to create itineraries for the places that you’re going to. It stores information like your hotel confirmation numbers, the hotel’s address and contact information. This means you can essentially save some trees by not printing out your confirmation E-Mails. But the best part about TripIt is that you can just E-Mail your plans to a special E-Mail address and TripIt will automagically suck out all the useful information for you to build your itinerary. It saved me a lot of data entering. Lastly, the Android application let’s you view all of this information offline (which is great due to insane International Roaming fees). It’s also useful if you’re picking people up from the airport as it will tell you when the flights are delayed so you don’t get shooed off (like they do to you at Adelaide Airport).
So I downloaded this application during Google’s 10 cent apps sale. FlightTrack is an Android application (and I’m sure there’s an iPhone version) which as the name implies tracks your flights. Although TripIt also stores information about your flights, FlightTrack goes one better and provides updates to you on which gate you need to go to at the airport, and if the plane is running on time or if it’s running late. On my last flight I was on, it provided me with 30 extra minutes in the Virgin Lounge. If you buy the extra super dooper app (which I did not), it can also suck data from TripIt.
Are there any other travel apps that you’ve found that have been indispensable? Let me know in the comments below.