Travel apps recommended by experts

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the price of the National Parks, by the National Geographic Society app as $3.99. It is free. The error has been corrected below.

May 18, 2012
What the experts recommend

Show us your travel apps; that’s what we really want to see. With thousands of special tools on the market, and more flooding it every day, we wanted to find out which apps real travelers are using. So we asked five seasoned explorers to whip out their smartphones and tablets and give us a peek at their icons. Here are some they tell us they can’t visit a new destination without.

Robert Reid

U.S. travel editor of Lonely Planet

XE Currency: Converts every world currency and calculates the most up-to-date rate. Free.

FlightAware: Tracks flight info, including status of arriving and departing planes, gate/terminal changes, delays, cancellations and connections. Free.

Google Translate: Translates written and spoken words and phrases (64 and 17 languages, respectively) and speaks the translations of 24 languages aloud. Provides phonetic spellings for non-Latin languages. Free.

Lonely Planet city and country guidebooks: The 70-plus free city guidebooks highlight attractions, restaurants, hotels and other touring essentials all vetted by the Lonely Planet experts. Free. The company recently unveiled its first crop of country guidebooks, on Italy, Ireland, Australia, France, Spain and Costa Rica, for $9.99 each.

Amanda Harary Cohen

New York University senior majoring in hotel and tourism management

Groupon Getaways:
Find and purchase flash-sale deals in hundreds of cities. Also includes discounted vacations and hotels sold through Groupon Getaways. Lets you organize your coupons by date and location. Free.

Jetsetter: Alerts members to daily sales and exclusive iPhone deals on high-end hotels, weekend trips, safaris and other excursions. Booking capabilities, plus reviews and photos. Free.

Hotel Tonight: Reserve last-minute deals on hotels around North America, including Toronto, Las Vegas, New York and Austin. “It’s simple, straight to the point, has clear and relevant pictures, and categorizes the hotels (hip, basic, luxe).” Free.

Interval International:
A directory of global timeshare resorts. “I’m planning on using my family’s timeshare soon, so I keep referring to it.” Free.

Keith Bellows

Editor of National Geographic Traveler

Travel app box:
A collection of 15 tools, such as a tip calculator, currency and unit converter, phrase and pictography dictionary, and country calling codes. $1.99.

National Parks, by the National Geographic Society: Offers trail maps for 20 national parks, including Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Death Valley. Also shows the distance to your destination, and marks your car or campsite for an easy return. Free.

National Geographic Traveler: Displays the entire issue of the monthly magazine and special features, such as
360-degree panoramic photos. Free.

World Atlas, by National Geographic Society: Three styles of world maps (classic, antique, satellite). Also learn about country flags and facts, search places (7 million available) and stick a pushpin in visited or aspirational destinations. $1.99.

Norm Rose

Senior technology analyst for PhoCusWright.

TripIt: Organizes all your reservations — plane, hotel, restaurant, etc. — into one itinerary. Free.

Viator: Sift through — then book — any of 9,000 tours and activities in destinations around the world. Search by location, date or activity. Free.

TripAdvisor: Millions of consumer reviews for every segment of travel — hotels, restaurants, tours, etc. With the Near Me Now feature, locate attractions in your vicinity.

RailEurope: Check schedules, book tickets and reserve seats on 35 European railroads in 32 countries. Free.

Rolf Potts

Vagabonding” author, blogger and world traveler.

AroundMe: Finds the nearest restaurants, bars, hotels and other establishments from your location. Displayed on a map for easy navigation. Free.

Potts also uses apps for public transit in Philadelphia and New York.

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