The Friendly Planet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Travel apps’

Friendly Planet Travel’s top 7 posts of 2010

I have to admit. A year ago at this time, I was shakin’ in my boots. We were about to re-launch the Friendly Planet Travel blog on a new platform and I wasn’t sure if our readers would follow us. Then my worries subsided when I saw that our readers did, indeed, come visit us at our new home on the Web. Thank you!

Upon this reflection, I thought I would share with you the blog posts that you loved the most since we made the switch. Here are our top seven posts of 2010.

1.) Vietnam is Anthony Bourdain’s favorite place on Earth to eat. The Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain traveled to his favorite place in the world to eat, Vietnam, for his show, “Anthony Bourdain No Reservations.” I share the Tony’s enthusiasm for Vietnamese food, and tell you how I happily ate my way through the country last year on my trip to Vietnam.

2.) Should you carry cash, credit, or a traveler’s check when traveling? A lot of us are accustomed to paying for most things with our credit or debit cards. It’s easy and convenient. But when you’re traveling, using a credit card might not always be the best option. So before you leave the U.S., I help you determine whether you should be carrying cash, credit, or a traveler’s check.

3.) The best travel apps for your smart phoneIf you have a smart phone, you probably have apps. So which travel apps are worth it? I can’t tell you (just yet), but Becca Torres of the Planet Travel Reservations team can. See which apps made Becca’s cut.

4.) Get exclusive savings on Friendly Planet tours with Hot Deals. For the first time, Friendly Planet Travel started giving subscribers to the Hots Deals mailer exclusive coupon codes on Friendly Planet tours. We told you all about how to sign up to not only get announcements on deals and new destinations, but how to save even more bucks on select tours.

5.) Advice on what you shouldn’t pack in your suitcase. Some people like to pick up every knickknack and souvenir they can get their hands on when they travel. From the hotel shampoo to the restaurant matchstick book, they shove it all into their luggage. Find out what you should keep and what you should toss.

6.) Friendly Planet review: A snapshot of the Best of China tour. Ron and his wife Jan booked the Best of China tour for October 2009. They came back with over 1,600 photos to share. We talk to Ron in a podcast to get the stories behind the photos and what travelers shouldn’t miss when they’re in China.

7.) What to do if you’re stranded in an airportWhat do travelers need to know in the event that some force of nature grounds air traffic and throws their plans into gridlock? I share a few suggestions you can follow if you find yourself stranded, sharing an airport with hundreds of other travelers in the same boat as you.

That’s my wrap up. And if there are any topics you’d like to see covered in the New Year, leave them in a comment on this post.

Seven new travel apps for your smart phone

I’m thinking about promoting Becca Torres, a Friendly Planet Travel reservationist, to travel app extraordinaire. She downloaded and reviewed several apps for us at the beginning of the summer to tell you what she thinks the best travel apps are for your smart phone. And since then, she hasn’t stopped downloading.

She’s been experimenting with even more apps to bring you her latest roundup. Keep reading to see why Becca likes these seven new travel apps. And if you see any that Becca missed that you think deserve a mention, let us know in a comment.

Whether you’re abroad or in the U.S., here are more travel apps I think are worth downloading. I hope you find them to be useful!

TripAdvisor – Gives reviews and advice on hotels, restaurants, flights, vacation rentals, travel guides, and more. It’s helpful if you need to book a hotel in a pinch or want other travelers’ opinions on a particular site. Free for iPhone and Android phones.

World Clock – Stop waking mom and dad up at all hours of the night because you can’t figure out what time it is at home when you’re on the other side of the planet. World Clock comes free with most phones, so put it to use and get the local time. Or opt for the $1.99 version on the iTunes store.

The Weather Channel – Leave your sunscreen at home or pack your poncho. The Weather Channel will tell you what the weather is going to be like in any part of the world. I personally live by it! Free on all smart phones.

Currency Exchange – Dollars to yuan? I can’t do that type of calculation off the top of my head either. Knowing the exchange rate will help you keep your travel budget balanced. Try the Lite version for free on your iPhone or upgrade to Pro for $0.99.

Google Earth – Never pull out a map again if you get lost and need to find your way. Find your location quickly, explore in 3-D, and search by voice to get you going. Available for free on any smart phone.

Twitter App – Keep family and friends updated on your travels in 140 characters or less. You can also search a destination and find out what is happening there. There are numerous Twitter apps to download for every smart phone, but I stick to Twitter’s official app.

Goby App – It’s only available in the U.S. right now, but it tells you all of the events that are going on in your city or town. With over 350 categories of things to do, you can easily plan your social life around this app. Free for the iPhone.

New travel apps for your smart phone

Becca Torres, one of Friendly Planet Travel’s reservationists, told you what she thought were the best travel apps for your smart phone back in June. The other day I saw that listed their favorite “Apps that simplify travel.”

They include some of the apps Becca reviewed and similar ones, such as Gate Guru. But there a few new apps that stand out from the crowd for me. They are
World Customs and CulturesWhere, and Tripwolf.

I’ll be downloading them on my iPhone and will let you know how they stack up as soon as I get to put them to use. Also flip back to the article to see what other travel apps made the cut. And let me know, are there any other travel apps you use that you can’t live without?

The best travel apps for your smart phone

If you have a smart phone, you probably have apps. Maybe you’re looking into some that are the best for travel. Maybe you’re using some that you just love, or maybe you found some you absolutely despise. So which ones are worth it? I can’t tell you (just yet), but Becca Torres, one of Friendly Planet Travel’s reservationists, can.

She sent me an e-mail about some travel apps she experimented with on her smart phone after reading a Conde Nast Traveller article on the topic. Read her e-mail below to see which apps made Becca’s cut.

While reading the May issue of Conde Nast Traveller, I stumbled upon an article titled, “Trip Tech: An App for That.” It listed several helpful travel applications available to smart phone users for little or no charge at all.

After reading the article, I immediately added several of the applications to my MyTouch 3G phone for a test run. What I found was so fantastic that I wanted to share it with our clients. Below is a reference guide to some of the apps mentioned in the article. I hope they work for you as well as they have for me. Happy Travels! 🙂

TripIt – I signed up at Then with one quick e-mail to [email protected], everything about my trip was uploaded to the site and available 24/7. And no matter where I was, the TripIt app on my phone made it visible. Now I can access flight schedules, hotel and airline phone numbers, terminal maps, destination maps, and lots more. The best part — it’s free. Available for Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry.

FlightTrack Pro – This works in conjunction with TripIt and gives you flight updates without ever lifting a finger. You can see predicted flight issues, search flight schedules, or find alternate flights, access flight stats, share your flight status, and review your flights anytime, anywhere. Available for Android and iPhone for $10.

Gate Guru – How many times have you been stuck in an airport terminal? Knowing what’s available in it can make the waiting less painful. The Gate Guru app gives you access to 86 U.S. terminal guides that includes restaurants, shops, bars, and other services. European airports are soon to follow. Available for free only to iPhone users.

Taxi Magic – If you didn’t rent a car while traveling, you’ll need a taxi. Use this app to book a taxi from the Web on your phone, or with a text message. You can also track the arrival of your cab and charge the ride to your credit card, all from the palm of your hand. This service is available in 25 U.S. cities, and if its not available in your city, the program will send you the phone numbers for local cab companies. Available for free for Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone.

Rocket Taxi – Traveling in Europe and can’t find a cab? This app will provide you a list of local cab companies in Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. Even better, it can calculate the estimated fare price with its trip calculator. Available for $2 only to iPhone users.

Zagat To Go – This app will help you find a restaurant, hotel, nightclub, or shop. It doesn’t stop there. It will find reviews and ratings, and will get you there with GPS. It even lets you make reservations instantly. Available for $10 for the Android and iPhone, and $20 for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile users.

Wi-Fi Finder – I love finding free Wi-Fi. This lets you find both free and paid access to Wi-Fi in 135 countries. You can also share a Wi-Fi hotspot through e-mail or your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Available for free for Android and iPhone users.

Siri Assistant – I would love to have my own assistant. That’s not realistic, I’ll admit. But this app comes close enough. All you have to do is say what you want and Siri will find it for you. For example, tell Siri to find a particular type of restaurant in a specific location on a specific date, and you shall receive. This is a voice-activated app that is also available by typing commands. Available for free only to iPhone users.

Bieks Talking Phrasebooks – Another thing I could use is a personal translator. But again, I’ll admit, it’s not realistic. This app give you access to a translator right from your phone. A voice says the word while it appears on your phone. Hearing and seeing it will help you remember it. Available for $15 for Android, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry.

I want to thank Conde Nast Traveller for providing me with the inspiration to download and test drive these apps. Read the full article to see the other apps they recommend. With thousands of apps out there to download, I hope this helped to narrow them down.