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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.

Friendly Planet tour guide Allan Rabinowitz walks the Israel Trail to fight ALS

Allan Rabinowitz knew there was something special about Israel when he first visited the country over 20 years ago … because he never left! And today Allan is using his love of the country to help him honor the memory of his mother, who in 2008, passed away after battling ALS. Israeltrailsc.jpg

Allan, his wife, and their 18-year-old son are walking the entire length of the Israel Trail to honor the memory of his mother and to raise money to fight the debilitating disease that ultimately ended her life. Here’s what Allan has to say about his trip:

The day we got the message that my mother, Lee, suffered from Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), we knew that from that moment on we were facing a painful and despairing death: Her neurological disorder stole her ability to hug, to speak, to eat, to walk, to move her limbs and even to breathe. With gigantic effort she murmured to us "I love you."But we couldn’t help her.

My mother, Lee Rabinowitz, died of Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) in the summer of 2008.

In her memory , my wife Tzippi, my son Ezra and I, will start backpacking the entire Israel Trail from north to south, some 1,000 winding kilometers (625 miles). Our goal is to raise both ALS awareness and funds for ALS research in Israel. This is the best way we know to express thanks for our miraculous ability to walk.


We will be very encouraged in our journey if you join us: You can do that by viewing our blogs, photos and video clips of Biblical sites as we progress.


And equally important, you can join our effort by "sponsoring" one or more kilometers, at $36/km, so that ALS research can advance as we advance. We deeply appreciate your participation in this effort.
Together we can do it.
Let’s walk the land for those who can’t. Can I count on your support?

Today, Allan is roughly a month into the journey, and he’s raised over $28,000. Our blogger and podcaster Bridget was able to catch up with him over the phone, and we’ll be posting that soon. During their chat, they spoke about what keeps Allan moving during this challenging trip, what inspired him to take his first step, and how the kindness of strangers continues to amaze. So stay tuned!

But for now, you can follow Allan’s progress on his blog, Walking the Land – for those who can’t, and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Happy Earth Day from Friendly Planet Travel

Here at Friendly Planet Travel, we try to make every day Earth Day. Our tours are designed to show our travelers some of the most beautiful sights of the world. So we must take care of them. That’s why we’re firm believers in sustainable travel. FP_Recycle.jpg
Sustainable travel is a much-discussed concept that is, actually, a great deal more complex than recycling your trash, or trying to use your hotel towels more than once. Not that those aren’t cardinal rules of all decent world travelers, but if you live in New York and want to visit Thailand, there’s no way to avoid the long, environmentally costly flight.
But it is possible to tread softly once at your destination. And by treading softly, I mean treating not only the land, but the people, with respect and dignity.
Friendly Planet Travel tours all rely on local companies, local guides, and as many locally owned and run hotels and attractions as we can possibly arrange, so that the people who live in the places we’re visiting enjoy the benefit of our visits. By manifestly supporting local communities, they will become better stewards of the resources that give them back a decent living.
We also believe in supporting local communities by contributing to important local projects that provide material help, like digging wells, supplying schools, and contributing to self-help projects for the least privileged. We are motivated every day in our efforts at creating our tours by the belief that in getting to know people and cultures that are different from our own, we build our own small but important bridges toward a healed planet.
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Photo by Tali Miller

We already offer many touring opportunities to such destinations as Borneo and Patagonia, where the fragility of the environment is poignantly obvious to the casual visitor.
In the coming months, we hope to add new and exciting special eco-tourism opportunities, so stay tuned for more details here on the blog, on our Web site, and on Twitter.