With the ski lodges and tropical getaways of the winter holidays behind us, many start to think about their spring travel plans. As with so many aspects of our lives, travel has been made more convenient by a slew of user-friendly mobile applications. Below, we look at five free apps designed to make your spring travel plans a lot easier.
1. Expedia Hotels
Named one of the best apps of 2011, Expedia Hotels is a great option for booking your lodging before — or during — your travels. This image-heavy application lets you book a room at more than 130,000 hotels worldwide, and when you’re on the move, it uses GPS to find and compare hotels near you. Best of all, the booking process only takes a few easy steps.
This popular application, billed as “your own personal travel assistant,” lets you forward your confirmation emails to a Tripit email address; the app then creates a detailed itinerary that includes your flight, hotel and car-rental information. It can even link to your Facebook page, to keep your friends up-to-date on your travels.
Sometimes you really want to know the best spot to get phÃ´ in Vietnam. (Or maybe you just need to switch hotels in the middle of your travels.) Either way, the TripAdvisor app has you covered with an interface that makes it easy to browse hotels, flights, restaurants and things to do wherever you are, with an abundance of detailed user reviews on everything from luxury hotels to jazz clubs.
Ever wonder if there’s a good jogging trail near your hotel? Or if there’s a walking tour that will show you a city’s greatest historical sites — and leave you with plenty of time to make your dinner reservation? EveryTrail lets you follow trails and guides created by fellow travelers, or create new guides and upload images to illustrate your journey for other users.
5. Google Translate
If your travels bring you to a country where you don’t know the language, Google Translate lets you speak or type phrases from more than 15 languages, and then translates your phrases into any of more than 50 languages. You’ll never have to wonder what you’re ordering ever again. If you need help reading signs while abroad, Word Lens (currently for iPhone only)is an application that lets you translate text just by pointing your phone’s camera at it.
Are you taking a vacation this spring? Which mobile applications do you use to make traveling easier?