There are many free travel apps, useful for vacations. I don’t have an iPhone, and with all the apps talk on the web, sometimes it feels like I’m the only one. The proud(ish) owner of a Blackberry, I’m well aware of the relatively meager apps available for this smartphone. Nonetheless, I do have a few, and not all are the free ones that came with my Blackberry — though my kids love to play Word Mole and Brick Breaker. Over time I’ve downloaded and discarded a handful of apps (Reuters took up too much memory, for example). These are the top 5 best free travel apps for my smartphone, the ones I use consistently for travel plans on the go.
1. Urbanspoon – This free app works like a charm to find restaurants in most well-traveled vacation destinations. It works within price ranges and types of cuisine. Urbanspoon is best for mainstream travelers; it doesn’t have a global reach with completely reliable recommendations in all markets, but will grow with time.
2. Google Maps – Love, love Google maps. This is the best free travel app I have, if we judge by my frequency of use. It’s the most complete, reliable mapping app I’ve seen; my partner uses it on his iPhone, and on both smartphones we can judge freeway traffic, and choose travel routes accordingly.
3. FancyTran – I have to admit, I haven’t traveled anywhere where I need to use it yet. But this free online translator app gets my wanderlust stirred up: 64 languages are supported, with an interface to Google Translator, Bing Translator, and other reliable online services.
4. Kayak – There are several online travel planning aggregators, but Kayak is the best free travel planning app due to its ease of use, intuitive navigation, and speedy aggregation of hotels, flights, car rentals through its meta-search engine. While I typically use Kayak on my desktop computer, downloading it on my Blackberry was a snap.
5. TripIt – I’m forgetful; I scribble flight numbers and confirmations on scrap paper, and forget to take my notes with me. TripIt keeps track of those important confirmation numbers for air travel and hotels, as long as I input them on the program instead of the back of a used envelope. Accessing that information at m.tripit.com ensures I’ll never miss my flight again.
Now, downloading all these interactive smartphone apps can chew up a lot of memory. I recommend turning them off when not actively using them, so as to not affect your Blackberry’s speed or effectiveness. With all the major expenses that go along with a vacation, it’s reassuring to know that these best travel apps are free.