Best iPhone Travel Apps: 10 Essential Downloads

A woman checks the board at the airport Photo by TwilightEye/istockphoto.com
By Zach Honig

iPhone users have become accustomed to having complete access to nearly every digital resource imaginable -- just a few taps away -- making the device just as useful for worldwide trips as it is for daily tasks. Need to check the status of your next flight without leaving your airplane seat? There's an app for that. Or perhaps you want to call home from Tokyo for just pennies a minute. There's an app for that too. You might already have a few favorites of your own, but here's a list of 10 iPhone travel apps that I can't live without.
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One of the Web's most popular travel review websites has made its way to the iPhone. This Web-based app pairs your GPS coordinates with content from the TripAdvisor website, so you'll need a data connection to use it. You can see ratings, read reviews and book hotels directly from the app, making it an excellent resource for last-minute planners.<br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tripadvisor-hotels-flights/id284876795?mt=8" target="_blank">Find TripAdvisor in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
One of the Web's most popular travel review websites has made its way to the iPhone. This Web-based app pairs your GPS coordinates with content from the TripAdvisor website, so you'll need a data connection to use it. You can see ratings, read reviews and book hotels directly from the app, making it an excellent resource for last-minute planners.

Find TripAdvisor in iTunes
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Skype transforms your WiFi connection into a virtual cellular network, enabling calls to anywhere in the world for pennies on the dollar. And it sounds great too, assuming you're able to find a high-speed WiFi connection abroad. You can also use the app stateside to place calls to destinations abroad, starting at 2.6 cents per minute. And Skype to Skype calls are always free.<br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/skype/id304878510?mt=8&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D2" target="_blank">Find Skype in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
Skype transforms your WiFi connection into a virtual cellular network, enabling calls to anywhere in the world for pennies on the dollar. And it sounds great too, assuming you're able to find a high-speed WiFi connection abroad. You can also use the app stateside to place calls to destinations abroad, starting at 2.6 cents per minute. And Skype to Skype calls are always free.

Find Skype in iTunes
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After creating an account on TripIt.com, simply forward your flight, hotel, or rental car confirmation emails to <strong>plans@tripit.com</strong>, and essential travel details will be stored online. Use the iPhone app to access all your trip info on the go, including flight status info. All for free. Trip details are saved on your device, so you only need a data connection to synchronize updates.<br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tripit-travel-organizer/id311035142?mt=8" target="_blank">Find TripIt in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
After creating an account on TripIt.com, simply forward your flight, hotel, or rental car confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com, and essential travel details will be stored online. Use the iPhone app to access all your trip info on the go, including flight status info. All for free. Trip details are saved on your device, so you only need a data connection to synchronize updates.

Find TripIt in iTunes
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With user reviews of businesses in virtually every city in the United States, Yelp has become a priceless resource for consumers. Looking for a new dentist? Search for their name on Yelp to pull up dozens of recent user reviews. The same goes for restaurants, and virtually any type of business imaginable. The app also offers a Nearby mode, replicating some of the functionality in my next favorite app, AroundMe. <br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yelp/id284910350?mt=8" target="_blank">Find Yelp in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
With user reviews of businesses in virtually every city in the United States, Yelp has become a priceless resource for consumers. Looking for a new dentist? Search for their name on Yelp to pull up dozens of recent user reviews. The same goes for restaurants, and virtually any type of business imaginable. The app also offers a Nearby mode, replicating some of the functionality in my next favorite app, AroundMe.

Find Yelp in iTunes
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This Google ad-supported app utilizes your iPhone's GPS to find your current location, then provides categorized lists of nearby shops, restaurants, and even hospitals. The app doesn't offer any reviews, but plots business locations on a map, which can be saved as a contact with just one click. AroundMe requires a data connection for use, so it's better suited for domestic travel than trips abroad.<br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aroundme/id290051590?mt=8" target="_blank">Find AroundMe in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
This Google ad-supported app utilizes your iPhone's GPS to find your current location, then provides categorized lists of nearby shops, restaurants, and even hospitals. The app doesn't offer any reviews, but plots business locations on a map, which can be saved as a contact with just one click. AroundMe requires a data connection for use, so it's better suited for domestic travel than trips abroad.

Find AroundMe in iTunes
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Just as its name implies, OffMaps allows you to download maps to your iPhone for offline use, so you can find your way around without racking up international data usage charges. The app costs $1.99, but includes two Guide credits, for downloading city-specific travel listings and maps. International listings are somewhat limited at this time, but the app can still pay for itself in a day, considering how much you'll save on data usage.<br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/offmaps/id313854422?mt=8" target="_blank">Find OffMaps in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
Just as its name implies, OffMaps allows you to download maps to your iPhone for offline use, so you can find your way around without racking up international data usage charges. The app costs $1.99, but includes two Guide credits, for downloading city-specific travel listings and maps. International listings are somewhat limited at this time, but the app can still pay for itself in a day, considering how much you'll save on data usage.

Find OffMaps in iTunes
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This fun, slot machine-style restaurant selector can help even the most indecisive diners find a great restaurant nearby. Restaurants are categorized by neighborhood, cuisine, and price. If you can narrow down location to, say, Manhattan's East Village, simply lock the location category and shake your iPhone. The app will randomly select a cuisine and price range. Or give up all control and leave all three categories blank, letting the app lead you on a culinary journey across town.<br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/urbanspoon/id284708449?mt=8" target="_blank">Find Urbanspoon in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
This fun, slot machine-style restaurant selector can help even the most indecisive diners find a great restaurant nearby. Restaurants are categorized by neighborhood, cuisine, and price. If you can narrow down location to, say, Manhattan's East Village, simply lock the location category and shake your iPhone. The app will randomly select a cuisine and price range. Or give up all control and leave all three categories blank, letting the app lead you on a culinary journey across town.

Find Urbanspoon in iTunes
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Need to reserve a table on the go? I can't count the number of times I've made plans for the next dinner with a group of friends before even finishing our current meal. OpenTable's iPhone app provides real-time inventory of table availability for major cities around the world. And you can even earn points by booking a table using the free service.<br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/opentable/id296581815?mt=8" target="_blank">Find OpenTable in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
Need to reserve a table on the go? I can't count the number of times I've made plans for the next dinner with a group of friends before even finishing our current meal. OpenTable's iPhone app provides real-time inventory of table availability for major cities around the world. And you can even earn points by booking a table using the free service.

Find OpenTable in iTunes
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Sure, you may not have New York City in your travel plans, but transit apps like iTrans are available for cities around the world, providing priceless transit info even when you don't have a connection to the Web. You can find a new route without heading above ground for a signal, calculate trip distance, and even see when the next train will arrive.<br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/itrans-nyc-subway/id283492923?mt=8" target="_blank">Find iTrans NYC Subway in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
Sure, you may not have New York City in your travel plans, but transit apps like iTrans are available for cities around the world, providing priceless transit info even when you don't have a connection to the Web. You can find a new route without heading above ground for a signal, calculate trip distance, and even see when the next train will arrive.

Find iTrans NYC Subway in iTunes
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Twitter is much more than a social networking tool -- it can also be a lifesaver when you need to find vital travel status information, such as length of airport check-in lines, real time updates on potential political events that may impact your travels, and much more. Savvy users can even use the service to meet up with other travelers abroad.<br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/twitter/id333903271?mt=8" target="_blank">Find Twitter in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
Twitter is much more than a social networking tool -- it can also be a lifesaver when you need to find vital travel status information, such as length of airport check-in lines, real time updates on potential political events that may impact your travels, and much more. Savvy users can even use the service to meet up with other travelers abroad.

Find Twitter in iTunes
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I don't mean to toot my own horn, but Frommer's also offers several iPhone apps, including the free Frommer's Travel Tools app, which includes currency and measurement conversion tools, a packing list, trivia games, and more. There are also iPhone versions of popular Frommer's travel guides, including New York, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, and more, currently priced at $4.99, as well as free versions of our London and San Francisco guide apps.<br><br><strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/frommers-travel-tools/id366011058?mt=8" target="_blank">Find Frommer's Travel Tools in iTunes</a></strong> Photo by Frommers.com
I don't mean to toot my own horn, but Frommer's also offers several iPhone apps, including the free Frommer's Travel Tools app, which includes currency and measurement conversion tools, a packing list, trivia games, and more. There are also iPhone versions of popular Frommer's travel guides, including New York, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, and more, currently priced at $4.99, as well as free versions of our London and San Francisco guide apps.

Find Frommer's Travel Tools in iTunes
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