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10 best travel apps ever
Switch your brain off and your iPhone on. These top travel apps will book your flights, work out where you're eating and even pack your bags
First music replaced calling as the most useful function on the iPhone. Then gaming replaced music.
Now you can use your iPhone (or your iPod or iPad) to find restaurants, book flights, predict the weather and even pack your bags, thanks to a bunch of other travel apps nominated for a 2010 Best App Ever Award.
The list below includes, in no particular order, some nominees from the Best App Ever Awards for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. For the full list, refer to the competition website.
Where To? - Discover your next destination
What it does: Near-omniscience for sale at a mere US$2.99. Like a traditional GPS device, this app enables you to locate almost anything nearby, including the nearest ATM, burger joint, medical provider, etc.
The app has information on 700 customizable categories and 2,400 brands, which sometimes allow users to get away with not typing at all when they're trying to find addresses and directions.
That said, some people have complained that the app occasionally lists wrong or outdated information.
What it does: Because looks matter, this app gives Google My Maps a makeover by transplanting it in a pretty antique map interface.
The Cartographer also allows you to access customized maps offline to save roaming charges. You can also drop markers on their maps to record travel information.
What it does: With its current pool of 50,000 listings covering more than 8,000 cities, it appears that Airbnb has grown mightily from its roots as a couch-swapping website for budget travelers.
Users of the website's new iPhone app can now book accommodation with a few clicks from their iPhones, with choices ranging from an extra mattress to a private island. The app's "Find a Place Tonight" feature allows users to locate nearby available properties with one click.
The "What's My Place Worth?" feature gives hosts rough assessments of the market value of their pad.
Practical? Maybe. Boredom relief? Definitely.
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Zagat to Go
What it does: Buy one, get 44 free. Zagat to Go packs in restaurant reviews of 45 guides around the world into one nifty app, for the price of one guide.
Their offline mode, which allows you to continue browsing even when you're in areas without reception, has won rave reviews among critics.
Zagat to Go also has a GPS feature that allows users to find restaurants nearby, as well as suss out top-rated restaurants in different categories in various cities. The app's augmented reality function allows you to see restaurant ratings through your iPhone camera.
The app is available in major U.S. cities, as well as major cities outside the states, including London, Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai.
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The Weather Channel App
What it does: All you need to know about weather, any way you want it. The Weather Channel App includes full screen radar weather maps, seasonal information and weather news.
The iWitness Weather function allows users to upload pictures of “exciting weather” to share online. Don’t we all love watching exciting weather online?
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What it does: FlightTrack Pro is almost perfect for the obsessive air traveler.
It can import flight data from airline confirmation emails. It has real-time status updates for gates, delays and cancellations for more than 4,000 international airports. It allows users to find alternative flights at a click. Its inbuilt live flight tracker maps work even when the phone is offline.
Heck, it's even supposed to predict the future for you, by projecting flight delays based on airport warnings and historic delay patterns.
However, there's been customer complaints that the app has had incomplete and incorrect information since its update.
KAYAK Flight, Hotel Search
What it does: The multitasking Kayak.com app allows travelers to track flight status, book travels and find flight, hotel and car rental deals -- all for free.
Public opinion of this app swings wildly from adulation to criticism of how app developers neglected to add the "My Trips" functionality.
What it does: A godsend for the absentminded traveler, the app's Expert List Assistant creates packing lists based on the number of adults, children and days of travel.
The functionality also takes into account temperature, destination, food preparation and even laundry preferences. Excellent. We never have to think for ourselves again.
Those who like to be a bit more hands-on can use the app to create, edit and check off customized packing lists.
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What it does: Developed jointly by Fotonauts and UNESCO World Heritage Centre, this app allows those who have wanderlust (or are just plain bored) to flick through more than 25,000 photos of heritage sites with information for each location.
The app also links directly to Trip Advisor for booking spur-of-the-moment trips.
Criticisms include slow loading, crashes and carnivorous battery drain.
What it does: With Trip Journal, users can now do scrapbooking anytime, anywhere. Trip Tracking has an inbuilt GPS route-tracking function that also records points along a journey.
It supports geo-tagged photos and videos.
Trip Journal allows users to store as many recorded journeys as they want. And best of all, the app is wired to major social media portals, making it supremely easy to brag about your travels to family and friends back at home.