10 best travel apps for your new iPad

10 best travel apps for your new iPad

For just a few dollars more you can turn your sparkly new iPad into a perfect travel partner

So you've just picked up a shiny new third-generation iPad with its improved camera and pixel-packed Retina Display. Congratulations! Where will you two be spending your honeymoon?

Wherever you decide to go on your first trip together, here are a few apps that will help make it a perfect portable travel partner.

Also on CNNGo: 50 ultimate travel apps ... so far

1. iPhoto

1.iphoto-from-appleBe a pro with your pad.
Now that the new iPad has a much improved camera, it's fitting that Apple rolled out an iPad version of iPhoto to go along with it. Using your same photo library, iPhoto brings an assortment of photo editing capabilities and photo effects to the iPad.

For travelers, the most useful feature will be photo journals, which allow you to create a beautiful album and share it over the web using iCloud. You can then share that photo page link with friends via email or your preferred social network.

iPhoto does cost US$4.99 though, but for the photo journals alone, it just might be worth it. Here's an example of an album I quickly threw together of my dog, and an even better one of some race cars from my friend Derek. If you'd like to try making one yourself, you can download iPhoto here from the App Store.

Honorable mention: iMovie for iPad also looks like a good buy, now that the device can record HD video.

2. Skyfire

2.skyfireA multi-user browser.
Unless you are traveling alone, Skyfire is an application you will want to have. This already popular browser for iPad recently received a very cool update feature called Hot Swap, which allows multiple users to create individual accounts, where they can sign into their email as well as their own social networks.

So if you're traveling with a group, you can share your iPad without the annoyance of having to logout and back in again. It's a very handy feature, and will certainly win your brownie points with your fellow travelers.

The downside? It crashed a few times for me, and might do the same occasionally for you. It costs US$4.99 and can be downloaded from the App Store.

3. Writing Kit

writing-kitFor journal-ists on the go.
During your trip you'll likely be jotting down notes and reflections whenever you're in transit, or perhaps while sitting in some beach-side cafe.

While there are a ton of options for travelers who want to document their trip using the iPad, if you're writing for the web, you'll want Writing Kit. Period.

In fact, I wrote this article using Writing Kit. It supports Markdown format, a quick way to add links and other web elements often tricky to do on iPad. There's also an ingenious quick research feature which lets you do look up external information without leaving your writing screen.

This supports duckduckgo shortcuts too, making it perhaps the best writing experience on the iPad there is. It does cost US$4.99 in the App Store, but is worth every penny plus a few more in my book, especially if you do any writing while on the go. And let's face it. The native Notes app is not a cool experience.

Honorable mention as another great writing app: Byword

4. Travelocity

4.travelocityOne of the quickest ways to book hotels and cars while traveling.
Travelocity released its iPad application at the end of February, bringing travelers the ability to book flights and hotels and rent cars all within its app.

For those of you who may already use Travelocity on other platforms, you'll be pleased to hear that the iPad app offers what the company calls "mobile exclusive" deals, which specifically target travelers who are on the go already and are looking to book quickly.

The app also features maps, itineraries, hi-res color photos of hotels as well as descriptions and more. It is free for download from the App Store.

5. Find my iPhone

5.find-my-iphoneSecurity first.


Despite the name of this application, it can also be used on the iPad. I considered not including this in my list, as many would say it's an obvious addition. But for anyone buying a new iPad, they might not immediately be aware of this.

Once you've installed this app, which Apple has available as a free download, you just sign in with your Apple ID and you can see your current location on a map. If you do happen to lose your iPad -- for example, while traveling -- you then have a number of options.

You can display a message on it, have it make a sound, or if you're worried about your data, you can even remotely lock it or wipe it clean. You can download Find my iPhone (or rather, iPad) over on the App Store.

Also on CNNGo: Best U.S. city travel apps

6. SoundCloud

6.soundcloudYou've got text and video blogs, what about a sound blog?


I've already mentioned iPhoto as a way to share the the sights of our trip. But what about the sounds? For that, you might check out SoundCloud.

Many people use as a social platform for sharing their homemade music, but there's no reason you can't use it to record and share the more interesting sounds from your trip. Over on the SoundCloud blog, you can read about Tyler and Tara who have been doing just that:

"We were on the road about nine months before we got our field recorder. Our inspiration? Constantly hearing beautiful/awful/strange/humorous sounds and wishing we had a way to document them. Now, our recordings capture snippets of our journey which we find to be as memorable to us as our photographs."

You can download SoundCloud for free from the App Store.

7. Jetsetter

7.JetsetterCheck out the rooms before booking.
Jetsetter is one of the first applications to add support for the new iPad's high resolution Retina Display. The app provides listings of great hotel and vacation destinations, as well as great panoramic photos that you can browse.

One minor downside is that the app can only be viewed in portrait mode. In addition to the usual "featured sales" section, there's currently an iPad exclusive offer of 10 percent off your first purchase. Users can also browse the calendar section for upcoming deals, and set up reminders for when the sale begins.

Currently most of the destinations are U.S.-based, although there are a handful of listings from other countries. It's currently available as a free download from the App Store.

8. Dwellable

8.dwellableHeading for North America? Get this app.


Like Jetsetter, the folks at Dwellable -- a vacation rental search service -- have just launched their iPad application. It also supports the new iPad's Retina Display, with a vast collection of high resolution photographs for the many vacation destinations listed.

Besides the photo view, there are also map and list views, with handy filter options to let you sort by criteria other than price (like the number of beds, or whether or not there's a pool).

The service is only for North American destinations so far, and the iPad app is available for free in the App Store.

9. TripIt

9.tripitNever miss another appointment.


Here's another essential that I can't really leave off this list. TripIt is a travel organizer service that centralizes all your planning information, by having you forward all your confirmation emails (from hotels, airlines, etc) along to TripIt, which then generates a helpful itinerary.

Special to the iPad version of the TripIt application is a "master map" which you can use to view your entire trip itinerary. You can download it from the App Store for free.

10. Longform

10.longformKeep current on your trip.
As a suggestion to help travelers pass the time on planes or long car rides, I was going to suggest Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy, which was demoed at Apple's iPad launch event.

But while traveling or on vacation, you'll probably prefer something a little less intense, and a little more laid back. Try out the recently released iPad app from Longform.org, a service that brings you the best long-form journalism from the world's best publications.

It also supports your favorite "read later" services like Instapaper or Read it Later. You can download the Longform iPad app for free over on the App Store.

Also on CNNGo: 7 sci-fi innovations that could change travel

11. Other apps worth a look

Rick Martin lives in Tokyo where he writes about technology in Japan, China, and around Asia. He contributes to TechInAsia.com, The Japan Times and a few other publications. He can be reached via his website, 1Rick.com.

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