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The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

Courtesy of iTalk

iPhone App: iTalk

Price: Free

Sound recordings of your destination are cheaper than trinkets, longer-lived than food, and second only to photographs for the ability to make past moments seem almost tangible. Touch iTalk’s big, red button to record Big Ben’s gong, birdcalls in Costa Rica, or street musicians in Barcelona. The quality is much better than you might expect—you can usually hear things clearly, even at a distance, and you can leave it on for minutes on end without making much of a dent in your memory. Once you get home, run iTalk Sync (also free) on your computer and it will sense your iPhone in Wi-Fi and instantly transfer your soundscapes to your system.



The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers
The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

Courtesy of Lingolook

iPhone App: Lingolook Flashcards

Price: $4.99

Most iPhone language apps have an Achilles’ heel: they require an expensive data connection to work abroad. Lingolook, though, lives on your phone. Its clean, cartoonish flash cards of important words and phrases—more than 300, from “I’m allergic to nuts” to “speak slowly”—are said aloud if you tap your screen, delivering you from faux pas and pronunciation debacles. Lingolook is sold in five languages (Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese), with Hindi and German coming later this summer.



The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers
The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

Courtesy of Sit or Squat

iPhone App: Sit or Squat

Price: Free

It’s like Zagat’s for potty breaks. Charmin sponsors this user-maintained database of where to find the nearest free toilet based on your location. We especially like the photos of the actual john and the piquant review blurbs (“the air freshener is overpowering, which I think is a good thing”). As with the best apps, this one’s useful for everyday life in your home city too.



The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers
The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

Courtesy of HiConverter

iPhone App: HiConverter

Price: 99¢

The App Store is awash with converter programs for mundane info like temperature and distance. Most are about the same and work fine, provided you need to make density and pressure conversions on the beach in Rio. But this is one of only a few to include all the digits tourists crave: not just currency exchanges based on today’s rates, but also clothing sizes and shoe sizes, making it indispensable for European shopping runs. There’s a tip calculator that takes tax into account and divides the check by the number of people in your party, which obviates the need for that stand-alone App Store perennial, Tipulator.



The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers
The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

Courtesy of Packing Pro

iPhone App: Packing Pro

Price: $3.99

Even the most experienced traveler sometimes forgets a mobile phone charger or a hair dryer. Packing Pro asks you to set up a few lists of must-dos and must-haves for the various types of trips you take. The next time you go somewhere, just check off each task, from stopping newspaper delivery to packing your prescriptions, as you prepare to leave. If you’re not in the mood to customize your chore list, an assortment of templates are tailored to women or men, kids or no kids (and how many), where you’re going, and for how long.



The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers
The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

Courtesy of Gasbag

iPhone App: Gasbag

Price: Free

Open this one up and it senses your location via GPS and instantly shows you a map of your area that’s studded with gas stations and their current prices for the grade your car uses. You can obtain lowest-price tips from other users, confirm a rate you see is still valid, or tank up on good karma by entering your own to-the-minute reporting. Another feature lets you enter your car’s efficiency and log its fuel usage. Gasbag is only as good as the information submitted by its users, but the amount of data is growing as the app becomes more popular.



The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers
The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

Courtesy of JetSet

iPhone App: Jetset: A Game for Airports

Price: 99¢

You play a frazzled TSA worker trying to process passengers as they stack up in the inspection queue, and your superiors pelt you with a barrage of never-ending, loony rule changes (sorry, no more pants allowed). Violate TSA mandates or civil liberties, and you lose. Cool feature: if you play this in an airport, it detects your location and doles out site-specific rewards for ace play, such as hot wings in Buffalo or pork barrels at Dulles. Jetset makes a good companion for Flight Control, a nerve-racking game requiring you to guide ever-increasing air traffic onto three very crowded landing strips. Maybe it’s better not to play that one in the departure lounge.



The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers
The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

Meghan Lamb

iPhone App: Skype

Price: Free

This app is a miracle of international communication, eliminating any need for a hotel-room phone. As long as you’re connected by Wi-Fi (and not by a data network such as 3G), you’ll get free phone calls to any Skype user in the world. And since calls to landlines are a mere 2 cents a minute, you won’t need to shell out for an international call to a helpline if your laptop hiccups or your airline bungles your reservation.



The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers
The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

Courtesy of Inn Touch

iPhone App: Inn Touch

Price: Free

Road-trip salvation. ILoveInns.com, the web-based B&B finder, created this app to search for nearby guesthouses based on your GPS location in the U.S. (you can also search by city before you leave home). Tapping a property brings up descriptions, inn-provided photos, price ranges, user reviews, video (for some properties), and those all-important “call” and “e-mail” buttons for contacting the inn directly. American Historic Inns inspects and vets each property, which many Kayak and Travelocity searches consider off the grid. Bonus: there’s a section of recipes provided by some of the inns (cinnamon-raisin bread pudding from Grandma’s Cottage in Virginia, anyone?).



The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

See the slideshow: The Best iPhone Apps for Travelers

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