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The Best Free Travel Apps

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by Annette Ramsland (subscribe)
A freelance writer living with my family in glorious Newcastle. I love up-cycling, re-cycling and if I'm desperate, bi-cycling.
Published November 5th 2012
Don't leave home without them
On a recent trip to America, I found certain travel apps indispensable on my phone and iPad. Like many overseas travellers, I didn't have roaming and was limited to free wifi access in cafes and hotels. Most countries have this available in various cafes or public places. If you will be without a phone connection, it is worthwhile investigating wifi availability before you go. Remember this, if there is Starbucks, there is free wifi.

iPhone, iPad, android
Tripadvisor is great for local attractions, restaurants and hotels. I used this app many times before we left the country to check reviews thousands of holiday makers made about the hotels we were thinking of. Hotel reviews provide the star rating, but also a Tripadvisor rating based on the total of reviews provided. You quickly get the picture about what hotel is a good idea and which one is terrible. Our holiday also took us to some areas that aren't renowned for their tourist appeal, but regardless of this, Tripadvisor provided the info on the best local attractions, making our holiday wonderful.

Tripadvisor - great for planning activities

iPhone, iPad, android
Without question, Yelp is the most important app to have on your phone whilst travelling. Although it is not yet as prolific in some travel destinations, Yelp has a huge following in most major countries. Yelp will get you out of a bind when you need a nearby chemist, laundromat, shopping centre or if you just crave pizza one night. It not only provides this important information but also a pricing range, distance filter and invaluable reviews of all of the above giving you the local advantage.

Yelp is without equal in travel apps

Google Maps
Although the iOS 6 has currently removed the Google Maps app from iPhones and replaced it with a less convenient Apple equivalent (why?), Google Maps remains a crucial inclusion in mobile phone travel. Some iPads contain an inbuilt GPS, which meant Google maps was able to locate and direct us no matter where we were in the US. It also provided invaluable public transport information on what bus/train we needed, nearest departure location, how much for tickets and even when the next bus/leaves leaves. We wouldn't have made it on our trip without this app.

Cheap deals available on Expedia, Bookings, Expedia, Wotif
iPhone, iPad, android
Whether you are planning a holiday in advance or 'on the go', if you require hotel accommodation, these apps will come in very handy. Wotif is mostly good for Australian hotels only. The rest are good in most international cities and towns. Expedia was excellent in providing comparative pricing, reviews from travellers and location specific information for our recent holiday, both before and during our stay. In some countries extra taxes are added on, however these apps require upfront pricing so you know exactly what you will be charged. Another advantage is the extra support provided. I had an issue with one hotel towards the end of our stay and they weren't responding to my emails. I asked Expedia Support to help and they were on it in a flash and sorted things out immediately. A great security whilst travelling.
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