Let's face it, lugging around a guidebook is so 2001. These days there are so many helpful apps to make your traveling that much more enjoyable and easy! Here are a few of my favorites for your next adventure: GuidePal City Guides: This is like a mini guidebook on your mobile device. And the beauty of GuidePal is that you download the city you plan to visit and once you get there you don't need wi-fi or a network to access it. It's available on your device for easy access. Genius. The interface is clean and beautifully done and the app is free! They include restaurants, hotels, places of interest/attractions, shopping, nightlife and even a city intro. Plus if you do happen to have wi-fi or network access, the app will map places for you so you can walk, cab or take public transit right there. The best meal I had in Florence was due to this app. No joke.
tripadvisor: Just like the popular website, this free app offers real person reviews of everything from hotels and restaurants to tour companies, flights, excursions and more. Handy before you leave and even while you're there. Nothing is better than a review written the day before or the day you are somewhere. And the "near me now" feature is a great way to discover the best around you at that very moment.
Skype: This may seem obvious, but if you're traveling abroad, Skype is your free way to call and message friends and family back home. It also works with FaceTime on the iPhone and allows for video calls or instant messaging - all for free! All you need is your hotel's wi-fi and viola, free calls to home.
Translator: Nothing's worse than not being able to speak the language - especially if you're lost or really need the restroom! This free app allows you to enter any word or sentence and translate it into dozens of languages ranging from the obvious - Spanish, French, German - to the more obscure - Latvian, Swahili, Finnish, even Catalan. The best part is that you can reverse translate, so if you read a sign or hear a phrase, you can convert it back to English with the app.
OANDA Currency Converter: How much is that handbag going to cost you? Before you plunk down the local currency or throw it on your credit card, use this app to convert the price to dollars and find out what you're spending. Like the translator, this app allows you to convert your price either into or from U.S. dollars and every other possible currency around the globe. If anything, it's fascinating to see how many different kinds there are. From the Guatemalan Quetzal and Jordanian Dinar to the Macau Pataca and Slovak Koruna, you'll never have to ask "how much?" again.
Do you have some favorite travel apps? I'd love to hear all about them.