It's Friday and we're dreaming of a weekend getaway and planning our summer vacation. Whether you're taking a road trip close to home, summering in the Hamptons or grabbing your passport for a European getaway, your smartphone can be your best travel accessory. From translating foreign languages and calculating currency exchanges to alerting you to speed traps and picking a subway route, travel apps provide tools for just about anything you need. Here are a few we think are pretty great:
- Word Lens--Translates signs from Spanish to English (and vice versa). Simply open the app and hold it up to the sign you want to translate. Check out the video below to see Word Lens in action. Available for iPhone only; Android is in the works.
- Free WiFi Finder--True to its name, this app helps you find WiFi locations all over the world indexing both free and paid hotspots. The best thing is that you can download the directory to use offline. Perfect for locating WiFi in international locations when you don't want to use that expensive international data plan. Available for iPhone & Android.
- Hear Planet--Audio guides of tourist destinations all over the world. Includes geolocation so you can hear about what's nearby. Requires a data connection so probably not a good choice for international travel. Available for iPhone & Android.
- HopStop--Public transportation and walking directions for several big cities with more on the way. I've been using this one for years when I travel to NYC for instant subway directions. Available for iPhone & Android.
- Frommer's Travel Tools--This is a nice little one-stop-shop app which includes a currency converter, a time translator, a packing list and a few other handy tools. Available for iPhone only.
- Siri--One of my all time favorite apps, Siri is like having your own personal assistant. Simply tell it what you're looking for (a taxi, some ice cream, a movie) and Siri does it for you. I've used this for calling a taxi in an unfamiliar city before. Siri knows your location, contacts the cab company and texts you the name of the driver. Before you know it, your cab has arrived and all you did was utter the word "taxi". Brilliant. Available for iPhone only.
- Simply Postcards--We've covered this one before, but it's worth repeating. Send any image as an actual postcard right from your phone. Snap your picture, enter a friend's address and let Simply Postcards do the mailing. Love it! Available for iPhone & Android.
- trapster--Alerts you to speed traps in your area. Use it for your daily commute or a cross country road trip. Available for iPhone & Android
- TripIt--Organizes all of your flight numbers and hotel reservations. I like that TripIt allows you to forward confirmation emails from airlines, etc. and then imports them easily into an itinerary. Available for iPhone & Android.
- GateGuru--Helps you locate airport restaurants, shops and other amenities not only by proximity but by reviews as well. Available for iPhone only.
- xe--Free mobile currency calculator. You can store the latest updated rates for offline use. Available for iPhone & Android.
- Google Translate--"Allowing users to speak to translate in 15 languages and to translate words and phrases into more than 50 languages. You can also listen to your translations spoken aloud in 23 different languages." Available for iPhone & Android.
- Trip Case--Organize your hotel, flight and car rentals all in one place. TripCase will also alert you to flight or gate changes and offer alternative flight choices if your flight is canceled or changed.
- Help Call--With 126 countries supported, Help Call gives you up-to-date international Police, Fire Department and Ambulance phone numbers. Available for iPhone only.
- FlightBoard--Arrivals and departures in real time. FlightBoard's design was "based on the flight board at Charles de Gaulle Airport to give the app a beautiful, old school look." Available for iPhone & Android.