Monday, July 23, 2012

Travel Apps For Your Next Cruise

I often wonder how I kept my life running smoothly before the invention of the “smart phone.” I can now read the paper, check the weather, set my DVR, turn on my porch light, check baseball scores, calculate gratuities & divide them up for a party of 7, rent a movie, download a book, and do my holiday shopping, as long as I have my phone with me. It has also been a tremendous help whenever I travel.  Below are a few of my “can’t live without” travel apps. I hope you find them as useful as I do.

Packing Pro:  This app has countless pre-populated, travel-specific checklist items to choose from but is completely customizable and allows travelers to build checklists from the existing catalog. I have separate packing lists for weekend trips, Caribbean cruises, Mediterranean cruise, and road trips. Make a list once and it’s always there for reference.

TripIt:  This app organizes all my travel plans into an itinerary that stores every detail in one place.  I enter flights, hotel info, cruise details, daily shore excursion, and car rental data, which is then automatically formatted into a day by day itinerary that I can access from my iPad or phone. It’s comforting to have every necessary phone number and confirmation number with me at all times.

XE Currency:  This app lets me track live exchange rates for every world currency.  OK, maybe my only concern was the Euro on my Mediterranean cruise, but I still liked checking what I was actually spending in all those wonderful shops so I would not die of sticker shock when the bill came in!

Google Translator:  I love being able to say a few polite words in the native language of all the countries I visit on a cruise. Or being able to look up words found on a menu (I hate having to eat at a restaurant that caters to tourists, and has pictures on the menu). And being able to ask for directions can be a lifesaver!  With this app you can translate words and phrases between more than 60 languages and for most languages, you can speak your phrases and hear the corresponding translations.

City Maps 2 Go: Actually, this app covers not just cities, but the tiniest towns in just about every country you can think of. Google maps are great, but you must have access to Wi-Fi, which is super inconvenient when touring most places in the world. Once you have purchased this app for $1.99, you can download an unlimited number of maps, and use them to navigate according to street address or name. I loved it on my last cruise.  It worked perfect in Venice and in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona.  If you don’t find the map you are looking for, you can send an e-mail to the app developers, and they promise to have the map available for download within 24 hours."

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