I was one of the millions of people who received a shiny new iPad as a present recently. While the Angry Birds game did manage to occupy my time for the first few days, I have since managed to step back and check out the other functions of this cool gadget. Of course one of my first goals was to maximize my iPad for travel and travel planning. I have a lot of apps to help me out when it comes to travel, but these are my five favorite.
1. AllSubway HD – This is one of my favorite apps for the iPhone and I was thrilled to see that they adapted it for the iPad as well. Simply put, AllSubway compiles comprehensive metro and light rail maps for more than 100 cities around the world and puts them at your fingertips.
If you’ve traveled to a new city, then you are probably familiar with the feeling of looking at an alien transit map and wondering who concocted such a thing and how on earth do you use it? The AllSubway app is a good step forward to helping you get around a new city without looking lost.
I love this app because I can quickly and easily access a transit system map without being online and without looking like a tourist. I have used this app around the world and love its ease of use and convenience.
2. Hipmunk - I’ve been a fan of this web site for several months and was thrilled to FINALLY see them release an iPad app. Hipmunk is one of the best resources to find the cheapest flights available, returning information on flights that most web sites miss. Almost better than the bargains is the unique way in which Hipmunk presents the information, in an easy to read grid. You can organize the grid by price, flight length and airlines. Like the main site, this is a fun, quirky and immensely useful app.
3. TripIt - If you really want to maximize your time and money while traveling, then you have to be organized. Before finding TripIt, I used to print out all of my various confirmation emails and staple them inside a manila folder. I know, so 1998, right? A reader recommended TripIt, and without exaggeration it has transformed my travel experience and probably saved thousands of trees in the process. Simply said, TripIt organizes all of your travel information for you and generates complete itineraries easily accessed through your mobile device. You can input the information manually if you want, but it’s so much easier (and cooler) to have them do it for you. All you do is forward your emails to them and within seconds a complete itinerary will be generated for you, instantly available in your TripIt account. I am endlessly fascinated by technology and this app really amazes me
Cost – $3.99 (you can upgrade to TripIt Pro that monitors flight status and tracks your frequent flier miles for $49 a year)
4. Cardstar – This is a new app for me, but I already love it. This convenient app allows you to store all of your loyalty and frequent guest card numbers in one place.
If you’re anything like me, when you’re booking travel it is sometimes hard to locate your frequent flier number or hotel loyalty number. I have my top few saved, but for rarely used airlines it takes me forever to find those cards. That waste of time is a thing of the past now since I have added all of my card numbers directly into Cardstar.
Cardstar isn’t just for travel, you can add grocery or any other merchant loyalty numbers to your profile as well. Even though I haven’t test it out yet, apparently Cardstar also generates coupons that are tailored to your individual cards and can be used automatically.
5. XE Currency – I always use the XE currency conversion site whenever I need to find the latest rates. I was very happy to find their iPad app which brings the same high quality of their site to the mobile app.
XE is very simple and straightforward. You simply select the currencies you want to convert, the amount and you’re done. It’s a must have app for anyone planning a trip overseas.