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Phone apps can make travel less stressful

June 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Overbooked flights, a bad seat on the plane, trying to find decent food at the airport - Even if you're heading out on vacation, travel can be stressful.But whether you're flying for business or for fun, new apps on your phone can make traveling a whole lot easier.

Marjorie Wolfe travels a lot for her job and gets frustrated when she doesn't know her way around.

"Once I get to the airport, I want to know my options right away. I don't want to be searching and totally confused about my surroundings," she said.

She relies on her phone - and apps - for help. If she wants to find out what's around her gate, like where she can get coffee, she uses an app called GateGuru.

To make other arrangements, try apps like TripIt, TravelTracker and Kayak.

If you're on a trip and you've check out of your hotel, but then you find out your flight has been canceled because of weather, you can use your phone to get another hotel, said Caroline McCarthy of CNET.

Or if a friend or family member is flying, you can monitor their plane with a flight tracker app.

"You can tell if a flight that you are slated to be on or that a friend or family member is slated to be on is on time, where it is in the air, assuming you're on the ground checking that, which gate it's coming out of, which gate it's going into," McCarthy said.

And once you land, you can use apps like Dopplr to find a good restaurant, or Taxi Magic to call a cab, or get an instant tour guide with Wikitude.

"It uses augmented reality. It's where you can use the compass feature in your phone, hold your phone up like a camera, and it will put text overlays over what you're holding your phone up to," McCarthy said. She said the app will tell you what the monument is and offer more information about it, acting as a visual travel guide.

There are even apps to keep you organized while you're on vacation.

"UPinPoint is a company that makes tourist apps, gear them toward people going to theme parks like Disney World, and this effectively replaces those big foldout maps, you stick in your pocket and is a lot more detailed than that," McCarthy said. The apps can even tell you which rides are open, how long lines are, and how tall you have to be to ride.

Most of the apps are free, but you can buy premium versions for under $15 on most.


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