If you travel with an iPad, you probably already have the basic travel apps down. Currency converter? Check. Translation app? Check (or tick, if you’re visiting England). They’re practical, no doubt, but when you’re looking for something that will actually make your trip better, not just easier, consider these five the best iPad travel apps. Some help you get organized, others help you find the new foodie-frenzy restaurants, and all of them will leave you with more time to do what you love: travel.
Not going to lie to you: If you aren’t using TripIt, you are making travel infinitely more complicated than it needs to be. Using TripIt is akin to having an anal-retentive personal assistant who keeps track of details so you don’t have to. Set up a free account, link it to your email, and TripIt automatically imports all of your plans — flights, car rental, train tickets, lodging, you name it — into a single itinerary for each trip. Everything from flight times to hotel confirmation numbers is set up in one place, saving you the hassle of putting it together piecemeal. A godsend, really.
Everyone knows the best way to explore a new place is with guidance from the people who live there. That’s where this app comes in. Through short, beautifully produced videos, locals share their favorite spots for eating, drinking, and taking in the scenery. Right now, the city offerings skew Nordic (a side effect of the Icelandic developers’ location) but Asian destinations such as Beijing and Bangkok are popping up, too. If you want to know where to find handmade candy in Singapore, this is the way to go. Available for Android, too.
Time Out City Guides
As a former Time Out Chicago editor, I’m obviously biased. Still, I’ve yet to be let down by a Time Out guide. Written by local experts, the books highlight the cool, not-so-touristy places and activities in any given city. These digital versions are smaller but robust, featuring opinionated and up-to-date listings for cafes, shops, galleries, nightlife and more — along with editor’s picks and photography. Plus, with GPS, you can pull up suggestions for nearby attractions. Pity there’s only an iPhone app for now, but with a growing library of titles (London, Kuala Lumpur, Paris… even Zagreb) it’s hard to find much to criticize.
If time is money, Around Me will practically pay for itself after one use. Using your phone’s GPS, it lists a variety of services (ATMs, gas stations, hospitals, hotels) in order of proximity. That means less time wandering around in search of a post office, more time wandering aimlessly.
Of all the flight-and-hotel aggregators, Hipmunk is probably the easiest to navigate. The app’s simple interface makes it easy to compare flights by time, price, and “agony” — basically, alerting you to long connection times, red-eyes, and more things that only the masochistic traveler loves. You can buy tickets on your mobile device or use a unique code to finish up on your computer. That’s not a bad idea, since the app inexplicably doesn’t include the equally easy lodging search found on the main site. Or, for that matter, the cute flying chipmunk mascot.