Thursday, August 18, 2011

Top 5 Free Android Travel Apps

I just got a tablet that runs Android, and I'm a little obsessed with finding just the right apps to make my life (and computer) run smoothly. There are games, ebook readers, music and video players, chat programs, fart sound generators, and other must-have gadgets to make your phone or tablet pop and sizzle.

But I got this tablet to travel with, and it's the travel-friendly Android apps I'm interested in. And I'm a little cheap, so they have to be free. Here are the top five free Android travel apps I've found so far:

Kindle - I chose not to buy a Kindle because I didn't want to pay so much for a device that only does one thing. Now I have an Android tablet that reads Kindle books, but also plays movies and checks email and everything else I need. One of the advantages of having a tablet is not having to lug around heavy books, so the Kindle app and a few choice best-sellers are a must on any flight or layover.

Poynt - Travel guides are great; very informative and helpful in the planning stages of your trip, but when you get to your destination there are often unexpected needs, like you spill red wine on your best dress and need to know where the nearest dry cleaners is, or your kids are driving you batty and you want to find out how soon the next showing of Kung Fu Panda 2 is. Poynt is great for this, as it figures out where you are and leads you to useful information like phone numbers, showtimes, and evern dinner reservations.

Weatherbug - There are lots of weather apps, but Weatherbug is great for travelling because it not only provides 7-day forecasts and interactive maps, but sends you severe weather alerts and even has a live webcam link to to more than 2,000 weathercams across the US. The only drawback is it's a pretty big app at 12mbs.

TripIt - I've recommended this app for both iPhone and Blackberry, and I'll keep recommending it. The app is invaluable for creating an itinerary from different bits of information like flights, hotel reservations and tours, which you can then share with your family and friends (assuming you want them to know where you are of course!) All you have to do is sign up, then forward your confirmation emails to An enhanced paid app also updates things like gate changes and frequent flier points.

Google Goggles - One of these fancy 'augmented reality' apps, Google Goggles is one of the most powerful out there because it taps into the near-infinite knowledge available from the search engine itself. All you have to do is take a photo of an object, and the app will pull up all kinds of relevant information on it. One of the best features is an automatic translation of text when you take a photo of a sign in a foreign language.

Have a Blackberry or iPhone? Click on the links to find our best travel apps for those platforms!

Image from here.

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