New smartphone apps come out faster than you can download them. Lucky for you, we’re keeping track of the good, the bad, and the useless—so you don’t have to!
For an airlines that seems so modern, it’s hard to believe JetBlue didn’t even have a mobile app until now. Well, it’s here, and it’s spectacular! Use the app to search for flights on JetBlue and its international partners, see customized fares and deals, notify you about flight delays or weather updates, track your flights, let you know what entertainment and snack options will be on-board your flight, and check JetBlue’s policies on bags/delays/pets/etc. There’s even a Pick Me Up feature that lets you send your itinerary and directions to your airport ride. (Available on iPhone; Android coming soon.)
Recently voted one of the top 50 apps of all time in Apple’s Hall of Fame, the newly launched version of Fotopedia is the ultimate travel inspiration. The UNESCO World Heritage Centre helped to create this tool, which features more than 30,000 photos—letting you explore (and plan your next trip to) all 936 World Heritage sites from the comfort of your home. (Available on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.)
Whether you need a hotel tonight or months from now, Orbitz’s new app can help you out. You can book a hotel in just three taps, view photos and maps of the property, share your itinerary, sync your trip and phone calendar, and even get exclusive mobile deals of up to 50 percent off. (Available on iPhone and iPad.)
Anyone who’s tested out Facebook’s new timeline knows how frustrating adding trips and places to it can be. Enter Wipolo, one of more than 60 apps that Facebook has chosen to work in synch with timeline. Simply forward your plane, hotel, or other booking e-mails to Wipolo, and then connect with Facebook to share your travel plans. Everyone on your news feed will be so jealous! (Available on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, and Samsung Bada.)
What would you get if TimeOut, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, and BBC Travel had a romantic fling abroad? The answer is Wenzani, a new mobile guide powered by both the professionals and your friends. The app is a mash-up of traditional travel guidebooks and websites, combined with advice and feedback from your friends. Plus, you can ask for instant recommendations from other readers—perfect when you need to find a local lunch spot in a new city. (Available on iPhone.)
When do you think the remote control in your hotel room was last cleaned? Actually, don’t think about it. Just download the LodgeNet app instead, which will let you use your (hopefully) cleaner phone to control the TV in your room. You can also use the app to call the front desk, which bypasses the equally unsanitary room phone. (Available on iPhone and Android.)
What’s more frustrating than the ambiguous fork and knife symbol on highway roadsigns? Will it have good food, a clean bathroom, or be closed for the season? Take the guessing game out of road trips with roadninja, which will tell you exactly what lies ahead at exits. Browse through food, gas, lodging, attractions, and 24-hour pharmacies, and never again drive five miles out of your way only to wind up at an Arby’s. (Available on iPhone.)
Turn your iPhone camera shots into something special with this app. The 360Panorama does exactly what it promises—lets you capture an entire scene at all angles. Simply spin around in a circle with your phone and capture the panoramic view. You can also easily upload and share your images to Facebook and Twitter. [Editor’s note: The app itself costs $0.99 (still a bargain); new for version 4.0.2, all upload options are free.] (Available on iPhone, iPad, and Android.)
We’ve experienced New York City cab drivers falling asleep (while at a stoplight), driving the wrong way down a one-way street, and refusing to take us to non-Manhattan destinations. But calling 311 to report these drivers is such a hassle. Luckily, there’s an app for that! The Report a Taxi (R.A.T.) app lets you rat out bad drivers in few easy steps. Snap a photo of the driver’s medallion, select the problem, enter the date and time, enter the location, and submit to the Report A Taxi team, who will review and send to the Taxi and Limousine Commission. (Available on iPhone; Android and BlackBerry coming soon.)
10. Hipmunk 2.0
Hipmunk has updated its popular travel app and added a hotel search feature to the new version. Use this app to plan your travel—you can search for flights and sort by “agony” instead of price, which will factor in layovers, airport distance, etc. Turn on the “heatmaps” to see what the best areas in a city are to stay based on food, landmarks, nightlife, and more, and never get stuck in the deserted-on-weekends financial district again. (Available on iPhone, iPad, and Android.)
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