11 Ways to Use Your Smartphone as a Travel Guide

 green01   October 19, 2012
How To Travel

Mobile technology has become an important part of our modern lifestyle. It has moved from the simple concept of wireless phones that we could take with us for basic communication on the go to the smartphones that we are familiar with today. In our tech-savvy society, people no longer think of their mobile phone as a means of simple communication but as a way to keep in touch with the world.

Smart Travel

Smart Travel – Source

The technology associated with our precious mobile devices has improved dramatically over the past decade. From simple and painless data transfer between phones to voice activation capabilities, the mobile phone is more versatile and efficient than ever before. Smartphones in particular have revolutionized the industry; providing a versatile mobile phone that has all the communication elements we need with a range of additional functionality. Through smartphone technology, we have come to rely on our mobile phones not only for communication but for dozens of other tasks that we perform throughout a typical day.

From keeping up with schedules and remembering dates, to assistance while cooking or shopping, software applications have opened the door to a new world of creativity, software development and functionality for the smartphone user. While some applications cater to entertainment, others provide a truly unique service that can greatly improve your experience by making things more efficient.

One area in particular that has been impacted by smartphone application support is travel. While the destination itself is something to look forward to, getting there can be notoriously hectic. Fortunately, smartphones have made it easier to prepare for a trip as well as to stay organized once you reach your destination. Many aspects of traveling that are notably difficult to deal with have been improved, or even remedied, with the use of various smartphone apps.

As someone preparing to take a big road trip or a flight overseas, consider adding some applications to your digital library that can make things simpler as you are on the go. Below are 11 of the most useful smartphone applications for your traveling adventures.

Trip Advisor

The Trip Advisor app is available for most popular mobile phone platforms. This simple yet effective application is based on the popular website that provides an interface for users to share their experiences and ratings for specific hotels and restaurants.

The Trip Advisor app is the perfect way to narrow down your hotel or dining choices, particularly if you are in an area you are unfamiliar with. Browse the various unbiased user reviews right from your smartphone to see what people like or dislike about a particular option you are considering.

Social Networks

Twitter and Facebook are a necessity for many people. Fortunately, there are apps available for both of these popular social network platforms.

Whether you want to share that beautiful sunset that you took a picture of last night or post a status update, Twitter and Facebook apps are a must have for the modern traveler.


Most smartphones provide GPS by default. However, if your smartphone does not have GPS, there are plenty of free apps available.

GPS support is a real necessity while traveling in places that you are not familiar with. No more rustling with those over-sized crinkled maps in your car; simply pull out your phone and get your real-time location relative to your destination.

You can confirm the directions to your destination, get an estimate of how long it will take to get there, as well as compare different places you might want to stop along the way.

Flight Board

Flight Board is an innovative app that makes it easy to determine the arrival and departure times of a specific flight without having to crowd around those busy monitors at the airport. Simply pull up the app on your phone and enter your flight number. Using WiFi Internet access or your cellular network, Flight Board accesses the flight database to bring you real-time information regarding your flight.

In the event that your particular flight is scheduled to arrive or depart late, you can compare the flight times of similar flights to determine whether you should switch to stay on schedule.

Gas Buddy

Everyone has been there; just getting back on the road after topping off your gas tank only to drive by another gas station a few miles down the road with cheaper gas. Fortunately, thanks to Gas Buddy, road trip participants no longer have to worry about draining their bank accounts with over-priced gas .

Gas buddy is an interactive application that relies on users to input the location of gas stations and their corresponding gas prices into a database that other users can turn to for reference. Using GPS, gas buddy takes your location and scans for nearby gas stations in the area, providing their prices in addition to their location.

Not sure how reliable that price is? Gas buddy also shows you when the price was last updated so you have peace of mind as you pass up the closest stop to go a few miles ahead for less expensive gas.


Hotel Tonight is an application for those individuals who regularly procrastinate or experience a mishap during their travels. Maybe you forgot to reserve a hotel room for a particular overnight stop on the way to your destination. Or perhaps your flight got in late and your reservation was forfeited. Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to last-minute hotel options?

Hotel Tonight functions as a safety net in the event you find yourself stranded at a particular location till the next morning. As a way for users to check availability and prices for same day hotel stays, the Hotel Tonight app can be a lifesaver and is a recommended companion for the weary traveler who wants to avoid napping on the dashboard of their compact coupé.


While the Internet and email access have helped to consolidate all of those confirmations you generally need while traveling, it is still easy to get overwhelmingly unorganized. Fortunately, there is now a way to keep those confirmations confined to the digital world with the TripIT smartphone app.

Instead of printing out all of those confirmations, you forward the email to your TripIT account which syncs the information to your application. The next time you need to reference one of your confirmations, you simply have to open the application on your smartphone and easily navigate through the list of organized confirmations in digital format.


Instagram is an innovative service that provides tools for users to modify the photos they upload. You can enhance the effects of your photos by creating aesthetic additions that make them more visually appealing than the simple original.

You can now take this service with you while on vacation as the Instagram mobile app. Simply open the app and transform that picture of the beach into an exquisite work of art ready for posting to your favorite social network.

Yelp Reviews

Yelp is a popular service that provides users with reviews for just about any service imaginable.

While you are traveling, you never know when you might want to stop for gelato or need a locksmith to get you back into that rental car.  The Yelp app is your one-stop resource for reliable user reviews that points you in the right direction when you need help making a decision.

Language Translators

Language translating apps are an important part of your traveling arsenal if you are embarking on a voyage overseas. While English is one of the most widely used languages in the world, it is always a good idea to have some capability of communicating with locals in their native language.

With one of the most popular translation apps, Google Translate, you simply choose your own language as well as the language you wish to translate into and type in your question, statement, greeting or concern. The app then instantly translates the entry into the chosen language.

While your accent might not be top-notch as you read through it, the locals will at least appreciate the effort.

Currency Converters

Currency conversion apps are the perfect supplement for your traveling endeavors. Nobody wants to perform difficult mathematical calculations during their exotic Asian expedition or while looking for deals on chicken feet at an Egyptian Bazaar. Instead, consider a currency conversion app such as XE Currency that does all the hard work for you.

Simply type in the amount of whatever currency you are dealing with and convert it to a currency you are familiar with to determine whether a particular purchase is reasonably priced.

Technology has drastically improved the way we function throughout the day. What once involved keeping track of complicated paperwork or dates on forgotten calendars can now be kept in an easily accessible digital format on your smartphone. Through the use of application software, we have a growing list of tools available to us that provide innovative solutions to the difficulties associated with living a fast-paced life.

As someone who is preparing to embark on a vacation, the first place you should turn to is your smartphone. Whether you take notes that outline a few items you need to pick up on the way to the airport or utilize the handy list of travel based apps outlined above, your smartphone is a versatile tool for your travels; it can turn even the most novice of travelers into an organized know-it-all.

About the Guest Blogger – Emily Green is a very competent writer with more than 6 years professional experience in blogging, copywriting, content, SEO, dissertation, technical, and theses writing. She is also an avid traveler, and has used these techniques along with her phone and T-Mobile SIM card to explore the world around her.

One Response to “11 Ways to Use Your Smartphone as a Travel Guide”

  1. Vicky Says:

    Great tips. Thanks. Love how my smart phone literally does everything these days. Can’t imagine life before it to be honest 🙂

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