Monday, June 24, 2013

5 Lesser Known Travel Apps For Your Smartphone

Even the newest member of the smartphone-carrying community has probably seen an abundance of adds for the more famous travel apps out there. Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire, and dozens more have tremendous exposure via television and Internet commercials, to the point where even complete luddites are familiar with their services. If you’re planning a trip and looking to use your smartphone for the first time, you certainly can’t go wrong with using the apps from these major companies, especially if you have enough consumer discipline to not take the first deal that pops up on your screen. But if you’re looking for even more variety, here are 5 lesser known apps that can be a tremendous help while traveling:

Region-Specific Rental Car Apps

You don’t always have to use Hotwire when you’re on the hunt for a great rental deal. There are tons of country, state, and even city-specific rental car apps that provide recent information on prices, models, availability, and last minute deals. A quick search through Google Play or Apple Store provides rental car apps for Hawaii, Ireland, Dubai, and hundreds of other locations. If your vacation or business trip happens to land you in one of these areas, you can definitely increase your rental options by using these local resources in addition to the larger travel apps. App

While not exactly an underground secret, isn’t quite as mainstream as its competitors, and offers a few things that are more suited to those looking to venture off the beaten path a bit. While every major travel app will let you book hotel accommodations,’s app gives you a bit more variety in the search pool, including private vacation homes, apartments, cabins, beach bungalows, and more. If you take pride in trying to immerse yourself in the local culture when traveling, this app can definitely help you out.

Currency Exchange Rates

There’s no shortage of foreign currency apps available on the various smartphone markets. What makes Etustudio’s Currency Exchange Rates stand out a bit is its functionality, allowing you to make detailed currency charts and access the info offline, making it perfect for someone traveling through 4 or 5 countries in a short period—like a nice jaunt across Western Europe, for example—who needs to deal with several different foreign currencies, possibly on the same day.

Region-Specific Tourism Apps

Once again providing a little competitive balance to the major travel apps, many popular cities and tourist-heavy countries publish their own guides in handy smartphone form—and many of them are completely free. Obviously, a tourism app created by Hong Kong will be setting you up for as many money-separating activities as it can get away with, but you may also get a more personal and accurate feel for your travel destination than what may be offered in a brief summary from the more popular apps out there.


Another popular category in the app market is the various restaurant and nightlife locators. However, if you’re in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and a few other cities in the U.S. and you’re looking for something a little different, give TruxMap a try. This app gives you the location and menu of the participating food trucks around the city, matching up the truck’s current location with your smartphone’s GPS. You’re more likely to get a taste of some unique local culture from one of these trucks than you are from many of the chain restaurants that saturate most tourist areas, and you’ll probably save a little cash as well.

Any of these programs can be a great introduction to the travel apps market for smartphones. And with new releases constantly popping up, you’ll never run out of ways to save a few dollars or find new experiences to try while on vacation.

Author bio:

John is a blogger who loves using his iPhone to find restaurant and gas deals while staying in a new city. He writes for smartphone Insurer Protect Your Bubble, who can protect your smartphone—including Samsung’s new Galaxy S4—from damage, theft, loss, and many of the other dangers that can befall a traveler’s gadgets.