When you’re on the go, your best friend and resource can be your phone. In the age of smartphones, apps are like guiding stars. They can point you in the right direction for a hotel, tabulate expenses, send postcards, and much more. When used together, these apps can be the ultimate travel tool, placing a wealth of information at your fingertips no matter where you are on the planet. Here are some essential travel apps, known for their utility and reliability. Best of all, they cost absolutely nothing.

Note: All of these applications are available on both Android and iPhone operating systems and are free to download.*

1. TripIt
Your Personal Travel Agent- Be your own travel agent and plan every detail of your trip—from car rental to lodging to restaurants—with TripIt. You can construct custom itineraries by hand, or simply forward the email confirmations of your flight, rental car, train tickets, and hotels to plans@tripit.com and watch TripIt construct the itinerary for you.

2. Weather+Free
Your Go-To Meteorologist- Stop trying to decipher the weather forecast on the evening news (particularly when it’s in a foreign language). With its simple interface, the Weather+Free app informs you (in English) of the climate in multiple locations. It features the local time, temperature, humidity, visibility, wind speed, and other key factors that will inform your decision about what to wear before stepping outside.

3. Postagram
Your Modern Postmaster-Who said snail mail was overrated? Postcards are the classic thinking-of-you travel mementos for friends and family. With Postagram, you can bring this tradition into the digital age by sending personalized photos and messages from your phone to relatives, which they’ll receive on actual postcards for $0.99 a piece (postage is included).

4. Goby
Your Event Guru-When you’re in a foreign city, you sometimes look around and ask: Where are all the people? Goby has the answer. This app pinpoints the neighborhood hot spots (including museums, hotels, eateries, and more) in your vicinity. But its true value comes in finding nearby events. You’ll discover concerts, plays, and more right around the corner.

5. Free Wi-Fi Finder
Your Guide to the Internet Oasis-As a modern traveler, you can feel stranded and helpless without Internet access. The Free Wi-Fi Finder by JiWire, Inc. shows where you can find free wireless connections in urban areas. You can search with a directory or simply enable the Wi-Fi scanner to locate the nearest hot spots.

6. Google Translate
Your Pocket-Size Interpreter-When your Rosetta Stone education falls short, turn to Google Translate. This app can rapidly translate whole paragraphs of text or even the spoken word. Simply say a phrase in English, and Google Translate will repeat your words in the foreign language of your choice.

7. OANDA Currency Converter
Your Penny-Pinching Pal- If you’re traveling internationally, converting currencies in your head can be painful. By using any standard currency converter on your smartphone, you’ll wipe these headaches away. The OANDA Currency Converter stands out among the rest with its sleek styling and quick ability to factor the typical ATM rate (2 percent) or credit card rate (3 percent) into the conversion.

8. GasBuddy
Your Gas-Saving Friend- This app is for the road warrior. GasBuddy locates the closest gas stations and provides approximate pricing. Particularly useful when you’re running on empty, GasBuddy will save you time and money.

9. Hotel Tonight
Your Hand-Held Lifesaver- If you’re in a crunch to find a hotel for the night, Hotel Tonight might just be your lifesaver. The program works with local hotels in major metropolitan areas to post last-minute room rates for properties with vacancies. A relatively new app, Hotel Tonight’s coverage is not quite as expansive as one might hope, but it will only continue to grow.

10. GateGuru
Your Personal Airport Assistant- GateGuru is the best friend of those unfortunate souls caught with long layovers and delays. This app provides you with a map of the terminals as well as reviews of restaurants within the airport. However, the most helpful features might be the “tips” section and the average wait time at each terminal’s security checkpoint.


*article source from: http://travel.usnews.com