It’s hard to imagine how we ever organized a family holiday in the past without our smartphones!
Smartphones — and in particualr the iPhone — have become our guide books, maps, translators, booking engines and road toys all in one. Now if only they’d make an app to wipe kids’ runny noses or soothe their bee stings, they’d be perfect!
Of course, the big problem with using your iPhone as a travel aide is that there are literally thousands of apps available to help you navigate, plan your itinerary, speak Mandarin, find a restaurant … and hundreds of other tasks that we used to have to figure out on our own.
We’ve drilled through the pages of the iTunes Apps Store to come up with a list of 5 essential family travel apps for iPhone users. Let us know if there are other ones that have been especially helpful to you!
BEST OF DISNEY ($2.99)
Let’s face it: you’re going to go to Disney World one day, period. And it’s so huge you can get snarled in the logistics of it all. Disney World was MADE for iPhone users!
Best of Disney is one of several Disney World guides available, but it’s a nice clean package, richly detailed and full of expert tips. More than 100 pages with 600 color photos, with entries organized by useful tags to help make sense of all that’s available in Orlando. Includes satellite maps and one-click website and phone interface for buying tickets and booking reservations.
Written by best-selling travel author Katherine Jacob and published by Sutro Media.
FAMILY CAR GAMES ($1.99)
Stop spending your road trips bickering or making the kids count cows or Volkswagens! Family Car Games will likely keep a few families together, with its endlessly distracting roster of games to choose from.
No equipment necessary — except your phone and a playing partner. Over 100 creative, fun, challenging games, including word games, puzzles and (our favorite) “Grandma Is So Weird”.
FCG has been upgraded for iPhone OS4; purchasers can grab the update at no cost.
HOLLER FOR THE DOLLAR ($0.99)
HFTD is one of the iStoryTime series of narrated kids’ books published for the iPhone by FrogDogMedia. It’s an amusing and educational illustrated guide to different forms of currency used around the world.
Sounds too much like school? Nah, it’s actually a lot of fun for children 8 and under, with cute illustrations and rhymes. Plus it’ll help the kids count your change on purchases when you arrive at your next exotic holiday destination.
You’ll want to check out the other titles in the iStoryTime library too!
PACK & GO DELUXE ($2.99)
Leave the post-it notes behind on your next trip. Pack & Go Deluxe is an awesomely detailed organizational planner to help you keep track of all your pre-trip “to-dos”.
Shopping lists, packing lists, passwords, phone contacts, itineraries — there’s no end to what you can plan with P&GD. Includes ready-made packing lists for different family members, with unlimited ability to customize your lists.
So comprehensive you’ll wish your office had a task management program this good!
FLIGHT TRACK PRO ($9.99)
No list of essential travel apps would be complete without FTP, the granddaddy of all flight management software programs for smartphones.
View itineraries, live flight tracking, weather radar and plan ahead for flight delays and cancellations.
Truly indispensable for travellers of all kinds.
FTP is now up to version 3.6.3 and compatible with iPhone’s OS4. If you’ve bought it previously, check for free upgrades.