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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

8 Cool gadgets to make your holidays risk proof

Shruti Menon   March 29, 2012
First Published: 11:25 IST(29/3/2012) | Last Updated: 11:25 IST(29/3/2012)
Vacations for those who like to plan things down to the last detail entail extensive drawing up of lists and to-do's. This could include little diaries with phone numbers of travel agents/airlines/hotels, travel related information, booking details, print outs and an updated mobile contact list. Usually, a lap top is carried to ensure that there is a back up plan and a way to maintain contact with folks who may need to be reached out to in case of any emergency or change in plans. But, now thanks to technology, this entire rigmarole is simplified. If you adopt a bunch of our recommended apps, depending on what you want, where you are going and what you are comfortable using, you will find that your holiday is actually a breeze. There is no problem, big enough, for these apps. Most of them are economical, take lesser space and deliver on what they promise. All you have to do is trust them and use them to advantage.  




XE Currency
If you've spent more than a few minutes mentally calculating what that nice souvenir at the corner shop costs in your own currency then the XE app may just be your cup of tea. A currency calculator and convertor can come in very handy no matter the destination, especially for first time travellers. This handy app has the ability to convert to and from just about any national currency. You can sync it up to the latest exchange rates before you leave for you trip in order to cut down on data costs but can also update it on the fly if the cost of data transfer isn't an issue. The app is free but ad-supported.

Google Translate

Too often travellers can find themselves unable to communicate with people in other countries. This could be due to unfamiliar languages and accents. What's a traveller to do in such a travel unfriendly scenario? Its quite simple actually. Just carry the handy Google Translate App. While an app is no replacement for actual understanding of a local language, it can help bridge some gaps. The Google Translate app works for 64 different languages. You can display translated results to locals to help them in their communication. It supports non-Latin scripts like those of Chinese and Japanese (Pinyin and Romanji). You can also speak into the app to translate or get the app to speak aloud the translations. Google Translate is free on the iTunes Store and Android Market.

Its unique feature is that it stars your favourite translations for quick access as also accesses your translation history when you are offline.

TripIt
There is possibly no greater stress for a traveller than keeping the entire itinerary in the head or having to rely on odd pieces of paper. To eliminate this hassle, the TripIt travel app comes handy. All you have to do is forward all your travel related confirmation emails, including flight booking, hotel reservations and vacation vouchers, and watch as the app sorts all the information out into a day-to-day itinerary. You can share this itinerary with anyone using most popular social networking services. It also gives directions from the local airport to your hotel and allows you to add custom travel notes, photos and recommendations.

The Weather Channel App
When travelling to far off places, the biggest damper can be unpredictable weather. It can disrupt carefully laid out plans and even put you at risk with getting you stranded at odd hours. The Weather Channel App comes to your rescue courtesy, the work of hundreds of meteorologists sitting right on your Smartphone of choice. The App has full colour maps and an animated radar that forewarns you and ensures that you do not get ambushed by errant weather that can play spoil sport and ruin your vacation.

FlightTrack Pro
For those frequent continental and trans-continental travellers, having an app like FlightTrack is a godsend. This app not only tracks airline flight on a zoomable and real-time map, but also informs you about delays and departure gates. In the event of a cancellation, the app assists you in obtaining an alternate flight too! So, no need to frantically call your local travel agent or to scour the internet for bookings. It covers more than 4000 airports worldwide and tracks flight from 1400 airlines. You can also communicate your flight status using your choice of email, Facebook or Twitter.

Its unique features include syncing with your phone's calendar and providing you with an offline mode for flights.

Airbnb
One of the primary issues for travellers on a smaller budget is that of making their board and lodge booking. The Airbnb App is a window into the community marketplace and allows people who have the space for rent to connect with potential renters. It is incredibly easy to list or search for rented spaces and attempts to assess what the place is worth. There are well over 150,000 listings spread over 19,000 cities and 190 nations, available at a wide variety of price points. You can book anything from a private island to a private apartment, literally at your fingertips.

Its unique features include selecting Selecting places at the last moment and messaging guests and hosts directly from your phone

Packing Pro
The Packing Pro App puts you at ease immediately and makes it possible for you to start relaxing even before you have embarked on your travel. It makes the packing part of your preparations less of a nightmare. You can create your own custom lists but the best feature of the app is that you can give it a set of criteria and let it automatically generate a suitable packing list. The app accepts data on the number of adults or children, days of travel, local temperature and even food and laundry preferences. Just tick off items as you pack them and the app will keep a running tally. This would be done so efficiently, that you will not have any nagging worries about having left something behind or missing a detail.

Trip Journal
Sometimes when travelling, you just wish to record your experiences for posterity. The Trip Journal App lets you do just that. Think of it as a mobile and modern scrapbook. Keep and share a record of your travels, whether they be photos, videos, comments or blogs. With the app's Google Earth integration, you and the people you share it with can see just want you have seen and the places you have visited and how you have gotten there. The app will use GPS to record all the points along your journey. All major social networking tools are supported so that you can share information real time.

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