Your iPhone in the air: The 7 best apps for busy travelers

Several new iPhone apps are making international travel easier to swallow.

There’s no doubt about it: traveling – especially in a foreign country – can be stressful, fraught with confusion and miscommunication along the way. But several new iPhone apps are changing all that. From relaxing in-flight to ciphering a menu in a foreign language, here are seven iPhone applications guaranteed to streamline your trip and ensure every leg of the journey is hassle free:

Before your flight:

  • SeatAuthority: The newly-released SeatAuthority app “reinvents” the age-old process of selecting the best seat on any given flight. Look up features critical to safety and comfort with over 125 airline seat maps, with details including exit rows, bulkhead, bassinet seats and restrooms easily available with each. Of special interest to tall travelers: users who fire up the app can compare seat pitch, width and recline, as well as the amount of leg room for each seat on a flight. ($2.99)

In the air:

  • FlightTrack: Get real-time information about departures, delays and gate numbers at over 5000 airports with the FlightTrack application, one of the most advanced flight tracking apps on the market today. This app has full international coverage — at must for the busy jetsetter — and features zoomable maps and flight tracking. ($4.99)
  • Sleep Pillow Ambiance: “The App that helps you sleep like a baby,” claims this white noise-making application, which has been widely featured as the most advanced sleep and relaxation application the market. In addition to the classic white noise, this app also includes other relaxing sound effects, including water, forest, fire, weather, nature, modern, melodic, and atmosphere. ($1.99)

On the ground:

  • HotelTonight: This newly-released app allows travelers to find last-minute rooms at over 130 hotel parteners for rock-bottom rates rarely seen in other capacities. With luxury accomodations including New York‘s Ace Hotel,  LA Thompson Beverly Hills, and the Amalfi Hotel in Chicago, there’s hardly a bad hotel to be found in HotelTonight’s bunch. Travelers can book a room all the way up until 2am every night, far past the closing time for most travel companies. And, if that weren’t enough, everyone who downloads the app gets a $25 credit towards their first booking. (Free)
  • Convertbot: This amazingly high-powered utility application takes the guesswork out of any imaginable conversion. Spin Convertbot’s wheel to select one of 22 categories – including obscure ones including fuel, data rate, illuminance, radioactivity, and typography – and type in the amount you wish to convert. The app instantly does the work for you. ($1.99)
  • AroundMe: Save yourself the time spent aimlessly wandering a foreign neighborhood with AroundMe. This app, which is handy even in unfamiliar neighborhoods, pinpoints the closest bank, bar, gas station, hospital, hotel, movie theater, resaturant, superarket, theater, and even taxis. For each category the user is presented with a list of each with the accompanying distance from the GPS-enabled phone. From there, it’s easy to view directions to your destination, add the information to your contact list, and email information about any specific location to a friend.
  • WordLens: File this under the “futuristic” category of travel-friendly apps. With WordLens, you can point your phone at anything – a monument, a menu, a placard – and it will replace the words with English. For now, the app is only available in Spanish — point it at anything else and the program will give you incoherent phrases. But in Barcelona, Madrid and everywhere else Spanish is spoken, you no longer need an English-Spanish dictionary to ‘Habla espanol.’ (Free)



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