Frequent travelers, take note: Your mobile phone and iPad are good for more than playing Pocket God and watching Glee. Download these seven apps and your next trip will be virtually painless, except for maybe the part when you pass through airport security.
- FlightTrack Pro. Airlines routinely switch schedules and gates, and there’s nothing worse than getting up at 5 a.m. for an early flight only to find out that your departure time has changed and you could have slept longer. This $10 app, available for Android, iPad, and iPhone, keeps you up-to-date on any flight’s details and even gives you the airline’s on-time record (which is probably worse than you think).
- MotionX-GPS Drive. There’s no need to buy a bulky GPS device when you can use your phone as one. MotionX-GPS Drive, a top-rated navigation app available for iPhone and iPad, provides verbal turn-by-turn directions, current street maps, and live traffic data. It’s 99 cents for a 30-day trial; if you like it, you can buy a year-long subscription for $25.
- AllSubway HD. If you’re in a new city, you might be tempted to spend big bucks on taxis simply because you don’t understand the labyrinthine subway system. This 99-cent app for iPad and iPhone takes the confusion out of subway maps and helps you define the simplest route to your destination in any of 128 major cities worldwide.
- Expensify. When traveling for business, it’s important to carefully itemize all of your expenses, lest the IRS comes calling. This free app for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Palm automates the expense reporting process by syncing with your credit cards to itemize your purchases. When you pay cash for a business-related item, simply take a photo of the receipt and Expensify will add the data to the report.
- Hotel Tonight. Whether you’re stuck at the airport after a canceled flight or you simply like to wing it sometimes, you’ll need to book a last-minute hotel reservation. This free app for Android, iPhone, and iPad will help you find a cheap bed for the night no matter where you are.
- TripIt. Phone numbers, confirmation numbers, flight numbers — there are so many details to keep track of when you travel. With TripIt, it’s easy: Just sign up online (for free), forward your confirmation emails to the company’s dedicated email address, and TripIt will display all of the important details on a mobile calendar.
- AroundMe. You’re in an unfamiliar city and jonesing for sushi. No problem! This free location-based app for iPhone and iPad pinpoints your location, then finds the closest businesses that suit your needs. Whether you seek food, a gas station, or even an Apple Store, the app will dole out the contact details and a travel route to wherever you want to go.