3 More Apps All Travelers Should Download

Here at Gadling, we think technology and travel go hand-and-hand. We use apps when hiking, to find food, and to get to know the locals, among many other things (like, for example, simply passing the time). Of course, new apps are being developed every day and we’re also finding innovative ways to use apps that might not necessarily be branded for travelers. Here are three news apps that can help make technology work for you when traveling.

After struggling to find things to do and places to eat that matched his and his date’s tastes, Joshua Spears set off to create a web personalization app that could help. The process is simple: the WooFound app displays photos of restaurants, events, attractions and more that could possibly fit a user’s interest, and the user decides if the images are “Me” or “Not me.” The app learns your preferences along the way, and uses location-based technology to relay suggestions. With a promise that no two users will have an identical personality profile, this is a great tool for someone who is exploring a new city and doesn’t know where to go. Unless, of course, you’re traveling with others – that could present a problem!Matchbook
With a name inspired by a time when visitors would take an artfully designed matchbook from a restaurant as a token of remembrance, the Matchbook app is a tool for helping you save location details and other information on important places. The app is helpful when a friend rattles off a laundry list of bars suggestions, or when you’re walking down the street and want to remember to return to a place you passed. Even better, Matchbook not only takes the best places from your list, but also the top places from everyone else who uses the app, and it maps them. So not only will you never forget the places you wanted to check out, but you won’t get lost along the way.

Free to download, then $0.99 per publication or $29.95/month
Download the PressReader app and scroll through more than 2,000 magazines and newspapers with ease. That number includes local, national and international publications, meaning you can have access to what is happening in cities across the world before you even land. Page by page, the publications are presented exactly as you would find them in print, only on the convenience of your mobile device. Download publications before you set off on a trip and then get prepped for your trip on the plane.

More App Guides on Gadling
Travel Apps Help You Explore Like A Local
10 Best Photography Apps For Travelers
Use Your Mobile Apps Better
iPhone Travel Apps Ranked By Actual Usage
10 Best Travel Apps For Frequent Fliers
Where Are All The Travel Guide Apps for Android?

[Photo by saanjaybhatia, Flickr]

iPhone Travel Apps Ranked By Actual Usage

iPhone Travel apps have been coming at us rapidly for quite some time now. Everyone seems to have their favorites, based on a variety of factors. Some iPhone travel apps are easy to use, quick to load and produce good results. Others, not so much. Knowing which one is most effective can be difficult but a new infographic takes a stab at sorting it all out.

Onavo is a data compression tech company that helps iPhone users get more from their data plan. How apps load and run is a topic they know all about. To feed this infographic, Onavo ranked travel search and booking apps by the percentage of U.S. iPhone users who activated them at least once during June 2012.

Onavo generated these infographic statistics using a sample of 100,000 U.S. iPhone users of their free iOS data-saving app that helps avoid overage fees.

“Acting as a proxy server, the Onavo Extend iOS version compresses data sent to your device from apps and websites, which means less bandwidth consumption,” reports Toonz.

[Flickr photo by mastrobiggo]

An App To Improve Your Las Vegas Travels

We love Las Vegas, and anything that helps us save money in Sin City is good in our books. That’s why we love the new TravelVegas app. Made by the same team that launched TravelVegas.com, a great site for Las Vegas Discounts, the free app is full of coupons and useful information.
“By simplifying an overwhelming amount of information in an iPhone app, we are able to help travelers find their way around the city, all while saving them money,” said Brandon Schenecker, TravelVegas CEO.
While we like the idea of discounts, we’re probably not the clientele for the $5 steak and egg breakfast special. Instead, we prefer to use the app for planning, saving things we plan to do in the “favorites” tab and then using the map feature to plan out our itinerary.

The app is also useful while strolling the strip. Travelers can explore the city on a multifaceted map that allows the user to sort, filter and search for just about anything. Lost, as we so often happen to be? Users can make a phone call, get directions, or view an indoor hotel map.

You can also use the app to view a menu and set up dining reservations, buy discounted tickets, or book a hotel room, something that is notoriously difficult to do on Vegas hotel’s flashy but less-than-easy-to-navigate hotel websites.

What do you think?

Is Instagram Helping Or Hurting Travel Photography?

It’s always fun to look at vibrant images of faraway destinations – a sun ray hitting the perfect piece of sand on a beach, an indigenous woman selling fruit at a weekend market or a mountain glowing 10 different shades. And, with all of the photography technology and apps we now have, it’s making it easier and easier for people to take flawless and exciting photos.

Do you ever wonder, however, if using these kinds of doctoring tools affects the ethics of photography? For example, is looking at a white sand beach that’s been photoshopped and filtered through Instagram really giving people an accurate view of a destination? Is heavily editing your photos, in a way, cheating? Travel photographers and travel editors from around the world weigh in on the subject.

One problem some are seeing with using instant-editing apps like Instagram and Camera+ is the photos can be somewhat misleading. It can give a sense you’re not getting a truthful depiction of a destination.”Sometimes images look a little too perfect. I like them to look a little more real,” says Mike Richard, editor of Vagabondish, a top-rated travel website.

For example, if you take a look at the photo above of Las Tijeretas on San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands, you’ll notice it looks completely different from the photo below. By using an Instagram filter on the top photo, the photographer has invoked an entirely different feeling of what the destination is like.

Lola Akinmade Akerström, whose work has appeared in publications like National Geographic, BBC and Forbes Traveler, agrees that travel photography should be about capturing a sense of place and culture as accurately as possible, instead of simply trying to take as many photos as you can in 10 minutes. For her, taking the viewer to a place as honestly as possible is “very different from fine art photography, which a lot of these filters and HDR effects cross into.”

She continues, “I personally won’t want to go somewhere where the sky is neon blue, the buildings appear more 3D than in reality, and people walk around looking like caricatures.”

Still, there are those travel photographers who are pro-Instagram, even using it themselves. Travel photographer Ken Kaminesky, who shoots commercial lifestyle images for stock photography, believes Instagram is all about having fun with your pictures. Additionally, because art is about perception, it’s all about how the photographer sees the shot, and how the viewers, in turn, perceive it.

“The photographer takes the pictures, not the camera,” he explains. “It still has a lot to do with your eye and how you compose things.”

Kaminesky also sees the benefit of using Instagram as a teaser for upcoming projects, showing his followers what they can look forward to with current and future assignments. For him and many other photographers, Instagram has many benefits in terms of social media sharing, helping to engage and excite their audience.

J.D. Andrews, editor of earthXplorer and travel photographer and videographer, sees the usefulness of Instagram, although believes it is more useful as a social media tool, more so than an article enhancer.

“When I’m shooting somewhere and I have the time, I always get the shots I need with my Canon, and then have fun with Instagram,” explains Andrews. “[If I were to use Instagram in an article], it would depend on the post. If it was about camera apps, sure. But most of the time, I only use Instagram for fun, ‘in the moment’ sharing.”

Kyle Marquardt, a commercial photographer and photo safari guide, agrees that Instagram is more for having fun than professional photos you would sell. Moreover, he believes the app allows people who would not usually be interested in photography to have fun with the endeavor. In fact, his mother, who had never used a camera before, bought an iPhone and became obsessed with Camera+. Now, she loves photography.

From the enthusiasm that apps like Instagram generate, photography becomes a more recognized medium. Many people will become interested in purchasing higher quality cameras, where they can learn what quality photos really look like.

“There is a lot more casual photography floating around now, and if a photographer puts work into a stunning, well-lit shot, then people are going to notice that gem amongst all the hastily executed and processed mobile photos,” says Marquardt.

How do you think Instagram is affecting travel photography?

10 Apps To Help Pass The Time On Long Journeys

Backpacking my way through South America, I spent many hours – sometimes entire days – making my way from city to city via bus. Whether you’re taking a bus, plane or train, here are 10 great apps that work offline to help you pass the time.


Kindle makes it easy to stay up-to-date with your favorite books, especially when it can be hard to find novels in your spoken language abroad. Just download the app, shop when you have Wi-Fi and then enjoy the books even when you’re without Internet connection. There are over 1,000 books in the Kindle store, as well as hundreds of newspapers, magazines, textbooks and PDFs. You can also sample the first few pages of books before buying, to decide if it’s worth the purchase.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry. Free.Pocket

Formerly called Read It Later, Pocket allows you to save articles, images, videos and other online media to read later, whether you’re on or offline. This allows for hours of entertainment via various media forms, and can help make the time go by very quickly when spending hours on a bus, train or plane.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. Free.

Spotify Premium

A music-listening app, Spotify allows you to stream and listen to thousands of songs, and even listen to your favorite playlists when you’re offline. Simply switch “Available Offline” to the “on” position for any playlists you’d like to listen to when you don’t have an Internet connection. Offline users can also sync playlists containing any songs from Spotify’s selection to their smartphone, with the ability to sync tracks on up to three computers or smartphones at the same time.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry. $9.99 per month.

World Travel Guide Offline Deluxe

World Travel Guide Offline Deluxe is an app that is specially suited for travelers. It allows users to browse information for over 20,000 travel destinations around the world through travel guides, itineraries, language guides and more. Best of all, it can be enjoyed while offline on a bus, plane or train. Research a current destination, or learn more about a place on your bucket list.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The first 50 pages are free. After that, you can purchase unlimited pages at a low cost. Android users can download a similar app by clicking here.

Word Mole

I’m obsessed with Word Mole on long journeys. Not only is it fun, but it exercises the mind. It’s kind of like Boggle in the sense that you need to make words with adjacent letters in order to gain points. However, with Word Mole you’re making words in a garden plot. If you use letters that aren’t touching any other letters, you’ll get a big hole on the board. Because the game is timed and requires some critical thinking, it’s also a good way to get some brain exercise in while killing time.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Blackberry. $0.99.


Watching movies is one of the easiest and most entertaining ways to pass the time. Unfortunately, even when a film is showed on public transportation, it is rare that it’s a flick that everyone will enjoy – if it’s even in a language you understand. Flixster allows travelers to browse their Flixster Collections page, a free application where you can browse movies and shows from various sources. If the movie you want to watch offline is compatible, you’ll be able to watch it without an Internet connection.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry. Free.

Ben Stein: It’s Trivial

The Ben Stein: It’s Trivial app is one of my favorites, as you can spend hours going through over 1,000 trivia questions in the categories of pop culture, sports, natural wonders and random Steinage. The game starts off easy and gets harder as you progress. Furthermore, answers are timed, adding an element of adrenaline. There’s also a bit of comedy, as the game includes quips and wry comments by Stein.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. $2.99.

Adobe Ideas

For art-lovers, Adobe Ideas allows users to “paint” masterpieces on their smartphones. You’ll be able to sketch using vector-based drawing tools, use an eyedropper to color with precision and work with 10 drawing layers. It’s also got some of the same features as Photoshop, for example, drawing over a photograph. Moreover, you can email your creative pieces to work on them again later.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. $9.99.

Fruit Ninja

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Fruit Ninja. It’s perfect for times when you don’t feel like thinking too hard, but want to pass the time. The object of the game is to chop as many pieces of flying fruit as possible by sliding your finger over the phone screen without hitting any spontaneous bombs. Certain fruits are extra points, as is slicing multiple fruits at the same time. It’s simple, but seriously addicting.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. $0.99.

18,000 Cool Jokes

This app is extremely entertaining, especially on long journeys. You won’t need an Internet connection to laugh your way through 18,000 Cool Jokes, which includes numerous categories, like blondes, bar, dirty jokes, at work, business, foreigners, yo mama, military, travel and many more. You can also browse the top jokes of the day, week and month. To give you an idea, here is one of the cute – and PG – travel jokes from the app: “What steps should you take if you see a dangerous animal on your travels? Very large ones.”

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. $0.99.