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jul 01 2010

Four apps to travel with

Everywhere you go, everyone seems to have their their hands on a smartphone. So Budget Travel is always on the lookout for apps to help make your adventures more enjoyable. Here are some of the newest travel applications we think are worth downloading.

iheartradio

In a day and age where many don't even know what an LP is, it's hard to believe that the app market is targeting radio listeners. Believe it, folks! Iheartradio has a collection of over 750 radio stations (including some in HD), which you can stream to your cell phone with the tap of a button (or screen, for those who use a touch screen out there). What's even better—it's ad-supported, meaning you don't pay a dime! iheartradio.com. Android, Blackberry, and iPhone.

DriveSafe.ly

Many states are beginning to prohibit drivers from using cell phones while operating their vehicles. But what are you supposed to do if someone's texting you directions to a meeting you're running late for? By turning on DriveSafe.ly, all incoming texts will be read aloud in an easy-to-understand voice so you don't have to take your eyes off the road. Another perk: DriveSafe.ly sends outgoing texts, stating that you're currently unavailable. drivesafe.ly. Android and Blackberry.

rdio

iTunes meets Netflix "Watch Instantly" with rdio, which allows users to stream entire albums, whether they're new releases or oldies. (I was personally impressed that I could listen to Pink Floyd, Dave Matthews Band, and David Bowie all in one afternoon.) After a 3-day trial period, you can decide whether it's worth $5 a month to listen from your computer or $10 a month to also be able to listen from your Blackberry or iPhone. A big incentive for the pricier upgrade is that you can store songs on your phone so you can jam out even if you're out of cell range. Sign-up for an invite at rdio.com. Blackberry and iPhone. (Rdio claims an Android version is on its way.)

mtrip

This one's for you lucky iPhone'rs out there. mtrip creates a personalized itinerary based on your interests, pace, and dates that you'll be on your trip. It takes suggested sites' hours of operation into account so it can better plan the day for you, too. (Some attractions mtrip searches for include: museums, monuments, parks, restaurants, bars, cafés, clubs, and shopping districts.) With mtrip, you're not only given a map with the best route, you're also able to change the attraction's priority within seconds (and without Internet connection), thereby altering your route. Mtrip also provides you with prices, reviews, photos and contact information for the attractions it suggests. Limited to major cities right now. mtrip.com. Only iPhone at the moment.

One thing to note: Now that data plans are becoming more restrictive [cough, AT&T;, cough], you'll want to be careful about using these apps to download too much information, thereby overdoing your data consumption for the month. Try using your phone's Wi-Fi connection whenever possible (as opposed to 3G), so you don't use up your allotted data. It may also be a good idea to check with your provider and see what data policies apply to you. Happy travels!

—Max Behrman

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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