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The Ultimate Guide to Travel Apps

Smartphone travel apps may be all the rage, but with so many to choose from, where do you even begin to look? This is your first—and last—stop in the hunt for the best travel apps on the market.

SURVIVE WITHOUT A PLAN So the museum you planned to visit was closed, and now you've got a free afternoon on your hands. Goby has you covered: The app searches events and activities near you—live-music shows, family-friendly outings, and outdoorsy pursuits—and plots them on a map with details and photos. Free. Download it: Android, iPhone/iPad .

SKIP THE LINES The new Undercover Tourist app made for savvy Walt Disney World–goers delivers accurate wait times for every ride in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. At day's end, a built-in GPS helps you navigate right back to your car. $4. Download it: iPhone/iPad.

EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS Lonely Planet has created the perfect pairing of inspiration and information. First, flip through the colorful, photo-heavy 1000 Ultimate Experiences iPad app for thumbnail takes on some of the world's most intriguing destinations. Then use the brand's dedicated guides (for over 75 cities) to hunt for specifics, like how to get a bus pass for the MUNI in San Francisco or when to catch the ferry for a visit to Alcatraz. 1000 Ultimate Experiences $5, city guides $6. Download it: iPad (The 1000 Ultimate Experiences); iPhone/iPad (city guides).

FIND A PLACE TO "GO" Like it or not, Starbucks outposts have unofficially replaced service stations as America's favorite rest stops. Fortunately for travelers, both are mapped on the SitOrSquat app. More than 99,000 restrooms are represented (concentrated in larger cities in the U.S. and Europe), with details like hours, changing-table availability, and, of course, a "sit" or "squat" recommendation. Free. Download it: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad.

MASTER PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Whether you're in Tunis or Tokyo, the best way to feel like a local is to travel like one. The AllSubway HD app, loaded with zoomable subway maps of 137 cities across six continents, lets you puzzle out your public-transportation possibilities wherever you are (yes, even underground—no Wi-Fi needed). Updates are free as new cities are added, and even more features come into play when you're online: The app links to each subway's website so you can bone up on fares, schedules, and service changes in advance. $1. Download it: iPad/iPhone.

 

FAMILY TRAVEL

DON'T FORGET THE DIAPERS Why is it that the tiniest travelers require the most baggage? Baby Pack & Go supplies packing lists that you can customize for each child. It also sends reminders to ensure globe-trotting doesn't disrupt baby's routine: Ding! It's lunchtime. Ding! Naptime. $1. Download it: iPhone.

BRING STORYTIME ON THE ROAD Dr. Seuss goes digital with iPhone- and iPad-ready versions of his best-selling stories. Let The Lorax app be your on-the-road babysitter: It reads the story aloud, and when you tap an illustration, the machine will speak its name ("Trees." "Grass." "Pond."). $5. Download it: Android, iPhone/iPad.

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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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