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Apple iPad: Your New Travel Companion

With its sleek form factor and easy portability, the iPad is a natural companion for your next road trip, whether it be across the country or around the world.

In addition to being able to take your work with you, with Apple’s affordable iWork software suite, which allows the creation and editing of documents, spreadsheets and presentations, there are plenty of apps available for the iPad to help you relax, as well as manage your travel and vacation plans. It should be noted that some of these apps have an iPhone version as well, but the best ones take full advantage of the iPad’s greater screen real estate.

Many of the available travel guides for the iPad are free. World Travel Guides offer a number of apps to help you explore during your travels. For example, the USA Travel Guide includes historical information about the United States, a large scrollable map of the country, advice on the best times to visit various attractions, tips on local regional weather, health information, a listing of public holidays, advice on how to get around and information on visas and passports. In addition, it offers currency rates for almost 200 currencies. World travel guides offers guides for Japan, China, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Australia, Portugal, Canada, the UK and others, most or all of them free.

There are some competing travel guide apps. For example, Travel Guides by Cityscouter GmbH are available for $3.99 and offer a number of unique features. For example, they can be used off-line so you can save on roaming fees; articles, events, maps and transport can be viewed without an Internet connection. An events guide automatically updates when an Internet connection is available with thousands of listings for concerts, sporting events, festivals, theater and more.

Fully zoomable maps show your location and nearby points of interests. The app features professionally-written content by local residents, rather than information adapted from Wikipedia. The guide also includes major transport lines and railway stations, as well as thousands of points of interest. Cityscouter travel guides are available for Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Lyon, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Salzberg, Vienna, Valencia, Zürich and other cities.

Do most of your traveling by air and want to keep records of your travels for personal and business use? Travel Tracker – Personal Travel Assistant by Silverware Software stores vital information relating to your trips, and displays it in what it calls “itinerary screens.” With one touch, you can get your flight status via the FlightStats service, keep track of your flights by airline and flight number, record frequent flights and keep track of your frequent flyer miles, and check a database of airports worldwide with links to airport websites.

For the traveling gourmet, there is Urban Spoon for iPad. It shows all the restaurants in your current city marked on the map with a little blue pushpin. You can explore thousands of restaurants, zoom in on any specific neighborhood, or spin the roulette wheel if you can’t make up your mind about which restaurant you want to try. You can also filter the results by neighborhood, cuisine or price, and access the data even when you don’t have an Internet connection; the restaurant information is stored directly on the iPad. You can also survey ratings and reviews from newspapers, bloggers and fellow patrons. Urban Spoon for iPad offers coverage for most North American, UK and Australian cities.

Load up a few of these apps, and your iPad is likely to become your most valuable travel companion. Happy traveling!

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