The smartphone has become perhaps the single most ubiquitous tool in the baby boomer traveler's arsenal.
Because of this, there is a massive groundswell of travel applications (apps) all providing various forms of valuable travel information all vying for the attention of 79 million baby boomers.
Remarkably, a great many of these travel apps are free. And, those who might charge a fee are only charging a very small fee ($.99 - $3.99) in order to allow end users to remove advertising from the available free travel app versions.
As The Roaming Boomers®, we are seemingly in constant travel mode. Therefore, we thought we might share ten of our favorite travel apps with you.
- Easily #1 on our list is a navigational app. Our very first smartphone was one with Google's Android operating system and we greatly enjoyed Google Maps with included voice navigation. What a treat! Speak your destination into the phone, and voila, there was a nice voice giving turn-by-turn directions. However, as we were Apple users, we've since opted to use Apple's iPhone so that our phones might integrate with our other pieces of hardware. However, the minute we did that, we lost the voice navigation feature of Google maps. Bummer! Thankfully, however, just today, as I was doing research for this article, I found that Garmin had just purchased a company called Navigon and now I can have a fully functional GPS application right in my iPhone. Navigon's product is $59.99 for their complete North American functionality. If you don't need all of North America, you can buy your region for $29.99. We're very happy to pay this price to prevent carrying around another device, and to have our beloved Garmin GPS features on my iPhone. YEAH!
- Kayak (Pro) - This is Mrs. Roaming Boomers® favorite travel website/app. As she is the one who coordinates all of our travel, she is in constant use of Kayak for flight and car search, hotel search and booking, and their flight tracker is handy to see if our plane is on schedule. The "pro" version is $.99, and simply removes the ads that are in the free version.
- Facebook Mobile (free) - I suppose Facebook doesn't make most people's top 10 travel apps list, but we use Facebook a lot when we travel. Because most of our family and friends are also using Facebook, the "Check-In" feature is well used. Where ever we might be in the world, we can check-in and Facebook finds our location by GPS. We then upload a photograph from our location and our friends and family can see where we are and our accompanying photograph. It's fun!
- Google Translate - (free) - Speak a phrase in English and it will translate the phrase audibly in more than 50 languages. It will also audibly translate 50 spoken foreign language phrases into English. This way, you can ask for chocolate cake in Germany, and actually get chocolate cake!
- Yelp (free) - Open this app and it will present restaurants, things to do, a car mechanic, or even a dentist. Using your phone's GPS, it will determine your location and then present you with nearby options complete with millions of user reviews.
- Netflix - ($7.99.month) - Again, likely unfamiliar with most top 10 travel app lists. We like this because for less than half the cost of most hotel movies, we can watch unlimited programing from where ever we might be right on our iPhone. Sweet!
- Google Books (free) - We love to read when we travel. Google Books allows us to purchase a digital copy of our favorites and then read them on what ever computer gear we might have available. It works on my computer, my iPad, or my iPhone.
- Instagram (free) - This photo sharing app lets you share your travel photographs with people from all over the world. Plus, there are a series of fun filters to enhance your photographs for even more fun. We like the 70s polaroid filter. It's retro baby!
- TuneIn Radio (free) - Do you wish you could take your hometown or favorite radio station with you anywhere in the world? Well, with TuneIn Radio, you can.
- Flashlight (free) - You're in a dark restaurant and you can't read the menu. Or, you're in a dark hotel room and need to find the bathroom in the middle of the night. Download a free flashlight application. I don't know why this isn't a standard feature on the smartphones. But, thankfully, there are scads of flashlight apps for you to download.
Well, there's our list of the Top 10 Travel Apps for the baby boomer traveler.