The Top 10 Must-Have iPod Apps For Travelers and Expats

We all know that having the right tools is critical for success in any endeavor. When you travel or live overseas though, having the right tools becomes essential to completing your daily tasks. While you may be familiar with more traditional resources like guide books and maps, today I’d like to educate you on how to leverage up-and-coming technology to smooth out those rough points in your overseas adventures.

The technology that I’m referencing is Apple’s iPod applications (apps) for the iPhone and iPod Touch. These revolutionary tools can do it all if you know how to make proper use of them. But with thousand of applications available to download, the task of finding the right apps can be daunting. That’s why I’ve spent the time and energy researching them all and have consolidated my recommendations into a Top 10 list of Essential Apps for any traveler. Before we start though, a little background on iTunes for those who are not familiar.

Background on iTunes Apps

The applications referenced can be uploaded to any iPod Touch or iPhone. Traditional iPods like the Basic, Nano or Shuffle do not use applications unfortunately. All applications can be downloaded from the iTunes store. iTunes must be installed on your desktop to download the applications. Apps typically range in price from FREE to $4.99, although there are a few I will be suggesting that go as high as $14.99. All transactions are processed via credit card through iTunes and delivered instantly.

The Top 10 List of Essential Apps for Travelers

1. iMetro- $1.99 to upload. This App provides metro maps for 28 cities around the world, ensuring that you don’t need to waste your precious money on taxi fares. The metro maps are scalable, so you can zoom in or out to find your way. There are quite a few metro apps out there, but I like this one best because of the large number of maps that you get for the low cost. Another bonus: The price just fell from $4.99 to $1.99 in June!

2. Sit or Squat- FREE. This user-maintained database identifies free toilets that you can use around the world. To date, over 65,000 toilets have been identified by users. All you need to do is enter the nearest address, city, zip code or intersection and it will pull up a list of the nearest toilets. Note: Please make sure and check out the great reviews and comments for each toilet!

3. Gate Maps- $.99 to upload. This app provides airport terminal layouts for over 30 International Airports. It is an application that runs offline, which means there won’t be any charges for uploading data overseas. Savvy travelers know to check the map of their arrival airport in-flight so that they can speed off to their destination upon landing! There’s nothing better than knowing where you’re going in advance, huh?!

4. Flight Track Pro- $9.99 to upload. This Application integrates with TripIt, saving your flight itineraries to the app. Flight Track Pro then keeps you up-to-date on delays, gate changes, cancellations and more. The offline mode allows you to check your most recent flight details without the use of wifi. A bit spendy for an app, but just think of the headaches it could save you! Well worth it, in my book…

5. Packing Pro- $3.99 to upload. This handy packing check-list will make sure that you don’t end up in the Caribbean without a swimsuit! Create your own list from scratch or work from one of several custom templates.

6. Spend- $.99 to upload. Love, love, love this app! It absolutely solves the problem of how to keep track of all the daily cash transactions that occur on vacation or in everyday life overseas. Now you have a top-notch tool not only for accounting but for budgeting as well!

7. WifiTrak- $.99 to upload. This handy app locates free wifi signals nearby. Perfect for the traveler on the move!

8. HiConverter- $.99 to upload. This fantastic conversion tool incorporates all the usual bells and whistles such as temperature, currency exchange rates, distance, etc. It also includes the features of the popular App Tipulater which allows you to calculate the tip on a bill. Oh wait, did I mention that it also includes a few surprises like Clothing and Shoe size conversions? Pretty great, huh?!

9. Lingolook Flashcards- $4.99 to upload. These fabulous flashcards list 500 translations of the most common words travelers need to know to get around, all in an easy-to-use flashcard format (100 actual cards). Bonus: 300 of the translations come with an audio clip from a native speaker to help you perfect the pronunciation! The cards are available in 7 languages: Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi and German. The hands-down best part of this app is that it lives in the phone and requires no data transmissions overseas (saving you BIG MONEY)!

10. Lonely Planet City Guides- $14.99 to upload. Just in case you don’t feel like lugging the big guide book anymore, feel free to download a Lonely Planet CityGuide instead! For $14.99 you can access 1 of 20 major cities. Designed as a stand-alone application, this program does not require a data download, saving you roaming charges. It is GPS-enabled though so you can find your location on the application’s city maps. Amazing what innovation can do, huh?

Tips to Make Holiday Travel Easier

The holidays can be quite hectic but they are often a time when people travel to see family and friends or to take a well deserved vacation. Following some basic tips will help ensure you have the best time when you travel during this time of year. Being prepared for things to go wrong is the first step in minimizing the damages and getting on with your holiday travel plans.

Make sure you have all of your tickets and confirmation numbers in a specific place. It is a good idea to make a copy of the information as well as the contact number for your tickets and place it in another location. This way if you lose the originals you will have all the necessary information to take care of it. You should call about a week before your travel dates to make sure your reservation is still active for all modes of transportation and your accommodations.

It is common for flights, trains, and buses to get delayed over the holidays due to security issues, weather, and trying to meet the needs of the volumes of people using such modes of transportation over the holidays. Make sure you have plenty of money, food, drinks, and necessities to get you through these delays. They can range from a couple of hours to a few days. If you will be traveling a long distance you should consider bringing along activities to pass the time, especially if you are traveling with children.

If you take prescription medications you need to make sure you have them clearly labeled. You may get questioned about them if they aren’t in the bottle you picked them up at from the pharmacy. It is a good idea to have a written note from your doctor regarding the medication as well. Makes sure you have enough of it for the entire trip including any delays that may occur.

Lost luggage is one of the biggest problems when people travel, and it compounds during the holidays because of how busy everyone is. While you really can’t prevent your luggage from getting lost, you can do your best to make sure you have all you need in the mean time. Make sure each person traveling in your party has clothing in all of the suitcases instead of making one for each person. This way everyone will have a chance to have some items should a bag or two get lost in the shuffle.

Clearly identify your luggage so that you will be sure to get yours upon reaching your destination. Too many bags look the same and many people are in a hurry when they travel for the holidays. Place a colorful ribbon or colored tape on your bags if you carry the styles and colors that are very popular. If you travel often you should consider some unique looking luggage that will stand out.

Traveling during the holidays needs to be as smooth as possible to ensure you will enjoy your trip. By taking the time to follow these tips you can help make that happen. There are plenty of horror stories out there about people not being able to get to their destination for the holidays or they didn’t have the items they needed upon arriving. Don’t open the door for your holiday vacation to fit into this grim category.

Emergency Insurance With Medical Coverage – 5 Travel Insurance Must-Haves

Travel insurance is something that often gets lost in the shuffle when people start planning for a trip abroad. When it comes to planning such an exciting trip, it is just no fun to think about all of the “what-if” questions, such as, “What if I fall ill or get into an accident while on my trip?” No, it’s a lot more fun to stick to booking your air reservations, making hotel arrangements, and deciding which points of interest you will be visiting.

Still, the savvy traveler knows that their trip will be that much easier to enjoy if they have already made provisions for all of those “what-if” questions ahead of time. In addition to just making smart choices about where to visit and what you will do once you arrive, the best way to buy yourself peace of mind before you travel is through the purchase of travel medical insurance.

Of course, one of the worst-case scenarios that could happen to you while you are traveling abroad is to encounter some sort of an emergency situation. This could be something as common as being involved in a car accident or something as exotic as being bit by a snake or falling off of a cliff.

So, before you embark on your exciting journey, you will want to invest in a very good travel medical insurance policy. When you do, make sure that your policy has a provision for emergency situations.

If you are looking for emergency insurance with medical coverage, here are 5 travel insurance must-haves:

1. Emergency medical evacuation:

Make sure that the policy you buy has you covered for emergency medical evacuation. For example, say you are in a remote part of Italy and you get injured, but the local medical facilities there are not sufficient to treat you. You may need to be evacuated to a larger city in order to receive the treatment you need.

2. Transportation to a local hospital:

Similarly, you will need to make sure that there is a provision for your transportation to a local hospital. Even if you do not require something as extreme as emergency medical evacuation by helicopter, you will almost certainly require transport to a local hospital via ambulance.

3. Repatriation for continued treatment in your home country:

Another policy provision that is wise to ask about: getting repatriated so that you can receive continued treatment at home. This can become necessary if your injury is severe enough to require an extended hospital stay, specialized treatment, or long-term rehabilitation.

4. Loss of checked luggage:

Emergency situations often involve the loss or misplacement of luggage. It is wise to select a policy that will cover you not only for the loss of your luggage, but that will also pay for any incidentals in order to help you get by while you await your luggage reimbursement.

5. Return of mortal remains:

In the extremely-remote chance that you were to die while traveling abroad, you would have done your family a great service by purchasing a policy with a provision for the return of your mortal remains to your home country. It makes no sense to put your loved ones in the position of having to arrange to get your remains sent home during what would be a very difficult time in their lives.

Consider these 5 travel insurance must-haves as you invest in emergency insurance with medical coverage for your next trip.