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?

The Beauty of My iPod Shuffle

There are many iPod mechanisms that millions of people like. But when you think about what you really like you find one that works for you and your stick to it. For many people it is the iPod that also plays videos (I have that one too) because it can do so many things and if you are a traveler like I am you can use it while on the plane to entertain yourself. But for me, for my everyday use, I LOVE the iPod Shuffle.

This tiny little device (no bigger than a matchbook and really light) holds between 250 to 500 songs depending on gigabytes that the device has. I have the 2 GB one so I have a lot of songs on mine. It has this little clip (like one of those big black work paper clips) that you can use to clip the device right on to your cloths and then g about your business. For me I clip it on, put in my ear buds and go jogging. It is the best.

Music is an important part of my workout, I love listening to the playlist that I put together just for the purpose of jogging and they all fit on my tiny iPod shuffle. This little baby comes in a multitude of colors although I prefer the pink one that I have. But if you like blue, silver, green, purple or ice blue you can find one that you will like. And if size is what you are looking for you will absolutely love this one.

Now granted, the only thing that the IPod Shuffle is good for is playing music and has a great size but if you want more functionality than that you need to move up to another device. I like the classic iPod because I can also record on it and listen to video on it. But for everyday bopping around and having some musical company, I will always choose my shuffle.

Traveling With an Allergic Baby – 6 Things That Will Keep Baby Well During the Trip

If your baby has problems with allergy, you probably hesitate to take him away from the security of your home, and into less protected spaces. This can feel terribly confining. The good news is that with a little planning you and your family can travel safely with your baby. But before you take to the road, here are 6 things to do that will help your baby stay healthy while enjoying the trip.

1. Let your pediatrician know that you are planning a trip, and ask for advice on prescriptions or over the counter medications that can be used to avoid a flare up, or minimize one should it occur. Depending on your destination they may be able to recommend a wealth of all kinds of resources that will help put your mind at ease, let you relax and enjoy the trip.

2. Bring your baby’s portable pack and play that he is use to sleeping in. If you don’t have one, this is an investment you’ll be happy you made. Be sure to get it several weeks before you travel, so by the time you’re ready to leave, it feels comfortable to him. This will allow you to use sheets and bedding that you know are safe, and will feel more normal to your baby even though you may be sleeping in an unfamiliar hotel, family member or friend’s home. Keeping things as familiar as possible for your baby, particularly at bed time, will reduce stress (both his and yours) and will allow him to rest well at night. And if baby sleeps everybody traveling with you will sleep too. And as you know, a baby whose body is well rested will have a stronger immune system which is better able to fight off pollutants.

3. If you use a special hypoallergenic laundry detergent, be sure to pack it. If you need to wash his clothes, better to have it along, than not be able to find it in the stores where you’re visiting.

4. Be sure to bring extra clothing. This sounds like a no-brainer, but you really don’t want to have to shop under pressure to find clothes that your baby can wear without causing a problem. Having to look for new clothes and only being able to find those made of materials that trigger symptoms is a nightmare that doesn’t need to happen. It may also be difficult and expensive to locate a store that offers organic clothing, or has your baby’s size. And maybe your schedule is too tight to have to take time to shop. Bringing extras that your baby has already worn, and preferably that have been washed once is added baggage you won’t mind having.

5. A favorite toy or 5 will be greatly appreciated by your little one. Purchasing a spare of the favorite toy before you leave might save a lot of anxiety should it become lost in the shuffle from one place to another. This might seem like a waste of money on this side of the issue, but from the other side that spare toy just might seem priceless.

6. Pack a small portable air purifier that can fit easily in the trunk of your car. It should be light enough to carry, but heavy duty enough to remove airborne pollutants like dust, mold and mildew spores, smoke, pet dander, bacteria and viruses. Again this is something you should buy well in advance of your trip so your baby is use to it in the nursery. Then, to your baby, it feels like bringing along a piece of home, and for you it brings peace of mind. You never know what the air quality is going to be like where you’re going, and having a portable high efficiency particle arresting air purifier along for the ride means your baby has fresh clean air wherever you go. And fresh air is good for everyone else in the family too.