How to Use Your Android Phone for Travel Success

From trip planning to cancellation contingencies, these tips and apps for Android are designed to help you have a successful and efficient trip, whatever your destination. Check out the tips and share your own travel recommendations below.

1. Trip Planning

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Whether you're flying, driving or if you're going on a specific type of trip, you're in luck. There's a Cruise Trip Planner ($0.99) and a Camping Trip Planner (.99) to help you remember to pack every single thing you'd ever need to bring along to your boat or tent. There are also more general apps like the Flight Trip Planner ($0.99) and Car Trip Planner ($0.99), which let you edit categories and add items to each.

2. Travel Tracking

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Many airlines have apps available which will help you track your plane, find your gate and even provide an electronic ticket in the form of a QR code displayed on your phone, like this one by American Airlines. Ain't technology grand? Apps like FlightTrack ($4.99) give you real-time flight tracking and status updates for any plane in the air.

3. Street maps

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The London A-Z (pronounced "zed", thank you) map (Android, $2.43) is essential for anyone traveling to England, and many other European cities have similar guides available, often with offline viewing for times when you're stuck with no data or stumble into a dead zone.

4. Public Transportation

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Most major cities, both domestic and international, now have apps available for navigating public transportation. Even in our own city, we find the app essential for finding nearest routes and have learned by experience that Google Maps is best not relied upon. Search the market to see what's available for your destination, and consider grabbing one for your native city as well, if one's available.

5. Destination Specific

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Heading to Disneyland? There are tons of apps available, for everything from determining wait times at rides ($0.99) to learning where your favorite characters ($0.99) are going to be standing throughout the day. Several other theme parks have similar apps,

6. Hotels

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After you've booked your hotel, check the Android Market to see if the hotel chain has an app, like this one by Hilton, which gives you access to your HHonors account and lets you manage points and bookings. On a camping or RV trip? Try the Passport America app, which details discounted rates and locations for nearby campgrounds and RV parks.

7. Bargains and Emergencies

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Forewarned may mean forearmed, but when traveling there are all manner of accidents and contingencies to consider. It can save you a lot of time if you've pre-loaded apps that help you book cars and hotels on the cheap.

For example, once during a holdover in a random city in the US, our connecting flight was cancelled at 11 p.m. We whipped out our phone, booked a hotel room through Priceline (four stars for a mega discount, and near the airport too) and hopped on the hotel shuttle just as it pulled up to the curb. Did we mention it was snowing at the time?

Other options include Kayak and Hotels.com. All three are free, so why not grab them now, just in case?

What apps do you use when traveling? Do you have any to share and recommend?

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