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Who knows how we all managed without our phone apps?! I am sure that I access at least one app per day and Swanky Girl can confirm that I don’t head to any destination without my handy navigation app; even if I am just going up the street.

Today’s travelers have so many useful applications at their fingertips that the days when travel planning was a chore are virtually non-existent. Phone apps are like presents and if you like gadgets as much as I do, you are super excited when you come across a new toy. Some are more useful than others, but they all serve a purpose. Below are a few of my favorite travel apps. From initial planning, to arriving at the airport, and eventually kick starting my vacation, I will confirm that “there IS an app for that”!

Planning

TripIt

Available on pretty much any phone, this app takes the hassle out of managing your travel reservations by keeping track of just about everything – your flights, hotel reservations, car rentals, train tickets, you name it. It’s like having a personal travel agent. You can manually or automatically construct your travel itineraries and if you upgrade to the Pro version the app will assist with re-booking cancelled flights and even tell you if your flight is eligible for a refund! If you are as organized as I am when I travel, then this app is the tool you can’t leave home without.

Packing Pro

How many times have you racked your brain going over your suitcase 1000 times trying to make sure you didn’t forget anything – even though you always end up forgetting something? Yep, I am sure you raised your hand on that one. With this app, you can create your own customized packing lists, access pre-departure to do lists, and print and/or email your list once you are done. It will even suggest items that you should bring along on your trip.

Traveling

Seat Guru

Being able to determine if you are reserving a “good” seat on your flight is probably one of the most important things you will do when traveling. No one wants to be uncomfortable for hours at a time and who wants to take their seat on the plane only to find out that you can’t recline due to an exit row! Seat Guru is really easy to use and all you need to know is your flight number. By seat number, it will tell you how much legroom you can expect to have, how close you are to the bathrooms, and how far back your seat will recline (if at all). Priceless.

Airports by TravelNerd

Wouldn’t it be great to land from your connecting flight and know exactly where to go to grab a bite to eat or to check for Wi-fi availability? Some airports like LAX are huge and it is almost impossible to figure out what is where. This app offers comprehensive airport information like airport restaurant, shop and lounge hours and locations, ground transportation information, real-time flight tracking where you can view flight status, delays and cancellations, and it can even help you locate nurseries and other family-friendly amenities.

Arriving 

Chefs Feeds

We found out about this app about a year ago when it was first released and they have since added more cities and more chefs; it is really a must have travel app. If you could have Urban Swank in every city you would be covered but we haven’t quite figured out a way to clone ourselves. So, if you are visiting a city outside of Houston, who better to recommend a place to dine than the chefs themselves. Chefs Feed is “a food guide powered by the recommendations of the world’s top chefs”. When planning to eat out, check here first (currently available in over 20 cities).

Photosynth

Take your pictures to the next level and capture your photos in 3D! With this app, you can create panoramas and synths. Panoramas allow you to shoot 360° in both directions. It is the only app available on Android that allows you to capture panoramas not only from left to right, but also up and down, making a perfect “sphere”. Once created, you can share your “experience” directly from your phone to Facebook, Twitter, or via email (using the free Photosynth service) or upload as a simple image.

So make sure you download one of these apps for your next trip and let us know what you think!

Shanna Jones

Shanna is the co-founder and editor of Urban Swank. She focuses on food and travel.

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