6 Free Apps That Make International Traveling Easier


Written by: Rikki Lux


Whether you have an Apple gadget like the iPhone or a Microsoft Windows-powered Android, you know that you can download an app in seconds. If you are planning to travel internationally, take a second to download these useful (and free) apps that will make your trip safer and more enjoyable.


1. XE Currency

This app, from currency site Xe.com, makes it simple to instantly calculate and convert currency from over 180 countries. Create charts to see how far your dollars can take you. Get emails when information is updated and compare present and past rates.

XE Currency iPad App

The Best Currency Converter on the Market


2. Google Translate

With 64 different languages that can be translated, this app is absolutely essential for traveling abroad.  Since the translation is done by software instead of human ears, it won’t be perfect – but translation is constantly improving. The app will make it possible for you to communicate with non-English speakers about necessary information like costs, location, and simple conversation. You can speak into your phone and Google will translate it into the specified language. All languages in the Google database can be translated in every possible combination, so the app can be used by anybody regardless of their native language.

GoogleTranslate for iPhone

Over 60 languages – translated in a snap!


3. TripAdvisor

This travel app has been downloaded over 15 million times because of the easy-to-use layout and large collection of international cities for abroad travelers. Find food, lodging, attractions and more, as well as reviews that can help you make the best choices.

Tripadvisor App

A simple layout begets simple trip planning


4. Wi-Fi Finder

Wi-Fi Finder will locate both free and paid wireless locations in 144 countries. The app is linked to almost 700,000 wireless locations – so no need to wander through a city you don’t know with your cell phone held toward the sky while the locals stare.

WiFi Finder

Find WiFi anywhere, anytime


5. Sutro World

This app will provide you with travel guides for over 375 destinations all over the world. Independently authored, you will get insider information from a local who knows the city you’re visiting like you know your own. You will have offline access to maps, recommendations, photos and user comments. Go online to watch videos and talk to other travelers.

Sutro World App

Local perspectives in a global app


6. Smart Traveler

Downloading the Smart Traveler app would be the smart thing to do before you travel abroad. This app is the official State Department app for U.S. travelers and is frequently updated with travel alerts and warnings, and all U.S. embassy locations are provided. You can enroll in the free Smart Traveler Enrollment program so that the State Department can help you if there is an emergency situation. An Android app will be released in June 2012.

Smart Traveler App

A trusted source for international safety


The iPhone Monopoly and Why You Don’t Have to Feel Guilty

written by: Amani Liggett

With a scratch-resistant and durable glass face!

A well-loved iPhone

Yes, it’s officially a cliché to have an iPhone by now. The last time this author attended a music concert, an the inevitable rock ballad came on, all the phones came up in the air.

The singer actually stopped to mention something along the lines of, “can we take a moment to look at how many of the phones being held up are iPhones? Oh my God.”

Sometimes, I feel a bit embarrassed or overly privileged to have one, but lets look at the reality of the product. Apple products are well-made, and remarkably easy and fun to use. Everyone from the elderly to toddlers can navigate iPhones.

According to a smartphone user survey, iPhone users 89% more likely to get an iPhone as their next phone purchase. The same can’t be said for BlackBerry at only a 42% chance of users being likely getting another one. Furthermore, 99% of smartphone applications bought in 2009 were Apple apps. And as of March 2011, Apple has sold 108 million iPhones. Yes, they are everywhere.

But so many people like them because they work, and when they don’t work, Apple will fix it for you with very little hassle. If you find your iPhone beyond repair, more often then not, they will give you a new one for little or no charge.

And yes, it’s cool to have one. Don’t feel bad, it’s nice to feel cool once in a while.

A designer at Complex magazine in New York, Jason Sfetko says it best, “When you see people with them, I’m like, `Oh, OK, they get it.”‘ But when you see someone with a BlackBerry, Sfetko says, “I might think, maybe they’re an accountant or something. They’re answering too many e-mails.” (NBC Bay Area, Why the iPhone is So Darn Popular)

Furthermore, according to calculations from The Guardian, Apple’s sales jumped nearly fourfold since October 2011 as the iPhone 4S was released. This is mainly due to the voice-controlled helper Siri. Siri is a big deal for consumers, it has skyrocketed the iPhone’s popularity and cool-factor; this is what we imagined when we saw sci-fi movies in the 90s, computers that talk back to us for everyday use. The voice assistant Siri helps the iPhone user send text messages, schedule appointments and set alarms by talking to it as you would a person, using natural language commands. Siri is also programmed with a sense of humor, and if that’s not straight out of a movie from the 80s or 90s, I don’t know what is.

Supply Shortages Predicted for New iPhone

The New iPhone 4

Analysts are predicting serious supply shortages for the new iPhone 4.  These predictions are a result of production issues with the new display technology provided to Apple by LG Electronics.  One of the key new features of the iPhone 4 is its new Retina Display which utilizes in-plane switching (IPS) technology.  This technology will provide an exceptional visual display and allow movies and photos to be viewed from nearly any angle.  This is possible because of the extremely high pixel density available with IPS technology

Low production yields of the IPS LCD panel produced by LG have reduced production volumes for the new iPhoneApple is hopeful that the transition by LG to Gen 5 LCD capacity late this summer will help bring the production of the new phone back on track.

In addition to the improved visual display made available by IPS, other differences between the new iPhone 4G and its predecessor include a 5 megapixel camera with HD video capability, LED flash, gyroscope, duel microphones, better speakers, an improved antenna, and front facing camera for video calling.  The basic model of the new iPhone will range in price from $199-$299 with new AT&T rate plans and will be available for purchase in the coming weeks.

iPhone Could Turn It’s Revolutionary Touch to Mobile Banking

iPhones may replace banks. All of them.

Apple, the best fruit to ever make electronics, now boasts the strength to make mobile payments the next big thing; the only trouble is that the banks aren’t quite a focal point in their vision. Recent patent applications have revealed that the company is looking to incorporate near-field communication chips in their iPhone. While several attempts have been made to develop NFC systems that can transform a regular phone into a swiss-knife style financial tool, none have gotten beyond the pilot phase, since phone makers and wireless providers are reluctant to incorporate the chips – often considered a vital element to successful mobile payments – into their hardware.

Take a bite

In the shadows, many bankers secretly hoped that the techno-monster would demonstrate once again how it has the capacity to evolve the marketplace in a single bound. This instance appears no different, as payment executives stand convinced that an NFC-capable iPhone would change the game of mobile payments within the United States; however, recent disclosures have suggested that Steve and his company aren’t planning on doing what the financial institutions had hoped.

As it stands, Apple doesn’t want to just morph the iPhone into a payment device that relies completely on credit or debit cards. They want to introduce an iTunes on steroids, where cd’s aren’t just bought, but cars are paid off.

Google’s reMail Acquisition Hurts Apple

Google is leaving no stone unturned to maintain its leadership position as an internet giant. Instead of declaring a full-fledged war on its rivals, Google is adopting what are called as guerilla tactics. Google recently acquired reMail, an iPhone application company. What the application does is not at all important, what matters is the fact that as soon as Google purchased this company, all the ties that reMail had with Apple’s App Store were severed immediately. reMail will continue to provide support to the application till March 2010, however, after that the application will be available through Google only.

Clearly, Google is amassing arsenals for the next war, which is going to be fought on mobile handsets. First it was development of Android, and then it was launch of Android powered phones, and now this acquisition. Though Apple’s

Google Vs Apple

Google's Apple

iPhone users will be disappointed, it is celebration time for Open Source users, which has much larger client base than App Store. Next on the shopping list of

Google is On2 Technologies, which again is a significant player in video streaming space. This again shows that Google has crafted a concise strategy to maintain its leadership position. Analysts may be worried over Google’s break-neck speed acquisition spree, but as long as the registers are ringing, does anyone really cares.