With spring in the air and summer waiting patiently around the corner, odds are your thoughts have turned towards adventures in distant lands. Whether you’re a dreamer ready to head out on vacation or you’re someone who travels daily for business, the age of the Smartphone brings you more travel assistance than ever. From apps that help you plan your trip to those that let you learn from the experience of both strangers and friends, here are the top 10 travel apps you need to know about before you ever rent that car or buy that plane ticket.

1. Urbanspoon

Knowing where to eat in a strange city is no easy task. And when you hardly know your way around the block, picking a restaurant can seem downright daunting. Thankfully, there are useful apps out there like Urbanspoon to help you choose. Now while Urbanspoon isn’t the only app of its kind out there, it’s probably the most user-friendly. The display shows three searchable categories: location, type, and price range. Just set the dials, hit search, and you’ll have plenty of ideas in no time. But that’s not all. Perhaps the best feature is the one that allows you to shake your phone and receive a random suggestion for a new place to eat.

2. Boingo Wi-Finder

It’s official. We can’t live without the internet. Luckily, it seems like Wi-Fi is available on nearly every corner. With this handy app, you’ll be able to locate free Wi-Fi hotspots within your general vicinity. That way you’ll know where you can go park it for an hour or two to check your email, Skype with your loved ones, or catch up on work during your travels.

3. Trover

Looking to pick up a souvenir that breaks the mold? Want suggestions on places to visit that are outside of the norm? Trover will lead you to the very best street art and unique hangouts that have been tagged by past visitors. It even includes photos snapped by locals so you can get a good idea of what you’re about to get yourself into.

4. Parking Pro

Sometimes you need help before you ever even step out the door to begin your trip. Case in point: packing. How many times have you either forgotten important things (a week without clean underwear?!) or simply overdid it? With Packing Pro, ensure that your suitcase is neat and organized.

5. TripIt – Travel Organizer

The ultimate travel organizer. Simply forward your confirmation emails to the service and watch the magic happen. From there the app will generate all necessary schedules and maps. It’s like having your own personal assistant on your Android phone. And if you sign up for the upgraded membership, you get all sorts of extra goodies like alerts, alternate flight suggestions, and more.

6. World Travel Guide by Triposo

Sometimes you’re not just looking for general tourist information. Maybe you want to know what’s going on socially and politically in the area you’re visiting. Perhaps you want to know if you are staying in an area that is deemed safe. For this, simply turn to Triposo. The app allows you to download guides for multiple countries, and even will let you tag certain places as favorites so you can track where you’d like to return.

7. GateGuru

Let’s face it. Airports are nightmares. Whether you spend the majority of your days grabbing flights or you simply get that once-a-year family vacation, trying to navigate through these obstacle courses in time to board your plane can prove tricky if not downright annoying. Well, GateGuru seeks to change that. Get to your gate with time to spare and grab a quick bite to eat or a drink along the way. Simply download this app and you’ll have the power of an interactive airport blueprint in your hand.

8. BestParking

Big city life is great except for one key drawback…parking. Depending on the city, you could find yourself parking miles from your destination and still paying a small fortune. And who knows if your car is safe (amp up the anxiety if you have an uninsured rental car!)? BestParking gives you access to the cheapest, most convenient lots in your area. It also lets you know hours of operation and forms of payment that the lot takes. No more fumbling for nonexistent cash because you thought they took plastic.

9. Foodict

Are you paranoid about making a mistake when you order your food? Well, this app helps make sure you never order the wrong item, or ask for it to be prepared  the wrong way again. With over 2,100 food related terms this dictionary of local and international food expressions will help you order the food you want.

10. Cellban

Many places around the world are cracking down on people using their cell phones to make calls, check email and text message while driving. If you get caught using your phone behind the wheel, pleading ignorance doesn’t help your cause. Since these laws are not posted in places that are easy to find, you need the help of Cellban. Cellban uses your location and alerts you when you are in a cell-phone restricted area so you don’t get stuck with a citation.

What our lovely readers have said about it:

  1. Harlan says:

    Foodict, that’s the ticket

  2. Elias says:

    This is a great list, and I have to say Packing Pro has totally changed travelling for me. Until I had this app I don’t think there was ever a single trip I went on that I didn’t forget to bring something small but crucial…contact solution, a phone charger, once I forgot to bring SOCKS. Needless to say I love it. Another favorite is TripAdvisor, for the obvious reasons, and I also really love the remote access app I got through my employer, DISH. It allows me to watch live or DVRd shows off my home receiver using my smartphone or tablet anywhere in the world as long as I can get a 3G or wifi connection. I get super anxious on planes unless I have a good distraction, and being able to kick back and watch like Game of Thrones or a Rockies game or something is a huge help. Love it.

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