For most, traveling is a combination of excitement and stress. You may forget to pack your essential toiletries, lose your flight itinerary sheet, get lost in a foreign city without a map and have no idea how to properly communicate with the locals. These challenges can be daunting, but they're exactly the kind of problems that today's top ten travel apps are designed to solve. Google Maps
Google's comprehensive map service is perhaps the most important app you'll ever need. This app is available on every major smartphone and lets you make sense of even the most confusing foreign city. It's an essential tool to keep you from getting lost, and it lets you pinpoint search results right on to the map interface. Skype
It's important to stay in touch with family and friends when enjoying your latest travel excursion. Today's telephone roaming charges can be exorbitant, and trying to make an international call from a standard payphone can be confusing at best. Skype solves these problems by allowing you to contact other Skype members for free. All you need is to find a Wi-Fi hot spot, pull up the Skype app and message or call your loved ones. FlightTrack
The FlightTrack app is essential for anyone that flies on a regular basis. This app sends the latest accurate flight and airport information straight to your smartphone. The app allows you to keep track of multiple flights and lets you link them up to a calendar. It also has an easy-to-read information page where all of the vital information of your flight is posted. Kayak
Kayak is a large travel agency that provides aggregated results for the latest flights, hotels and car rentals available. With the Kayak app it's possible to search for the best deals and book travel arrangements with only a few taps of your finger. The app is also directly linked to Kayak's customer service department, so you can quickly talk things over with a Kayak agent before booking your next flight, hotel or car rental. Foursquare
This new social network allows people to access location-based tips and incorporates game-like features. Foursquare links you to a network with over 5 million active members who check into bars, parks, restaurants, clubs, shops and other points of interest on the Foursquare system. This makes it extremely easy to find your next lunch location or to find hidden gems in foreign cities. By adding more locations into Foursquare and visiting already established places, you receive points and virtual badges for valuable online bragging rights. Air Sharing
Air Sharing is a file storage and file sharing application for the iPhone only. This app is ideal for anyone who needs to transfer files to and from their iPhone for business or personal use. The application allows connectivity between an iPhone and all common computer OS systems including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The app uses the WebDAV protocol to interact with other computers, thus giving you access to transferable files. The versatility of Air Sharing allows you to preview PDFs, web pages, images, Microsoft Office files and iWork files. Wi-Fi Finder
Heading to the nearest cafe was usually the quickest way to locate the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot until the Wi-Fi Finder app was released. Now you can find over 300,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots in over 140 countries directly through the Wi-Fi Finder. Hotspots can be sorted based on free or paid service as well as location. Pull up the map service and get pinpoint locations for each hotspot available near your location. Metro
Most tourist-friendly metropolitan locations have efficient metro systems that can cut down on transportation costs and time. Unfortunately, foreign metro systems can often be downright confusing, and it's difficult to get a grasp of all the metro routes if you're only in for a short visit. MetrO aims to reduce the confusion by offering transportation information for over 400 of the most popular cities and metro systems around the world. The app allows you to download cities, search through routes and use the simple destination system, which locates the best route to get you to your desired destination. Packing Pro
Packing Pro is a pre-travel app designed specifically to help you sort out all of your travel packing needs. The app lets you view a sample list of what you should pack based on the number of days you plan on traveling, your destination's climate and the number of travelers in your party. Through the sample list, you can customize all of the items to create your own list categorized by clothes, accessories, toiletries, gadgets, medical essentials and more. You can then save your packing list for future reference or export it to your friend's copy of Packing Pro. World Customs and Cultures
Not knowing the local customs and general rules of etiquette can get you in a lot of trouble. The World Customs and Cultures app compiles information regarding greetings, methods of communication, gestures, common laws and taboos for more than 165 countries. Simply choose the country of your choice from the list or use the GPS system to identify your location for you.
Use these top ten travel apps wisely and you'll never have any significant travel problems to worry about ever again. You'll be able to book your accommodations, keep track of your flight, create a packing list, read up on your destination's local culture, find Wi-Fi hotspots, communicate with family and be the most informed person in your travel group. Just make sure to put the smartphone down once in a while to enjoy the culture and scenery.
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.Photo with thanks to Flickr user Yutaka Tsutano