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Tech Travel Tips: Let Mom Know You're Safe With Must-Have Apps

Travel Apps
Your obedient-child instinct may compel you, upon landing, to call or e-mail your friends and family to let them know you're safe and sound. Problem is, your American phone probably won't work overseas (more on that later this week). So, instead of allowing your mother to stay up all night in a worrisome sweat (Oh Mom, we're fine!), take some time to teach her how to follow your flight online. Just about every airline offers real-time flight status updates on their websites, or you could just direct her to Flightwise, where she can track your plane's trajectory in Google Maps. Either way, save your loved ones trouble and hit the ground running.

Speaking of Google, you also might want to outfit your smartphone with Google Goggles before taking off. The app, which is now available for both Android and iPhone users, allows you to instantly search the Web for info about anything around you, simply by snapping a photo with your phone. Take a picture of that Romanesque cathedral, and the app will automatically scour the Web for relevant information. Can't figure out the difference between a croque madame and a croque monsieur? One click of the menu and Google will have your answer. A must-have for any traveler -- especially one treading through unknown waters.

While we're at it, here are a few other essential travel apps worthy of your consideration:

Jibbigo
Laugh at its name now, cuz you'll be singing Jibbigo's praises when you're trying to communicate to a Bar-th-elona cab driver in your 6th grade Spanish. All you have to do is say any word in English, and the app will translate and pronounce it for you in Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and, for truly hardcore tourists, Iraqi Arabic . iPhone; $24.99-$27.99

Lonely Planet Phrasebooks
If, on the other hand, you're looking for a more comprehensive, pure dictionary device, we'd recommend Lonely Planet Phrasebooks, where you'll find 600 travel phrases in ten different languages. Android, iPhone; $9.99

Wallpaper* City Guides
The folks over at Wallpaper* know how to put together a beautiful magazine, and their iPhone city guide apps are no different. Choose from 11 of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, and the mag's editorial staff will tell you where to find the best food, shopping and, of course, architecture. A personal favorite of ours. iPhone, $3.99

StayHip
Here, you'll find a database of over 400 boutique hotels located all over the world. You can flip through image galleries for each one, and, once you've selected your inn for the night, you can even book directly from your phone. Spontaneity has never felt so secure. iPhone and Android, Free

Wi-Fi Finder
Take all the guesswork out of your morning Wi-Fi hunt, with JiWire's Wi-Fi Finder. Crack open the app, and select from over 300,000 free and paid hotspots in over 140 countries. iPhone, Free

Tags: apps, flightwise, google goggles, GoogleGoggles, jibbigo, lonely planet, lonely planet guides, LonelyPlanet, LonelyPlanetGuides, stayhip, top, travel-tech, Traveling, Wallpaper, wallpaper city guides, WallpaperCityGuides, wi-fi finder, Wi-fiFinder

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