Best smartphone apps for travelers

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From strange languages and customs to navigating new territory, traveling has its challenges. Seasoned travelers will be all too familiar with the most common obstacles.

Thankfully, a new wave of handy apps has emerged to help travelers overcome these trials and get the most out of their trips. Here is a list of the most practical, convenient and downright impressive apps for travelers.

The tedious hours spent waiting in an airport for a delayed flight can really dampen your enthusiasm for a trip. FlightBoard is a simple, yet extremely useful app that provides users with a view of any arrival or departures board in any airport across the world. Users can also track specific flights and receive push notifications regarding any changes to flight plans. FlightBoard even allows users to communicate delays with companions via Facebook and Twitter.

On some journeys, lugging around a clunky camera to take quality shots simply isn’t desirable or practical. Sure you’ve got a smartphone to take pictures, but they can often turn out a little drab. With Instagram, users can get the most out of their smartphone snaps by manipulating various effects to alter the contrast, light, color filter and more. Once you’ve customized your holiday photos, you can instantly share them via Facebook, Twitter or Flickr.

With cities and countries having their own set of rules, sometimes you need someone to show you the ropes. To make settling in to a destination much easier, users of Howcast can access thousands of user-generated visual guides teaching everything from the correct way to drink sake in Japan to navigating the London tube. Thousands of videos on every subject imaginable can be easily accessed through your mobile or handheld device while on the go.

Locating a half-decent public bathroom can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone when you’re traveling.  Fortunately, next time nature calls and there’s no public bathroom in sight, you can turn to SitORSquat. This highly practical app boasts a database containing the locations of over 100,000 public toilets across the globe. Users can search by city or zip code to find their nearest restroom, and the handy “Sit” or “Squat” rating system will give you an idea of the cleanliness level before you enter the room.

Google Translate
Traditional language barriers are no longer a problem with this extremely handy app from Google. Using voice recognition software, Google Translate can interpret words and phrases into over 57 different languages. Users need only speak or type a phrase and select a language to produce a written and – depending on the language – even a spoken translation. While the translations are not perfect, they’re usually sufficient, making it perfect for negotiating with sellers or conversing with locals.