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Five free essential apps to plan travels with your Android

by Kate Currin

One of the best functions of an Android phone is the ability to use apps to plan and navigate travels. Whether you prefer to fly the friendly skies or travel America as a road warrior, check out these five free apps for planning travels with your Android phone.

Google Earth

The first thing I do when planning a trip is scope out the area I'm traveling to with the free Google Earth app for Android. Before you commit to a hotel, you'll want to weigh your options of restaurants and entertainment in the immediate area. With Google Earth, you can discover how close you'll be to the beach and to Starbucks at the same time, before you book a fancy, overpriced hotel stay with no amenities nearby.

Kayak Flight and Hotel Search

My next step is to research whether flying or driving will be the best traveling option. The free Kayak Flight and Hotel Search is perfect for locating an affordable flight almost anywhere across the United States, and makes it easy to sort options by stops, airlines, airports, times and price. If you score a flight, you can also use this app to secure a rental car and hotel stay.

Google Maps

If I'm unable to secure an affordable flight, I'll use the free Google Maps app to plot my travel as a road trip. This travel app can also help you determine if getting to and from your destination via public transportation is an option. Google Maps even links directly to the Navigation system on my Motorola Droid X making for a seamless transition from map to nav.

GasBuddy

If you decide on a road trip, you won't want to leave home without the free GasBuddy app. The user-powered app helps you locate the cheapest and closest gas available to your current location. GasBuddy also gives you integral information about each gas station, such as whether or not there are restrooms, an ATM or even pay-at-pump convenience.

Yelp

Eating is essential to everyday life, and eating while traveling is the best way to get a feel for the culture you're visiting. To ensure that you don't get trapped in a stellar foodie city like New York or Chicago without any personal dining recommendations, download the free Yelp app to your Android phone before you travel. The app is filled with everyday-people recommendations, i.e. user reviews on restaurants, bars and the like in major U.S. cities, and even some small towns. Simply log in to the app, and it will give you selections close to your current location thanks to GPS. No more bad recommendations from the hotel concierge!