Can apps help travelers save time and moment? Yes, says Opera Software, makers of the Opera Mini mobile browser. The company has compiled a list of the top travel apps to make trips this summer easier and and to save travelers money and time. Opera Mini claims 166 million users and reports it is available on more than 3,000 mobile device models worldwide and is available for free from app stores or at m.opera.com.
The following apps - with costs - are recommended by Opera Software and available on either Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
1. Get packing. Check out the Packing (+To Do!) app, which helps you keep your packing under control. For a price that’s less than the cost of that toothpaste you forgot last time you traveled, this app lets you create, edit and share packing lists, as well as providing sample lists, if you don’t want to start from scratch. No more paying premium for travel essentials you forgot to pack. (Cost: $0.99)
2. Scope out the sleeping arrangements . Room 77 finds the lowest rates on more than 130,000 hotels worldwide. A nice feature is that they also get the inside scoop on hotels, which gets you into a better room, too. (Cost: Free)
3. Design a custom itinerary . Stay.com lets you create your own travel guide for sights, restaurants, bars and hotels in hundreds of cities worldwide, based on expert suggestions, as well as recommendations from your friends. Stay.com allows you to have your guides and entire city maps offline with a quick download – so you don’t have to spend a dime on international roaming charges when you access them offline later. (Cost: Free)
4. Reduce roaming . The Opera Mini mobile browser makes your web browsing a lot faster - especially on a slow network - because it shrinks webpages, so your phone processes as little as 10 percent of what you see on your screen. This translates into cost savings, especially while roaming internationally, and less processing means battery savings. (Cost: Free)
5. Take the high road. If you’re driving, Trapster alerts you to speed traps, red light and speed cameras, accidents and other roadway hazards. This is truly useful when you are driving in uncharted territory. Think about all the money you are saving on avoided tickets that you can now spend on your travel adventures. (Cost: Free)
6. Check out this view! WhatsApp is a useful app for international travelers to stay in touch with friends and family, as well as domestic travelers who don’t have unlimited texting plans. This messaging app lets you message others on WhatsApp as much as you want, plus include photos, audio notes and videos within your conversations. You need to be on a Wi-Fi or 3G/EDGE connection to send and receive messages. (Cost: $0.99)
7. Where’s the Wi-Fi? Skype Wi-Fi gets you online with more than one million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide, using Skype credit. Rates are very reasonable, and you only pay for the number of minutes you actually spend online - instead of signing up for hourly slots with other, more expensive Wi-Fi services. The service has hotspots at major locations such as airports, train stations, bars, restaurants and hotels. (Cost: Free)
8. Wish you were here! Update the tradition of sending postcards with a little modern technology. Postagram turns photos from your phone to physical postcards and mails them to your friends and family for just $0.99 (within the United States) and $1.99 (internationally). You don’t even need to find a post office. (Cost: Free)
Opera Software was founded in 1994 and claims 270 million people use the Opera web browsers for computers, mobile phones, TVs and other connected devices.