June 15, 2011, 10:12 AM — Travel can be torture, but if you arm yourself with these mobile apps and websites for getting the most out of your vacation, you can steer clear of the tourist traps, stay one step ahead of the crowds, and make your flight with time to spare.
FlightBoard Web: none Apps: iOS, Android ($3.99) Simplicity is the key to FlightBoard from Mobiata: The app has the look and feel of one of those low-tech airport monitors that track arriving and departing flights. But when you click on your flight, a handsome window opens showing such flight particulars as delays and gate information. According to Mobiata, the app offers data for 1400 airlines at 4000 airports worldwide. The service refreshes its data every 5 minutes, and you can share flight information in a few steps via Facebook, Twitter, text message, or e-mail.
Gogobot Web: www.gogobot.com Apps: None Gogobot takes travel recommendations to the next level by integrating with Facebook, FourSquare, and Twitter. The service, which is still in beta, differs from your run-of-the-mill travel site in reaching out to your social network of friends for their recommendations and travel tips. After signing up for a free account you can connect with any mutual Facebook or FourSquare friends who have also signed up for Gogobot. Looking for a place to stay in Boston? Gogobot will single out recommendations that your friends have made in Boston along with all the other Gogobot users. Because Gogobot is integrated with Facebook, FourSquare, and Twitter, you can address a question to a social network. Gogobot will take a question such as "Know a great place to eat in Boston's North End?" and automatically post it to Facebook, culling the results and getting back to you within the Gogobot service.
Google Maps deserves a mention here because of a powerful yet often-overlooked feature: mass-transit directions and schedules. When accessed through a desktop or mobile browser, the bus, train, and ferry icons that pepper Google's street maps for many cities link to mass-transit schedules, maps, and the websites of local transit agencies. For example, Google Maps can show you how to turn a $40 cab ride from New York's LaGuardia Airport to your Manhattan hotel into a $2.25 trip on the Q33 bus with a free transfer to the number 7 subway train. Click a bus-stop icon in Manhattan, and a list of buses that stop there will pop up, along with the scheduled time for the next bus on each route to arrive. Google Maps can generate combination bus and rail directions with transfer points and walking distances. It can provide driving directions, too.