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Smartphone apps are mighty helpful little things and now there is one for every situation you can think of. Travel is a sector which has benefited greatly from the influx of technology in the last five years with sat nav apps, maps, public travel timetables and guidebooks available several times over in app form. To demonstrate how you can go from A to B, solely with the help of phone apps, I have mapped out a journey from the UK to China and included the apps that helped me along the way.


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Airline Seat Guide


http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/airline-seat-guide/id309488191?mt=8

First of all I need to fly to China. All the major airlines have an app in which you can check flight times, be alerted of any delays and even book your flights – all from your phone. EasyJet and British Airways both have great apps for this, meaning you can check all the information you need to before you leave the house. I also want to make sure I have a good seat on the flight without having to rush and elbow like minded people out the way, so in comes Airline Seat Guide.

This nifty little app is just £1.49 and allows you to book a seat in advance so you can saunter rather than scramble.


Sudoku Magic


http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id322457381?mt=8

As long as you switch your phone onto flight mode you can also use it to keep yourself amused for the duration of the journey. The flight to China is a long ten hours and there is only so much food you can eat and films you can watch. The app store is home to some apps which have the sole purpose of keeping you entertained for long periods of time, one of these being Sudoko Magic. For £1.49 this game can keep you entertained for hours and also improves your maths!


Jibbigo


http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/jibbigo-chinese-english-speech/id363101347?mt=8

After landing in China at Beijing Capital International Airport I need to get the train to Hebei. First of all I equip myself with a translation app, as trying to find my way around in a non English speaking country isn’t going to be easy. To the rescue is Jibbigo, which at £2.99 is a small price to pay for understanding the language.


Pocket Timetable


http://www.appolicious.com/tech/apps/178963-pocket-timetable-china-wang-chun

Hebei is a province which is made up of seventeen cities, all are great for tourists apparently with a huge amount to do and see. I need the train timetables though, and so again I turn to my iPhone. There is an App which fits the bill called Pocket Timetable (China) and has all the timetables I need to find my way around. There is also an offline function which is very handy if you are not able to access an Internet connection.

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China Menu


http://chinabites.com/iphone/

Now we all know that Chinese cuisine is very different from your typical English meal and to make matters more complicated, the food you get in China is a world away from down at your local Chinese takeaway. To help you decipher the menu and order what you want, China Menu is a godsend.

It features many restaurants in China and has over 260 photographs of favorite Chinese dishes which can be browsed. It also has over 70 translated situations about table etiquette and local eating customs which may be encountered while dining out in China - perfect if you are a little unsure of the local dishes and customs.

Top 9 iPhone Travels Apps To Help You Travel The World - TripAdvisor

Trip Advisor


http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tripadvisor-hotels-flights/id284876795?mt=8

Once in Hebei I need a hotel for the night and so use an app I have relied on for years. Trip Advisor is basically the website in app form with the added benefit of having GPS so it knows what restaurant, hotels and attractions you are near automatically. This app is a fantastic on the go resource and can steer you away from making bad accommodation and dining decisions in a minute.


World Customs and Cultures


http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/world-customs-cultures/id337842349?mt=8

Another great app to make sure you are behaving respectfully abroad is World Customs and Cultures which outlines the main legalities (drinking age etc) and also has some quirky little facts.


Glympse


http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/glympse-location-sharing-made/id330316698?mt=8

While in China I want to share my experiences with my friends and family back home and with social networking, the new way to contact my friends, there are loads of great little apps which make it easier. Facebook and Twitter are the industry standard but there are loads of photo and location sharing apps around which make uploading your images a lot easier. Glympse is the best one I have found and makes keeping up with my friends a whole lot easier.


Around Me


http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aroundme/id290051590?mt=8

While in Hebei for a few days I want to look around the area and so enlist app Around Me to help. This fantastic little program also has built in GPS and can show you to the nearest point of interest from car parks, petrol stations, restaurants to shopping centers. When you don’t know where you are and need directions this is an invaluable little app.


That brings me to the end of my journey which, without my iPhone and its App Store, could have left me in a few tricky situations! However, thanks to modern technology, I was able to book my flights and seat number without leaving home, keep myself out of trouble on the plane, translate from Chinese to English, access the Chinese train timetables, find hotels and restaurants and look at reviews of them first, check out the local customs and upload photos onto the net for my friends. Phew! I need a holiday to get over this one!

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