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CONNECTED Travel expert shares best apps

By: Adam Earnheardt, Ph.D.

Shawnie Kelley, publisher and editorial director at Wanderlust Travel Press, knows something about world travel. Based in Columbus, Kelley travels extensively and relies heavily on travel-related apps for planning and managing her trips.

Here are a few of her must-have apps:

TripIt: “I’ve been using TripIt for as long as I can remember,” Kelley said. TripIt has an intuitive and user-friendly interface, and compiles travel information into one space. “It creates master itineraries which can be manually changed, which is great for my often heavily scheduled travel,” Kelley said. “I can have hotel, car and flight confirmations and other travel details forwarded via email and automatically added to my TripIt account.”

TripIt includes reminders, real-time flight alerts and the ability to recognize dates and add them to the proper itinerary. “It also allows me to compile itineraries for my clients for whom I’ve consulted and designed trips,” Kelley said. “It’s good and it will take some other brilliant app to come along get me to change.”

XECurrency: “Because I travel abroad, I like to be able to see the currency exchange rates,” Kelley said. “XE provides up-to-date currency exchange rates.” XECurrency includes an expense calculator for collecting credit-card expenditures, and then calculates credit-card fees on top of the exchange rate. Kelley noted that this gives travelers an idea of what’s being spent.

Offline maps: “I always tell my clients to download city maps directly to their mobile devices, so no Internet connection is required,” Kelley said. “I like having maps on my phone and iPad. That way I don’t look so obviously lost or touristy. It’s more discreet.” Kelley recommends Maps.Me, a free map app available on iTunes and Google Play. “Maps.Me is detailed map but without all of the pop-up restaurant suggestions and reviews,” Kelley said. “It’s not a travel guide, just a great detailed map app.”

TripAdvisor: “I actually prefer TripAdvisor over Yelp,” Kelley said. “For example, [TripAdvisor] is my go-to app when searching for place to eat in a new city.” Kelley also uses TripAdvisor to read reviews of the places she stays or is planning to stay. “I trust TripAdvisor feedback more than Yelp,” Kelley added. It’s important to check out the comments section for hotels, restaurants and other locations on TripAdvisor. “You become pretty good at determining whether someone is just a complainer or if someone has legitimate complaints or praise,” Kelley said. “I haven’t been able to do this with Yelp as much,” she added. “My expectations have usually been met using feedback on TripAdvisor.”

Check out Kelley’s books at Wanderlust Travel Press.

“Our latest book, Discover Cape Cod, is a history-meets-travel guide,” Kelley said. Search Discover Cape Cod on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram at @discovercapecod for posts about Cape Cod travel, history, attractions and recipes. Check out Wanderlust Travel Press’s Discover Guides travel series and The Women’s Guides, a femme-focused travel series.

Adam Earnheardt is chairman of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. Follow him on Twitter at @adamearn and check out his blog at adamearn.com.

- See more at: http://www.vindy.com/news/2016/jul/20/connected-travel-expert-shares-best-apps/#sthash.aR3mEFNt.dpuf

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