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Can an iPhone Improve Your Vacation?

Let’s face it: [[Travel Technology | Technology ]] can detract from travel experiences. Hide behind an mp3 player and interact less with the surrounding culture. Pack a laptop and never escape the rigmarole of life back home.

But a wave of new technologies is allowing people to get more, not less, out of the travel experience. These tools make exploring easier, and deliver both the beaten path and the one less traveled to anyone with the right phone and data plan.

Make peace with the Big Brother aspect of it and you’ll never get lost again using a GPS-enabled phone. Many new phones come with GPS chips. Add location-mapping software or a similar service, and you’ll have directions and maps based on your current location at your fingertips.

Any Internet-enabled phone comes in handy when you need to find a restaurant or get subway maps on the go. But travel applications, known more commonly as apps, provide targeted information and a cell-phone-screen friendly interface. Apps range from translators and guidebooks to cheap gas finders and real-time traffic reports. The New York Times recently published a slide show featuring different travel apps for the iPhone, and you can find comparable tools for other types of phones as well.

Other handy cell-phone based travel tools include Google SMS (sometimes called Google Text), which delivers maps, flights, local business information, and more to anyone with text messaging capabilities. And customers of the travel wireless products company Telestial can keep friends and family up-to-date using the Travel Journal tool.

There are plenty of other ways technology can improve the travel experience. Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to

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