Whether you already have a vacation planned or are just thinking about taking some time to roam, don't leave your Windows Phone behind. We've got a collection of apps that'll help you get where you're going, find things to do, and get around while you're there. We'll start right at the start, with planning your trip -- all on your Windows Phone.
There are a myriad of options for planning your trip, but if you're looking to feel out your options on your Windows Phone, the Kayak app is a good place to start. Much like the website of the same name, the app pulls together prices on flights, hotel rooms, and car rentals, based on your search queries. You can create price alerts too, and have the app's Live Tile keep you update on cheap flights you might be interested in.
So your trip's planned. If you just need to keep tabs on how delayed your flight is, FlightAware has you covered. Punch in the airline and flight number and the service will attempt to track your flight down; it can even display the plane's location on a neat little map. If you're just a little curious, you can see all of the flights in your general vicinity, and can also check in on major airport delays to see if there's trouble afoot before you set out on your trip.
Traveling abroad? If you'll need to juggle multiple currencies on your journey, a currency converter app could help. I recommend XE's Currency. The website has long been a great way to see exchange rates for a just about every currency under the sun. The app makes it easy to see what the current exchange rate for a particular currency is (updated as often as you'd like), and helps you quickly calculate prices in foreign currencies. And there's a Live Tile too, so you can always check the current exchange rate at a glance.
Microsoft's Translator isn't going to be a substitute for learning a language. But if you're in a foreign place and need a hand translating a menu or asking for directions, it just might prove useful.
The app lets you translate text by speaking to it or typing in something to be translated aloud. You can also point your camera at words or characters in a foreign language and see them translated on the screen in real time. And you can download some language packs, so you can have basic translation where you lack network connectivity.
There are plenty of limitations though: some languages are available only in particular translation modes, and most aren't available for download. But take a look, as it just might work for you.
Yelp has long been the go-to service for checking out the restaurants around you, and the Windows Phone incarnation of the mobile app behaves much like it does on other platforms. You can read reviews, find out what's nearby, and even scope around for nearby deals. If you have a Yelp account, you can also check in to your particular venue, and see what your friends are up to.
Zomato is a lot like Yelp: you can use the app to read up on reviews of nearby restaurants, offer ratings and reviews of your own, and share photos with friends who also use the app. But it's also available in lots of places Yelp doesn't cover all that well, which could be useful if you're looking for a bite to eat.
Let's not forget Foursquare. Fire up the app, and you'll be prompted to pick the things you like -- it'll then attempt to keep tabs on events or restaurants that are nearby that you might be interested in. You'll need to grab the Swarm app if you'd like to check in, too, but if you're just interested in suggestions while you're out and about in a new place. Foursquare is a popular option.
You'll probably load up on physical maps to help you explore foreign locales, but a map app on your smartphone could be helpful in a pinch. Check out Here Maps: it doesn't have nearly the coverage of a more established player like Google Maps, but its Windows Phone app is easy to use, and more importantly, it lets you download maps for offline use -- that's going to be crucial if you need to find your way but don't have a local SIM card.
Uber is available in more than 40 countries, which makes it a compelling option if you're in a foreign place, haven't figured out public transportation just yet, and can't seem to hail a cab. You'll still have to navigate the language barrier, but at least you won't have to worry about figuring out foreign currencies while you're jetlagged.