travel

The Windows Phone Store has a nice selection of navigational apps that can help you get around town or get across the country. NAVIGON and HERE Drive+ are two of the more popular options available on Store shelves. Along with a full host of features, these two mapping apps take advantage of downloadable maps to help minimize your dependency on data while traveling.

I recently took a short jump out of town and decided to re-visit both these apps to see if one stood heads and shoulders above the other. I used both apps periodically on the round trip journey, as well as around town while at my destination. While we've looked at these two navigation apps before, having logged 1,300 miles on my trip I figured it was worth taking another look at things.

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While many will simply keep their Windows Phone in their pocket or case while in the car, a good many will opt to secure their Windows Phone in a car cradle. These cradles come in a wide range of styles and allows your phone to be easily accessible while driving whether you use the phone as a GPS navigational tool or just to see who is calling before you trigger your hands-free device.

OSO is offering a NFC enabled car cradle the company hopes will catch your eye. The OSO Push Mount is offered in three different mount options and with the NFC support, you can have your NFC enabled Windows Phone launch your favorite traveling app when mounted in the cradle.

In using the OSO dash mounted cradle for the past few days, it comes across as a solidly built option worth considering. However, there is one feature that seems to hold this cradle back.

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As part of new security protocol at foreign airports, the United States Transportation Security Administration will require cell phones and select electronic devices to be fully charged with the ability to be powered on when going through security screening. The TSA says that devices that won't power on will not be allowed on flights headed to the U.S.

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While gas prices continue to rise, SmartGas is a Windows Phone app that could help you find the best fuel price in your area. SmartGas will not only search for the lowest price for gas in your area but also calculate your smartest station based on the round trip cost of driving to and from the station.

I liked the concept behind SmartGas and saving a few dollars never hurts. However, a few performance issues, a cluttered appearance and some confusing in-app purchases holds this app back. On the plus side, the app is a universal app for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Bottom line - SmartGas has potential but needs a little renovation.

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Top National Rail apps for your Windows Phone

Windows Phone Central App Roundup: UK National Rail Apps

Here in the UK we have a great rail network, spanning nationwide to cover not only England, but Wales and Scotland too. To help passengers out in 2014 with smartphones as their most prized possession, a number of Windows Phone apps have been released with support for National Rail train times, tickets and more. As there are a handful to choose from, we thought it best to form a quick roundup to get you started.

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Expedia.com is one of the most popular sites for planning vacations and trips. The site offers deals on hotels and flights for cheap, and it's one of those big, name brand services that many people know about.

The good news is that Windows Phone 8 users now have an official Expedia.com app. The bad news is it's just a mobile web wrapper, meaning this app simply pulls down the mobile web version of Expedia.com. Except you get more on the website, including cars and packages, which the web app obfuscates.

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Moovit has just launched on Windows Phone, providing the community with a quick way to choose public transportation routes through supported locations. With the app installed, it's possible to check out real time arrivals, receive service alerts and more. An interesting part of Moovit as a service is how it's powered by users (who provided updated information) and is cross-platform. If you're searching for an app that does all this in more than 300 cities in 20+ languages, Moovit is well worth checking out.

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Scandinavian Airlines has just launched its SAS Windows Phone app that allows you to pull up your travel information, manage your EuroBonus points, and also pin your boarding pass to your Start screen. The last feature makes it convenient to have your boarding pass readily available so you don't have to search for it and fumble with your phone when you're at the gate.

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Top Travel Planning Apps for our Windows Phones

Windows Phone Central App Roundup: Travel Planning Apps

Summer is upon us and the vacation season is quickly moving into high gear. Many will be planning vacation getaways and there are plenty of Windows Phone apps available to help you plan your trips.

The focus of this week's Windows Phone Central roundup is travel planning apps that will help you find hotels, flights and even rental cars all from one app. These one-stop shops make travel planning convenient and in many cases stress-free. Along with these multi-faceted apps, we will also toss in a few apps that have a singular focus for hotel reservations, flight bookings or rental cars.

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TaxiForSure.com is an aggregator of car rentals and taxis in India and offers point-to-point hires, local packages, outstation services, and airport transfers in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi NCR, and soon in Hyderabad.

In less than three years, TaxiForSure has serviced more than 300,000 customers and is becoming a popular alternative to Meru and Olacabs. The official TaxiForSure Windows Phone 8 app arrived on the Windows Phone Store earlier this week and allows one to book a cab quickly and conveniently.

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Disney Expedition is a wonderful Windows Phone app to help you survive a trip to the theme parks of the Walt Disney World Resort. This would include the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, the Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach and more.

Disney Expedition was recently updated to version 2.5 and brings Fast Pass+ support to the Windows Phone app. What is FastPass+ support you ask?

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ixigo.com (pronounced ‘ik-si-go’) is a travel search engine in India. The service acts as an infomediary that aggregates travel websites to compare information and deals. ixigo does not handle bookings but instead redirects the users to book directly from other OTAs (Online Travel Agency).

The official ixigo app - ixigo Flights Search - has recently landed on the Windows Phone Store, and allows you to find the best airfares across India’s leading OTAs like MakeMyTrip, goibibo, via, Expedia, and others.

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While we are moving away from bulky maps and heavy guidebooks to mobile apps for our travels, there aren’t many of those that match a Lonely Planet or Fodor’s exhaustive experience.

Published by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, the new Visit Abu Dhabi app for Windows Phone offers an easy and user-friendly way to discover the largest emirate.

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Arriva is a multi-national transport company operating throughout Europe. The UK division has apps available for both Android and iOS that make it super easy to purchase tickets and travel on the network of buses. Windows Phone still has no official solution, but an app is well in development, according to the Arriva website.

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Indian Railways, the state-owned enterprise operated by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways, is one of the world's largest railway networks and transports over 25 million passengers daily. To tap the huge scope and potential, several hobbyist developers as well as developer studios have developed mobile apps to provide a variety of functionality to train commuters.

There are a zillion such apps on the Windows Phone Store – some very useful, and some me-too solutions. In this post I pick three of my favorite Windows Phone apps that are a must have on your device if you frequently travel by trains or are travelling to India.

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If you think you can carry a pocket Hindi guide on your trip to India and cover everything, you are clearly mistaken. India is home to several regional languages, and even when I travel to other parts of the country, I often struggle with basic communication and instructions.  Enter our Windows Phone.

mTranslator is an interactive Windows Phone 8 app that allows you to translate English to nine Indian languages. The app is developed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), a premier R&D organization under the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT) of Government of India. The app is based on their AnglaMT and Anuvadaksh Machine Translation System.

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