Summer holiday app round-up: Last minute getaway tips
If you don't want to suffer the indignity of being stuck in the house with bored, screaming kids, you need to book yourself a last minute bargain getaway.
And the GALAXY Note II is, as ever, your friend in this most worthwhile of endeavours, with a welter of great apps that work a treat on its expansive 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED screen.
Here's our choice of the top ten best last minute getaway tips for your Note II this summer.
The latest update of this all-encompassing hotel search app is designed specifically with GALAXY Note II users in mind.
The app has been optimised for the phone's generous display, with a 'Draw a Search' function, which uses the handset's S Pen to personalise a specific search area.
Hover the S Pen over a chosen hotel to get exact details on room rates and availability, along with images of the accommodation. There's a huge range of options, with listings for more than 154,000 hotels in 200 countries. So wherever you end up going on holiday, this neat add-on will have it covered.
This natty app is ideal if you've got tight connections to make on your last-minute trip. Flightboard covers 3,000 airports and 1,400 airlines, so unless you're plotting some serious off grid action in western Mongolia or the Namib desert, chances are it'll have your arrival or departure covered.
As well as being a practical must-have that'll stop you searching out screens in cramped departure lounges, it's also a joy to look at. The design is based on the classic ticker board at Paris's Charles De Gaulle airport. It's also chock full of social features so you can share info with everyone else on your trip via Facebook, Twitter and email.
Getting stung at the bureau de change is no way to start your holiday. XE Currency serves up real time info on the latest exchange rates, whether you're after US dollars, Euros or Bulgarian Lev.
That way if you can't reach an ATM, you can always check to see if the people you're buying your money from are giving you the best deal. What's more, it syncs currency conversions offline, so there's no need to pay hefty data roaming fees on your Note II when you touch down on the other side.
TripAdvisor Hotels Flights
Getting the perfect hotel or choosing the right airline is imperative if you want to make your last minute summer break a relaxing one. TripAdvisor's reviews are always refreshingly honest and give an up-to-the-minute insight that guidebooks just can't manage.
The app is a doddle to use - browse restaurant reviews by food type, cost and rating and compare flight prices on one page. A nifty 'Near Me Now' feature uses your location to tell you the best places to go in your area, making this the ultimate replacement for your tatty old Rough Guide.
Learning the lingo is always common courtesy, but moving beyond 'hello', 'goodbye', 'please' and 'thank you' can sometimes be a daunting task. That's where Voice Translator comes in.
This app lets you type in what you want translated or simply dictate it via your Note II's microphone. You can listen back to the translation and either attempt it yourself or simply hand the phone to a local and hold your conversation in a whole new way. Over 50 languages are supported, including Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish and Hindi. You'll be hard pushed to find a destination where this app doesn't help.
National Rail Enquiries
If you're opting to stay in Blighty rather than fly off to foreign climes, then sticking this freebie on your GALAXY Note II is essential.
National Rail Enquiries serves up live train departure and arrival times for every station in the UK, so whether you're spending a week on the beach in Cornwall or a few days on the West Highland Way, you'll know exactly when to get your train there and back. You can check a specific journey between two stations, track trains in real time to check on delays and even buy tickets via third parties.
AA Route Planner
Alternatively, if you'd rather use the car than take the train, AA Route Planner is a smart bet for the directionally challenged. While it serves up standard ways of getting from A to B, its directions also point out local landmarks, making it easier to work out when you need to turn off the road or carry straight on.
There are route options for caravans and those looking to avoid toll roads. You also get the full route and turn-by-turn instructions via a specially design interactive map. No more crawling down country lanes and wondering if you've made a wrong turn.
Camping Trip Planner
Hardy camping types, this one's for you. This app features a handy, editable checklist of things you'll need to take to ensure you don't find your week under canvas an uncomfortable dirge.
You can add things you'll need depending on what time of year you're going away or what sort of destination you're planning on camping. So, if you're hitting Provence, remember to pack a corkscrew. Or, if you're Alps-bound, ensure you've got walking boots marked down on the list. You can even save different lists depending on where you're headed.
Before you click 'buy' on that too-good-to-be-true last minute package, hit WeatherPro. This app is just about the best weather add-on going and serves up extremely detailed forecasts for myriad destinations around the globe.
Get long-range forecasts, check cloud cover and make sure that where you're going is getting all the sun you could possibly want. Two million locations are covered, you get radar images of Europe and the US and even info on wind speed, air pressure and rain percentages. Perfect for plotting a sunny getaway.
It pays to be prepared; especially when your holiday has been booked in a hurry and you're busy deciding how many swim suits to pack.
TravelSafe Pro packs a plethora of essential information, including local numbers for emergency services, embassy contact details and 12 different language settings to help get over any communication barriers. Everything's stored locally, so if something bad does happen, then you won't be hit by high data charges while abroad.