Free iPhone apps for the Easter Holidays

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

Are you going away for the Easter break? Here's a quick round-up of iPhone apps that might help.

Pocket Weather AU Lite

Pocket Weather AU Lite

This is the 'bare bones' version of Pocket Weather AU, without the full range of features, but it includes everything you need to get weather updates and seven-day forecasts for areas all over Australia. Using information sourced directly from the Bureau of Meteorology, it is good for on-the-fly weather updates, and can even automatically find out local weather using your current location. The last update is always cached, too, so if you check the weather for your destination before heading away for the weekend, that week's weather will be stored in your phone for future reference. If you have 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity, you can also view BOM weather radars in real time.

Kayak

Kayak

Kayak is a handy little app that allows you to book your entire holiday. It searches the web for vacancies in hotels, flights and car rentals, giving you the choice to sort the results according to different categories; for hotels, for example, it's price, location or classiness, whereas for flights it's price, the length of the flight, or how soon until departure. The 'Buzz' feature will check the most recent deals online for the cheapest flights, and the Airlines feature lists contact phone numbers of pretty much any airline you could care to name. The app was created in the US, though, so remember to duck into the preferences and select the right currency.

Trapster

Trapster

The content on Trapster is user-generated, so naturally it's not 100 per cent accurate, but it will still help you navigate speed traps and lights in unfamiliar areas. Using your current location, it will show you a Google map of your surrounding area marked with roadworks, red light cameras, speed traps and enforcement points. You can use multi-touch to zoom in and out. A few features, such as Caravan, which allows you to communicate with other users, and Patrol, which shows blue lines indicating how many Trapster users have driven down a given road, require a free Trapster login. The interface can be irritating, but the benefit of not getting ticketed outweighs that by a tonne.

Just Light Flashlight

Just Light Flashlight

Having a torch always on hand is useful in day-to-day life, but you might find it particularly helpful when stumbling around unfamiliar accommodation in the dark. The Just Light Flashlight is about as simple and elegant as an app gets. There are all sorts of fancy-pants torch apps available, both paid and free, but the Just Light Flashlight uses one-touch operation and, because idle shut-off is disabled, it doesn't turn off until you hit the phone's Home button. It doesn't have any shiny graphics, just a glowing white screen, but it offers the maximum of light and functionality with a minimum of fuss.

Holidays and Vacations Free

Holidays and Vacations Free

For those who like to plan their holidays ahead, the Holidays and Vacations Free offers at-a-glance calendars for all legal public and school holidays in Australia (and other locations around the world). It's super easy to navigate, too; once you input your location, the Holidays button at the top will show you all the public holidays for the year in your state, and the Vacations button lists all the school breaks. Unless you spring for the paid version, that's all it does, but it's an extraordinarily useful at-a-glance tool when planning family getaways.

Trace

Trace

Trace is a very basic idea for a game: you draw a line on the screen to help the little man get from the starting point to the finishing point, navigating around fixed and moving obstacles. It has very simple graphics, looking like something tossed together in Microsoft Paint, but it is also strangely engrossing, requiring the player to think up creative and lateral solutions. With 120 levels, it will undoubtedly keep a restless kid occupied for a while on a long car trip. For younger kids, though, we'd probably recommend a free painting app, such as Scribble Lite or Glow Coloring.

Image credits: Shifty Jelly, KAYAK, Reach Unlimited Corporation, justlightapp, Thomas May, Kevin Calderone

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Cyberacc posted a comment   

I can't see that the "Holiday and Vacation Calculator" is free - the iTunes store is trying to charge me $2.49

 

Michelle Starr posted a reply   

Sorry, Cyberacc. I mistakenly put in the link to the paid version. It should work now.




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