Where would we be without smartphones? Emails would go unanswered for hours, Facebook unchecked, and most importantly the state of emotional turmoil you would feel when Google maps can’t direct you to your next destination. Today these pocket companions are our trustee life guides, and when traveling this is no exception. Whether scouring for discount airfare, planning your next meal, or just in desperate need of hearing a familiar voice back home, traveling poses great challenges and unpredicted hiccups along the way. However, GrandLife has sought out the best smartphone travel applications to help smooth out some of those ruffled feathers. Here is what you should be downloading before your next getaway.

1. iTrans NYC — There’s no shortage of apps dedicated to helping travelers and locals navigate the New York Subway, but by unanimous consensus this is the one to get: featuring offline time schedules, line closures, transit directions, and an enlargeable map, it’s an NYC essential—up there with The Met (plus it’ll help you get there). The downloadable map means you can check it underground, so If a trip to New York is in your future, download this before MTA’s cellular black hole turns your Google Maps into a blank, gray abyss. (Get it!)

2. Wikihood — Inquisitive travelers who might prefer an encyclopedia to a Lonely Planet guide, but prefer not to incur the extra baggage fee of stowing one’s own Brittanica along for the ride, are well-advised to check out this Wikipedia-based iPhone app which sorts noteworthy landmarks by GPS distance. (Get it!)

3. Kayak — No longer the well-kept secret it used to be, and yet Kayak is more useful than ever for comparison shopping and finding the ultimate travel deals. The Kayak Flight and Hotel search application makes planning the trip basics a breeze no matter what location. (Get it!)

4. Pano — Whether you’re scaling the Swiss Alps or the top of the Empire State building, sometimes one photo just doesn’t do a place justice. For those times, there is Pano: a neat, user-friendly panoramic photo app that’s the most seamless of any we’ve tried yet—and we’ve tried most of them. (Get it!)

5. HiConverter — Converting around the globe is facilitated with the all-encompassing HiConverter application that simplifies everything from tips and currency to clothing sizing. (Get it!)

6. Flightboard — Sync your phone to the Arrival or Departure board for any airport in the world to stay up to date on real-time flight information with Flightboard. (Get it!)

7. Skype — When emails don’t suffice, Skype is the trusted application for staying in contact with friends back home or meet-ups along the voyage through the call, video, or instant messaging options. (Get it!)

8. Urbanspoon — Foodies everywhere will never travel without the Urbanspoon application again. Don’t get stuck on where to eat, shake your iPhone and this pocket-sized culinary expert will decide for you. (Get it!)

Photo Credit: Philip Ng