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5 great apps for travelers on the ground

SitOrSquat, Lonely Planet's City Guides and Goby apps (left to right) are helpful to travelers ready to explore.
SitOrSquat, Lonely Planet's City Guides and Goby apps (left to right) are helpful to travelers ready to explore.
  • Blending in with the locals is easier with smartphone travel apps
  • If your plans fall through, Goby searches events and activities near you
  • The Undercover Tourist app is for Walt Disney World-goers and delivers ride wait times

(Budget Travel) -- From skipping long lines at Walt Disney World to blending in with the locals on any adventure, smartphone travel apps can keep just about any obstacle from hindering your trip. Here are five top apps that will come in handy once you get there.

See all of Budget Travel's "best" apps

LOOK LIKE A LOCAL Because some things just require visuals, Howcast's user-generated video tutorials cover everything from taxi strategies in New York City to the proper consumption of soba in Japan to nude-beach etiquette. (Then again, maybe some things don't belong in a video.) The short clips load quickly and particularly shine on the larger-format iPad. Free. Download it: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad.

SURVIVE WITHOUT A PLAN So the museum you planned to visit was closed, and now you've got a free afternoon on your hands. Goby has you covered: The app searches events and activities near you -- live-music shows, family-friendly outings and outdoorsy pursuits -- and plots them on a map with details and photos. Free. Download it: Android, iPhone/iPad.

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SKIP THE LINES The new Undercover Tourist app made for savvy Walt Disney World-goers delivers accurate wait times for every ride in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. At day's end, a built-in GPS helps you navigate right back to your car. $4. Download it: iPhone/iPad.

EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS Lonely Planet has created the perfect pairing of inspiration and information. First, flip through the colorful, photo-heavy 1000 Ultimate Experiences iPad app for thumbnail takes on some of the world's most intriguing destinations. Then use the brand's dedicated guides (for over 75 cities) to hunt for specifics, like how to get a bus pass for the MUNI in San Francisco or when to catch the ferry for a visit to Alcatraz. 1000 Ultimate Experiences $5, city guides $6. Download it: iPad (The 1000 Ultimate Experiences);iPhone/iPad (city guides).

Quiz: Name That Hotel Chain

FIND A PLACE TO "GO" Like it or not, Starbucks outposts have unofficially replaced service stations as America's favorite rest stops. Fortunately for travelers, both are mapped on the SitOrSquat app. More than 99,000 restrooms are represented (concentrated in larger cities in the U.S. and Europe), with details like hours, changing-table availability, and, of course, a "sit" or "squat" recommendation. Free. Download it: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad.

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