iPhone Starter Kit

Travel

Keep your money and manners in mind while you travel.

Currency

If a travel app suite is overkill for you, this free converter should do the trick. Currency can compare the value of a master currency with monies from multiple countries. It's ideal for tracking international exchange rates, or for use as a calculator when gauging if that 5,000-rand safari is a good deal. The latter employment, unfortunately, takes some format finessing, and the sometimes-insensitive buttons add delays. If you can overlook those issues and the occasional crash, you'll find a free tool that makes mastering foreign money a snap.

Coolgorilla and Lonely Planet phrasebooks

    Not yet rated

We've had enough travel experience to know that when it comes to giving yourself a crash course in a new language, simpler is better. Coolgorilla's audio phrasebooks for Italian, French, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, and German quickly became our favorite in this crowded category. Pleasant voices slowly and clearly sound out common words and phrases that are simple enough to commit to memory after only a few repetitions. The 99-cent application may not be as polished as others, but it covers the same categories and adds another one for essential terms.

We rank Lonely Planet's phrasebooks ($9.99) a close second for including transliteration below the native spelling, and for a search bar that sifts through hundreds of phrases. They also make a strong first choice for languages that the Talking Phrasebooks don't cover, although the recorded voices tend to speed through phrases more quickly than our ears could capture, and the use of longer, more polite expressions may discourage memorization.