Snag the best iPhone travel app for free

(MoneyWatch) I generally dislike just about every aspect of business travel: booking the flight, the cramped planes, navigating confusing airport terminals, staying in unfamiliar hotels, and the list goes on. I keep an eye out for anything that gives me an edge, and it's no secret that Kayak.com is one of the best online travel sites around. But if you've never tried Kayak's iPhone app, you're missing out.

Kayak Pro is an iOS app that delivers almost every conceivable travel tool on one screen -- and it does it in an elegant, seamless way. If that's not enough of an endorsement, try this on for size: Usually 99 cents, it's free for a limited time, so you should grab it while you can. (If you miss out on the free offer, the basic Kayak app includes almost all of the features in Kayak Pro, with the addition of some ads.)

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So what does Kayak Pro offer? A full suite of travel search features, for starters. You can find hotels by city or by proximity to your location, view the results on a map, and book via Kayak or other services, such as Hotels.com. You can likewise search for rental cars and airline flights and do all the awesome Kayak filtering, such as by airline, number of stops, price, and time.

Kayak includes a number of other goodies as well, though. Want to know what Spirit Air charges for a carry-on bag? No problem -- the app has fee data for all the major airlines, as well as a currency converter for international travel. The tool tracks your itinerary and flights, and manages price alerts for flights you want to take in the future.

My favorite feature (and one that's only available in the Pro version): maps of airport terminals, including the location of stores and restaurants. Last, but not least, there's a packing list module you can customize (it comes configured with all the basics) to make sure you throw all the essentials in your suitcase.

To get the most out of Kayak, you'll want to sign up for a free account. And be sure to grab the app while it's free.

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