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Top 5 Apple iPhone Apps for the Traveler

Tickers in this article: AAPL
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As I write this, I am preparing for a cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York. LAX to JFK. Heading to TheStreet for a couple of days to get some work done and imbibe at the company's holiday party. But don't worry, I won't do this:

Vegas odds on whether or not Cramer will recognize me stand at 8-to-1.

Lots of people hate travel. I don't. In fact, I love almost every aspect of it. I even enjoy the airport experience. I dig flying. And there's nothing better than exploring great cities. It's even better when it's easy.

Our app society makes life easier . Sometimes it's the bang-up apps that improve our lives, but, often, it's a standard utilitarian number with a solid feature or two that provides the most value.

No. 5: Delta Air Lines

When I fly I always try to go with Virgin America . Ever since the airline industry went to a no-frills-unless-you-pay-and-even-when-you-pay-it's-still-pretty-much-no-frills model, Virgin lands head and shoulders above every airline. I just wish it had a better mobile experience.

Given its boarding and on-board experience and overall hip factor, you would expect a solid app from Virgin. Instead, you "only" get a nicely optimized mobile site.

Generally, if I do not fly Virgin I end up on Delta Air Lines (DAL) . For such a biggie, I have to give Delta credit. It's always hit or miss, but, generally speaking, they provide a better experience and friendlier staff than the other major airlines.

Their iPhone app isn't anything special -- it does the basics such as mobile check-in and boarding pass well -- but it's worth mentioning for one feature:

If you fly small airports, this isn't a big deal. But when I leave a car at LAX, the method of walking around for 5 to 10 minutes after a long trip, hitting the lock button repeatedly to find the vehicle by horn honk doesn't fly. The Delta app solves that. I'm sure it's a feature on other airline/travel apps, but it's still good to know if you fly Delta now or will be in the future.

No. 4: Starbucks

Yes, I am in love with Starbucks (SBUX) the stock, the company and its mobile app. Not ashamed to admit it.

It's short and sweet -- they have made an addictive app that's incredibly helpful, particularly when traveling.

You get through security. You have dressed yourself again and secured your key belongings in their proper places. Not sure about you, but the last thing I want to do is pull my wallet out of my pocket. Debit card. Bills. Change. Whatever. It's all a major pain.

I typically have my phone in hand. Bingo. Effortless payment for a cup of tea with the Starbucks mobile app. It will be a beautiful thing when Square and others finally breaks out and provides this option across retail.

No. 3: KICKMap