We all enjoy the convenience of having video games, movies and Wi-Fi on our cell phones, but when it comes to pure, unadulterated usefulness, what makes more sense than mobile travel applications? Spurred by breakthroughs in wireless technology, a wave of new programs designed for smart phones and PDAs are helping travelers in myriad ways. Here are five new apps we’re loving this minute:

USEFULNESS RATING

1 Totally worthless
2 Take it or leave it
3 Handy
4 Essential
5 Can’t live without it

Blio eReader Travel lighter with this application that transforms laptops and iPhones into eReaders. The 1.2 million titles are displayed like books in their natural format — but they also allow for embedded links, video and other media. Free

3

SitOrSquat Perfect for families with small children, this application supplies information on more than 84,000 public restrooms. After encountering a particularly sanitary porcelain perch, users can add to the site’s listing. Free

3

FlightCaster By employing “advanced algorithms” based on 10 years of flight data, this app ($3 for BlackBerrys, $2 for iPhones) can accurately predict flight delays hours before an airline notifies fliers .

5

Kayak The popular travel search engine has rolled out an app for BlackBerry, phone and Android phones that allows users to check airline fees, view itineraries and find deals on flights, car rentals and hotels. Free

4

Mobile Boarding Passes As if e-tickets weren’t easy enough, airlines (such as this one!) are now allowing travelers to check amenities, see standby lists and use phone-displayed bar codes to board via this service. Free

5