Sorting through apps can be one of the most tedious tasks out there. We all know there are great apps for the iPad, people tell us as much, but how do you discover them with the number available constantly growing? Well, we’re here to help you with that by breaking it down to a handful of essential apps in a number of different categories. Sure apps vary by taste, but these are some of the ones we feel will appeal to a wide audience.

This list covers the top five in Entertainment and Travel, two things the iPad excels at.  Many people have said the Apple tablet is all about content cnsumption, and considering the iPad is replacing laptops & netbooks, it makes sense to turn it into a device that will help you with travel plans.

And, oh yeah, we’re only doing free ones, so put your wallets away.

All links will take you to the iTunes page for more information and a link to download the app.

Top 5 Free iPad Entertainment Apps

ABC Player

ABC Player: While only available in the United States, the ABC Player app has been a hit as it requires no subscriptions to use it .  Look up your favorite shows from the ABC network and watch it streaming to your iPad.

IMDb Movies & TV: Is there anything more frustrating than being in a conversation about a movie or TV show and you end up constantly saying, “You know … that one guy … he was in that one movie …”.  Well, the IMBd app helps you figure out those answers in a slick interface.

Movies by Flixster: An extremely useful app if you are out and about and decide you’re in the mood for a movie.  Look up theaters near you to see their full schedules, and then you can click on any movie name to get the ratings from Rotten Tomatoes.

PBS for iPad: The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) app allows you to look up your local stations, watch full shows, learn more about various programs and a whole lot more.  Again, this app is limited to the United States.

Pocket Pond HD: Listen to the calming sounds of water as virtual Koi swim through the pond.  You can set lily pads around, release dragon flies and drag your finger through the water to see the fish scatter.

Top 5 Free iPad Travel Apps

Google Earth for iPad

Google Earth: While most people think of Google Earth as just a fun toy to play with, it can also be an extremely useful tool for planning a trip.  It can work just like Google Maps to look up locations, see what sort of businesses are nearby, bring up Street View and more.  Very handy for seeing what is an area before you get there.

KAYAK HD: Book flights and hotels while on the go, and also explore the locations you wish to visit, or are already in.

OpenTable for iPad: When travelling on business, it can be rough finding some place to eat when you’ve just stepped off a plane.  OpenTable will not only tell you what restaurants are near you, but you can also reserve a table from the app.  With free registration you can even earn rewards for free dining at participating locations.

Wi-Fi Finder: While the iPad scans for nearby Wi-Fi sources, it is limited to what is in the general vicinity.  Wi-Fi Finder lets you see whats in your area as well as look in places where you want in advance, browse locations while offline, filter it by provider, type of location and more options.

Wikihood for iPad: Wikihood leverages the information of Wikipedia to give you the best information possible about the place where you are to make sure you don’t miss anything of importance during your visit.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.