Book a flight, find a hotel, scout out the best seat on the plane, snag insider tips on the best restaurants, tip with confidence, snap your own postcard. There’s pretty much an app for everything these days, and that includes some essential resources for travelers. The best part? Apps are the perfect travel companion since they don’t take up room in your suitcase or carry on! I’ve rounded up my 15 favorite travel apps below (including two new-to-me resources I plan to test on our next trip). Any other apps you can’t travel without? Whenever and wherever you’re traveling – from a business trip to a quick escape for Memorial Day weekend to a three-week international adventure – don’t leave home without adding these travel apps to your smart phone!
Before You Go
TripIt – I confess to many years of traveling with a folder of printed air, hotel and car confirmations, as well as typed itineraries and activity lists. TripIt is a great tool for business travelers like my husband, who need to collect reservations in one place for reference on the go. It’s also perfect for the organized vacation traveler, who wants to corral multiple flights, hotel confirmations, and other details into one easy-to-read summary instead of lugging around hard-copy print outs. Because that is so old school…
Packing (+TO DO!) – I’m a chronic list maker. This app lets you create lists of what to pack for different trips and even set reminders (don’t forget the phone charger, remember our passports) and store them right on your phone. You can also edit, import, and export your packing lists from Excel if that’s your thing. I can’t wait to try this app out!
SeatGuru – Does your window seat really have a window? Will there be in-flight Wi-Fi? Is your seat located by the bathroom? Enter your flight number and SeatGuru shows you the best seats on the plane and other flight details.
Kayak – Like the online version, Kayak’s mobile app is a one-stop shop for air, hotel, and car reservations. Look and book, straight from your phone.
TripAdvisor – The mobile version won’t let you down. Get ratings, reviews and recommendations on hotels, restaurants, and points of interest. You can also book a restaurant reservation using the app’s partnership with OpenTable (see below).
TripAdvisor City Guides – Free city guides with restaurants, attractions, hotels, and reviews stored in the app offline, so you’ll have zero data-roaming charges. It’s a nice alternative to the TripAdvisor app if you don’t want to go online.
GateGuru – Have a layover and all you see is a McDonalds when you could really go for Starbucks? GateGuru plots out all the airport restaurants and businesses on a terminal map, so you can easily see what’s available wherever you’ve landed.
OpenTable – We love the ease of making restaurant reservations via OpenTable and use it even when we’re not traveling. Search for restaurants by location or name, filter by type of food or price, then reserve yourself a table.
Talkatone – Unlimited free calls and texts to anyone in the world over Wi-Fi or 3G? Yes, please! Even when overseas, you can call and text US numbers for free. And it’s easier than Skype, since the person you’re calling doesn’t have to install anything.
Google Translate – Type a phrase into the word box or use the speaking option to say the phrase. Google will do the translation work for you.
GlobeTipping – A tip for a tuk-tuk ride in Bangkok vs. a cab ride in New York City? Vastly different. GlobeTipping provides tipping guidelines for more than 200 countries, so you’re never left scratching your head or worrying about offending the locals again.
XE Currency – I always check this website for currency information when planning a trip, but the app version puts the currency converter in your hands so you don’t have to do math in your head when on the go.
Spotify – I create playlists before we depart and set them to be available even when I’m offline (we do pay a $10/month subscription fee). I love, love having my favorite music at my fingertips for long plane rides, relaxed beach time, or even impromptu dance parties in our hotel room.
Instagram – If you don’t want to mess with a camera, but still want to share your adventures, Instagram is obviously the way to go. I always do a combination of camera and iPhone photography. In some situations an iPhone is just more appropriate to whip out to get a quick shot, plus I love being able to share instant snaps of the places we’re experiencing with friends, family, and followers back home.
Postagram – I quit sending cheesy tourist postcards a long time ago, but I still love the concept and enjoy receiving them from friends. The Postagram app lets you snap your own postcard, then prints and sends it for you through the mail for just 99 cents. So cool! Oh, and your first 5 postcards are free. Definitely on my list to try.