Travel Apps are my new best friend. Whether you’re preparing to travel or already crossing continents, finding the information you need on hotels, restaurants, and historic sites, and just plain getting around, can be a daunting task.
We always want to know what’s the closest, the best, and the most inexpensive…
and we don’t want to spend days researching all of the above.
We humans are an impatient species, aren’t we? Or maybe we just understand the value of time. It is, after all, the one thing in life we cannot replace.
Luckily, we found a way to speed the travel research process. We’ve scoured the app stores and searched the Internet to find some of the best user-friendly travel apps around. There are a dizzying number available, so this is not a comprehensive list by any means, but it’s definitely a good start. We like easy and we like to save time, so we do use all the travel apps on our list. All are available (and free) for your mobile device, both Android and iOS platforms.
Our Top 12 Easy-to-Use Travel Apps
- Trip Advisor ‒ TripAdvisor has claimed the crown as the world’s largest travel website. With over half a billion user reviews ranging from hotels to restaurants to attractions and a huge array of travel choices, destinations and planning features, their credibility is undeniable.Travelers have the ability to rate, comment, and photograph the places they’ve stayed. With their unique owl logo and “bubble (or maybe owl eyeball)” review rating icons, the brand is immediately recognizable. And speaking of reviews, most hotels have literally hundreds, so grab a glass of wine and find a quiet spot to meander through them.
- AroundMe ‒ This travel app identifies and lists the places around you. No need to ask Google or Siri about “restaurants near me.” This app does it for you. Whether it’s a restaurant, gas station, bank, post office, movie theater, or, (yikes!) a hospital, you’ll find this app a necessity…especially if you are in a country where there may be language barriers.
- Skyscanner – This app searches and compares thousands, no millions of flights, hotels, car rentals from throughout the world and then directs you to the vendor website for booking. Can’t get much easier than that. You can sign up to get travel tips and cheap deals sent directly to your inbox. And best of all, you can get Price Alerts in case the cost of your flight suddenly drops.
- Rome2Rio – When you’re in a foreign land and want to get from one place to another (and it’s not just a short jaunt across the way), you may need assistance. Your trip will likely be complex and involve multiple modes of travel. That’s where the Rome2Rio travel app comes in handy. Just plug in your destination and this travel app displays a number of suggested itineraries in various combinations of flight, rail, drive, ferry, and walk information. This includes a range of costs, distances, and travel times for each. When you arrive, the Rome2Rio travel app provides a wide range of lodging suggestions. A lifesaver for us sometimes.
- Maps.Me – So, you say just another map app? Well, maybe. The tried and true Google Maps is my personal go-to for directions. However, if you’re 1) off-line, 2) ship wrecked on a small island, 3) in a hurry, or 4) have issues with asking for directions, then you should be all over this travel app. According to some users, the app is more useful than Google and is open sourced so that everyone/anyone can update map details, new places, and new routes.
- Google Translate – One of the really old travel apps, in digital time, of course. Rolled out in 2006, this app originally supported 2 languages. Now it supports 103 with more under development and is used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In addition to typing in a word or phrase, you can video translate. Just download the language you want to translate, position the text in the window, and voila! It’s translated. Hold the camera on a restaurant menu and you can read it in English (I love this part). Or you can have a conversation in another language with the app translating as you speak. User-friendly is an understatement. Google Translate is truly awesome!
- Kayak – While some travel apps seem the same as others, they usually have a few different features. Kayak, while similar to other aggregator apps such as Skyscanner, scours the web searching for the best deals in flights, hotels, and rental cars. But in addition to keeping your itinerary, Kayak will monitor variations in prices and send you notifications (thank you, thank you) when your flight to Sri Lanka suddenly drops below $500. How cool is that!
- XE/Currency Exchange – XE is a currency conversion app that’s used worldwide. XE converts virtually every currency known to man into the currency of your choice. Make sure the app downloads the current exchange rates, so when you lose Wi-Fi in Wiffingham (or whatever remote place you happen to be), you can be sure your fave Starbucks is not $37.50. Easy peasy!
- TripIt – When TripIt is synched to your cell phone and email, it compiles all those separate bookings that you spent hours on. And it assembles them into a handy consolidated itinerary (with maps yet!) that’s great for sharing with family and friends. The free version does the basics, but for an added $49 per year. you get real-time flight alerts, alternate flights, fare refund notifications, and more. TripIt also plays well with App in the Air and PackPoint Premium.
- App in the Air ‒ Someone called that a gimmicky name, so, I’ll call it AITA. What this travel app does is pretty cool; App in the Air organizes your flights, keeps records of your trips, and keeps you updated on your current flight res. It’ll let you know if there’s a gate change, or flight delays, and assists you in navigating around the airport. And here’s a super feature for the budget-conscious traveler, the app can receive updates and be used off-line to avoid those huge overseas data charges. Yeah, saving me time and money…I’m all over this one.
- PackPoint ‒ PackPoint helps you pack. Seriously. It’s your valet … and your mom. It won’t let you forget your underwear. Simply plug in where you’re going, how long, whether you’re male or female, and what the trip is for (biz or kickin’ back). PackPoint then presents you with a checklist, adjusted for the weather, of course! The list can be easily modified since your favorite teddy bear is probably not on it. It’s also easily integrated with other apps like TripIt, and shared with friends. PackPoint is one of my favorite travel apps since it always includes something I forgot. Jeeves, and your mom, could not have done a better job!
- Hopper – When you need a flight-booking app, you might be thinking Skyscanner or something similar. Those travel apps are great, but take a look at Hopper, too. This app differentiates itself from the others by letting you know when to book and how to get the best prices. Once you find the flight you want, the app will let you know whether now is the time to drop those bucks or just wait it out. The app will conveniently keep you updated with those little jingly notifications on your phone.
We are now officially dizzy looking at the number of travel apps out there. But we love these apps the most. We hope they help make your trip a joy…and give you more time to GoRoamin’.