Vacation planning is an activity that can be interesting and funny on one hand and hard on the other hand. We need to get inspired by some cool destinations and find the right accommodation and cheap flights. It is a long journey made of obstacles and not always the result satisfies us. That’s why we have to use the best travel apps, they can help us to save money and time. It doesn’t matter if you want to organize a family holiday, a road trip, a vacation with friends, or a wellness retreat. All of them can be easily planned by taking advantage of the right application.
Maybe you scroll down travel accounts on Instagram, so you think to find an amazing idea about the place. This will help you a lot, but then you will have to work on all other stages. And what will happen if the location has no budget accommodation, if it is fully booked, or if there is no frequent flight connection? It may happen to meet some difficulties and when you are lucky you can predict them, but on some occasions, you just face them at your arrival. Travel apps are helpful because they have inside tips, they are specialized, they can inspire about destinations giving you more details. Plus they have deals to save money.
But it is full of apps, they all pretend to be the best one, to solve are your problems. Of course, it isn’t so easy. There are excellent tools to improve your experience and to make you saving money, but if you don’t know what are the proper ones, you can get lost. According to my travel experience, I listed the ones that saved my life. How? Allowing me to get cheap prices, find good flights at the last moment, book amazing and not now accommodations, translating my questions and locals’ answers, or giving me directions, and so on. You are thinking that “save a life” is too much. Well, imagine being in the middle of nowhere without a map and without knowing the local language when people speak only that one. In a place without hotels.
My list of the best travel apps
I am going to give you my advice about the travel apps you should use to plan your trips. They are divided by type of service and they also cover all your needs, so from searching for a flight to calculate the currency exchange rate. So you will use them not only to organize your travels but also to handle any situation at the destination.
Foreign Affairs services
Do you want to travel safely? Smart Traveler is a free service that offers tips and information specifically for U.S. travelers. There are all the news and advice about visas and vaccines you’ll need before traveling, where to find assistance during your trip if you need it. You have to register your journey on the app and you will immediately get all the info about the country and the list of local embassies and consulates in your destination. In case there will be a disaster or tragedy, the local embassy staff can contact you to see if you need support and assistance. I suggest you visit your country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry website to check their tools you can use. They might have specific apps.
Cheap flights research
This represents one of the best travel apps for flight search, but you can find and compare also the hotel’s rates. The system monitors the situation, so they can suggest booking your trip or wait for better prices. You have to digit your destination and select dates coloring the calendar. The app will show you different options starting from the cheapest rates. You can see better dates to fly and save. There will be also a recommendation if you can buy it immediately or if the prices will go down. So you will be aware and free to decide. You have also the chance if the systems tell you to stay tuned, to set up the price watch. When fares will be in the right range, you will get notified. So you will be able to catch the best price.
It doesn’t need presentations, but one of the most famous platforms in the travel industry. It allows you to explore cool destinations sorting your budget, so you can set a continent and digit the amount of money you want to spend. The app will give you all the options to catch the best rates. You can also activate alerts to be notified when prices are better. It is a similar service to Hopper and Kayak.
4. In The Air
This travel app deserves to be among the best ones because it isn’t only an itinerary tracking, but it keeps also boarding passes and frequent-flier programs. Plus it tracks boarding and landing times, so users can check how much time they have to wait or to finish their pathway with check-in, security, and customs. But still, it is not enough. Through augmented reality, it helps you figure out if your carry-on is the right fit for your next flight. Then it is also a guide of the airport, it supports you to find the best place for a coffee or where to buy flowers in the early morning in the terminal you are visiting, and so on. It is updated thanks to travelers’ tips. You can keep a “score” of the places you have been around the world. The app is available for any operating system. It is free for basic functions, it is available in a paid premium version.
Fear of flying
A plane can take us to the destination in a shorter time than other means of transport. But for some of us, it can be tricky. Fear overcomes all positive reasons to fly, so we renounce buying a ticket searching for some other ways. Or maybe we change the destination. Shouldn’t be better to win fear? Well, since 1982, therapist and former airline pilot Capt. Tom Bunn has offered his SOAR course to nervous fliers. He gives a resource to win anxiety. Now, all the knowledge and pathway are available in an app. It has the task to calm down the brain. If you are scared by planes or by traveling in the sky, this is something that can help you a lot.
Anxiety can take the control of our minds, especially the one related to flights. It can be a big obstacle but don’t worry, you can solve the problem. Thanks to this app, you have the chance to relax, meditate, or listen to soothing sounds made to help you to sleep or deeply relax. Even during long flights, you won’t face anxiety, the time will pass fast and it will be pleasant. You just need to follow the tips and use the content of this source. These features make it one of the best travel apps for those who have flight fear. You will find meditations on topics such as self-awareness, calming anxiety, breathing, lowering stress levels, and happiness, among others. There is also music to help travelers for focusing, relaxing, and sleeping.
Is turbulence your real problem? Or you are just scared of planes? In any case, this app will help you a lot. It is designed by pilots that provides weather and turbulence forecasts for the route you’re flying. You can’t solve the forecast obstacles, but you can prepare yourself, especially mentally. There is a Pro version that provides real-time alerts and explanations of what’s happening during your flight. Users can see exactly where you are in the sky without an internet or GPS connection.
Would you like to travel with comfort, using premium airport lounges around the world? I mean regardless of the airline or class you’re flying. When you create a trip in the app, it tells you which lounges you have access to based on the airports you’ll be transiting through, as well as how to purchase access if you don’t already have it. You can purchase access on the day you’re traveling or up to two months in advance if you’re the plan-ahead type. If you prefer to search by lounge or lounge program, the app will tell you exactly what is needed to use them.
Priority Pass offers access to more than 1,300 lounges worldwide and provides meal vouchers at select airport restaurants across the world. You’ll have to pay an annual fee to be a member and, depending on your membership tier, a fee to enter each lounge on top of the annual fee. To use the Priority Pass app, enter the airport name or airport code that you’re in and Priority Pass will pull up the lounges or restaurants that you have access to, including photos, hours, amenities, and specific location information. For more information on the Priority Pass Program and how to gain lounge access, read my review.
This app allows you to track flights online, see a live map of a flight, and check on delays, cancellations, and gate changes. It is one of the best travel apps because it helps if you have a tight connection or want to track your flight. It’s also useful when picking friends and family up at the airport. You can track their flight and see updated landing times or delays.
Flight delay and cancelation
If you’ve ever endured the pain of a delayed or canceled flight, or been denied boarding because of overbooking, AirHelp will be right up your alley. Both US and EU laws provide for compensation in such cases, although the details differ. It’s a complicated process, though, and apparently fewer than 1% of passengers entitled to compensation ever get it.
This app makes the process simple and something you can do in a few minutes while still waiting around at the airport. Just enter your flight information and a few details about the problem, and the company takes care of the rest. If the claim is successful, they take 25% of the payout and you get the remainder. You also get a referral bonus for anyone else on your flight that you send the company’s way.
Airlines and Hotels filtering
The beauty of this app is that it aggregates the best fares from most airlines, allowing you to filter flight options based on your airline preference and departure times, while easily changing dates and destinations. You can also find deals on car rentals and hotels. Thanks to the mobile version you can easily keep your plans organized and updates you on flight status, airport terminals, and security wait times.
This travel app is used mainly to book flights, but it will also take care of all your basic travel bookings: flight, hotel, car rental, even activities, and tours. The app provides useful information on destinations and even airports, telling you how to find lounges, ATMs, and luggage storage during a long layover. Booking flights is fairly simple: You can choose from round-trip, one-way or multicity itineraries. If you’re hoping for inspiration, use the special Nomad feature, which has flight itineraries mapped out for you in packs, like the Tour Europe option. This one has a customizable itinerary featuring the cheapest way to enjoy three to five nights in Amsterdam; three to five nights in Barcelona; and three to five nights in Paris, among others. It’s one of your best allies.
You can use the app to make, view, or modify reservations and access your rewards status and activity. In fact, for each 10 booked and stayed nights, you get one free night. The app does have its perks on the website will incur a $5 charge, but not for reward bookings made on the app. The best way to navigate is to use the app to search for ideas.
15. Hilton HHonors
The app has a “choose your room” feature (available for select properties), and you can actually see a map of the hotel layout and tap on the exact room you’d like when checking in via the app. This can be especially helpful if you want a high-floor room; prefer to be near the elevator; or are hoping for a specific view, like the ocean or pool. Or maybe you’re just Type A and want to know exactly where you’ll be bedding down. Other features allow you to pre-order your favorite pillow type or request specific snacks and beverages (at an added cost) before arrival. Checking out with a single tap makes your departure less hectic, too. You can book and manage your trips on the app, as well as view your points balance and elite status benefits.
Last-Minute Hotel Deals
Booked that spontaneous flight, and now you’re trying to figure out where you’re going to sleep at night? In the middle of a road adventure and need to find lodging ASAP? Don’t panic, there’s an app for that. The app finds last-minute deals on hotels near your location, ranging from “basic” to “luxe” options, including unique boutique hotels. You can filter for location, dates, the number of guests, pet-friendly options, and amenities like a gym.
It is plenty of reasons why someone would want a hotel for just a few hours. The only thing the company needs to know is what you’re seeking from one of the 5,000 accommodations across 25 countries they can instantly connect you to, and when you need it. The start times range from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. You’ll find rooms marked down by as much as 75 percent for your 1 to 10-hour stay. You can use the hotel’s amenities during your abbreviated stay, so take advantage of that pool, gym, or sauna before you head back out.
Whether you’re looking to rent a room, a house, or an entire hacienda, you can search for accommodations in your desired location. The app lets you filter through photos and reviews, as well as sort by amenities, like a pool or washing machine. Plus, a local host can provide insight about great dining spots. If you want a discount, get it here.
The app has does all the usual things you’d expect an accommodation booking app to do searches, descriptions, filters, and looks particularly good while doing so. The full-screen interactive map makes it easy to work out whether the hostel you like is anywhere near where you want to be, while those all-important reviews are only a tap away.
If you’re looking to lower your accommodation costs and meet locals while you travel, this is the app for you. This tool lets you connect with locals who have space in their home for travelers to stay for free. The accommodation is usually nothing fancy, which is why it’s called “couch” surfing, but it’s free, which will help you keep your budget intact. By staying with a local, you’ll get a unique opportunity to learn more about the destination from someone who actually lives there.
If you don’t want to stay with a local you can use the Hangouts feature to meet other travelers or locals for coffee, drinks, or to do something like visiting a museum. It’s a great way for solo travelers to connect and be social. This app is a must for every budget traveler.
For the unacquainted, the company counts over 700 million reviews of 8 million destinations to peruse before booking your hotel, dinner reservation, or even planning a day at the museum. The app is available in 28 languages. You can also follow friends and travel experts for advice that matches your interests, view travel videos, read articles for inspiration, and write your own reviews if you’re so inclined.
It organizes all of your itineraries in one place. Through a confirmation email, you can obtain a “free” master doc for each trip, created by the app. You can access the itinerary anywhere, even without an internet connection. The premium service boosts your organizing power with additional features. These include real-time flight alerts, refund notifications, and the ability to track reward points and miles as well as a currency converter, a list of socket and plug requirements, and tipping advice for 180 countries.
23. Trabee Pocket
Perfect for the business traveler who needs to track spending and receipts, or anyone who likes to stay on top of budgets, this app also boasts a helpful exchange rate calculator. It is available an option to upgrade.
With data from over 160 countries, this tool is one of the best international travel apps. Simply enter any address, landmark, or city as your destination and the app displays info about accommodations and things to do. It shows you how to get around, and compares costs, if, for example, you’re debating flying from Florence to Rome versus taking the train.
Road trips planner
You have a considerable amount of flexibility on a road trip, but planning them requires effort. Try this app the next time you’re inspired to grab a car and go. The tool allows you to map your route with up to 7 waypoints free of charge. After that, there’s an option to upgrade to the Plus version. Along your route, the app will recommend local food options, roadside attractions, scenic stops, and more. It has pre-made guides for popular road trips.
Refuel on road trips
Despite the cost-saving benefits of a road trip, gas money can really start to add up if you’re driving for days. Enter the tool, which helps you find the best gas prices near you. The app has helpful features like a gas price map, outage tracker during natural disasters, a trip cost calculator, and useful search filters like brand, price location, available restrooms, and more. You can save 5¢/gal on every gallon if you use the app’s free “Pay with GasBuddy” card.
Road trips weather
27. Drive Weather
The last thing you want is to get caught in a nasty, vision-obscuring storm when you’re on a long stretch of highway with your family or friends. It was designed to help road travelers avoid the worst weather conditions. The app lets you track your best departure time, I mean with the sun, providing radar views and routes from one point to another. You won’t have any more problems with rain, freezing rain, ice, and snow icons that let you know when there are slippery roads ahead. The free version offers 2 days of forecasts, city-to-city routing, and a 900-mile trip limit; the ad-free version offers 7 days of forecasts, wind direction info, specific address-to-address routing, and no cap on trip length.
This makes it easy for you to avoid congestion, blocked roads, police, accidents, or other hazards that might increase your driving time. Because starting vacation by sitting in traffic is a major mood killer. It includes a speedometer to help you make sure you’re staying within the speed limit, and it updates your arrival time based on live traffic data.
In this app, folks who are all about that RV life will find 40,000 stop-offs anyone on the open road will want to know about: public and private RV parks and campgrounds, as well as rest areas, gas stations, and stores. The parks are sorted by rating with their amenities listed, and your options include photos so you know what to expect ahead of time. Unlike other RV park apps with similar search capacity.
“Never Forget Your ______ Again!” is the slogan for this app, which helps you build a packing list based on your trip. Input the dates, location, the type of travel, and the activities you plan on doing, and the app will conveniently generate a list of items you should bring. It even checks the weather to make sure you bring an umbrella or a heavier jacket depending on your destination. Then if you want more tips about packing for any type of trip, you should check my lists.
Jet Lag prevention
If you have an international trip in the works and you’re hoping to fend off jet lag, give Timeshifter a try. The app was developed by scientists who used sleep and circadian neuroscience to help inform the personalized jet lag plans they craft for you. According to the app’s website, even astronauts and elite athletes have used it to arrive at their destinations in tip-top shape. There is a free plan for the first jet lag, so you can try it out.
This tool is one of the best travel apps, with great resources for making restaurant reservations in Europe. It is similar to OpenTable, the one dedicated to the U.S., you can browse different restaurants by category and make reservations. The app is available in over 4,000 cities within 11 countries, most of them in Europe, Brazil, and Australia, and it seems to be expanding rapidly. The biggest perk is that many restaurant reservations come with discounts, up to 50% off your meal just by reserving a table through TheFork. Make sure to monitor your YUMS, the app’s reward system. You’ll earn between 50 and 300 YUMS per reservation, and when you hit 1,000, you get a discount on your bill. It is especially recommended for foodie travelers but all people can benefit from it.
32. Happy Cow
The tool helps vegan and vegetarian eaters locate more than 100,000 restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, farmer’s markets, and grocery stores in over 195 countries around the world. The app allows you to filter by not only vegan and vegetarian but also gluten-free and cuisine type. You can also read reviews and get recipes on the app as well.
This is the Yelp of Asia. It shows a city’s most popular restaurants, ratings, menus, booking numbers, and everything in between. It’s widespread in Southeast Asia and a better resource than Yelp. It has listings for Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. The app puts the power of the website at your fingertips.
Yes, it’s a ride-hailing app, but Uber is one of the most ubiquitous — and if you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language, aren’t familiar with the currency and, frankly, don’t know where you’re going, having a ride-hailing app on your phone can help keep you safe. Simply enter your pickup and drop-off locations and select your ride option. You’ll be matched with a driver who will pick you up where you request and drive you to your destination. Rate your ride on the app and decide if you want to leave a tip. Depending on your destination, you may want to use apps like Lyft, Grab, Cabify, Bolt, Careem, or Gett instead.
Ditch a heavy guidebook and add this app to your phone. It allows you to download city guides and walks in your destination that works offline, including an offline map. You’ll never miss a monument, attraction, or plaza with this app. You can also read about the background of the city you’re visiting, the current weather, safety tips, and more, in addition to all the details on what to see and do. The tool also offers options for booking hotels, restaurants, tours, activities, and experiences in over 50,000 destinations.
Travel like a local
This app will help you sound like a local abroad as well as helping you adapt to a new culture. You start by selecting a destination and downloading the country pack. For example, if you’re heading to Italy, you’ll have a voice translator that will translate your voice into Italian; an image translator; a selection of key Italian phrases; a Wi-Fi dialer so you can make calls from abroad (you must add the credit, starting at $10); and even a section with tipping, safety and cultural norms to ensure you’ll blend right in. The phrase section has tabs on humor and fun, nightlife, and flirting, all of which you can download and access offline.
Connection with locals
One way to fully immerse yourself in your travel destination is to meet and talk with locals. Meetup can help you connect with people who are interested in the same things as you, even while on vacation. Whether it’s cooking, tech, sports, music, or photography, the app will help you make new friends all over the world.
Travel with voice assistant
It is a voice assistant app that you can chat with like you would a travel agent. For instance, say, “Okay, Hound. Show me hotels in Chicago for this weekend that cost less than $300 and are pet-friendly.”
If you’re like Oprah and think “hiking is so fun,” you need to download this app. AllTrails is for nature lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and even those who just want to fit in a cardio workout while on vacation. The app has over 100,000 curated trails, which all but guarantee you’ll find one near you, and lets you create and share custom maps with friends.
When you gotta go, you gotta go, but finding a public toilet when you’re traveling can be quite the task. The Flush Toilet Finder saves you time and helps you avoid an accident with the over 190,000 public bathrooms in its database. Flush will tell you which ones are free, accessible for the disabled, or require a key. And users can even rate and report a toilet.
The app helps you find the fastest, easiest way to get around major cities in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America. Offering up-to-the-minute info on mass transit, commuter trains, ferries, bike share, and automobile services, you’ll know the second there’s a service disruption or traffic jam, and how long it’ll take you to walk instead. With its directions and maps, the free app will have you zipping around like a true native in no time.
43. Google Maps
This app is essential when visiting a new city, or even for getting around your home. You can map locations, get directions, walking, driving, public transportation, ride-hailing services, and more, and see how crowded your subway will be in select cities. You can make restaurant reservations, save your favorite spots, and write reviews. Make sure to download specific city or area maps ahead of time for offline access if you know you’ll be without internet at your destination. For obvious reasons, the app works best when your GPS is turned on.
This is a fantastic GPS-guided audio walk that offers an immersive experience in 17 cities around the world. Each audio tour is narrated by a local who knows the city inside out, so you’ll be getting beneath the surface of the place. Currently, they have tours for San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Austin, Washington DC, Boston, Portland, Savannah, Charleston, Chicago, Rome, Berlin, Marrakech, London, Paris, and Barcelona. But check out the updates, they can add more cities.
Another app dedicated to keeping you safe, TripWhistle maps your location and allows you to easily text or send your GPS coordinates or location. It also provides emergency numbers for firefighters, medical personnel, and police in nearly 200 countries. After all, 911 is only for U.S.-based emergencies: Each country has its own emergency number.
Finding nightlife on vacation
No, Yelp isn’t a travel app. But while you may think of it as something you use at home to pick a restaurant for date night, you’re going to be the hero of the destination bachelorette party when you find the perfect salsa club spur-of-the-moment. Search with Yelp’s insanely detailed filters to find food, auto repair, and just about every service imaginable. They’re all vetted with reviews from fellow users, and the photos of food can save you from a disappointing portion at a “$$$” eatery.
The XE Currency Converter app quickly provides live, up-to-the-minute currency rates, then allows you to store and view them even when you’re offline. You’ll never need to wonder again if you’re really getting a good deal in another country.
Not quite sure how much to tip when traveling internationally? GlobeTips will advise you on how to tip appropriately in more than 200 countries. It also offers a tip calculator for easy math.
For travelers globetrotting with friends, family members or simply splitting the cost between groups, Tricount calculates shared costs and splits bills so you don’t have to think twice about who owes what. Just enter your trip and currency and invite your travel mates to join your trip. Each time someone pays for something, you enter the amount in Tricount and the app splits everything evenly. You can also snap and store photos of receipts in the app. At the end of your trip, it will show the balances of who owes who what, making it easy to settle up at the end.
50. Trail Wallet
Trail Wallet is an easy travel expense tracker. I used to have a similar app, but it was too hard to update. This app is now the best. It takes the headache out of expense tracking. You can organize your expenses by trip or by month, set a daily budget, and easily add expenses. When you get a bill or receipt, pull out your iPhone, add the amount using the Quick Add screen and you’re done.
51. Google Translate
Google Translate allows you to do it all — translate into 103 languages by typing and access nearly 60 languages offline. You can use handwriting in 93 languages (where you draw text or characters instead of typing). It also offers camera translation in 37 languages, where you point your camera and snaps for an instant translation. And two-way instant speech translation is available in 32 languages. Google Translate is simple to use too, with icons at the top you can click on to draw, take a photo, speak, or type. For more useful translation apps, click here.
Never be baffled by Celsius temperatures or suitcase weight in kilos again with the Metric Conversions app. Whether you’re measuring flour to cook at your Airbnb, figuring out distances for your European road trip, or deciding whether or not to take a sweatshirt with you during your walking tour of the Great Wall of China, this app has got you covered with easy conversions in volume, weight, temperature, area and more.
While we travel, we always live some ”boring” moments, especially during long flights or waiting time at the airport, and so on. We don’t know what to do and how make our time better? Have you already lived those sensations during your trip? Well, there is great way to have fun! You can watch your favorite TV shows or the best and newest movies. Reelgood is a streaming hub. Using this cool application means to know where to watch anything. It is free. It allows people to see every movie and tv show that’s on over 100 other subscription, TV everywhere, and free streaming services. You can search, browse, watch, and tracking TV shows and movies across all their streaming services in one app. It sends you notification on new episodes… It’s a must for traveler’s entertainment. Now it’s available in the USA and UK, but the company is working to grow the list of the countries where to spread the service, so, stay tuned!
OK, so neither Netflix isn’t really a travel app, but it can be a lifesaver during a long flight on an aircraft without seatback inflight entertainment, or at the airport during an unexpected flight delay or boring layover. If you have a Netflix account, the app allows you to download your favorite shows onto your device to watch offline. Just make sure to download your shows while connected to Wi-Fi before flying and check them again pre-flight to make sure they haven’t expired (you can usually renew any expired downloads but you must be connected to Wi-Fi or data to do so).
The app world is a constantly changing place, and there are many travel apps out there already that take the pain out of travel. They help you travel better, cheaper, and longer. The above travel apps are some of the best and are worth downloading to your phone before your next trip. Stay tuned, I will add more or just make some updates.
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by Matt Kepnes is a New York Times best-selling paperback guide and it teaches you how to master the art of travel so that you’ll get off the beaten path, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. It’s your A to Z planning guide that the BBC guide the “bible for budget travelers.” Buy it here.
Now you are ready to explore the world, saving money and time. You have just to use the best travel apps and your trips will be amazing. Most of them are fixed on my phone because I can easily have all that I need in my hand, immediately and in every place I go. Try, you will be grateful.