As travel-obsessed as I am, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m a travel app junkie, as well.
I pretty much live on my phone (hazard of my job!) and when I’m traveling (especially in a foreign country) it’s an exceptionally useful tool.
In fact, I joke all the time that I’m not quite sure how I managed before smart phones were a thing. I can remember packing a guidebook, a map, and a Spanish-English dictionary with me when I went to Spain in 2005, long before I even owned a cellphone. Does that make me old?!?!?!?!
Thankfully, times have changed and there are a million useful travel apps for every kind of traveller, from the infrequent to the experienced.
While I’m skipping over the obvious (like Uber, Airbnb, and WhatsApp), here are ten travel apps that I swear by, and which I know you’ll use!
If you follow me on Instagram **shameless plug** you’ve probably seen that I’m going to Paris for the first time this summer! I’m very excited, and have been desperately trying to brush up on my high school French – all of which I’ve practically forgotten. While I’ve used Duolingo and even Rosetta Stone before, I recently discovered Memrise, and now I swear by it. This easy, fun, interactive app has helped me master some key French phrases in just a few minutes a day. The first several levels are free, and if you want to keep learning, you can upgrade your plan in the app. Sound too good to be true? Je vous promets que vous allez adorer!
2| Google Translate
Even if you use Memrise religiously, Google Translate is a great app to download. Pop in a word or phrase and translate it from one language to another. There’s even a button that allows you to hear how the translation is properly pronounced.
Kinda like Google Maps on steroids, Rome2Rio will help you get from Point A to Point B using local transport. From trains, taxies, Ubers, subways, etc. the app covers it all. It also lets you search for nearby tickets and hotels, just in case you’re a last-minute adventurer.
If flights are the mode of transportation you need, then Hopper is the app for you! Its visually-appealing interface allows you to search for flights from city to city and check out a calendar color-coded by price. It will let you know if the price is a steal or if you should wait, and will even list a “price prediction” outlining when (and if) prices will change. You can purchase the flight immediately or add it to your watchlist, exclude long layovers, and more.
This app is great for planned roadtrips, impromptu local explorations, and even roadtrip inspiration. If you’re planning a big trip, then pop in your starting point and destination, and indicate what you’re interested in along the way (activities, sights, hotels, dining, etc.). Or, tap the “nearby” icon to explore everything from nearby coffee shops to walking trails. You can also check out nearby trips, like “Gettysburg, the town that changed the course of U.S. History” or “Boston to Miami: Road Trip down the Atlantic Coast.” (Clearly, I’m typing this from Baltimore!)
Dayuse is genius for those days you have a really long layover and would love a shower and a nap between flights, or when you have to book a hotel room just for a meeting. You can search for steeply discounted hotel rooms for use just for the day, book the one you want, and then pay when you arrive at the hotel to check in. No more curling up on airport floors for 10 hours!
As a list-maker, PackPoint makes me super happy. It generates customized packing lists based upon your trip details. Set up a profile that indicates your consistent preferences (like your gender and Fahrenheit vs. Celsius). Then, for each trip, enter a location, travel dates, length of stay, type of trip (business or leisure), and select from a list of possible activities. The app will consult weather predictions, allow you to determine if you want to repeat basic clothing items, and even indicate the number of items (i.e. 5 pairs of socks) you’ll need. If you want to upgrade to the premium app, you can customize your packing list even further. It even integrates with TripIt, an alternative to Google Trips, both of which I’ll talk about momentarily . . .
8| Cool Cousin
Cool Cousin is exactly what it sounds like . . . suggestions from your “cool cousin,” who always seems to know the best spots, no matter where they are in the world. It’s one of the most interesting travel apps I’ve used, because it lets you choose a destination (let’s say Paris) and then browse from a variety of “cousins” to see whose interests best match your own. It’s almost like a dating app, but for travel suggestions! The “cousins” are actually locals who create customized city guides, complete with their favorite food, nightlife, culture, outdoor, and other spots. You can read a bio for each person and short interview that does a great job of showcasing their personalities. Then, you can add the ones you like to your list of cousins, use their city guide maps, and even message them for advice and additional suggestions!
This app is a great resource for storing all your travel documents and details in one place. Enter your trip location, dates, etc. and then update your trip with all the relevant details from flights to tours to accommodations to maps, notes, and restaurants.
10| Google Trips
I actually prefer Google Trips to TripIt, because all I have to do is plan everything in my gmail, and it automatically adds all my reservations to the app! You can also enter custom reservations, or forward an email to your gmail if you happened to make a reservation in another account. The app also has suggestions for tours and sightseeing, restaurants, discounts, navigation, and important information, like emergency numbers and details on doctors, pharmacies, etc. Everything is customized based upon your destination.
I hope these apps are helpful! Happy trip planning! As always, don’t forget to let me know where you’re headed next!!!