When you’re on the go, your best friend and resource can be your phone. With so many apps to choose from, how can you really know which app is the best? If you’re a frequent traveler or getting ready to travel, we have narrowed down the best travel apps that are a must-download.
With the holidays coming up too (yes, summer is sadly coming to an end,) we did a little extra research to nail down the most essential and reliable travel apps.
First and foremost, TripIt is FREE. This travel app ranks at our number one spot because it allows you to be your own travel agent and plan every detail of your trip. From car rental to lodging to restaurants—you can construct custom itineraries by hand, or simply forward the email confirmations of your flight, rental car, train tickets, and hotels to firstname.lastname@example.org and watch TripIt construct the itinerary for you. If you’re looking to go the extra mile with TripIt, try TripIt Pro.
TripIt Pro does way more than just organize your travel plans. It also alerts, monitors, notifies, tracks, and shares — so you're always in the know, on the go. Sure, you might be able to find some of these features in other apps and sites, but with TripIt Pro you get them all in one place so you can snag the best seat, find flights, track your points, get real-time flight alerts and notifications. There is a TripIt Pro cost which is $49 a year and the first 30 days are free of charge. For a more detailed comparison chart on TripIt vs TripIt Pro, check it out here: https://www.tripit.com/pro/comparison
Swackett is a great app for checking the weather prior to traveling. This trendy app opens with a standard current local weather page that has the basic information, current weather warnings, and seven-day forecasts. If you swipe your finger to go to the next panel, you'll see that report interpreted in several fun ways: fashion (featuring current weather-appropriate wardrobe recommendations), lifestyle (indices that tell you whether it's a good day for fitness, driving, stargazing, sailing, and more), health (indices for allergies, sinus headaches, migraines, asthma), and trivia (world weather records). This app not only gives you the weather but health and lifestyle suggestions too making for a great combination.
Receiving a 4/5 star rating, Swackett is also free and was recently featured as a Best New App on iTunes and on the TODAY Show (NBC)
Not only is Wikihood fun to say, it’s one of the highest rated apps in the iTunes store, and blows away many traditional travel guides by organizing and displaying all of the Wikipedia information for any place in the world. Simply start the app, enable geolocation and it creates a stream of historical buildings, famous sites, public transit, noted bars, restaurants and parks which are sortable by distance, relevance and ratings.
Wi-Fi Finder by JiWire Inc.
No matter where you go – whether you’re travelling for business or for pleasure, chances are you could benefit from being able to find the nearest Wi-Fi hotspots, and fast. Wi-Fi Finder is just the app you need, delivering easy to read maps of your area, with every available Wi-Fi source labeled and filterable by paid/unpaid, type of locale, etc. Over 30,000 people have reviewed Wi-Fi Finder and provided a solid 5/5 star rating.
For those travelers hitting the roadways, GasBuddy will be your closest friend. Cut your travel costs with this app to find all of the cheapest gas stations close to you. GasBuddy actually displays a map of your area, with the gas stations clearly tagged, and even displays the cost of gas per gallon for each one. This free mobile app has been reviewed highly with 4.5/5 stars and users love the chance to win $100 in free gas every day. With every reported fuel price, you earn 200 points. Exchange 1,000 points in the app for an entry in GasBuddy’s daily draw for $100 pre-paid gas cards. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us!
Sit OR Squat Restroom Finder
Road Warriors- how many times have you been in a strange, unfamiliar place and needed to find a restroom, and pronto? Any traveler who’s had this experience knows that finding a place to squat can either make or break an outing. Using Sit OR Squat by Charmin, you can:
-Search and view public restrooms near your current location on a map or in a list. Map results with an interactive, location-based map.
-Register using Facebook Connect to Rate, Add, Upload Pictures, and Bookmark bathrooms.
-Rate restrooms by choosing “Sit” (you enjoyed the bathroom) or “Squat” (it could be better) and provide your relevant experience and honest opinions, including pictures.
-Add public restrooms to the database by entering basic location information and optional details like pictures and features.
-Filter results by choosing specific features such as Open Now, Sit-or-Squat Rating, Family
-Bookmark your favorite locations or map out locations for an upcoming trip.
The true travel bargainer’s dream come true. That is, if you love to find the best deals on a cocktail or appetizer. The app displays the best food and drink deals going on near you at any time each day. You can filter results in a number of ways including by day, time, location, type of cuisine and special features like free wi-fi and outdoor seating. Each city is sponsored by a local zine, for example New York is powered by Village Voice and Austin is powered by GoTime. (Only in the U.S. for now.)
A more popular app that you may have already heard of and hailed by some as the best travel application out there, Yelp is a user-generated database of restaurants, bars, gas stations, cobblers, blacksmiths, and more. Search for nearby vendors by type, distance, price and hours of operation. The app lets you browse reviews, add photos, quick tips and draft reviews, which can then be finalized by logging onto their website. Yelp is undoubtedly the largest and most accurate database of local restaurants operating in the U.S., Puerto Rico, France, Germany, Ireland and the U.K.
For those that love to travel abroad or are traveling abroad for the very first time, Currency is a great app that you WILL want to download. Currency has been the #1 currency converter for iPhone since 2008, launching as one of the first 500 apps in the App Store. Providing up-to-date exchange rate information for over 100 currencies and countries, you can see why it’s fantastic for watching foreign markets.
For the organizer at heart, Packing Pro is a mobile app made for list makers. It helps you remember what to pack and can also serve as evidence of what you packed if your luggage were ever lost. It has plenty of sample lists of items to pack for different types of travel, or you can create your own and tick off items as they go into your luggage. The $3 app may seem like overkill to those who have packing down to a science already, but it can be an excellent tool for parents who are packing for multiple family members before leaving on vacation.