Travel opens up a world of adventure, but sometimes people get so stuck in the logistics of travel that they don’t enjoy the trip, or worse, skip traveling all together. If you want to travel more or make your travel easier to manage, new travel apps can help you plan and track everything from flights to hotels, restaurants, and sights. Read on to learn about eight free apps you can use to make your travel more enjoyable.
One of the hardest parts of travel is staying organized. With flights, hotels, and other reservations, keeping your itinerary together and easily accessible can be a challenge. If you are ready to trade in your paper printouts for digital organization, TripIt is one of the best options available today.
This app tracks every reservation you make for your travels. If you use Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo! Mail, TripIt can automatically find and import flight and hotel reservations straight from your inbox. If you use another email service, you can just forward your reservations to the TripIt reservations email address for inclusion in your TripIt account.
Open the app anywhere with internet access to view your reservations, confirmation numbers, addresses, and other trip details. TripIt has a paid version with additional features including the ability to track miles and points balances at various airline and hotel programs.
If you want to organize your trips in one place but want a little more control over how the reservations are organized, TripCase is a great choice. Like TripIt, TripCase gives you the option to forward reservations from your email account to create and organize your trips. However, whereas TripIt makes certain assumptions about your trips, TripCase does not.
For example, if you have multiple trips back-to-back, TripIt may treat them as one big trip. TripCase gives you more flexibility to treat each event as its own trip depending on your preferences. TripCase also integrates with some popular apps and tools. For example, you can check your trip details on an iWatch or ask Alexa for details on an upcoming journey.
If you’re looking for an app that helps you do more than just save and track reservations, Google Trips is for you. It’s packed with information on nearly every city in the world. You can view your reservations if you use Gmail, but the best features help you plan your activities. The “Day Plans” section of the app gives curated, suggested itineraries. “Things to Do” and “Dining” are powered by Google’s search and ratings features. The information in “Getting Around” is helpful, particularly when paired with Google Maps (see below).
There is nothing worse than getting stuck in a city without a place to stay. With HotelTonight, you search for hotel rooms to make a last-minute reservation at the best possible rate. Whether you are on a road trip or just are seeking an adventure that you figure out as you go, HotelTonight makes it easier. Just to be safe, it’s a good idea to check the rate listed on the hotel’s website before pushing the reservation button in the HotelTonight app in case they offer a lower rate for booking directly.
TripAdvisor is an app that offers reviews of restaurants, hotels, and attractions, mainly in tourism-focused destinations. Reviews are submitted by real-life travelers, who often provide useful insights on the experiences they had while visiting a destination. Worried that the photos posted by a hotel’s management aren’t accurate? Check TripAdvisor for customer photos. Not sure a particular excursion is worth the price? See what other tourists had to say.
TripAdvisor even allows you to make reservations with participating businesses right from the app and gives you the option to download an entire city’s map and destinations in advance so that you can look things up even when you don’t have internet access.
Like TripAdvisor, Yelp is reviews-based. However, unlike TripAdvisor, which is focused on tourists, Yelp is geared towards locals looking to find the best restaurants, bars, and other eateries in their towns. If you’re traveling and want the best local experience, Yelp is a great option.
Although many foreign destinations do not have Yelp pages, for places within the U.S., there is a wealth of information. If you’re a hometown explorer looking for new places to check out for a staycation, Yelp is a valuable resource.
Learning your way around a new city can be tough, and paper maps are so 1997. But with today’s technology, getting around is simple. Google Maps is a clear leader in directions for driving, walking, cycling, or using public transit while traveling. The app isn’t perfect, but it is reliable most of the time. Google owns Waze, another GPS-based navigation app, and combines real-time traffic data from both apps to give you the fastest driving directions possible. This makes Google Maps even more useful if you are planning to drive while traveling.
CityMapper isn’t as good as Google Maps in terms of the number of cities it covers. Right now, the app supports about 40 cities, although it is adding new ones regularly. But for those cities it does cover, CityMapper is the best navigation app to use.
CityMapper includes detailed public transportation schedules and directions and automatically updates your route if you miss a train or fall behind schedule. It works great when planning a trip involving walking, buses, subways, and other forms of public transportation. Although Google Maps does offer some of these features, CityMapper stands out for its flexibility. When you enter a destination, you will be presented with multiple routes that may combine different public transit options. Plus, finding the nearest subway station is much faster in CityMapper than Google Maps.
Apps Make Travel Easy!
Technology can make many aspects of our lives simpler, including travel. These eight apps are easy to use and extremely helpful when you’re planning for or you’re on your next vacation. With so much available for free, you can plan your excursion with a few taps of your finger—and skip paying a travel agent. Now, your biggest problem is deciding where you want to go next!
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