With summer officially in full swing, we’re gearing up for travel season. We’re bookmarking our favourite blogs, sticking books in our beach bags, and trying to organize the details of travel plans to make our vacations as painless as possible.
Luckily, there’s a nearly endless list of travel apps that can simplify your trip planning, find you the cheapest flights, and hook you up with travel buddies wherever you go. Here are the ones that stand out from the crowd.
This app is like Google Maps’ cooler, smarter older sibling: it has a more detailed and informative trip planner, as well disruption alerts, Uber integration, cycle routes, and real-time public transit updates that will ensure you never get lost again. It’s also got some entertaining (albeit not very useful) features that’ll keep you distracted during inevitable travel delays, like information about how long it would take you to jetpack to your destination.
Airbnb’s app is great for booking accommodation, but it does more than just hook you up with a great vacation apartment – the company has started to move into experiential travel, with features that can connect you with locals who give out insider tips and neighborhood guides, lead tours, and take travellers on adventures.
If you like the Airbnb concept but you’re more of a camper, it might be worthwhile to check out Hipcamp. It’s similar to Airbnb, but instead of renting out a house, you can use it to find a patch of land, a campsite, or a space in someone’s yard to pitch a tent.
Are you taking planes, trains and automobiles to get to your destination? Tripit can help you coordinate all of the legs of your journey, and it will organize an itinerary for you that includes flights, rental cars and driving directions, hotel bookings, and events. All you have to do is forward your confirmation emails to the app, and it will take care of the rest.
4. Google Translate
It’s not going to help you become fluent in Italian, but Google Translate is great for helping you quickly translate every day words on the fly. It’s super easy to use – just hold your camera up to any piece of text, and Google will spit out a translation instantly.
LiveTrekker is a good option for anyone who loves tracking themselves and recording where they’ve been.
The app tracks all of your steps, marks them on a map, and lets you record the sights and sounds around you with notes, so you’ll be able to look back on your trip in vivid detail.It’s also a great companion for adventure travellers, as it keeps track of your altitude and speed.
6. Time Out
A guide book for your smart phone, the Time Out app offers up suggestions of things to do, places to eat, and sites to see in cities around the world.
There are many guide book-like apps out there, but Time Out’s event finder tool and its ability to book restaurants and concert tickets really sets it apart from the competition.
If you aren’t sure where you’re headed on your next vacation yet, Skyscanner is a great tool to turn to for ideas.
It makes it easy to investigate all of your flight options by letting you search for flights to anywhere in the world, and offering a great display of low airfares that pinpoints the cheapest days to fly. You can also set flight alerts for specific routes, and easily compare prices for nearby destinations and airports.
Another flight finding app, Hopper is great for bargain hunters. Hopper gives you advice on when you should fly and when you should buy your tickets.
Hopper makes surprisingly accurate price predictions to let you know whether you should book tickets ASAP or hold out for a better price, and it lays out your options for the best days to travel on your chosen route. It’ll also notify you when prices go up or down.
Besides a memorable name, Hipmunk, a travel planning app, has a couple of great features going for it.
Its ‘Agony Index’ lets you rank flights based on their potential unpleasantness using a combination of price, flight, duration, and number of stops so that you can strike a balance between price and comfort. Its hotel search lets you narrow things down to your favorite neighborhood or site, and its ‘Heatmaps’ feature will direct you to the coolest, most hip neighbourhoods.
10. Oanda Currency Converter
There are a ton of currency conversion apps out there, but the Oanda converter has a simple interface that’s easy to use. It can convert amounts for more than 190 currencies, and it lets you keep your frequently used currencies on hand for quick access.
Honourable Mention: Adventurely
Solo travelling can be tough, but Adventurely has you covered. The app lets you input your travel dates and destinations and the sites you want to visit, then it matches you up with other travellers who are doing the same thing. It’s a great idea – but the catch is that for now, it’s only available in NYC and Brooklyn.