10 Proven Travel Apps That Will Save You Time and Money
With a seeming infinite number of apps available for travelers, it’s hard to know which apps truly work as advertised until you actually need them. These are 10 tried-and-true money- and time-saving apps we recommend for travelers, offered via Google Play or iTunes.
WazeWaze provides real-time crowd-sourced driving and road conditions for your location, and voice-guided directions and detour info help you find the fastest and safest route to your destination. By driving with the app open, you contribute speed and time info to help others. This free app also helps you to find the best gas prices in your area. 960 1280
CitiMaps2GoWith Ulmon’s CitiMaps2Go, download a city map and it’s saved on your phone for use when there’s no service or when you’d rather not use data. Your phone’s GPS will still work, so you can see exactly where you are on your detailed map just as if you were online. Find restaurants, attractions and museums when you’re offline, too. 960 1280
CM Flashlight (Compass and SOS)Google Maps and other navigation apps are great, but there’s still a place for paper maps when navigating a new city, especially when there’s no service or you’d like to avoid expensive data charges. CM Flashlight stands out for its compass and flashlight feature, which uses your camera flash as a continuous light source. This combination is perfect for finding north and reading your map in the dark, and even orienting yourself with an offline map saved to your phone. 960 1280
SkyCode Offline TranslatorsTranslation apps such as Google Translate and iTranslate are amazing, but require Wi-Fi or a network to work. SkyCode’s translation and dictionary series works offline. Download translator apps for English, Bulgarian, Turkish, German, Spanish, French and Italian, and you’re communicating off the grid. The free version even has audio playback, so you don’t have to stress about butchering the pronunciation 960 1280
Hotel TonightHotel Tonight finds the best pricing for rooms at a moment’s notice, perfect for sudden trip changes, delays or spontaneous adventures. Type in your location or use GPS, and the app produces vetted properties that offer the deepest last-minute discounts in your area. Users can track rates for even better discounts before booking, if there’s time. 960 1280
TripCaseTripCase organizes all of your emailed flight confirmations, hotel reservations, rental car numbers, diner reservations and other pertinent travel information into one simple file that also notifies you of gate changes, maps locations and even combines back-to-back trips. Simply forward confirmation emails to email@example.com after setting up your account, and the app does the rest. 960 1280
Global Tip CalculatorThis app alleviates the anxiety of tipping abroad. Loaded with customary tipping percentages for 140 countries, Global Tip Calculator allows you to input the dining bill total and recommends a tip. Examples of recommended local tipping percentage are 17 percent in the U.S., 10 percent in the U.K., 7 percent in Nepal and nothing in Norway. Users are able to adjust the tipping percentage as well. A subtractive expense budget allows users to keep track of their total expenditures for meals. 960 1280
GPSMyCityThis series of walking tours covers hundreds of cities worldwide, all usable without network service or Wi-Fi. Download the app for the city you’d like to explore on foot, and detailed maps with attractions, museums, shopping, restaurants and more are saved to your phone and available offline. Turn on your GPS for an audio tour as you stroll. 960 1280
ZomatoThis new incantation of Urbanspoon helps users find and rate more than a million restaurants in 10,000 cities in 22 countries. Changes include doing away with the like/dislike voting system and going to a five-point scale, and allowing only one editable review per restaurant per account to keep information current and ratings accurate. Zomato keeps track of your visits and reviews with its personalized Food Journey. 960 1280
1. MeerkatIf you thought it was cool to Skype or FaceTime with your friends or family members, wait until you live-stream your entire spring break in Cabo to the people you’re connected with on Twitter.
Meerkat (not the fuzzy animal native to Africa) turns your phone into a mobile webcam and live-streams your travel adventures with the press of a button. Suddenly, people are digitally right there with you, and the entire Twitterverse can tune in to watch you surfing the tides of Costa Rica. There is also a “schedule” button on the iOS app so you can start recording at a later time. 960 1280
2. GogobotWhat's your travel style? Whether you are a spiritual seeker, rank hotels by thread count or prefer street-food stands, Gogobot for iOS and Android has something for every traveler.
Save the suggestions to an itinerary and pull them up when you're out exploring, or search for new places to visit based on what's nearby. You can even make collaborative trip plans, looping in family and friends to add to group itineraries. 960 1280
3. Hotel TonightIf you like to live dangerously and fly into Brazil during Carnival without pre-booking a room, or your hotel burned down the day before your arrival, or you’ve ended up someplace you hadn’t planned on — we don’t judge here — then Hotel Tonight, available for iOS, Android or Windows phones, is for you. It’s a last-minute hotel-booking app that could keep you from sleeping under a bridge in Los Angeles, as well as save you money on accommodations. 960 1280
4. Carrot Weather
Stop trying to decipher the weather forecast on the evening news, particularly when it's in a foreign language. Carrot Weather is a bright and vibrant iOS app that adds a little humor to your weather forecast, with more than 2,000 lines of snarky commentary.
For $2.99, Carrot Weather is a good, fun alternative to other weather apps out there.
5. EnlightPhoto apps have been around as long as the App Store itself, but Enlight is the app you always needed. Whether you want to conquer Instagram, experiment with vignetting for a retro feel or make Picasso jealous by applying paint effects that convert photographs into artistic masterpieces — this is the app to take with you on vacation. Select the strokes, canvas and lighting that best flatter all your travel photos.
For $3.99, this iOS app is worth every penny. 960 1280
6. Field TripBefore traveling to a new city, it never hurts to reach out to locals or read up on the history and suggestions of favorite restaurants and attractions. But why bother when there’s an app for that? Field Trip is a background app that alerts you of the cool, hidden and unique things in the world around you that are at your fingertips.
The iOS and Android app is powered by publications such as Zagat, Thrillist and TimeOut, pulling suggestions for you on trendy places to visit, shows to see and restaurants to grab a meal. There’s even a “Women on the Map” option, which will point out sites where women have played an important role in our past.
No more walking around with your guidebooks in hand. 960 1280
7. TripItBe your own travel agent and plan every detail of your trip — from car rental to lodging to restaurants — with TripIt. You can create custom itineraries by hand, or simply forward the email confirmations of your flight, rental car, train tickets and hotels, and then watch the iOS and Android app make the itinerary for you.
TripIt is available for free or in a 99-cent, ad-free version. 960 1280
8. CitymapsCitymaps is a mash-up of Yelp and Google Maps that incorporates reviews, tips, directions, social aspects, discovery and local deals, all in 1 beautiful map app for iOS and Android. It allows users to create their own collections — say, of their favorite nightclubs in a given neighborhood — either to share with friends or just for their own memory.
And yes, once you find that hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the corner along the Seine in Paris, Citymaps will also give you driving, walking or mass transit directions. 960 1280
9. PeekWhen you’re planning a vacation and want to book a flight or hotel, you have multiple sites that can help, such as Hipmunk, Kayak or Orbitz. But when you’re trying to figure out what to do on your trip, there’s Peek for iOS. Think of Peek as OpenTable for booking activities.
Users can browse activities by category, such as “what to do with the kids” or “off the beaten path,” or they can look at Peek’s city guides, which are made by tastemakers such as Tory Burch and Wolfgang Puck, who share their suggestions for spending 1 day in their favorite cities. 960 1280