Top Travel Apps for Your Next Trip
Toss the fold-up maps and phrase books for these.
Forget the fold-up maps that refuse to re-fold, and the printed currency "cheat sheets" for your pocket. There's an app for almost everything when it comes to travel. Here's a sampler of the best to download for your next trip.
Cypress Inn, BringFido
Some travelers don’t leave home without a certain credit card. Others won’t budge without Spot. BringFido lets you “spot” pet-friendly destinations around the world, along with accomodations, attractions and restaurants that won’t make your pup sit and stay….outside. It also locates services like veterinary clinics, boarding kennels and training classes. A handy events calendar tracks dog shows, costume parades, festivals, agility competitions, “yappy” hours, dog washes and more. And “paws” to consider this: about 70% of the listed events benefit humane societies.
Alison Seidenberg, BringFido
Not to be confused with the small, furry critters that dig in your yard, Hipmunk searches thousands of travel sites to locate the best prices on hotels and other rental properties, including Airbnb and Homeaway. It also finds the best deals on airline flights, Amtrak trains and charter flights. Want to hit the beach for the weekend, or spend a few days shopping in the Big Apple? Don’t go “nuts,” as Hipmunk likes to say, searching for a great rate. Hipmunk can find it for you, starting from your home city or other location.
Hipmunk iOs Version 4.1.4
When you want to really experience a destination, use Airbnb to rent a home from someone who lives there. This app connects you with hosts in over 191 countries and 34,000 cities, whether you’re traveling on business or for pleasure. Accommodations can range from an apartment to a villa, and there are even more than 1400 castles that will open their gates – er, doors - to guests. Want to make some extra money? You can list your own home on Airbnb and rent your space to visitors.
Hopper, which is an accredited travel agency, was named the best travel app of 2015 by Apple, and it’s easy to see why. When you search for a trip, Hopper taps into historical data to see when flight prices are typically at their lowest. Then it will either recommend that you go ahead and book, or wait to see if the fare goes down. If you opt to wait, just tap the binoculars icon in the app, and Hopper will alert you as soon as the ticket price drops. Then you can “hop” right on it.
Not sure where to stay when you're traveling on the spur of the moment? Or are you worried that you'll blow your budget on a hotel because you couldn't book in advance? Hotel Tonight can help. This app partners with properties in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Central and South America and the Asia Pacific region to locate deals on rooms that hotels haven't been able to book ahead of time. You can reserve a room for the current night, the next day or beyond. Look for room descriptions like “hip,” “basic,” “charming,” “luxe” or “solid” to get a feel for what to expect.
Hotel Tonight iPhone Travel App
Whether you’re bargaining for a silk scarf at a market stall in Thailand or shopping for luxury teas in a London department store, you’ll have to convert your money to whatever the locals are using. XE Currency is a free app that tracks live exchange rates as well as historical data. For just $1.99, an ad-free “pro” version offers almost all the same features as the freebie, and lets you follow up to 20 currencies at once (the free version is capped at 10). XE Currency is available for Windows, BlackBerry, Firefox OS, Apple and Android devices.
You don’t need an Internet connection to use the free, offline maps on CityMaps2Go, which relies on GPS to find street addresses and attractions. (If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll need to turn off your data roaming setting, or your phone will keep trying to connect to the Internet.) You can search for a restaurant, shop, hotel or other place by name, or simply browse by categories. This app, from Ulmon, also lets you book hotels, customize maps, and save and share your information with others. Need ideas on what to do and where to go? Explore destinations in-depth with the app’s curated or partner-provided content.
Periscope, from Twitter, invites you to “see the world through someone else’s eyes” as you watch videos created by other users around the globe. You might see surfers catching the waves in California, observe a political protest unfolding in Cairo, or opt to make your own video of the sun setting at the Eiffel Tower. Followers can see videos in the app or on the Web and write comments or post hearts to show their approval. Show your video live or save it to replay up to 24 hours later; you can also choose whether to make it public or private.
Send postcards from the road with Postagram, by Sincerely, Inc. This app lets your turn images from your iPhone, Instagram or Facebook accounts into printed cards. Mail them anywhere in the U.S. for $.99 or outside the U.S. for $1.99; if the card gets lost or damaged in the mail, or you're just not happy with it, the developers say they'll re-send it or refund your money. Personalize your cards with a message, if you like; they have space for up to 140 characters. Even if you don’t send the postcards to friends and family back home, they're fun additions to a photo album or scrapbook of your travels.