Top 10 Travel Apps to Download

Whether you need a little inspiration to get you off the couch and book those plane tickets, are in the middle of planning that trip you'll take in the coming weeks and months, or are on your way out of town, we've gathered 10 of the best travel apps available (free unless other noted).
By: Jessica Naziri

Photo By: Meerkat

Photo By: Gogobot, Inc.

Photo By: HotelTonight, Inc.

Photo By: CARROT Weather

Photo By: Enlight

Photo By: Tripit

Photo By: Citymaps

Photo By: Peek

Photo By: Waze

1. Meerkat

If 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.

2. Gogobot

What'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.

3. Hotel Tonight

If 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.

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. Enlight

Photo 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.

6. Field Trip

Before 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.

7. TripIt

Be 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.

8. Citymaps

Citymaps 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.

9. Peek

When 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.

10. Waze

Driving can be treacherous — especially if you’re traveling in uncharted territory. But this can be avoided with Waze’s navigation app for iOS, Android and Windows phones, which is constantly updated in real time using drivers’ GPS points. Activated by participating drivers who generate reports and send in photos, Waze can automatically alert you about traffic jams, fender-benders, detours — and even police traps.

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