In our ever connected and highly globalized world, traveling is becoming increasingly user-friendly. As a matter of fact, it’s actually quite easy these days. In most cases, it’s as simple as booking a flight, car, and hotel all on one website, making your travel experience an easy and predictable experience, also incredibly boring.
But for those with a bit more adventure in their psyche, there are alternative options to traveling. Hostels, road trips, cheap last minute flights to remote or urbanized areas. Bar hopping, restaurant reviewing, photo and written documentation of the road less traveled. These are what makes us human, movement into unfamiliar territories. It’s this very mentality that facilitated our migration across the globe thousands of years ago and to deny our innate desire for exploration into the unknown is a blatant rejection of our very nature. Now we’re not trying to get preachy here, just excited to provide you with an insider’s look at how easy and convenient it’s become to embark on journeys of any caliber thanks to that little supercomputer that’s most likely in your hand right now. From lodging to maps to rentals to finding the best bars in town there’s more than likely ‘an app for that,’ and we’re quite lucky to live in such exciting times.
These days there’s little to fear while on the road thanks to the ubiquitous nature of wifi and data coverage. And while they may prevent some of us from truly escaping “the grid” it makes the art of traveling more accessible for all. It’s for these reasons you’ll find our selection of the 20 best travel apps below that work to mitigate the inescapable trials and tribulations of finding yourself somewhere where you don’t speak the language, know where you’re going, or if you should consume that foreign dish for dinner. Because that’s where the excitement lies; outside the resort wall.
As much as Americans want to believe, every country does not accept USD. Most of the time travelers have to convert their American greenbacks to the local currency, which is encouraged. However, exchange rates change constantly and sometimes the math may be a little much for the jet-lagged mind. Luckily, XE Currency allows you to convert every world currency while offering live rates and charts depicting trends and keeping you updated with their alerts.
If you’re the type of person who likes everything neat and tidy then be sure to check out this application that organizes all your trip details and travel plans in a streamlined fashion. Manage your flight itineraries, booked hotels or hostels, reservations for rental cars and even stay up to date with changing flight times and gate locations. Ideal for those who frequent the airbus and a must if organization is imperative.
For us, the best part of traveling is finding the local watering hole and getting to know the people inside. Unfortunately, traveling with the blinders on too often leads you to the tourist trap bars in the area. Untappd offers users the chance to not only view what beers are available in the local area but where some of the best beer bars are located. Find specific beers, discover new ones, and even see where the locals call their home away from home. Can’t go wrong here.
Expedia and Travelocity are for the birds, time to install this personal travel agent on your smartphone. Hopper boasts the ability to help you save up to 40% on flights around the world by analyzing billions of flight prices on a daily basis. In turn, it predicts how prices will change and therefore advising you to buy now or wait. It’ll notify you when to buy and send you personalized tips for booking in the future. When was the last time a website offered that type of functionality?
We’ve all heard of ride sharing these days but Lyft appears to be a cut above the rest. Offering an affordable alternative to taxicabs just about anywhere, it’s easy to get a ride to the next bar, restaurant or attraction with the push of a button. Rides typically arrive within minutes and rates depend on distance and demand. This is a no-brainer.
For the more spontaneous folk out there Hotel Tonight is a seamless booking app that boasts that ability to book hotels in 10 seconds. Hotels use the application to fill vacant rooms at the last minute with discounted rates. Think hotels.com but without the blind booking. You can book up to a week in advance, stay in top-rated hotels around the world, and be confident about the choice thanks to user comments and feedback available within the app.
Public transit can be either a saving grace or a terrible nightmare, typically it falls into the ladder when travelers approach the system without any knowledge of how everything works. Citymapper offers Point A to Point B planning with ETA for subways, buses, rail, bike, car sharing, etc for major cities all around the world. It’s like have a personal guide in your pocket, keeping you updated and knowledgeable at all times.
Ok, so this one is obvious. Offering one of the most extensive Global Positioning Systems on the planet, Google Maps make navigation a breeze. Boasting directions, real-time ETAs, and traffic conditions getting lost is something you’ll have to try to do next time you’re traveling. Or, if you wish, let Google help you get lost by directing you into the unknown. The choice it yours.
Here’s a fantastic app that would make Clark Griswold grin ear to ear. Roadside America keeps track of all the great attractions across the US. From giant twine balls to wild sightings to strange and interesting museums and statues. Roadside America hosts all the oddball sites you could possibility dream of while on a cross-country road trip. Stop at a strange eatery, traverse the historic Route 66, or discover some crazy attractions of your own. It’s the journey, not the destination.
Discover new restaurants wherever you may roam with OpenTable because no matter where you are in the world, hunger doesn’t discriminate. You can manage restaurant reservations, view menus, read reviews and even check out some photos of the food in the process. It’ll provide distance and offer linked-out directions to you as well so if you’re a fan of the fare, getting lost in the process won’t be on the menu.
Language barriers are tough. Especially in areas where very few people speak English. TripLingo is an amazing tool for international travels in that it assists in teaching you essential phrases, translates your voice instantly or connects to a live translator. It also presents information on the local culture as well so your body language will be in sync with your vernacular at all times.
Fuel is fact on a road trip and gas prices are often a pain. Thankfully, GasBuddy is there to assist in the never-ending hunt for the best gas prices around. It’s based on a community of 56 million drivers and geotags your location to help you find the cheapest gasoline within a designated radius. Plus, every day you’ll be entered to win $100 in gas money. Not just for traveling either. An app like this could be integrated into everyday life.
No matter where you’re traveling the weather is always a factor to consider. And with a plethora of weather applications out there, you’ll need a reliable forecasting tool that utilizes quality forecasting models and doppler radar to remain ahead of the storm. Weather Underground utilizes data from 180,000+ personal weather stations around the globe to provide hyper local forecasts, conditions, and interactive alerts. Simply put, it’s the best in the biz.
There’s not point in hosting all these applications if you can’t use them. WiFi Map works with a community of users to geotag WiFi locations, hotspots, passwords and more from users in real time. It’s featured in over 95 countries, and a top travel application in over 40 countries worldwide. Data usage is expensive, especially in foreign nations. So it’s certainly beneficial to utilize WiFi whenever possible. WiFi Map gets you there.
Documenting the journey is almost as fun as the journey itself. Built for travel bloggers, Travel pod is a website that caters to the needs of these transient individuals. So especially when you’re away, and without access to a computer, the app is a great tool to update your blog with content, photos, and videos. You don’t need wifi or service for that matter to upload to the platform either.
Keep in touch with friends both old and new through this free end-to-end encrypted text, video, picture, and video messenger. And it’s not just for basic travelers either. Journalists, human right activists, world leaders, and celebrities utilize this messing system on a daily basis which features a multitude of security functions like the shredder, a timer to get rid of all messages, and there’s no metadata within the app -meaning no identifying information is exposed either. It’s a great way to keep in touch anywhere in the world without the worry.
Take ride sharing to the next level by actually renting someone’s car for personal use. Turo is a car rental marketplace that allows travelers to rent any car they what, wherever they want from local car owners. From Teslas to F150’s to VW buses the possibilities are endless. Prices can be up to 30% less than standard rental agencies as well and you can even get your rental delivered prior to your trip.
First Aid By American Red Cross
Let’s be honest, accidents happen. So why not save yourself the panic when emergencies occur by having access to an app that hosts expert advice via videos and step-by-step articles in this handy application? The best part? It’s preloaded with content as well so you won’t need a WiFi or data connection to access everything it has to offer. A great way to protect yourself and your travel partners throughout the journey.
Guides by Lonely Planet
From the bestselling travelers’ books comes an application no jet-setter or vagabond should go without. This app is packed with offline maps, phrasebooks, city guides, and bookmarking features for easy access later on down the road. It’s chock-full of user submitted tips and suggestions on where to stay and what to see and this version, in particular, includes major cities from around the globe. Suddenly, traveling isn’t so lonely anymore.
Much like a matchmaker for travelers, Gogobot makes suggestions on where to eat, party, or stay based on your personal interests. It’ll give a foodie dinner recommendations, a night owl the best places to party, or a family a list of the best attractions in the area. Gogobot is a great way to discover hidden gems in the city or town you’re visiting and, who knows, maybe even an additional travel partner as well.