Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, traveling with a smartphone can be a godsend. Even if you don’t use it to make calls or activate international data, these apps can make travel so much smoother and more fun! I chose these with international travel in mind, but most of them are handy for any travel situation. So here’s a few tips on helpful apps for your next trip!
The joy of traveling in the 21st century is having technology at your fingertips. I’m a big fan of disconnecting from social media while vacationing, but I still love the advantages of the digital age. Finding the most reliable group for day tours or the best hole-in-the-wall food is so much easier when you’ve got the right app to help you out!
Here’s a few of the best travel apps I’ve found:
Ulmon CityMaps: If you download one app from this list, it should be this one. It’s a bit of an all-in-one city guide: detailed maps perfect for finding your way around. They’ve got crowdsourced lists of places to eat and explore, and it’s really easy to search what’s close to you. My favorite feature is that you can drop pins anywhere, so you can always find your way back to your Airbnb or parking spot or that amazing cafe.
TripAdvisor: I heart TripAdvisor. I use it all the time for research, even locally! On trips, it’s perfect for looking for a good place to eat, whether you want a quick local bite or a fine dining experience. I love the rating system and always check TripAdvisor for choosing cities, accommodation, fun, and restaurants before we leave. The app makes it easy to check on things while we’re out and about as well!
Google Translate: I’ve already shared about the enormous help this app is. It’s perfect for getting you through the moment when you can’t remember how to ask for directions. Even better, it’s invaluable for those moments when you can’t make yourself understood by showing your translated phrase or sentence in big letters if you rotate your phone.
Airbnb: If you’re staying in Airbnbs, this should be obvious. It’s far and away the easiest way to keep up with your hosts, have the addresses handy or let your hosts know that you’ve arrived and need buzzing in! Especially in Europe or major cities when staying in apartments, the app gave us a quick way to contact our hosts or look up the address info.
TSA MobilePass: This one is great for re-entering the US. It’s currently only accepted in a few major airports, but JFK is one! Basically, it allows you to fill the customs forms on the app and gives you a QR code that lets you jump to a different line during the customs process. Since the line is only for app users, we didn’t have to wait at all and got through customs in about 5 minutes. Which is priceless when you’re tired after traveling all day.
Check local listings: Not just thinking about one app here, but wherever you’re headed probably has some great local stuff. Headed to Paris? The Metro app is fantastic and hugely helpful. Most major cities have free public transportation apps available. We once found an app that gave us the stories behind historic homes in Savannah, which meant we did a walking tour without paying to join a group!
Best of all: all of these I’m sharing today are free, or have free versions! Better to save your money for train tickets. I’ve included mostly Apple app store links, but all are available on Android devices as well.
These are a few of my standby best travel apps. What are your go-to’s? Leave them in the comments below!
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all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose.