Adventure is hard. Once upon a time you might have been able to fly by the seat of your pants, but those days are gone. If you want to see the world, meet interesting people, and not accidentally end up in Paris, Texas, you need technology. With the proper tech loaded onto your devices, you can save money, see the best sights, and never once need to rely on the seat of your pants. If you’re ready to take your globetrotting to new places, then you need one of the 15 most useful apps for travel.
Tripadvisor: Plan & Book Trips
The perfect app to plan every second of your vacation and do everything great in one trip.
When you want to find the best gumbo in Thailand, or the best puppet museum in the arctic circle, you need help. Being a stranger in an even stranger land means you often don’t know what is actually worth seeing, and what is a scam to sell you timeshare socks. Tripadvisor is a travel companion that is brimming with real advice from real travelers that can guide you to Dom-grade bottle service, or the perfect haunted asylum for your eccentric honeymoon. Everything is reviewed and explained right here.
There’s no better way to stay in strangers’ homes safely.
If horror movies have taught us one thing, it’s that the flophouse Motel beside the highway is run by a lunatic. With Airbnb you never need to roll those murderous dice, and can instead find a room with some lovely people, or a chateau all to yourself. You’ll get to see full reviews from visitors of every property, and be able to save huge amounts by getting just what you need, and not some fitness center you’ll never use.
It’ll give you gas, for less.
Let’s be honest. We’re a few bad months away from a Mad Max level war for gasoline. If you want to survive in this petrol wasteland, you need someone to tell you where to get the best gas prices, and to alert you to places that have outages so that the dreaded E doesn’t derail your drive. GasBuddy not only tells you how to get the cheapest fill-up, but also allows you to plan your trip in advance so you can top off your tank before you head into a high-cost, high-demand region.
FlightAware Flight Tracker
Air traffic control doesn’t know this much.
Being able to soar through the air in a metal tube is magical. Being stuck in a terminal trying to understand the garbled announcements over the speaker to find out if your flight is delayed is miserable. However, FlightAware ensures you’ll never again be stuck in that position. It tracks weather, delays, flight statuses, cancellations, gate and terminal changes, and provides information on connections. It has so much available data, from private to charter services to airport information from around the world, that even the most savvy jet-setter won’t need it all.
Roadtrippers – Trip Planner
The only road trip navigator you’ll ever need.
The open road is a dangerous place. You can’t tell if the chicken fried steaks at that upcoming diner are world famous, or if the place is an E. coli infection extravaganza. One wrong turn could land you in a county where they don’t cotton to whatever kind you happen to be. To avoid the many pitfalls of the highway, you need an assistant that will plot your course and keep you true to it, as well as suggest outstanding places to stop and add a little more frolic to your drive.
Watches your wallet and converts currency while you roam.
Many a great getaway has been ruined by suddenly realizing you’re going to need to sell some dental work to pay for a bus ticket home. These days, overspending can be easily managed using TravelSpend. It allows you to set a budget, shows you how to stick to it, and provides feedback and suggestions on your purchases. It even changes everything you spend into a currency you understand so you know if you have enough zloty, dongs, or loonies to get that artisanal soap wand.
Never starve to death in an airport again.
After a long flight and longer time spent at an airport security checkpoint, the last thing you want is to stand in line just to get some grub. Now, you can rest on your laurels like the African royalty you were in a past life while a delivery person brings your Moo Goo Gai Pan right to your seat. You can make an immediate order without worrying about what’s happening at your gate, or you can order in advance so there’s a fresh, hot meal waiting for you the moment you disembark.
Expedia: Hotels, Flights, & Car
Finally, a way to bundle stuff you can actually use.
You could use a travel agent to book your whole trip, but that’s expensive and they might silently judge you for going to Bangkok. Instead, you can have every facet of your trip slapped into one handy package. From your flight to your hotel to your rental car, Expedia makes everything simple, but also cuts you deep discounts by using their package deals. Add in the ability to easily change any or all of your reservations and you’re covered from departure to return.
Vrbo Vacation Rentals
The gentlest type of home invasion.
Sometimes you need a home to escape your home. Each listing on Vrbo is a full property, be it condo, apartment, house, bungalow, cottage, or mansion. You’ll be given the run of the place, making it so personal and private that you’ll practically have squatters rights when you decide you don’t want to leave. Vrbo is especially good for when you need bigger places for groups, large families, longer stays, or if you’re bringing your fur babies for fun in the sun.
Security and simplicity.
Who knew that the people who insist you take off your shoes could also be your best friends and a personal airport concierge? MyTSA makes every part of getting through an airport easier. It warns you about possible wait times and offers a precheck to help facilitate faster trips through security. It also has loads of information so you know what to expect, what rules to follow, and how to be ready so a cavity search never comes into play.
HotelTonight – Hotel Deals
Save more on hotels when you don’t plan ahead.
Here’s a secret: hotels like to fill rooms. Unfortunately, they’ll often charge you more if you just walk in and ask for one, because they know they’ve got you. Now everyone can win. HotelTonight actually rewards you for last minute plans by offering steep discounts on hotels that need heads in the beds. Whether you’re turning a girls’ night into a girls’ weekend or just need a place to crash because you’re too tired to drive, you’re able to get stellar accommodations for very down to earth prices.
App in the Air
A tireless travel manager for the frequent flier.
If you spend more time in the air than the man of steel, you’re going to need a way to keep your itinerary straight, and watch for travel deals when you can’t. App in the Air is artificial intelligence doing what it was meant to do: be scary good at monitoring your every move to ensure you can always get where you’re going, and have a place to sleep when you get there. If all our evil machine overlords are like this, the robot apocalypse is going to be travel-icious.
Avoid freeway gridlock and keep your road rage in check.
Waze hates bumper-to-bumper traffic as much as Nicholas Cage hates subtle, nuanced performances. It watches the roadways like your own private traffic chopper reporter and then provides you with endless routes to escape the byways and keep you moving faster toward your destination. It calculates routes so well, it’s a must have for commuters, travelers, and anyone planning a getaway drive from a bank heist.
For when you need to get out of town right now.
Skyscanner is a full trip booking service that specializes in finding you flights, hotels, and cars on the cheap right this minute. Whether you’re headed to Vegas for a quickie wedding, or need a stay in Cancun after your divorce is finalized, you’ll get everything put together with a neat little bow and an up-front price that reduces surprises down to what you want room service to bring up.
Down, set, hike.
If you’re the type who only feels normal when they’re climbing a hill, fording a stream, or scrambling up a boulder, then AllTrails knows how you feel. Often the best hiking, mountain biking, or backpacking trails aren’t immediately evident. Now you’ll not only know what trails are available for your upwardly mobile lifestyle, but can read reviews from other outdoor enthusiasts to see which ones are good for dogs, which ones allow for wheelchairs, and which are better for running, walking, or biking.