There are two kinds of people in this world: people who wax poetic about “the good old days,” and people who can’t get to work without Waze. Technological advancements have made traveling easier—things that were challenging before, like finding places to eat, finding your way around, and communicating with your family when you’re in another country, are now as easy as can be.
We love that technology makes travel more accessible to everyone. You don’t have to spend as much money or time planning a trip and you definitely don’t have to hire a travel agent to plan your vacation. To make sure you’re making the most of the mini computer in your pocket, we’re rounding up our absolute favorite apps that we won’t travel without.
Travel Apps to Help You Get There
TripIt is perfect for the busy and organized traveler. You can input flight reservations, hotel stays, experiences, directions, rental cars, and anything else you’ve reserved for your trip, so it’s all in one place. This is especially helpful for groups traveling together because it’s easy to share part or all of the information with anyone who needs to know.
Long layovers, delayed flights, and dirty airport terminals are the woes of the modern traveler. While LoungeBuddy can’t change most of that, it can help you get access to somewhere much nicer to wait. It maps out the lounges in whatever airport you’re in, tells you if you have access through a credit card or membership program, and shows you any day passes you can buy.
This new app (currently only in five United States airports including JFK, Newark, and Portland) functions like Seamless or Postmates, but inside the airport. No more lugging your bags around to the Starbucks you thought you saw on the other end of the terminal. At Your Gate lets you browse food and retail options and pay directly in the app. Your purchase will be delivered right to you at your gate. Keep an eye out for further updates and airport additions.
Travel Apps for Finding Things to Do
You’ve probably used Yelp, one of the OG make-your-life-easier-while-traveling apps. Yelp allows you to browse restaurants in different categories and price ranges and read reviews by regular people. You can look at menus, hours, and anything else you need to know.
Musement is a free app that wants to help you travel like a local. From booking tours of various tourist attractions and snagging coveted restaurant reservations to getting insider information about exclusive events, Musement makes planning the ultimate vacation a breeze. You’ll never have to feel like the “quintessential tourist” ever again.
Traveling in Asia? OpenRice is the Southeastern Asian equivalent of Yelp or TripAdvisor, giving you access to restaurants, reviews, and information. It’s an especially valuable resource in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Travel Apps for Getting Around
Yes, OK, we know this one’s a little obvious, but you might not realize all that this little app can do. If you grew up taking trips to big cities, spending 20 minutes with your family gathered around the subway map arguing about which line is best and which way you need to go, Google Maps is a lifesaver. You can now see all public transportation, right in the app. It’ll tell you when the next train arrives (especially useful if you’re trying to get around New York City on a night or a weekend), and you won’t have to second guess yourself.
Google Maps is also great for international trips because you can save locations and download offline maps. You can save the entire city of Paris before you leave the United States, and navigate your whole trip on airplane mode. We also love looking through travel guides, blogs, and recommendations and saving them in a list in the Google Maps app. That way when you’re wandering around about to drop from hunger after five hours in the Louvre, you can just pull up your map to see a saved, recommended place near you. This is extra fun because your favorite spots are saved so you can share them when someone else asks you for a recommendation or if you ever go back.
Citymapper does a lot of what Google Maps does when it comes to getting you around, but it has a noticeable leg up when it comes to public transportation and navigating big cities. It will compare route options, telling you not only how long they’ll take and how far you’ll travel, but also how much each option will cost. They also sometimes offer creative mixing of transportation that you can’t find in other apps, helping you plan when you’re taking your bike to the train, or you’re walking across a bridge and then biking the rest of the way.
One of the grandest parts of traveling today is being able to get around (even in smaller cities without a thorough public transportation system) without dealing with the cost and hassle of renting a car. If you have the Uber or Lyft app on your phone, you’ll be able to call a car from almost anywhere you’re able to access Wi-Fi or cellular data.
Gain access to guided audio walking tours in 17 cities around the world with Detour. They worked with locals in every location to put together histories and information that you can’t find anywhere else.
Useful Travel Apps Once You’re There
It can be hard to keep in touch with people when you’re in another country. It’s hard to keep straight which kind of texts and calls will happen over Wi-Fi, for free, and which could rack up a $100 phone bill in minutes. WhatsApp is an app that allows you to text and call to international numbers from your own phone number over Wi-Fi, so you have nothing to worry about.
Always a helpful resource for the traveler, the latest update of Google Translate lets you take a photo of text and translate directly in the app. Street signs, menus, and information are no longer a problem for the foreign traveler.
No matter where you’re going, how you get there, or what you plan to do while you’re there, we can help you find the perfect hotel to round out your trip. Visit roomkey.com today to compare loyalty rates among our hotel partners and start letting technology do the hard work for you.