Traveling is one of the most rewarding experiences, as it allows us to gain a better understanding of others and even ourselves. Hand-held technology has become an integral component in how our world operates, so it would follow that it plays a significant role within the travel industry as well. There is certainly no shortage of travel-related apps or websites created with the intention of enhancing or simplifying aspects of the travel experience, yet discovering the best sites and apps isn’t always so easy. Wading through all the options can become tiresome and even steal the joy from both the planning process and travel itself. So to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 10 apps and websites you need to check out if you desire to travel smarter.
Essentially, TripIt acts as a personal travel assistant, automatically compiling an itinerary – including car rentals, flights, hotel and restaurant reservations – into one convenient location; you only need to forward them your email confirmations as you make your plans. Available for free on iOS (including Apple Watch) andAndroid (including Glass), TripIt also allows you to edit trips and add notes, photos and weblinks on the website or within the app. The premium version, TripIt Pro, has some fantastic features including “Point Tracker,” which keeps track of all your award-program points / miles in one spot, and “Seat Tracker,” which notifies you immediately if a better seat becomes available. Additionally, TripIt Pro imports all of your travel confirmation emails automatically; syncs your itinerary with your online or mobile calendar; sends real-time alerts for delays, cancellations or gate changes; assists in finding alternate flights; and notifies you if you’re eligible for a flight refund. TripIt Pro does have an annual fee of $49, but a 30 day free trial is presently available.
2. Gas Buddy
If you’ll be traveling anywhere in the U.S. by car, make sure Gas Buddy is along for the ride. This smart app will help you track down the gas station(s) with the most affordable gas prices nearest you, so you never again have to deal with the depressing feeling of passing by a station with cheaper rates down the road just minutes after filling up elsewhere. You can also search for gas at any US location which is helpful in planning out your pit stops proactively, saving you time in addition to money. Download Gas Buddy’s mobile app today so you’ll be ready to take off on your next road trip.
Want to avoid the typical tourist hot-spots and experience a city more like a local? Localeur is where it’s at. Describing itself as a “community of locals who want to help you experience the best places to eat, drink and play,” Localeur users share recommendations of their favorite places or create entire lists of recommendations based on the categories of Arts & Entertainment, Bars, Fitness & Outdoors, Restaurants, Shopping, and Travel & Groups. Localeur is available for both Androidand iPhone at no cost, in addition to its website version. So, if you find yourself in one of the 20 US cities in which Localeur is currently available, take advantage of the insightful peer-to-peer recommendations of places and things to explore from the locals’ perspective.
For most of us, packing is probably the least enjoyable aspect of traveling. Overwhelmed with trying to figure out where to start? PackPoint is here to help. This packing app creates a customized packing list based on your gender, destination, the projected weather, length of travel, and any activities in which you plan to take part. You can then choose to add or subtract from the list as you see fit. PackPoint even creates a unique website link for your specific packing list so you can conveniently share it with any travel companions. The PackPoint app is available for free on both Android and iPhone, with a premium version available for $2.99.
Featuring reviews written by millions of users to help differentiate the best things to see and do from those that aren’t worth your time, TripAdvisor has become a universal go-to guide when it comes to maximizing the travel experience. You can search for cruises, flights, hotels, restaurants, vacation rentals, and more. If you aren’t sure where you want to go, you can browse a plethora of trip ideas based on region and/or interests, or look through TripAdvisor’s annual “Travelers’ Choice” to discover the very best rated attractions and establishments. In addition to its comprehensive online version, TripAdvisor provides a free app for Android and iPhone devices, and now offers functionality for Apple Watch as well.
Say hello to Adioso, a travel search site boasting the “best flights to anywhere in one search.” Adioso’s most impressive tool may be its Quick Search, built with the understanding that people don’t always know what dates they want to travel, or even where they wish to go. For example, search “Eastern Europe in August for 3 weeks” and you will be presented the cheapest and quickest flights based on that criteria. Adioso also features a “Deals Radar” showing destinations with significant, recent price-drops. To get the most out of the Adioso experience, be sure to complete the “Adioso Academy,” a quick tutorial showing how to search for flights to a city or to a country, how to use filters, how to search with flexible dates, and also how to watch prices.
Whether you’re traveling within a single city, or venturing among multiple cities or countries, Tripline will help you create a chronological map itinerary of your upcoming trip. Using exact geographic coordinates, each destination will be plotted on a map with a number corresponding to its order within your itinerary. You simply select a starting location and date, then search for and select your next destination – choosing a travel mode (direct, driving, on foot, bicycle, or custom), and so on until your trip is all mapped out. You may edit each location by adding a description, private notes, specific time, address, phone, and weblink. Currently, Tripline’s free app is only available for IOS, but it can also be accessed mobily on Android devices by using mobile.tripline.net.
City Maps 2Go has the potential to become one of the most brilliant travel apps yet. Over 7,500 maps are available of the world’s most prominent cities, each featuring points of interest, public transport routes & stops, and street names. Travel guide articles are also available for free, and may be downloaded directly to your phone for offline viewing. Additionally, the app allows you to personalize your maps with places you wish to explore, then provides you with insider information, stories, and tips related to your desired destinations. The best aspect of City Maps 2Go is that all of its maps are free and available offline, allowing you to view your gps-based location on the map, with or without internet connection. City Maps 2Go, and any of its supplemental city maps, can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
Have you ever wished you could travel to a new place and truly immerse yourself in the culture for several weeks, possibly months, only to come to the conclusion that it was way beyond your budget? What if I told you there was a way that you could stay somewhere for free in exchange for volunteer work? Workaway presents a cultural exchange opportunity for those who desire a travel experience that’s off the beaten path, so to speak. Workawayers have an array of exchange opportunities to browse through including bed & breakfasts, hostels, organic farms, yoga retreat centers; with hosts in over 130 countries, you’ll likely discover something that suits your interests while meeting the needs of a host and its community. Most hosts request volunteers stay at least 3 weeks and work 20-30 hours each week in exchange for rent-free accommodation, and some may go a step further and provide meals as well. You can browse Workaway’s wide-ranging host-list for free, but to gain access to a host’s contact information will require registration as a volunteer. The $29 it costs for a two-year membership is reasonable when you consider how much you’d save on accommodation alone.
10. XE Currency
If your travel will be taking you beyond your nation’s borders, downloading XE Currency’s free app to your phone or tablet would be a wise, worthwhile choice. XE Currency provides up-to-date exchange rates and makes it easy to calculate prices. It even allows you to view previous exchange trends in historical charts to give you an idea of the possible trajectory of any particular exchange rates.
Now that you’ve checked out the links above and downloaded the available apps, you’re well on your way to traveling smarter. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure today!