Hold onto your mobile devices; the universe of travel apps is expanding. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, people are traveling more than ever. In this fast-paced world, mobility is key and staying in touch critical.
Wherever you are in the world, there’s a growing crop of mobile apps that will help you plan and book your trip, find your way around after you’re there, keep you safe and healthy, find a bathroom and so much more. I’ve gathered a small sampling of the hundreds of apps you can use to assist you when you’re away from home.
I’ve just updated the list with more apps!
This app from Kayak.com allows you to compare and book hotel rooms and flights on hundreds of travel sites using your Android, iPhone, iPad, Palm or Windows device. It functions like their website tool, so you can compare rates and fares, filter options, select your seats, and access hotel descriptions, photos and reviews. It will direct you to the best site to book your reservations. Download the app for free at http://www.kayak.com/mobile.
All of the information on hotels, restaurants, flights and attractions on the TripAdvisor website is now available through their mobile app. A partnership with OpenTable allows you to make restaurant reservations. Their mobile ratings tool is fully functional, so you can easily comment, submit ratings and upload photos from your Android, iPhone, iPad, Palm and Windows device. Download it for free at http://www.tripadvisor.com/apps.
I use Booking.com exclusively for booking all of my hotels these days, so I’m thrilled to find they have a mobile app. Book a hotel room anywhere in the world from your mobile device. If you have to make a last-minute hotel reservation while on the road, this tool will make it easy.
Over 355,000 properties are right at your fingertips. Choose from a huge range of accommodations, such as hotels, apartments, villas, hostels, B&B’s and more, all with a best price guarantee. Millions of property photos, millions of ratings and reviews from real guests and a filter tool will help you find the right room fast.
Your personal information (including credit cards) is stored in this easy to use, secure site. If you’re an account holder, just sign in and your details will be pre-filled for express booking. Book now and pay when you stay, with free cancellations on many of the rooms. Save confirmation details for fast and easy check-in.
The app is available in 27 languages, with hotel reviews in all languages, and supports 53 currencies. Customer service is available 24/7 in English and 40 other languages.
If you’re already a Booking.com customer on computer, you’ll be able to access all of your current booking information on your mobile device. Download it onto your iPhone or iPad for free at https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/Booking.com—Hotel-reservations-for-86000+-hotels/id367003839?mt=8.
Now you can book tours and activities all over the world from your mobile device. The mobile app from GetYourGuide, the world’s biggest collection of things to do, allows you to make reservations for tours, shows, museum tickets and more, all while traveling. It’s free to download to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/getyourguide/id705079381?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4.
Want to make dining reservations while you’re traveling? Through this mobile app, you can search restaurants by name, neighborhood, location, cuisine and price. You can cancel a reservation or reserve a table for a specific time and party size. You can even submit a special request for the maitre d’. Download it for free for your Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad or Windows device at http://www.opentable.com/mobile/.
PLANNING & ORGANIZATION
Organize all your travel itineraries in one convenient location and take them with you on your Android, BlackBerry, iPhone or iPad. This free TripIt mobile app will export information to your calendar. Though you can input your travel information manually, if you forward your travel confirmation emails to email@example.com, TripIt will automatically create a detailed daily itinerary for each of your trips. Download the app for free at https://www.tripit.com/uhp/mobile.
This award-winning app helps you remember to pack all the items you’ll need for your trip. Create your own packing lists or use lists from a template based on gender, type of trip, travel companions and more. You can adjust the number of items in a customizable master catalogue. You can create to-do lists, such as a list of items to buy. Each family member can make their own list on the same account. The app is for iPhone and iPad only and will cost you $2.99. Download it here http://www.quinnscape.com/PackingPro.asp.
World Clock – Time Zones
Find out what time it is anywhere in the world with the World Clock Time Zones app available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The time zone converter feature makes planning and scheduling international meetings and events so much easier. Use the interactive time zone map to figure out what time zone someone is in. Add cities and locations to your favorites list. If you’re traveling abroad, figure out a reasonable time to call family and friends at home. Download the app for $1.99 at http://www.timeanddate.com/iphone/worldclock.html.
This app from the makers of World Clock Time Zones helps you organize, schedule and share international meetings. This free download for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is available through iTunes at http://www.timeanddate.com/iphone/meetingplanner.html.
Day & Night World Map
Watch sunlight move around the globe with this fun and useful app for iPhone and iPad. The day and night map is based on images from the NASA Visible Earth Project. It shows the position of the sun and moon and the correct time for your current location. When you’re traveling, it can help you plan your daytime and nighttime activities and even has an eclipse feature. Download it for free at http://www.timeanddate.com/iphone/dayandnightmap.html.
Calendar & Holidays Pro
If you’ve planned meetings with international partners or traveled internationally for business, you’ve probably run into roadblocks with holidays you weren’t aware of. Get up-to-date information on holidays and events around the world with this handy little app for iPad only. It syncs to iPad calendar, as well as G-mail and Yahoo calendars. You can add your own events, too. Download it for $2.99 at http://www.timeanddate.com/ipad/calendarandholidays.html.
AIRPORTS AND FLIGHTS
Airline passengers can have ready access to TSA airport security information with this app for iOS and Android mobile devices. Understand the rules for what items can and cannot be packed in checked or carry-on luggage. Learn guidelines for traveling with children, travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. Get updates on airport status, security wait times and weather. There are tips for members of the military and information on traveling with food and gifts. Download it for free at http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/my-tsa-mobile-application.
Airport Zoom by FlightStats
Optimize your travel time with this free app for iPad. It provides quick access to the most important information when you’re flying. Get current flight status, airport services and amenities, and weather conditions. Use interactive terminal maps and “on-a-map” flight tracking. Download it here http://www.flightstats.com/go/MobileApps/airportZoom.do.
GateGuru from TripAdvisor is the only travel app that gives you real-time flight status with push notifications for changes and updates. Airport terminal information is customized to your itinerary. Get terminal and gate arrival and departures times, airport weather, information on how to navigate an unfamiliar airport and estimate TSA security wait times. You can reserve an airport rental car on the fly at a discounted rate for GateGuru users. Download to your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android and Windows devices for free at http://www.gateguru.com/.
Travel App Box
This Leatherman of the app world provides multi travel tools in one little app. The “box” contains a converter for 30 different currencies and will convert from Celsius to Farenheit, kilometers to miles and stones to pounds. It has tip calculators for most countries, international dialing codes, emergency numbers and clothing size converter. The map tool shows transportation networks for major cities around the globe. You can save maps to use offline when you don’t have 3G or WiFi available. It even has a visual translator dictionary with 140 pictograms that describe common items, such as food and accommodations. Download it to your iPhone or iPad for $1.99 here https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/travel-app-box/id426702017?mt=8.
Star Walk Astronomy Guide
City dwellers rarely get to see a star-filled sky. But if you travel outside of the urban sprawl or sail the ocean, this app could come in handy. Star Walk is an award-winning education app that helps you find and identify over 20,000 objects in the night sky. Galaxies, constellations, satellites, stars and planets are displayed on a 360-degree touch control map without the need of internet connection. A comprehensive stargazing calendar alerts you to all visible celestial events in your location, with information about each event. You can set a reminder for the ones you want to see. The app integrates with the Stargazing Community on Twitter for iOS 5.1. You can track satellites and measure the angular distance between nearby star. Download it to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch for $2.99 at http://vitotechnology.com/star-walk.html.
This mobile messaging app allows you to text without paying SMS fees. Users can create groups and send photo, video and audio messages all for free. You just need a WiFi or 3G connection. No need to remember usernames or PINs; the app uses phone numbers in your address book to make the connection for you. Download it to your Android, Blackberry or iPhone for .99 at http://www.whatsapp.com/.
Most of us are already familiar with Skype and use it on our home computers. The Skype mobile app provides the same great service: video calls, instant messaging and lower rate voice calls, and is especially great for international calls. Use it for free with a 3G or WiFi connection. Download it to your Android, BlackBerry, iPhone or iPad for free here http://www.skype.com/en/ and click on “downloads” at the top.
This award-winning app uses your voice to communicate with others who do not speak your language. It translates your words in real time, and allows you to engage in a multi-language conversation. Set the language you want to translate from, and then select the language you want to translate to, and this app will translate it for you. Speak into the mic, and the app will speak and write the translated phrase. They’ve just added 30 new languages and dialects, so it’s more versatile than before. Download it for $4.99 to your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vocre/id454405637?mt=8
This app is so intuitive. I downloaded it to my iPad for my Barcelona trip and found it to be easier to use than the Vocre app – and it’s free! Choose the language you want to translate to from a comprehensive list of languages. Then type or speak the phrases you want to translate. It will respond with both written and spoken translation. Download it to your Android, iPhone or iPad here http://translate.google.com/about/intl/en_ALL/tour.html#mobile.
Don’t know what that street sign or menu says? Translate the foreign text in real time with this handy app that uses your smart phone’s video camera. You don’t even need a network connection. This tool is for clearly printed text only and does not recognize handwriting or stylized fonts. It’s free to download the app, but you must purchase a language pack from within the app at $9.99 for each language pair. Here are the language pairs available:
+ English ⇆ Portuguese
+ English ⇆ German
+ English ⇆ Italian
+ English ⇆ French
+ English ⇆ Spanish
You can also look up translations by typing them into your device. The app will work on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Download it at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/word-lens/id383463868?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Like a hangover, everyone has a “cure” for jet lag (see Circadian Rhythm and the Jet Lag Blues), but JetLag Genie may just help you beat it. This mobile app will help you tailor your sleep patterns during your trip. Just plug in your travel itinerary and it will give you a customized daily sleeping and waking schedule and Melatonin guide. Download it to your iPhone or iPod Touch for free at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jetlag-genie/id426988420?mt=8&ls=1.
When you’re in a foreign place, where do you find help in an emergency? HelpCall is a mobile app for your iPhone that will quickly place emergency phone calls in your current country. It automatically detects your location when you press the Fire, Ambulance, Police or Friend button. You can configure it to call for emergency by shaking your phone, even if you’re unable to see the screen. The app is supported in 146 countries and is for iPhone only. Download it for $2.99 at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/helpcall/id393098002?mt=8.
Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association
This quick reference guide for medical emergencies provides step-by-step information with illustrations for treating snake bites, choking, allergic reactions, burns, performing CPR and more. You can create a personal health profile that includes your insurance information, medications and emergency contacts. Make this the wallpaper on your mobile device to provide ready access to your information for first responders. Download it to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch for $1.99 at https://itunes.apple.com/app/pocket-first-aid-cpr-from/id294351164?ign-mpt=uo%3D6&mt=8.
Oanda Currency Converter
You can access daily exchange rates from your mobile device with this app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. It uses daily filtered rates for over 190 currencies and four metals. You have the option of adding a percentage to get closer to the actual rate your bank or credit card charged you. Download it for free here http://www.oanda.com/mobile/.
Access your bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards, investments and other financial accounts with this handy app for iPhone, iPad, Android phone or Android tablet. Organize all your financial information in one secure place, so you can see the whole picture. The app is free to download here https://www.mint.com/how-it-works/anywhere/.
FINDING YOUR WAY AROUND
Fodor’s City Guides
What a great app! You can load guides for many of the world’s major cities right onto your iPhone or iPad and Windows device (for limited cities). I downloaded the Barcelona guide on my iPad for my upcoming trip. It’s chock full of information about places to see, restaurants, nightlife, shopping, hotels and lots more. Need to make a reservation for a room, dinner or show? No problem. You’ll have the capability right at your fingertips. The interactive map is terrific. You can easily enlarge any area for more detail. I plan to do a lot of walking in Barcelona, so this feature will come in handy as I navigate unfamiliar streets. I can’t wait to try it out in real life. Download the app for free at http://www.fodors.com/mobile-apps/.
TripAdvisor Offline City Guides
This free city guide app has all of the TripAdvisor hotels, restaurants, attractions and reviews you find in their online site, but everything is stored right in the app, so you won’t incur any data roaming charges. There are thousands of user reviews with thousands more added daily. You can make periodic updates through your WiFi connection. Create your own trip journal. Use their hand-picked itineraries for your own self-guided tours. Looking for a restaurant? This app will guide you there using your phone’s GPS and compass. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and is available through iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tripadvisor-offline-city-guides/id480066121.
DeparturesUltimate City Guide
All the features available through their website are accessible on your mobile device with this app. It features top 10 lists for museums, galleries, hotels, restaurants, VIP events, shopping and more. Download it to you iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch for free here https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/departures-ultimate-city-guides/id456684230?ls=1&mt=8. This is available exclusively for DEPARTURES US readers, so once you’ve downloaded it, you need to get an access code from their current issue at http://www.departures.com/.
If you’re on the go and you’ve got to go, find out where to go with this mobile app from Charmin. You can search for public restrooms at your current location on a map or in a list. You can rate and add public restrooms, filter restrooms by accessibility, rating, pay-per-use or free, hours open, cleanliness, etc. Bookmark your favorite restrooms and share the list with others. This app would have come in handy when I was in China, where “western-style” bathrooms are hard to find. Sit or squat, indeed! Go for an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch download in the iTunes store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sitorsquat-restroom-finder/id511855507?ls=1&mt=8. For compatibility with other mobile devices, check the Charmin website at http://www.charmin.com/#/find-public-restrooms.aspx.
TRACKING & SHARING
This updated version of the FlightTrack app is even better than before. Organize all your flights in one place. Receive push notifications with flight updates. Get real time departure information, delays, gate numbers and cancellations. Search flights by number or route. View terminal maps to help you find your gate. Create trips with multiple travelers and view the progression of the entire trip. Share itineraries and track each other’s flights. Track flights worldwide with zoomable, live flight maps with satellite and weather radar imagery (excludes charter and private flights). Check weather for your destinations. Though it currently does not sync with TripIt, watch for future versions that may include this feature. Download it for iPhone, Ipad and iPod Touch at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id716913565?mt=8 for $4.99.
Your friends and family can track your voyage on a tall ship as you sail around the world, or use it to see if your favorite ship has come in! This mobile app for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch allows you to view the current or last known position of over 120 tall ships. It also features information on each ship, including its destination, pictures, type of vessel, homeport and flag, technical specifications, year it was built and whether the ship is actually sailing or moored. Download it from iTunes for .99 at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id495180298?mt=8.
APP IF BY WATER
Navigate the ocean with this series of marine apps, including Marine: Florida (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/marine-florida-gps-map-navigator/id360069064?mt=8), Marine: Hawaii (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/marine-hawaii-gps-map-navigator/id360070120?mt=8) and Marine: California (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/marine-california-gps-map/id360068455). Sailors can plot their course, study currents, tides and depths, and check speed, distance and bearing. The maps include embedded electronic nautical charts, anchorages, fishing areas, obstructions, beacons and much more. Download it to your iPhone or iPad for $5.99 per marine location.
HITTING THE ROAD
This dandy app will take the guesswork out of your next interstate highway trip. iExit will locate services at up to 100 interstate exits ahead, such as restrooms, gas stations, food, lodging and campgrounds. Download to your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android or Windows device for .99 at http://iexitapp.com/.
This is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Get alerts for accidents, traffic jams and road hazards in real time, so you can find the best route around them. Locate the cheapest gas station on your route. See Facebook friends on your same route. Notify people you are on your way with real time ETAs. Download it to you iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android and Windows device for free at https://www.waze.com/.
Plan your next trip with this well-rounded digital companion. The RoadNinja app has your back, so you’ll always know what’s coming up at the next exit. You can compare gas prices, plan your route (interstate and surface streets), get directions with the panoramic street view, read reviews on businesses, mark your favorites and more. Download it for free to your iOs or Android device at http://www.roadninja.com/.
Crushed Wine App
Oenophiles, search no more. Now, you can track and share favorite wines with your friends. What’s this have to do with travel? When you’re at a restaurant or wine store (whether in your hometown or traveling) and don’t know which wine to get, just check your Crushed Wine App to see if it’s recommended or on your favorites list. Track the wines you’re drinking, search for details on new vintages, take a picture of the label and share what you love through your social networks or directly with friends. The Club channel gives access to wine activities and content, and offers daily deals and promotions on hand picked wines from around the world. The free download for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/app/id758303891.
Whether you’re searching for a restaurant, bar or countless other types of business, this app can point you to the right place, if you’re in one of the many cities around the world on its list. Like its online sister, the Yelp mobile app will let you search for businesses, browse reviews, find great deals and make dining reservations through their partnership with OpenTable. Download it to your iPhone, iPad or Android for free at http://www.yelp.com/yelpmobile.
Like its famous restaurant guide book, the Zagat mobile app will help you discover the best restaurants, bars and clubs in major cities around the globe. No need to sort through all those questionable user reviews. Zagat will help you streamline your search with its multiple ratings system and expert reviews. You can access menus and make reservations through OpenTable. Download it for free on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zagat/id669821485?mt=8.