TRAVEL APPS: our tips!

With so many travel apps out there, it can sometimes be overwhelming.  I started traveling over 20 years ago when smart phones were not yet a thing.  My pre-trip prep always consisted of heading to the local bookstore and picking up a Lonely Planet or Frommer’s Guide to ensure I had the best experience when I got there!  Of course, some online searches helped me greatly, too!  Though I still like having a physical book, map, or brochure, I now always look for the latest travel apps. Preparing for that trip is much less time consuming now and I always have the latest information on hand. Did I mention that it also helps to travel lighter? (Books weigh a lot and don’t help with weight restrictions on today’s flights!)

So, let’s get started with the type of travel apps out there and ones that I find to be most helpful (most of which are free).


First let’s look at the apps that will make your life easier and will help to keep you organized.  I always start with downloading the app for the airline that I will be flying on. These apps let you check-in, allow you to track your bags, and even keep you updated with any schedule or gate changes. I also like to keep all of my reservations/confirmations in one spot. You can try free apps like TripIt or Travefy where you can upload all of your travel reservations and the apps will instantly create an itinerary which you can access at any time.  You can also leave a printed version of your itinerary behind with loved ones in case they need to reach you while you’re away. Lastly, to keep track of expenses and help you stay on budget try downloading apps like TravelSpend or TripCoin. They’ll even help with local currency conversion.


If you’ll be using public transportation when you get there, always download the local transportation company’s app.  As an example, when visiting London, I have found that downloading London Underground’s Tube App helps me plan my route, figure out fares, and track when the next train will be departing.  Most major cities offer similar apps. You can also try the CityMapper App which provides lots of transportation information. If you will be renting a car or doing lots of walking, and will find yourself outside of the US, make sure you download the offline version of Google Maps on your smartphone for the area you will be visiting. You’ll avoid hefty data charges and will be able to use it while driving or on foot. Here is a link to help you download the offline version:


One of my favorite apps when I’m traveling somewhere, whether I’ve been there many times or for the first time, is Culture Trip.  This app provides amazing recommendations on the best restaurants (no matter your budget), top things not to miss, and more. It is always spot on! I also like checking reviews on Yelp and I love using LocalEats as it helps to find great restaurants nearby. And for checking out local events, I try EventBrite or EventsNearMe. Additionally, I often check out the local tourist office website as many have their own apps these days that prove to be super handy!


Though it’s great to sign up for guided tours in your destination, sometimes you just want to do things at your own pace. There’s a great way to do just that while still learning about the city and your surroundings.  There are some great walking tour apps that are either free or extremely reasonably priced.  Try the GPSMyCity or GeoTourist apps.  But there are is also a great way to figure out points of interest near you on a map by using Nearby Wiki for Android phones or V for Wiki for apple phones.

The number of Apps out there is endless, so hopefully this list will help you avoid the headache of sifting through them all. But there are many more great apps out there to discover, so keep digging! Happy travels and happy “apping”!



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