Using the right travel apps can help you save both time and money, while making the journey much less stressful. Many of these apps also provide local recommendations and hidden gems tourists don’t often get to see — and some are completely free.
Whether you’re looking for an app that will give you discounts for popular local events, offer a last-minute booking at a fraction of the price, or help you breeze through the airport, these are the 22 best travel apps to download before your next trip.
Citymapper helps travelers find the speediest route to their destination, providing step-by-step instructions on where to find the nearest bus and train stations. You’ll be able to see when the next arrivals are, and real-time routing means you’ll get updates every minute. The app also has a chat feature that allows you to update friends and family on your E.T.A. wherever you are.
PackPoint takes the hassle out of packing by creating a customized list of what you’ll need for your getaway. Enter your destination, travel dates, length of stay, and activities that might require special gear, like hiking or swimming, and the app will create a custom packing list you can save for future use. Besides checking weather conditions for you, the app also allows users to share their packing lists with fellow travelers.
The beauty of Rebtel is you don’t need an internet connection to call friends and family back home. The app connects to local phone lines to provide you with cheap calls in 51 countries around the world without having to deal with the hassle of getting a local SIM card or racking up your phone bill.
If you’re looking to get outdoors, this app will provide you with the area’s best hiking, biking, and running trails. In addition to details on length, starting location, and trail quality, AllTrails includes reviews and photos from a community of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll find useful information like what to pack, obstacles you’ll find along the route, and the best scenic spots to check out.
If you find yourself in the middle of a long layover, Dayuse can get you into a hotel room for a few hours for up to 75 percent less than what the typical overnight rate would be. The app features 5,000 hotels in 23 countries, and allows you to make free cancellations at the last minute, in case you manage to catch an earlier flight.
Selections include everything from business hotels to wellness accommodations, with payments made directly when you arrive. You also get full use of the hotel’s amenities for the duration of your stay.
The prices of flights can fluctuate, making it tricky to decide if you should book right away or hold off. That’s where Hopper comes in, predicting the best time to find the cheapest fares, saving up to 40 percent. The app also has a price-monitoring feature so that you can select a particular flight and receive alerts if the price drops. Through Hopper, users can also compare the prices and amenities of more than 250 airlines and get alerts about airfare flash sales.
RV Parks & Campgrounds
This camping app helps you locate prime RV parks, campgrounds, rest areas, and gas stations across North America. With more than 40,000 facilities, the app sorts locations based on ratings and includes both privately-owned RV parks and public parks to choose from.
Nike Training Club
Hitting the gym while you’re traveling can be tough, but with Nike Training Club, you’ll feel like you have a personal trainer right in your pocket. That’s because you can access hundreds of free workouts from Nike Master Trainers and celebrities like Kevin Hart, Serena Williams, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Audio and video clips help you make sure you’re on top of your technique, while personalized training plans will keep you on track.
If you don’t have much time to spare at the airport, Grab allows you to check out what food selections are near your gate, and gives you the option to pre-order your meal so you can pick it up on the way. The app currently operates at over 60 airports worldwide, giving you plenty of bites to choose from on your next trip.
GasBuddy is the app you’ll want if you’re taking a road trip. GasBuddy tracks down where to find the cheapest gas prices, allowing you to filter by price, location, brand, and amenities. It also provides you with deals at nearby convenience stores and price hike alerts so you can nail down the best prices every time.
Want to know what local events are taking place at your destination? Headout will show you the top attractions, shows, tours, and experiences in popular cities like New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orlando, Hawaii, Dubai, and more.
Activities range from catching a Broadway show, yoga in the hills, or taking a helicopter tour, with exclusive last-minute offers that can be up to 80 percent off.
If you need to access the internet during your travels, chances are you’ll have to connect to public Wi-Fi, which can be sketchy. TunnelBear allows you to connect privately and securely by providing you a VPN (virtual private network) that will encrypt your browsing data to keep your information hidden from hackers and advertisers. The app comes with 500MB of free browsing data each month, or you can opt for unlimited data at a low monthly rate.
Hostelworld is where you’ll find more than 17,000 hostels, hotels, B&B’s, and communal spaces in 178 countries. The app is great for solo travelers looking to meet fellow vacationers during their trip, including a Noticeboard that highlights events and meetups, and a translator that will help you communicate in up to 43 languages.
WeatherBug provides forecasts for millions of locations around the world, with current, hourly, and even 10-day options. The app also has specific weather maps to track everything from lightning and wind to pressure and humidity, and makes staying on top of changes to the weather easy with instant alerts.
Eatwith allows you to dine with locals, in their homes, all over the world. Menus are posted for you to see, while hosts will typically list what they cook, the languages they speak, and any alcohol pairings they’ll be serving. Not only does the app give you a chance to meet locals and get superb dining recommendations, but it also allows you to enjoy a high-quality meal for less than what you’d typically pay at a restaurant.
Trying to locate a public restroom can be tricky, especially in a new destination. That’s where Flush comes in. The app has a database of more than 200,000 toilets, and quickly provides travelers with nearby bathrooms. You can search without an internet connection, and the app will also notify you if a restroom requires a fee.
While banks may charge you a fee for transferring money abroad, Wise allows you to make a transfer based on real-time currency exchanges, so you can send money at rates the company says are up to eight times cheaper than what you’d find at traditional banks.
TripIt makes it easy to put together a cohesive travel itinerary. Simply forward your confirmation emails, like your hotel and flight reservations, or your rental car reservation, and TripIt will build a full itinerary to help you stay organized with all of your plans.
With real-time alerts, you’ll know if your flight is delayed or canceled, while the flight finder can help you book a new option should a cancellation occur.
Another good app for the road, Waze gives you community-based data about traffic jams, and information to locate points of interest like the cheapest gas stations and the fastest routes to your destination. Live maps include voice-guided navigation to easily guide you.
Xe provides live exchange rates and charts to keep you on top of money matters during your travels, easily allowing you to choose between different currencies you’d like to convert. It also has a rate alert so that you can monitor your favorite currencies — and it can be used offline.
If you’re sick of the jet lag battle that inevitably comes with travel, check out Timeshifter, an app that helps you to avoid jet lag long before your flight departs. Thanks to neuroscience research on circadian rhythms and sleep, the app provides personalized recommendations that take into account your age, gender, typical sleep patterns, and specifics about your trip. The app will tell you when you should avoid or seek daylight, and when you should stay awake or take a nap. The result? A gentle jet lag experience, which translates to more time exploring your destination.
If you have a tight connection or are picking up friends or family from the airport, look to FlightAware for help. The app tracks flights in real time, so you can see exactly where the aircraft is at any given moment. In addition to providing arrivals and delays, you can also see if weather will have any affect on certain locations.