Apps can help travelers with everything from letting them know the best time to book a flight to translating a foreign menu with their camera. With two million apps available, these free apps were selected for their functionality and usefulness for all kinds of digitally savvy travelers.
For flight planning and saving: Hopper (iTunes/Google Play)
Save the time spent on searching for flight prices with this easy-to-use, app-only tool. Hopper analyzes an archive of trillions of flight prices to let you know if now is a good time to purchase a ticket on a particular route, providing an estimated time frame for a potential price drop and when to make sure to book before the price is likely to rise. If you want to wait or are looking up multiple routes, you can save the routes and you’ll be notified when the price goes down. Along with searching, users can also shop for flights on this ad-free app.
For hotel searching: Agoda (iTunes/Google Play)
Allow Agoda to use your current location to help you find a last-minute hotel, or search ahead of time for one of 925,000 hotels and vacation rentals. However you search, the app shows you a list and map of hotel options and highlights if there’s a deal within the selected location and dates. Simple yet sophisticated, Agoda also has search filters to help narrow down the results and options for how to view prices (in various currencies and by the base price or the total). Each hotel page features photos, reviews, amenities, and other information to help you decide.
For translating languages: Google Translate (iTunes/Google Play)
Google has a few different apps useful for travel. Among them is its translator tool. Google Translate helps users translate 103 different languages through typing, voice, or camera (with about 30 languages able to be translated through photo). Save time by favoriting certain translations to pull out when you need them. And if you don’t plan to have international data on your trip, 50 of the languages can be downloaded and used for off-line translations.
For a useful map: MAPS.ME (iTunes/Google Play)
In case there’s ever an issue with cellular data while abroad, this free app lets you download detailed, off-line maps to your device. Aside from offering turn-by-turn navigation for driving, walking, or biking to an address or select location, each map of a destination features different and useful search tools to see what’s nearby, including points of interest, hotels, and ATMs.
For meal searching: Foodspotting (iTunes/Google Play)
With a focus on helping you decide what to eat instead of just where, this app acts as a visual menu for the food in the area you’re in. See what other Foodspotters recommend through their photos and information about the dishes they’ve had, and read comments from those who’ve tried the dishes. Each dish also has information about the restaurant where it’s available and a link to its Yelp reviews. Every Foodspotter also has their own page. If you’ve enjoyed a recommended dish from someone, you can follow them to see the rest of their food travels.
For driving and road trips: Waze (iTunes/Google Play)
For road-trippers, Waze is a community-based mapping, traffic, and navigation app. Drivers in the area share real-time traffic and road info to help everyone save time. You can even save money on gas, as drivers share prices for all the gas stations in the area.
For local tips: Cool Cousin (iTunes)
One of the newer apps in our list, Cool Cousin features maps curated by locals from different backgrounds and industries. After selecting a featured city, you choose who your guide, or “cool cousin,” will be. For example, if you plan to visit London and like food, one of the cousins might be a foodie who can share little-known outdoor hideaways and their favorite terrace restaurants. You can get advice from multiple cousins at one time. It’s currently available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Along with London, other cities include Tel Aviv, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Rio de Janeiro. The developers are working on an Android version and plan to add more cities.
For fitness on the go: Nike Training Club (iTunes/Google Play)
- Nat Geo Expeditions
With over a hundred workouts with clear audio and visual guidance from experts, this app helps you exercise anywhere. Choose from workouts with no equipment or ones that can be used in a gym. Sort by the amount of time you have available, different levels of intensity, and other factors to help you personalize your new, on-the-go routine.
For pet owners: Pet First Aid (iTunes/Google Play)
Created by the American Red Cross, this is an essential resource for dog and cat owners. Along with access to step-by-step instructions for common first aid and emergency situations, the app can be especially useful when traveling with your pet. In the emergency section of the app, users can look up the closest vet hospitals in the area. Pet First Aid also includes a pet-friendly hotel finder, powered by BringFido, and there’s a guide to pet travel that discusses what to do before and during car, air, or boat travel.
For converting currency and measurements: Convert Any Unit Free (iTunes)
Simple and vast, this app is helpful for making quick conversions. With over 5,900 units in 44 categories, you’ll easily be able to compare currencies or convert back and forth from the metric system. Only available on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.