Best travel apps of 2018
Travel season has just begun to kick off, but traveling brings with it a number of inherent issues. Luckily, thanks to the magic of technology, many of these problems are easily remedied with apps for your mobile device.
With cheap and easy flights to pretty much any country you can think of, it's never been so easy to travel the globe. Still, traveling brings with it many inevitable headaches that can drive you crazy. To help make the whole experience of traveling less of a hassle we have collected the best travel apps available on the market today.
This list includes a wide range of different kinds of apps to cover every facet of travel, from how to get there, to activities you can enjoy once you arrive, how to communicate with the locals and even apps that take the hassle out of paying for stuff. It couldn’t hurt to get some games downloaded on your device as well.
So, before you pack your bags and wait in line for your passport, make sure you've got one or more of these installed on your iOS or Android device.
- Check out some of the best podcasts while you travel.
Even just a few years ago, if you were going on vacation, you basically had to stay at a hotel. But over the past couple years, that has thankfully been changing. Airbnb has become immensely popular, and it has completely changed the way that people book their accommodations when they travel.
Thanks to Airbnb’s meteoric rise in prevalence, you can now you could stay in a beautiful house in the center of a city or a quaint little cottage out in the beautiful countryside.
Airbnb makes booking your accommodations simple, and also includes guides for local sightseeing and a section for booking activities.
App in the Air
Don’t let App in the Air’s odd choice in name throw you off, there’s a reason this app is an Editor's Choice on the App Store. App in the Air gives you real-time flight updates, gate changes, airport navigation maps and tips – meaning you will never find yourself desperately rushing through an airport terminal again.
But wait, there’s more! You can even still receive updates offline, so you'll get no roaming charges when using the app abroad.
Booking.com is one of the world's most popular hotel booking websites. The Booking.com mobile app builds on its already solid model, permitting you to search for the best booking deals on over 1 million hotels and homes all over the world. If you're still trying to decide where you want to book, there are over 100 million user reviews to help you figure it out.
Plus, once you have finished your booking, you will receive an instant confirmation of your booking, complete with paperless check-in and offline maps of the surrounding area.
Cleartrip is useful for booking flights, hotels and trains. Cleartrip was initially created in India, and while its success means that it now has well over 10 million users around the world, there are still areas it doesn't support, so make sure to double check to make sure you're in a supported location.
Now, with the ability to safely store card information, you can do 1-click purchases of plane tickets, meaning you can scroll through deals and purchase tickets – all within 60 seconds.
Cleartrip can shop for the best bargains on hotel rooms in over 15,000 cities worldwide, as well.
With navigation around pretty much any city in the world, along with up-to-date information on trains and buses, Google Maps is your go-to app for making your way around town. Easily pin or save locations before you even arrive, so you know exactly where you need to be heading to.
Google Trips is the travel planning app from the search titan. Where Google Trips is different from the other travel planners is that you don't actually book through Trips – this is the app you use to parse through all of the information about your trip, and being Google, it provides plenty of suggestions of things to add once you're there.
The app pulls in all of your bookings for your trip from your Gmail account and brings them together, meaning if you find deals from a number of different places, rather than having to have a number of different apps, emails and print-outs all giving you separate information, you always have your entire itinerary in one app.
What's more, Google has recently announced that they are introducing a feature allowing you share your itinerary.
Guides by Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet made its name making in-depth travel guides. With Guides, you can now get a concentrated version of what they’re best at, on your phone.
In the app, you can download the guide for the city that you are going to be visiting, then select what category you want information on. These include things to see, restaurants, bars, places to sleep, places to shop and places to play.
Crucial information, including maps and explanations are all stored offline on your device, so you don't have to worry about roaming charges while you're traveling. What's more, there are even phrasebooks included so you can speak with the locals. There are over 100 cities covered with Guides.
Google Translate is fairly phenomenal if you haven't used it before. There are a few different methods of translation that it offers: text translation, where you type a phrase and it is translated into whichever language you choose, Conversation Mode, where you can actually talk to someone in a different language with the app translating as you speak, and camera translation, where you point your camera at text (like signs) and the translation appears on your screen.
This technology has been around for a while now, but still feels magical somehow.
It is a given that most places you go in the world people speak English, but this is an incredibly useful app for overcoming language barriers.
Need a last-minute place to stay? Hotel Tonight is a great app for when you need an unexpected hotel room but don’t want to pay an exorbitant amount.
It works by partnering with hotels in your area to fill unsold rooms at a reduced price. This means that you can potentially snatch up a five-star hotel stay for a fraction of the original price, making it a great choice for if you need to extend your stay in a city.
PackPoint simply helps you pack. You tell PackPoint where you're going, when you're going, and what you plan to do there and PackPoint compiles a list of things to pack. You can add or remove items from the list, then check them off once you have them packed.
It works with TripIt too, so you can get suggestions based on your travel schedule automatically imported from that app.
You won’t ever have to deal with those 'Did I pack my...' feelings ever again.
Skyscanner is a booking app for flights, hotels and car hire.
The Skyscanner website's calling card has always been easy customisation and the app is no different, allowing you to adjust your trip using flight duration, airline, stop-overs, flight class, and arrival and departure times. It even has a color-coded calendar that shows you when the best time to book your trip is to get the best deal.
TripAdvisor is the app of choice if user reviews are important to you. The app has over 500 million user reviews for hotels, restaurants, and events. Consumers can rate, review and even include photos, so if you want the full story before you decide to book something, this is the app for you.
Once you've waded through all those reviews, you can reserve a table, a concert, a plane ticket, all with the app.
You can also download maps, saved destinations, and reviews so that if you want to wait until you're already there to make final decisions, you can do so without incurring roaming charges.
TripIt is a travel itinerary app that makes it easy to see your whole trip in one place. You simply forward all of your booking emails to TripIt and the app collates all of your information. The information is available offline so you don't have to worry about roaming charges.
What's more, TripIt works with App in the Air and PackPoint (also in this list) so you can get flight notifications and packing advice based on your itinerary.
In order to use all of the functions TripIt has to offer you will have to upgrade to TripIt Pro for $49 per year (about £37, AU$65) but the free version does include all the basics you need like manual changing of plans, syncing with your calendar, compiling travel documents in one place, and sharing of your itinerary.
With operations in over 72 countries, Uber is the fastest and easiest way to get around a new city. Just download the app, tap where you want to go, and within minutes a car will pull up to take you to your destination.
The best part is that you don’t have to worry about fumbling for cash – everything is all done digitally, so you just step out of the car and your ride is complete.
If you prefer driving around a city by yourself, then Waze is a great community-driven app for navigation and traffic updates. Be notified of sudden road closures, speed traps, accidents, and much more, all within a single app.
Plus, the more you contribute to Waze, the more points you’ll earn within the app to level up and be recognized as a contributor helping to make everyone’s daily commute that much smoother.
If you run of your mobile data plan when you’re travelling or you just need to pop onto WiFi for a short time, then Wiffinity is the app to have. It features an interactive map that shows you where the nearest WiFi hotspot is, even if you’re offline.
The app also will allow you to add WiFi networks that you discover, as well as letting you know which WiFi hotspots are secure to connect to.
With more than 55 million downloads, XE Currency is the most renowned currency exchange rate app on the market, and not without reason.
It gives precise conversion rates for every currency you can think of, updated every minute and stored offline so that even if you lose internet connection or want to avoid roaming charges, you can still use the app.
There are over 155 million reviews written on Yelp, but thankfully you won’t have to read all of them to find Yelp useful.
It’s a great app for reviews on places in almost any city in the world, and you can find some great places to eat or visit during your trip.
Whether you’re looking for a nighttime spot for a drink, a great place for a massage, or the best place to get your phone repaired, you can find it quickly and easily without any hassles.