Humans were built to explore, and considering that we have been practicing since the dawn of man, we have become pretty good at it. As a result, we are fantastic foragers – especially when the food is set out buffet style. We can travel over long distances for days on end – especially when the seats are plush and the airline beverage service isn’t too stingy. And we are successful hunters – especially when our weapons (smartphones) are honed (charged) and we are plugged into the right app.
The quest for good food, perfect weather, and pleasurable company have not changed much over the centuries, but our preferred tools to attain them have. Our greatest travel ally is no longer a learned co-pilot, sound ship, armored suitcase/trunk, and golden compass – it is a vast army of smart apps designed to take most of the work out of traveling so that you can focus more on the leisure part.
If you prefer your travel plans to go smoothly even when your preparation is far less than – these are the apps that make almost anyone look like an expert.
It takes a lot of work to really know the ins and outs of a destination. To know the difference between the tourist traps, and the really awesome things you want to do. And this is where Lonely Planet comes in. It can be your own personal travel guide to help you become aware of everywhere and everything you’ll most likely want to do.
When you are packing for a trip you need to take into consideration the climate, time of year, duration of stay, popularity, and events planned. This is even a difficult task for the expert traveler. PackPoint is an app set up to make the most of your stay by making sure that you don’t forget to pack the essential (and even not so essential) items in your suitcase.
If you consider your smartphone to be a co-pilot in life, with the addition of Kayak it may very well become the best travel companion you could ever want. Kayak can plan your entire trip, including keeping track of all confirmation numbers, including any flight/gate numbers. Kayak also keeps track of the current deals being offered through the gambit of rental cars and hotel prices, so that you are always getting the best price.
If you are traveling by plane or boat, there is going to come a time when you are going to need some land transportation, and that is where Citymapper comes in. No matter where you are at or headed to, this app will offer up your best available options, including any buses, metro, rail, and cycle rentals.
We consider this app to be a good companion to Citymapper because it takes into consideration some of the less traditional forms of bus and train transportation.
Some people like to have their entire itinerary lined up from the taxi to each hotel room you plan to stay at. While others prefer to play it by ear, deciding at the moment when it is time to stay longer or move on. If you are the type who likes to play it by the day, the app, Hotel Tonight, will not only get you a great deal (mostly because they deal in hotel rooms that are otherwise unoccupied), they are used to being called on at a moments notice, so you can call on this anytime night or day. This works particularly well in locations that are not “booked up”, so keep that in mind before you set sail.
We consider this an essential addition to the types of travelers who gravitate towards the Hotel Tonight app. This is because it can find you some of the most quirky and interesting points of interest to visit wherever you happen to be. And let’s face it, sometimes when you are traveling, you end up in places that you had not necessarily planned out, and these can become some of the most enjoyable moments of your trip. All you do is plug in your starting and end point to your destination, and Roadtrippers will fill in everything in between with some interesting stops (restaurants, campsites, attractions, etc.) that may be worth taking some time out to see.
There was a time when you could contact a travel agent, and they would curate a trip based on your interests, and all you had to do was show up, check off the list, and have yourself a great time. The app, Airbnb, will not only set you up in a rental home/room so that you can avoid the hotel/motel scene, they also offer curated tips on the best places to go. This is a very cool app if you like to travel outside of the box.
While Airbnb is a great source of a destinations attractions, Time Out offers more “time-sensitive” options, including local concerts, festivals, and maybe even a traveling circus. The point is, if you like to see everything that your destination is offering over the duration of your stay, this app will help you find some of the little things you might normally miss.
The cheap flights newsletter you don’t want to miss. While most travel deals require you to search, CheapOflights pushes the best deals to you. These guys have some serious deals that you don’t want to miss. Past deals include European cities for under $300 and Asia for under $500. Always some great deals, but you want to book quick.
Google Translate is still a great tool to use if you are passing through a country and need to communicate as best as you can. But if you have a little time before a trip, Duolingo will actually give you a crash course in the language so that you might actually be able to speak and listen for “the basics” without using any handheld device. This will make your trip go a little more smooth, and will also leave you a little more popular (less vulnerable) with the locals (while traveling through certain destinations).