The 9 Apps You Should Have Every Time You Travel
Travel season is upon us! To help you get the most from your journey and enjoy every minute of your trip, we’ve rounded up the best apps for travelers. The selection should improve your transit and your time away, but this list doesn’t include travel booking apps—which is a topic for another day! Please share your personal favorite travel apps in the comments.
Flight delays and cancellations are rampant during the holiday and winter seasons, so whether or not your plane is actually going to take off is a common concern. Fleet, the “air travel assistant app,” is here to solve that problem for you. The handy resource combines crowdsourced data about airports and flights to give you flight status updates, delay times at baggage check-in and security, and real-time information about airport conditions. It also offers airport directories for restaurants and stores, plus customizable flight alerts, and it allows you to easily share your flight information with friends and family and have them follow you.
It’s never fun to arrive in a city and realize you’ve packed inappropriately for the weather. Dark Sky gives you hyper-local weather, radar, and storm alerts that will save you from any packing slip-ups. Using GPS, the app can create forecasts for your precise location or future locations and give you down-to-the-minute alerts before it starts raining. You can even create your own custom notifications covering the next 24 hours for things like temperature, wind, precipitation, and more. It also might be the world’s chicest weather app.
Traveling internationally? If you don’t want to rack up international data and roaming charges while you’re outside of your native borders, but you don’t want to lug around a heavy paper guidebook or cumbersome map, City Maps 2Go is for you. The app lets you save comprehensive, detailed street maps of whatever city you’re visiting—which you can both bookmark and annotate—and it gives you guides and destination suggestions, all without an Internet connection. Genius.
Traveling is all about making discoveries, but given all the costs that go into a trip, you can feel very slighted if you wind up spending all your time in a tourist trap or blowing a day’s work in a lackluster restaurant. A new app in private beta, Spot is here to change that, helping users find “the best places in the world.” The app delivers smart and personalized recommendations for restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels based on experts. Get excited for a trip you won’t stop raving about.
Will you be needing a car the next time you travel? Or would you like to save a little money on your trip? FlightCar is a peer-to-peer car-sharing company that operates at airports, offering both affordable rental cars and free airport parking to travelers. Sign up and you’ll get free parking, plus complimentary transport to and from the airport, and a fellow traveler will rent your car at a great rate. Directly within the app, you can keep track of your car’s status and see who’s renting. And yes, the service is fully insured.
Let’s be honest: Half the fun of traveling is eating, isn’t it? It’s also pretty great when you can get a local, insider’s experience. That’s why we love Off the Menu, which unveils a list of secret menu items at restaurants, bars, and cafés in 16 cities across the U.S. and Canada. It covers everything from fast-food spots like In-N-Out to fine dining establishments like Spago. Talk about earning some local cred, fast.
You can burn out really fast on walking around (and eating and drinking) while you travel. Spice things up and book yourself an activity the next time you leave home. Peek is your one-stop shop to discover great activities while you travel. You can search by categories like “Off the Beaten Path, “What to Do With Kids,” “Walking Tours,” and more, as well as drill down by neighborhoods or points of interest like “Eiffel Tower” or “Chinatown.” The app offers activities in 17 major U.S. regions, as well as Cabo, Cancún, London, and Paris.
Want to get a local’s perspective when your plane touches down? Ventoura will connect you with locals you can hire to show you the hidden treasures of their city, or simply just hang. Go cliff diving in a secret, tourist-free spot. Take a gallery spot. Discover the best local tour. Or just practice your language skills. If you’re a local, you’ll get paid for providing awesome experiences for travelers—and have fun at the same time. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make a friend.
Have a layover and three hours to kill? Just can’t get a signal? Need to entertain yourself before hotel check-in? Wi-Fi Finder will help you locate free and paid Wi-Fi hotspots where you are in the world. You can search for public Wi-Fi, filter results by local, or even call up that coffee shop to learn more details—like if they serve lunch!
What travel apps do you live by? Tell us below.