Travel season is in full swing, which means, for many, it's time to request time off, set your out-of-office automatic response, and jet away to a dreamy destination. For a seamless vacation, pack well, plan ahead, and download a few of the best travel apps to help you get the most from your journey and enjoy every minute of your trip.
A quick search in the app store will reveal tools that can alert you of flight delays and cancellations, advise you about local weather, help you map a route in a foreign city, show you how to discover under-the-radar eateries and bars, and so much more. Don't plan your next trip without consulting this list of the best travel apps around.
For those who like to be prepared for anything and everything when traveling, FlightAware provides real-time updates on flight arrivals and departures. It will even show you when a plane is taxiing. This comes in handy when picking someone up from the airport or trying to catch a connecting flight. Download this travel app now to stay up to date on all the flight information you need.
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.
City Maps 2Go
Traveling internationally? If you’re looking to avoid international data and roaming charges while you’re outside of your native borders but don’t want to lug around a heavy paper guidebook or cumbersome map, City Maps 2Go is for you. One of the best travel apps you can find, this tool lets you save comprehensive, detailed street maps of whatever city you’re visiting—which you can both bookmark and annotate—and 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 easily end up feeling 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 about a trip you won’t stop raving about.
If your worst fear when traveling is missing an announcement about a gate change or flight delay, you need this app. TripCase acts as your trip manager, delivering timely notification concerning last-minute updates, as well as information you’ll want before boarding, like travel time, plane type, and airport maps. You can also keep track of hotel bookings and car rentals through the app and even order an Uber to pick you up when you land, all in the same place.
Off the Menu
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, making it one of the best travel apps for avid foodies. We’re all 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.
An international traveler’s dream, the Mobile Passport app lets you breeze through U.S. Customs and Border Protection at 25 airports and one cruise port. Simply fill out your flight information on your phone when you land and answer the usual customs questions, and you’ll be allowed to stand in a special line that will help you speed through the pesky process.
If you’re one for spontaneous trips, you’ll want to download Hotel Tonight before your next vacation (or on the way to the airport after you make a spur-of-the-moment decision to jet off to the next country on your bucket list). The app offers a variety of hotel accommodations to fit your price range and additional needs, which you can note directly in the app. You’ll be able to book last-minute and enjoy your next adventure.
Download these travel apps to make sure your next trip goes off without a hitch and shop travel essentials below.
Travel in Style
This post was originally published on November 19, 2015, and has since been updated.