Travel agents? Who needs one when you have a smartphone? Planning a trip can be a pain, but it’s 2019 and you have all the necessary tools to make mapping out your vacation a breeze. From the App Store to Google Play, we’ve rounded up some of the best travel apps to keep stress to a bare minimum.
Are you going on a trip abroad? One of the best things to do for your internet safety is to subscribe to a good VPN service, and to make sure you can get to all your favorite websites and bypass any blocks in the country you’re visiting. We tested them all and picked the best VPNs available.
Booking a trip and getting around
Finding the most affordable flight and hotel, while making sure you’ll have plenty of spending cash during your trip, can be a little tough. Check out these travel-booking apps to be a master planner. Once your trip is booked, you can use the best flight-tracking apps to make sure traveling is as seamless as possible. You’ll also need some directions once you’ve arrived to make sure you get to your hotel and see everything that you want to see.
Airport travel, especially within the United States, can be a confusing and daunting experience. MyTSA, a U.S. government-sponsored app, demystifies all the rules you need to follow in order to avoid a staredown and possible delays by security agents who are trying to do their jobs. Discover which items you can bring with you through the security checkpoint and onto the aircraft, request live assistance from the Transportation Safety Administration, check how historically busy your chosen airport will be on a given day, check crowd-sourced security wait times and offer your own estimates, check for delays and current weather conditions, and how to access and sign up for TSA PreCheck to get you through security in a jiffy.
Flights, hotels, rental cars — Skyscanner has got you covered. The app searches for the most affordable and best options via its travel partners. Similar to Google Flights, you can see the cheapest dates to fly, and you can also get alerts when prices change. If you’re not sure where exactly you want to go, Skyscanner offers a category that lets you explore “Top Deals” from your nearest airport, as well as a curated list of destinations at affordable prices. You can now monitor your bookings with status updates in Trips and move booked flights from one trip to another in the Trips tab. This lets you move things around without losing your saved details.
For many, Kayak has been the go-to trip planning destination for quite a while — and for good reason. Like Skyscanner, Kayak searches across various travel sites for rental cars, hotels, and flights. Kayak often has exclusive deals you won’t find on other sites, and you can set price alerts and use Price Forecast to see whether you should buy now or wait. Kayak also acts as a trip planner, offering up important details at a glance like your hotel confirmation number or gate number. You can also access these details in real time, and on devices such as the Apple Watch. The app now suggests hotels at launch, and can even pinpoint results if you’re traveling with kids while the car search now supports addresses.
If you’re really looking to get the cheapest possible price for a plane ticket, you need to download the award-winning Hopper. Like Kayak and Skyscanner, you can look at the cheapest dates to fly, but Hopper prides itself on telling you when to buy your tickets via push notifications. The company claims it can save you up to 40% on your next flight by analyzing and tracking billions of flights. The user interface is simple, and Hopper says you can book a flight in 60 seconds or less. You can now set a watch for a specific hotel you want to stay in instead of setting a watch for the entire city where it’s located.
Whether it’s legal in the city you’re visiting or not, Airbnb is a household name. The app undercuts hotels by offering far cheaper prices, and a more authentic experience by allowing you to stay with a local, or in their home. The app also offers a feature called Trips, which offers Experiences to choose from during your stay — these are curated events you can partake in with local guides. Eventually, the app will become an all-in-one travel app that lets you plan your day, book a car, and more.
Did your Airbnb plans fall through? Did your flights get delayed at your layover? You never know what will happen with your booking, and Hotel Tonight is a reliable service that thrives on last-minute deals. The company partners with hotels to offer discounts on empty rooms, and you’ll be able to book one in under 10 seconds. You also get 24/7 customer service from the Hotel Tonight team, in case something goes awry. The app has launched a Daily Drop feature that offers a super economical deal for the day. You can also book multiple rooms in a single go and broadcast that info via group chat.
Active in about 173 Countries and 785 metropolitan areas, Uber is the global king of ridesharing apps. The app pioneered on-demand services, and it can be particularly handy when you’re abroad. You can quickly request a car directly within the app after perusing an assortment of differing vehicle rates and fare quotes. Afterward, you can connect with your personal driver, track the approaching car’s location, and securely pay your fare using a credit card — no cash needed. Rather than trying to find a taxi or a taxi stand, just bring one straight to you. Uber is constantly updating its app to improve features like trip sharing, ride selection, and tipping.
Google Maps is widely regarded as the best navigation app around. It offers directions for travel by car, on public transit, on foot, by cab, or on bicycle. You’ll find it fairly reliable in offering up local public transportation options in many countries, and you can also download specific areas for offline use. You can also use Maps to find out when places like museums or restaurants close, and check to see how busy a place is in real time. You can even search for hotels by features like free Wi-Fi, pet-friendly, or air-conditioned, for example. You can now view and manage all your favorite places from the Your Places page.
With a growing list of countries under its belt, Citymapper is one of the best tools to find and use public transportation. It connects with a few ridesharing services, offers the fastest way to arrive at your destination, and best of all, lets you check out subway and train times offline for a number of cities. You can subscribe to specific train or bus lines, and the app can even alert you when you need to get off the bus, which is handy when you’re riding for the first time in a new country. The app now features a SuperRouter that lets you view floating brands like cycles, scooters, mopeds, car sharing with full travel times — including walking and availability. A wheelchair accessible section is now available for some locations.