Preparation and finding places
There’s always something we forget to do before a trip, whether it’s failing to pack a pair of slippers or change some currency. Take a look at these apps to keep you on track. Looking for a spot for lunch? Have some extra time and want to check out another museum? Scroll down for apps that offer up things to do and the best-rated places to eat during your stay.
Hipmunk is an all-in-one resource for on-the-go adventurers. It helps you discover destinations you’ll like, and then allows for swift flight and in-app hotel booking, offering up the lowest available airline and hotel prices. You can search by continent, country, region, or city to see flights rated by their degree of “agony” such as time-consuming layovers, duration, and price. Comparison-shop hotels by viewing guest star ratings. Hotel “heat maps” visualize lodging’s proximity to shopping, dining, and entertainment. Say you’re having a blast and want to stay longer? No problem. The app’s Tonight Deals can get you up to 60% off the price of a hotel room.
Making a checklist of everything you need to pack can be useful, but what if one’s already made for you? Packpoint looks at the weather forecast for the dates and location of your trip. It will also ask you to select activities you may participate in during your trip, like a meeting for business, a swim at a pool, or a fancy dinner. It will then offer up a list of items you should pack based on these activities, along with general items you’d need on any trip. You can remove items you don’t think are necessary, as well as share lists with others, in case your friends need some help, too. You can now hide or tap and hold to re-order items on your list.
While it’s not the prettiest app, XE Currency is one of the more robust currency converter apps available for both iOS and Android. It’s constantly being updated and offers live exchange rates for “every world currency and precious metals.” What’s neat is that it can store the most recent rates so you can access them if your device is offline. Also neat is Siri shortcut support.
Traveling to the U.S.? Mobile Passport lets you skip the regular line to enter the country and is officially authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. All you need to do skip long lines is download this app and add your passport information — you can do this quickly by scanning it with your phone’s camera. Mobile Passport is accepted at 24 airports in the U.S., so we’d recommend checking ahead of time to see if your airport supports the app. A premium version is available for $15 per year and offers the convenience of a digital scanner and secure storage of your passports.
Google’s Trips app can pull reservations from your email, adding hotel bookings, car rental details, and more. In doing so, it creates an underlying framework for your trip without you having to do much. Once it’s set up, you can browse through the app to look at curated day trips, as well as suggested and popular places to visit or eat at, and you can plan your whole day. You can now add notes to places in lists and manage travel notifications in settings. Google Trips lets you store this data offline as well, so you can access your itinerary and important information at any time.
TripAdvisor is a catch-all app when it comes to travel. You can quickly peruse millions of reviews, opinions, videos, and photos pertaining to just about anything related to your trip — bars, restaurants, hotels, airlines, and more. You can use TripAdvisor’s Near Me function to find well-reviewed places close by, but the best feature the app has to offer is the number of countries it supports — it’s just about everywhere, making it a necessary guide for every traveler. You can also ask specific travel questions in the app’s forums or add your own reviews in a similar fashion to Yelp. New updates let you access your personal travel feed, find friends and get expert advice, and save travel ideas for the future.
Yelp has officially become the Yellow Pages of restaurant and bars, and its use extends not just to the U.S., but all around the world. Its most powerful feature is the sheer number of reviews housed in the app — it’s an excellent resource for when you’re looking to hit some of the best spots in the country you’re visiting. Yelp also offers hours of operation, a phone number for listings, and sometimes even a menu, so you can be as prepared as possible before heading out.