We reckon you might need some convincing on this front. As far as must-have apps go, nothing invented thus far can replace Google Maps, Airbnb, Uber and Lyft. And, of course, Spotify. If you travel abroad often, you should clear a bit of room for a currency exchange app like XE, so you don’t accidentally end up spending your life savings on a trinket to commemorate your trip.
But beyond these basics, we’d like to suggest a few more.
Before your trip…
Google Trips is a standout for doing what apps were invented to do: making your life easier and more fun. It lifts all your trip info from your Gmail accounts, so you can access your reservations with or without WiFi—and without scrolling through endless emails. It also acts like a personalized guide book, offering maps and tours—as well as restaurant and destination suggestions—near where you’re staying.
PackPoint takes the guesswork out of packing by acting like a robot mini-me of Marie Kondo. After entering your travel destination and the length of your stay, PackPoint plans out exactly what you should pack by factoring in climate, predicted weather conditions, and the adventures you’ll be getting up to on your trip.
PRUVO will steal your heart if you thrill at getting the best hotel room at the cheapest rate possible. And its tactic is quite genius. After you’ve booked a room, register your reservation on the app. They’ll continually check to see if a better rate for the same type of room becomes available, and will rebook your reservation to score the best deal.
Airhelp is like your own personal small claims litigator for flight snafus. According to this app’s analysis of US and EU law, travelers are entitled to up to $700 if their flight gets delayed, canceled or oversold. If this happens, simply register your complaint on the app, and they’ll handle your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis. If you win, they collect 25% of the overall payout. And the rest—including an understandable feeling of delicious vindication—is yours.
LoungeBuddy was recently acquired by American Express, and we can understand why: it aspires to bring travelers back to the golden age of flying, when it was actually fun and chic to be in an airport. Sometimes even the best trips come with an unwanted side dish of hurry up and wait—if you’re flying somewhere amazing, you will likely contend with a layover or two. This app makes the most of this by finding and booking access to lounges all over the world, so users can relax in style while they wait.
At your destination…
TURO is like an Airbnb, but for cars. Meaning that instead of renting the same old rickety junker from the airport car rental, you can spend your vacation tooling around in a vintage convertible Mustang. Which is reason alone for booking a vacation ASAP. This car sharing app has a Porsche Host Program, among other trip-inspiring offers, and also actively recruits cool car owners to rent their own wheels out.
Google Translate is a go-to if you find yourself dining out and have no idea what your menu is offering you. While typing away on your phone at the table isn’t our idea of proper etiquette, it’s not exactly unusual. And getting the correct translation on a few key terms can spell the difference between delicious and nightmare-inducing. This app is also great for learning more about local monuments and decoding certain travel directions.
iOS download, Android download
GeoSure is an essential tool for travelers visiting less touristed destinations. A personal safety device, the app measures the moment-by-moment safety of over 40,000 different neighborhoods across the globe, so you can use your phone to instantly assess whether it’s safe to go out and explore, or better to relax in your temporary abode.
HotelTonight answers an age-old question: “What if we could just stay a few more days?” If your Sunday night departure has you in tears, this app (recently acquired by Airbnb) checks to see if there are any last-minute hotel deals that you’d be crazy not to take advantage of. And if your plotting a close-to-home weekend jaunt on a whim, this is a great resource for finding cheap rooms at the eleventh hour.
Star Walk 2 is the type of magical app that made us fall in love with them in the first place—in part because it’s so beautifully simple. Point it at the stars, and it will instantly show you each of the constellations above you, and will inform you of passing comets and satellites. Nothing makes a night under the stars in a new locale more complete—though you might want to complement your stargazing with a travel piece that celebrates our epic forays into infinity and beyond...
iOS download, Android download