Best Travel Apps
Smartphone travel apps have become essential to successfully planning, managing, and documenting our travels. They make life easier from the initial planning phases on through finding our way around wherever we may be. In this post we review what we think are the best travel apps for iOS or Android.
As we discussed in an earlier post, we like to get creative with our flight planning. Below we outline the best apps for flight deals.
What is the best app to check airfare deals? One word: Skyscanner. Skyscanner is one of our favorite methods for booking cheap flights, and their free travel app is fantastic. Using the search function, Skyscanner allows you to enter a destination of “everywhere,” so you can easily browse the cheapest destinations from your departure city. On the flip side, when we are looking for the cheapest options from within the U.S., we search using “United States” as the “from” and “everywhere” or our specific destination for the “to.” This way we can see what the absolute cheapest route may be and then book a cheap domestic flight or drive to whatever departing airport is the best. A new great feature is the “explore” tab, which allows you to explore the top deals with no specific dates in mind. Overall, Skyscanner is typically where I start first in my cheap flight search, or simply to gain inspiration for where our next destination may be.
The Momondo free travel app works great alongside Skyscanner as one of the best flight booking apps. My favorite feature in the Momondo app is the “price calendar.” This handy bar graph shows you the prices on a daily basis, allowing you to determine which days are the cheapest flights. I also like to set price alerts in Momondo once I have a rough idea of my route, just to make sure the price doesn’t change too much.
App in the Air
App in the Air is the best international travel app on my phone. Flying can be a logistical nightmare – worrying about keeping your flight itinerary straight, getting notified of delays, and finding your departure gates. App in the Air makes it all a breeze. You simply add your trip using flight numbers and dates, and App in the Air handles the rest. Departure gates, times, terminal maps, and delays are all quickly accessible in a single location. App in the Air has even notified me of a cancelled flight long before the airline ever bothered to contact me. Pro tip: add your friends’ itineraries and track their flights so you know when to pick them up at the airport.
Individual Airline App (Delta for us)
Although we use Skyscanner and Momondo for finding cheap flights, we almost always book directly with the airline. We use our Delta Airlines travel app for booking flights, keeping our rental cars straight, and checking into flights. It also makes it easy to add the boarding pass to your phone and keeps your life paper free.
Getting Around Travel Apps
Landing in a new city can be a daunting prospect. Language barriers, incomplete information, and simple navigation can make your first few hours in a new place a nightmare. The first thing we do when arriving is to purchase a sim card for our phone so that we immediately have data. This helps to alleviate the confusion of arriving thanks to the two best travel guide apps below
Uber has changed the way we find transportation throughout the world. Knowing that you will (almost) always have the constant of Uber is very reassuring. We have used Uber all throughout the U.S., Peru, and South Africa. It takes the fear and language barrier away from getting around the city. If you’re new to Uber, make sure to download it and give it a try at home first. Download the app and use the Invite code r75r9 to save on your first few trips.
Google Maps has gotten us out of a navigation pinch a time or two. With the new offline maps feature, it makes getting around that much easier. No longer worry about finding your way or utilizing paper maps again. Google Maps will navigate you by car, foot, or even public transport.
Travel Photography Apps
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, it’s time to start documenting it! The best travel apps for iPhone must contain photography apps. The stunning photos produced by our iPhone are a main way we document our travels.
Camera (iPhone 7)
For the majority of our travel photography, we use the built in camera app on our iPhone 7. The iPhone camera app provides the majority of the functionality we need for good lighting conditions, and the panoramic feature is fantastic for landscape shots.
The Adobe Lightroom app is acgame changer for our travel photography. Giving us almost the full functionality of Lightroom, we are able to quickly edit on the fly when using a computer is less practical. Lightroom for iPhone also allows you to take photos directly from the app with full manual controls. Adjust the exposure, white balance, ISO, and aperture all manually for maximum creative control.
For our GoPro, we like to use the Capture app. This allows us to easily control our GoPro from our phone within the app, snapping pictures whether the GoPro is dangling off a cliff, on the roof of a car, or underwater.
No trip is complete without sharing the photos with your friends. To quickly share our experiences, we snap photos on our iPhone, post-process in Lightroom, and immediately upload to Instagram.
Other Useful Travel Apps
A must for getting accommodation at your destination, the app is great and easy to navigate. We like to utilize the map search to find accommodation in just the right spot. If you’ve never used AirBnB before, make sure to give it a try. Get $40 off your first stay by clicking here
Dropbox/Google Drive/iCloud Drive
The cloud storage apps Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud Drive have turned logistical nightmares into the simplest endeavors. Not only do we use Dropbox to manage all of our business files, it is also crucial for managing all of the documents, booking confirmations, reservations, and more that come with any trip. Never worry about losing a booking confirmation or forgetting an important document again.
Staying organized and getting things done can be a challenge when always on the road. With Wunderlist, we assign each other to do tasks to make sure we stay on top of things. It’s a great tool for Instagram as well, as we can upload photos from our computer into Wunderlist, add the hashtags we will use, and set a reminder for when to post.
The best app for long flights, Podcasts help to keep you entertained through all of the travel. Our favorite is Radiolab, helping us to learn while we are on the road or in the air.
Great for audio and video calls over data, Skype and Facetime are essential for keeping up with friends and family back home, or even for work calls that won’t rest for your vacation.
Whatsapp and Messages (iPhone)
Messaging over data has made communicating across international boundaries simple. If you and the person you’re communicating use an iPhone, the built in Messages app will automatically do this for you without the fear of high international text message charges. The rest of the world typically uses Whatsapp, which is also great for communicating with any type of phone over data. Whatsapp also now does data calls, so no need to worry about international fees. Both can also be used via Wi-Fi if you don’t have an international data plan or sim card.
Going to wine country? Rate and remember everything you try with Vivino. Since we like to try lots of different wines wherever we go, it can be a challenge to remember what you like and don’t like. Vivino even builds a flavor profile for you based on your ratings.
As soon as we book a trip, we start putting in all the important dates and itinerary into our shared calendar using the iPhone calendar app. Share a calendar between you and your travel companions so everyone is on the same page, no one misses any flights, and everyone arrives on time.
If you’re like us, you do a million things every time you travel, and remembering all the details can be a challenge. What did I eat for lunch the second day in Spain? The Notes app on our iPhone has made our lives easier. We jot down all those hard to remember details so we don’t forget by the end of the trip.
Do you use any travel apps that we didn’t cover here? Leave a comment below and we’ll test it out! Feel free to contact us if you want more advice on how to best utilize any of the apps above!