We are so incredibly lucky to be living in the time that we are. Traveling has become so much easier thanks to the use of modern technology and the internet. We don’t have to worry about getting lost in an unfamiliar area because we have GPS. Confused about what someone is saying in a foreign language? Check Google Translate – you can type OR speak into it and get both translations back. It’s fantastic! But apart from the obvious choices, here are a few other travel apps that will make your next vacation even better.
Originally published June 14, 2017. Currently being updated December 2019.
This has to be my favorite app to use when planning a trip or in the midst of traveling. Roadtrippers lets you set your starting point and your destination so you can plan the roadtrip along the way! You can set the distance off the route that you are willing, and then select categories for what types of things you are looking to do. My husband and I usually check for local breweries, parks, and ‘offbeat attractions’. The app will then incorporate all of the stops that you choose and update your route, including total mileage, travel time, and estimated gas cost. You can even share your trip with your friend(s) so you can all contribute to the trip! This app has helped me find some of my favorite stops on our roadtrips that I otherwise never would have known about.
I’ve been an avid supporter of Expedia for years. They almost always have the best prices on flights and hotels, and their loyalty program is fantastic. I also got an Expedia+ credit card so that I earn points toward free nights at hotels and have automatic VIP+ Access. So far I’ve booked nearly ten free hotel nights – no blackout dates or anything! And the VIP+ hotels usually offer us a free meal or cocktail, which is an added bonus. Now I always book my hotels through the Expedia app – usually for double or triple rewards points too!
Yelp is another one that has been around for a while now, but I still praise it! Not only is it a great source for finding local restaurants with accurate reviews, but when you check in at a restaurant, brewery, or other attraction, sometimes you’ll unlock a ‘check-in offer’! It can vary from $1 off your entry at a park, or a free glass of wine with dinner. Doesn’t matter what it is, you know I love a good deal!
One of my favorite travel apps! This is a great app for unexpected overnight stays away from home or stopovers on long roadtrips. This app offers super-discounted rates for hotel stays within the coming week. The closer the date, the better the rate. My husband and I use this when we are on long roadtrips and we aren’t sure where we will end up on a given night – which is the best! It lets us be flexible and choose where to stop without being constricted to a set destination but being too tired to keep driving. Tip: the app also offers better rates than the hotels do outright; we tested it. The first time we used the app, we called the hotel we wanted to book to see what their rate was for the night and it was nearly twice what the app offered. There are also reward tiers for using the app often. Even better? Use the code DPATCHETT to get $25 off the first time you book a hotel using the app!
When I’m searching for flights, Google Flights and Kayak are by far my favorite search engines. But a flight isn’t always your best option. When you’d rather travel by train or bus, Wanderu is your new best friend. Wanderu does for land travel what Kayak does for air; it searches all of the companies and routes available to offer you the best options. You can then sort by departure or arrival time, cost, or length. It’s really great.
Traveling abroad? Make sure you have WhatsApp and that your friends back home have it too! WhatsApp is by far the best app to use to call or text your friends and family while you are abroad. It’s basically all of the important features of a telephone, but powered by wifi only. You can create groups, video chat, send pictures… And it’s based off of your actual phone number, so be sure to have the international numbers saved in your phone with their country codes.
So before your next trip, make sure you download these apps to have with you. Your vacation will be cheaper, less stressful, and more enjoyable! Of course, don’t forget to download the local public transportation app to help you understand the schedules and get around town, or Waze if you are driving. National Geographic recently published their own list of best travel apps; so check theirs out too!