“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
– St. Augustine
Nowadays, it is rare to see a traveler bring a book on vacation or to a business meeting, but it is almost guaranteed you’ll see them carrying a Kindle, iPad or smart phone. Through these electronic devices comes a world of new applications designed to make our lives and activities simpler and streamlined. Some of these apps are invaluable to helping make travel easier and more affordable, with tools that feature everything from monitoring flights to finding good restaurants or clean bathrooms. With hundreds of thousands of apps out there, it’s hard to determine which are indispensable and which will waste more time than they are worth. We've compiled a list of the best apps we have used and tested that we recommend for the business or leisure traveler. Please feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below this post. We wish you happy and stress-free travels!
First, if you are part of the social media community and have a Facebook or Twitter account, log on and search for the hotel and the brand of the hotel you’ll be staying at during your trip and “friend” or “follow” them. This will give you a direct link to the hotel. You’ll be able to learn about specials, things happening in the city, and you can let the hotel know you are coming which opens the door for direct communication and assistance if needed. Not all hotels utilize social media, but some of the cities, travel bureaus, airlines or local businesses do!
Your Hotel or Hotel Brand’s Mobile App
Individual hotels and hotel brands are developing their own mobile apps complete with all the information a guest or potential guest would need regarding the hotel or brand, including contact information, amenities, outlet hours, in-room dining menus, maps and even the ability to make a reservation.
Packing (+TO DO!)
Packing for a trip causes high anxiety for some travelers. Become a packing expert with this easy app. You can create lists of all necessary and luxury items you need to bring and you can check them off as you go. It’s an easy tool to help you remember all the items you need to bring that might get left behind – i.e. “I forgot to bring my camera….”
Keeping track of all your travel documents, confirmation numbers, and itineraries can be a hassle. The TripIt app allows users to organize your entire trip details into one compact itinerary, access it whenever you need to and share it with other members of your traveling group. The app also sends you email alerts about flight delays or last minute changes, so you are informed before you start your journey.
Looking for the best nearby places & things to do wherever you are? This app shows you what’s around your location from Starbucks to movie theaters and show times. A great app to discover great local places and offers, customized to your location.
Instantly find FREE Wi-Fi Internet hotspots wherever you are in the world online or offline! The app uses your phone’s GPS and network triangulation capabilities to locate free Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Finder tracks over 200,000 hotspots in 135 countries.
This app features subway maps for about 128 different cities around the world. Each map is available offline, which is perfect for navigating from the web of the metro, “El”, or “T” as it is called in different cities. Even though the maps are not interactive, it is great to be able to pull it up whenever you need it without looking like a tourist.
Traveling to a foreign place can be intimidating if you are unfamiliar with the language. Luckily there is Google Translate which can translate words and phrases into 57 different languages using voice recognition software. You can speak or type words or phrases and the translation will appear on the screen. Audio playback is also available for certain languages.
This one is for the business travelers or road warriors – automate your entire expense report process with the Expensify app. You can track purchases as they happen or take pictures of your paper receipts and the app will pull out the pertinent information and add it to your report. All your work is already done by the time you get back to the office!
The ultimate restroom finder. There are more than 99,000 restrooms mapped out for you with details like hours and changing-table availability. Great to help plan the next pit stop or emergency bathroom break.
Urbanspoon can help you decide where to eat if you are having trouble and it makes it fun! Search options are displayed through a slot machine by neighborhood, cuisine, and price. You can search nearby restaurants or explore a particular neighborhood or cuisine on your own. It also offers critics reviews and menus.
Scrapbook anytime, anywhere by documenting all your vacation experiences and sharing them with your friends and family immediately with the Trip Journal app. It offers trip tracking, recording, documenting and sharing features! Let the adventures begin!