“Don’t leave home without it!”
You might remember this slogan from American Express’s popular campaign.
Decades later, this phrase still applies to our lives. Except rather than a plastic card, it’s our cell phone we should never leave home without.
Especially when we’re leaving home to travel to a different country.
Phones have everything we need. Contact information, internet access, a calendar and a calculator. But the most lifesaving thing on our phone? Apps.
As Apple says in another famous campaign, “There’s an app for that.” There’s an app for everything these days. In fact, that’s the problem.
When preparing for a big trip, you’ll want to download smartphone apps to organize your flights, food, lodging and other essential services.
It’s overwhelming. And all these apps take up a lot of space on your phone.
Find travel apps that can cover several of these handy functions at once, or “multifunctional” apps. This way, you can spend less time on your phone and more time enjoying your travels!
How Do You Choose the Best Travel Apps For You?
Every journey is different. Are you alone or with a group?
Are you traveling light or moving with everything but the kitchen sink?
Is this a short weekend jaunt or a six-month stay-cation?
Are you a big spender or more of a thrifty type?
Yep, there’s an app for all these types of travelers and trips.
Modern travel apps combine expert advice with guidance from other travelers. Foodies, spa gurus, photographers and other explorers have made their mark in the phone app world. Now you can follow in their digital footsteps.
The 12 Best Travel Apps for Adventuring Like a Boss
What makes a travel app multifunctional?
We’re talking about apps that can book flights, hotels, tours and cruises.
Some of these apps also include budget calculators or language translators.
Not only can all the apps on this list be used for multiple travel purposes, but get this: They’re all available for both iOS and Android devices. And they can sync between various devices.
So let’s take a look. Which of these apps can make your trip as easy as possible?
You might think FluentU is just a language learning app. And, well, you’d be right.
But FluentU offers music videos, audio recordings and flashcards for nine different languages. And with just one account, you can access all nine languages! This is great if you’re a backpacker who plans to visit multiple countries in one trip.
Download the learning features to use them when you can’t connect to the internet. You can even download PDF transcripts of videos! Get started learning a new language here.
A favorite for business travelers or those running on a tight schedule, this app has a myriad of different features for every traveler.
TripCase is connected with Uber, so you can use the app to organize your transportation and accommodation. It also keeps track of small details, such as gate changes and your seat assignment.
Your boss, family or travel buddies can share your schedule in real time. This app isn’t just convenient, it can help keep you safe!
Although the name suggests this is a flight app, a closer look reveals several other handy uses.
Skyscanner provides detailed information about airlines and airports, even the more obscure or hidden ones. It helps you find cheap and convenient connections right down to the location of your seat and in-flight meal.
One of the original all-encompassing travel apps to include maps and itineraries, TripHobo has been collecting tidbits of wanderlust since 2014. That’s made it one of the richest sources of firsthand travel information available online.
TripHobo not only helps you find flights, hotels, tours and places to go out, but it can also create an itinerary based on your specific needs and budget. That includes a calculator that can generate your expenses in multiple currencies.
What started as a grassroots series of backpacker travel books has grown into a cottage industry that includes an impressive digital presence.
The Lonely Planet Travel Guides app works the same way as the old-fashioned guidebooks, by taking personal testimonials from the ground up.
Lonely Planet is a collection of photos, recommendations, ratings, routes and other useful advice from travelers. This fairly new app already contains detailed information for more than 200 cities and offers a smartwatch-compatible version.
Oh, and you can also use the app offline. Major bonus for travelers who often go without Wi-Fi for hours on end!
This app openly boasts they have it all, and we have to agree. KAYAK goes well beyond the basics of price alerts and security wait times.
KAYAK searches hundreds of websites to find the best deals. Then it cross-references that information with your budget, itinerary and travel time.
You can navigate every inch of an airport and import bookings from your Gmail account. With so many different functions, you can potentially store all the information for your trip in this app. Several features are available for offline use. Start planning your journey with KAYAK here.
Handy for people who use other Google features, Google Trips bundles travel plans made through Gmail with programs like Google Maps to build you a unique itinerary. That includes flights, transfers, hotels and other logistical details.
The app offers suggestions for meals, attractions, transportation options and other points of interest along your route.
The information is curated from travelers like yourself and is just as useful offline, an essential feature for those that want to take their tech off the beaten path.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a classic like Expedia!
It began as one of the first online flight trackers, booking programs and hotel search applications. Now it’s mushroomed into an impressive collection of maps, games, tours and tickets. Plus, all the original features are still available.
Price alerts and searches for the best deals are basic parts of the service these days. New features include keeping your essential materials available even without Wi-Fi and a points system that rewards regular users.
Expedia also partners up with several other booking and travel sites to widen their range, and there are versions in almost 30 languages for all you polyglots out there.
Sygic Travel is perfect for travelers who prefer information presented visually.
The app stores your personalized information about your accommodation, rental cars and tour groups. Then Sygic puts it all on a GPS map. This feature is literally a life saver if you’re driving on a road trip.
The app partners up with other online services like Booking.com to add even more resources to an impressive database that includes local activities, accessible hotels and specialized tours. The Guide function picks out local points of interest to add to your itinerary.
TripScout functions like Sygic or Lonely Planet in that it uses advice gleaned from independent travelers and bloggers.
TripScout includes video and audio guidance in addition to images. You can get basic directions, see a detailed map or follow a video or audio tour to your destination.
The app currently specializes in secret local venues that only a seasoned local or a tourist with sharp eyes would be able to find. It includes information for 75 cities.
But what makes TripScout completely different from all the others apps on this list? The company also manages travel companies’ Instagram accounts to help them grow their businesses. If you’re in the travel industry, take a look.
Whether you’re taking a two-day road trip or running a travel business, check out how to get started with TripScout here.
Tailored to those that are traveling alone, this app isn’t only for those on vacation.
The app is designed for meetups and connections, so it also works well for professionals who are on a tight schedule and need to arrive on time for crucial events.
You can join a group for something simple and functional, such as a rideshare. Or book a longer activity, like a multi-day hike.
SoloTraveller customizes your needs and preferences to help you find other adventurers. The more you use the app, the greater your community of travel companions and their connected resources becomes.
With so many multifunctional apps to compete with, TripIt has distinguished itself with a unique approach. The app not only helps you plan your journey and organizes your information in one place. It also continues to guide you every step of the way.
Enter your flight information, and TripIt keeps tabs on your schedule. Let’s say your flight’s been delayed. TripIt receives an alert and provides you with alternative options.
The app is available on an impressive variety of platforms and devices. Even Apple Watch and Android Wear!
Those 12 apps might cover just about everything. Even that old credit card is now connected to a smartphone travel app.
Whether you’re rocking a tablet, laptop or smartphone, choose the app that’s right for you and your travels. Now the world is literally at your fingertips.
Kristy Ambrose has been writing professionally since 2010. She dabbles in various genres, including everything from short blog posts to serialized novels. Her inspiration comes from gamers, beachcombers, foodies and of course her fellow travelers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Victoria.
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