As smartphones continue to get smarter, travelers are increasingly reliant on them to get from point A to point B. This has caused a recent influx of apps that provide a much needed solution for a common travel pain. While this seemingly endless supply of apps is revolutionary, there are some that rise above. Below are the top 7 travel apps that help travelers get the most bang for their buck. For those who are traveling abroad, nearly all of these apps should be used in tandem with our list of international travel apps to make every trip equally easy.
Hopper is a great travel app that analyzes billions of flight prices to help travelers save up to 40% on their next flight. After launching the app and inputting start and end destinations, Hopper opens up a great color coded calendar view of prices. Above the calendar, there is a summary of flight costs including how much a “good deal” should cost as well as the average price difference between direct flights and flights with stops. Once travel dates are selected, Hopper provides a more detailed price breakdown and, most importantly a price prediction. Below are screenshots of the calendar and travel date views. For the dates selected, Hopper suggests waiting for a better price and notifications can be set up to alert users when that occurs.
It is important to note that tickets purchased through Hopper are non-refundable, so make sure all plans are finalized before booking through them. Nevertheless, Hopper is a great travel app for people who like to get a deal on flights, which means everyone!
Gasbuddy is the perfect travel app for the road warrior that prefers actually traveling on the road. This travel app crowdsources its data and encourages users to report gas prices as they drive or fill up their cars. This helps ensure as up-to-date prices as possible. Gasbuddy recognizes that many drivers love their cars and are not completely willing to sacrifice quality for a good deal. To accommodate this, name-brand gas stations have “top tier” written next to their names.
One downside to GasBuddy is that in less populated areas, their data will not be as accurate because there are fewer users to report live prices. However, older data can still be used to find which gas station has, historically, had the cheapest gas in the area. That same station will likely continue to have the cheapest gas. Furthermore, as the app becomes more and more popular, this problem will slowly dwindle. GasBuddy is the perfect travel for road warriors to find the best gas deals in their area and along their route.
Nearly everyone has used Google Maps, and for many, Google Maps has completely replaced the built in navigation system in their car. While many other navigation apps are popping up, with Waze in the forefront, Google still reigns supreme (especially since Google owns Waze). Google Maps has integrated the best features of many travel apps and placed them into one convenient interface. Not only does it provide basic navigation, but it also includes traffic, expected traffic, and business hours. And that’s just for personal transport. For those who need a travel app that can help them with public transportation or provide a walking route. Google has those functionalities as well. Public transportation includes bus and train routes along with their cost. At the bottom of the public transportation view, there is a link to Uber which provides the estimated UberX cost in case it happens to be cheaper than public transportation. One last key feature of Google Maps is its Google integration which allows travelers to look something up on the computer and have it show up on their mobile phone.
Google Maps is the perfect travel app for travelers who need quick directions. An extra bonus feature of Google Maps is its limited offline functionality. Even when in airplane mode, Google Maps can track a user’s current location. This is incredibly helpful when traveling abroad. Before leaving wifi, travelers can drop a pin at a desired destination then guide their blue dot towards it.
Nothing is worse than a cancelled or delayed flight, and nothing is better than an impromptu weekend trip with friends, Hotel Tonight is the perfect travel app for both. Through exclusive deals with some of the best hotels in any given area, Hotel Tonight is able to find last-minute discounts on unsold rooms, which means great last-minute deals. This app is great for many reasons. One, it shows a list of hotels in the immediate area that are offering last minute room deals. This is perfect for the stranded traveler who wants a nice, hip hotel without breaking the bank. Two, it provides detailed information about the hotel including amenities and reviews. Last, it has an “escape” section which shows all the weekend getaway deals for popular destinations in the area. The app is beautiful, easy to use, and the perfect price, free! There is even a referral option so travelers can plan with friends and get $25 off for each referral.
Hotel Tonight may not be the travel app of choice for those who like to plan ahead, but for the spontaneous traveler, or the one who is caught off guard, it is a life, and money, saver.
Expensify is a travel app geared directly towards business travelers who need to track expenses during business trips. Expensify has made the reimbursement process astonishingly simple. With their SmartScan Technology, users take a picture of their receipt and Expensify will “read” the receipt and create an expense. Expenses can also be logged using the merchant’s name and the total cost. For travelers who need to be reimbursed gas costs, expensify has 3 tracking methods: distance, odometer, and GPS. Distance and odometer have the user input the number of miles traveled which is then multiplied by a mileage rate. GPS tracks where the traveler is driving and provides accurate mileage for reimbursement. There is also an option to create a report for hourly charges. The best part of Expensify is its trip tracker. Simply email an itinerary to receipts@expensify and Expensify will create automatic expense reports based on that itinerary, as well as keep travelers aware with free flight updates. Lastly, Expensify has an an offline mode, which means international travelers can track expenses even when wifi is not available.
Expensify removes a lot of the stress of business travel by making reimbursements easy to track, both for employees and employers.
PackPoint is a great travel app for both the organized and disorganized traveler. Packpoint uses three easy steps to make sure travelers are prepared for every situation they will face. Step 1: location, length of trip, and purpose of trip. Step 2: expected activities. Step 3: pack and check. Packpoint uses the first two steps to create the list of items in step 3. Each item in step 3 can be added to or deleted. Once that item is safely packed away, simply check it off and move on to the next item. PackPoint is great because it doesn’t just include clothing. It reminds travelers to pack chargers, toiletries, and medications.
Gone are the days of realizing socks, or even worse, phone chargers, were left at home. PackPoint is the perfect travel app to help travelers stay prepared by creating a packing list that takes into account business or leisure travel, activities, and weather.
All the travel apps listed above can get travelers to their destination on a budget and well prepared, but now what? This is where TripAdvisor steps in. By crowdsourcing reviews of various tourist destinations, TripAdvisor is able to provide the best possible list of attractions and restaurants to travelers. While TripAdvisor does offer hotel and flight searches, both of these were covered by other apps earlier in this article so we’ll be focusing on their attraction and restaurant lists. TripAdvisor’s list of attractions in any given location provides travelers with all the information they would need: average rating, total number of ratings, distance from current location, smart-tags, and, when available, a link to book a tour. Furthermore, clicking on a specific attraction opens up a full list which provides pictures, tour bookings, a short Wikipedia blurb, address, expected Uber prices, and then the detailed text reviews.
Travelers can get so caught in the planning of the trip that they often forget to have fun. TripAdvisor is the travel app that makes sure the travel experience is more than just planning. Through a combination of user reviews, tour bookings, and helpful integrations, TripAdvisor makes sure travelers are able to create lasting memories.
Have a travel app that was missing from this list? Share it below and help out your fellow road warriors!