18 Travel Apps You Must Download Before Your Next Trip

Let the tech do the work so you can enjoy the journey.

We travel to get away from it all, but a whole lot of stress can follow us on our vacations, from airport delays to getting lost or overwhelmed once we arrive in an unfamiliar destination. These apps will take a lot of the anxiety out of the process — so let them do the work for you so you can focus on enjoying the journey.

1.  Stayful

Stayful allows you to book a hotel room, check in and out, talk to a concierge, book a dinner reservation, and more — all from the palm of your hand. No fuss, no mess!

2.  Skype

This one may sound obvious, but that doesn't mean it's not essential: Skype's app is free and can be downloaded on any device, and with group video calling now available on mobile, you can connect with up to 24 others on a video call on the go, from anywhere with wi-fi. It’s the perfect way to coordinate your travel itineraries with family members or with your coworkers, and eliminate the need for the annoying group text message or email chain. Instant messaging, both one-to-one and group chats, is also free on the app. Within a Skype chat, you can quickly send instant messages back and forth, share files and photos easily, and send emoticons or Mojis (which are completely unique to Skype and feature sound as well as video).

3.  Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers is a free web and mobile app built to help travelers discover truly interesting places, plan travel itineraries, and navigate their route on the road. Its map-based, and unlike most travel apps using Google's Places API, it has a unique database of millions of places from “weird stuff” like quirky roadside attractions, treehouse hotels, and haunted locations to traditional services like gas stations, motels, and diners. They also give travelers suggested routes (ex: Route 66 GuideRoad Trip Big SurMovie Location Summer Camps). 

4.  Seat Alerts

Seat Alerts is a free app for iOS and Android devices that can help you to get out of the dreaded middle seat or find a more desirable seat on the plane without having to pay more. Here is how it works: First you enter the airline name, flight number, and date of travel. Then specify the type of seat you want, and choose whether you want to find just a “free” seat or a premium seat — up to you. Now set the alert and the app will automatically search for your seat request and notify you by email or text. Once you are notified, simply go to your airline itinerary and change your seat (the seat or type of seat you requested will suddenly appear empty on the airline seating chart). In addition to finding you a better seat, Seat Alerts can also find you a seat on a completely booked flight. 

5.  Hopper

Hopper is an app for iOS and Android devices that analyzes billions of flight prices a day to provide advice about when to fly and buy your plane ticket. Hopper predicts future flight prices with 95 percent accuracy, and it will recommend whether you should buy your flight now or wait for a better price. If the app recommends you wait, Hopper will monitor prices for you and will alert you when it's the perfect time to buy. The average Hopper user saves $50 on airfare, and in the best cases, as much as $1,300.

6.  React Mobile

React Mobile is a safety app that turns any smartphone into a powerful lifeline. The React Mobile safety app pairs with a wearable panic button, called The React Sidekick, via LE Bluetooth. With a click of the Sidekick, travelers can activate the app and issue an SOS alert for immediate emergency assistance, even when their phone screen is locked or their phone is out of reach. The app's "Follow-Me" feature shares the user's location with family, friends or colleagues, enabling them to track the user's whereabouts in real time and follow him or her to safety. This type of gadget is ideal for solo travelers, or for those who like to go on runs or hikes in remote locations while traveling. 

7.  TripScope

TripScope is like a travel agent you can fit in your pocket. The app allows you to request a location and budget and a real human travel agent is paired with you. You can video chat, text, and email all through your trip — so even if you miss a flight they have your back.

8.  Opera Max and Mini

Opera Max and Mini is a great asset if you are looking to lower data costs while you are roaming. Expensive data roaming charges can really break the budget and spoil your holiday, but there are ways to minimize the cost. The Opera Mini mobile browser squashes webpages to as little as 10 percent of their original size, so you don’t download as much data toward your roaming bill. Opera Mini has a data counter, too, which lets you know exactly how many megabytes you’re saving. By loading fewer megabytes, you can save money on your vacation mobile bill. 

9.  Punkpost

Punkpost is the modern-day take on the postcard. You can send handwritten notes while you're waiting for your plane to Amsterdam or taking a train through China. You can also include photos. The card art has been created by hand-selected artists (who have done work for the likes of Vanity Fair, Kate Spade, and Tory Burch). The art is then hand letterpress printed into 100-percent cotton paper. You pick what card you want from the app, write your message, add a confetti bomb and a photo — and then one of their Scriptists will take your message and write it in the card, print out your photo, throw in a confetti bomb, address the envelope, put a stamp on it, and get it in the mail for you within 24 hours. You have the option to schedule in advance as well if you don't want to miss an upcoming important event. The app is iOS only now, but Android is due to come out in September. 

10.  Fitfusion

Why do you need FitFusion? Because even when traveling, getting your workout in is vital. You may not always have access to a gym but with the app you have hundreds of workouts that can travel with you on all of your devices. Fit in a yoga, bootcamp, pilates, dance, barre, weight lifting, calisthenics, HIIT, kickboxing, or indoor cycling workout — or others — from wherever you find yourself jet setting off to. Plus, you’ll be working with the best trainers including Jillian Michaels, Tara Stiles, Zuzka Light, and more. 

11.  TalkTalkBnB

TalkTalkBnb is an app that connects travelers who want to teach their native language with hosts who want to learn a second language. It’s completely free and shared exchange of service as travelers teach their native language in return for housing accommodations. Unlike Couchsurfing or AirBnb, travelers and hosts alike use language as a tool to gain a much more immersive and intimate experience.

12.  LastPass

When you travel, whether for business or leisure, your online security can be at risk when accessing accounts on your mobile device or unfamiliar Wi-Fi networks. One way to help protect yourself is with strong passwords, but between all the work and personal accounts people have today, it can be tough to create a strong, unique password that you can also remember for every account. LastPass is a free password manager that saves all your passwords in one secure application, so all you need to remember is one master password. The application includes other helpful features like password sharing and generation to make sure you have strong, unique passwords for each account. 

13.  My Data Manager

My Data Manager allows users to track data usage across mobile, roaming, and Wi-Fi networks so they never use more data than their plan allows. Unlike carrier apps, data usage is updated in real time so users always know how much they are using and how much they have left. You can also monitor data usage on your phone as well as all users on a shared or family plan across multiple devices — so no one is ever using more than their fair share of data while posting pictures on Instagram of the leaning tower in Pisa. The best feature of this app is that can also set custom usage alarms to avoid overage charges and bill shock at the end of the month once they return from vacation.

14.  Up Hail

Up Hail lets you compare ground transportation options and costs (taxis, rideshares, bikeshares, public trans, and more). This helps compare surface competitors to taxis and the big rideshare players — for example, travelers to New York City often discover deals such as VIA’s flat $5 rideshare option anywhere below 110th street, or Gett’s has a $10 private option. In addition, the database actively maintains a record of all cities that Uber and Lyft operate in, where they are banned in, coverage zones, current rate tables, sample vehicles, and more. 

15.  Life360


Life360 lets you see see where your loved ones are on a map. Create a private channel and invite your family members, or other travel companions, to stay connected while traveling. Someone's running late to a meet-up spot? Now you don’t have to freak out about where they are.

16.  Yonomi

Yonomi connects all of your smart home devices (Nest, Sonos, Philips Hue, et cetera) and set-up routines. This gives you control of your home from afar. Forgot to leave lights on? No problem. From afar, you can set up an "evening away" routine in the app that turns on your lights and TV in the evenings to make your house looked lived in while you're away. Or create a "motion detected" routine so that when your motion sensor is activated your lights automatically turn on and your Sonos announces "intruder alert." 

17.  Skyscanner

Skyscanner is a travel search engine that makes it easy for travelers to compare flights, hotels, and rental cars to find the best deals. For instance, you can find all the best deals per month from your preferred airport or the cheapest flights for a last-minute getaway. For a flight selected, it allows you to see price differences for future times to be able to make the best decision, and they’ve combined hotels and car product into this new refreshed app and hotels and car rental options automatically synch with the flight search you are doing.

18.  Service

Service resolves your customer service issues for you. They’ll handle contacting the airline about your delayed or cancelled flight or lost luggage, your hotel about a dirty room, or your rental car company about a fuel charge. Many of these processes are tedious and time consuming, so instead of handling them on your own, you can reach out to Service about them and get right back to your vacation. If you sync your email with the Service app, they’ll monitor your itineraries and reach out to you when they notice you've had a qualified delay or cancellation. You'll get a push notification, and all you have to do is tap "yes." Let them file the complaint and get you money/miles/a voucher for your lost time — and it won't cost you more than a few seconds.

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