Proper planning makes all the difference between a rushed, stressful trip and a restful, worry-free vacation, whether you're traveling for a jam-packed holiday trip or just a quick weekend getaway. Luckily, mobile apps are here to help. From trip planners and itinerary generators to online marketplaces for flights and hotels, there's no shortage of apps designed to help the tech-savvy traveler. Here are a selection of apps we feel could be a great help in making sure your next trip goes off without a hitch.
Google Trips (Android, iOS) turns your smartphone into an all-in-one travel assistant, consolidating travel itineraries and reservations from your emails into automatically sorted trips. Google automatically collates your flight details, hotel and car reservations, tour itineraries and other information available in your emails, while also providing recommendations, suggested day plans, and related local sights and attractions based on your tastes, interests and local travel tips. Users can save their trip details locally to their smartphone, allowing for offline use away from local Wi-Fi or pricey roaming rates.
Hipmunk (Android, iOS) presents a fast, all-in-one travel planning and booking solution, with a powerful flight and hotel search engine. In addition to the usual flight search criteria such as price, Hipmunk also includes an agony index for flight duration, number of stops and other factors. Users can also take advantage of last minute hotel deals, view reviews from TripAdvisor and other sources, and check out heat maps that show hotel proximity to shopping, dining and entertainment venues.
Getting a ride in a new city used to be a challenge, but apps like Uber (Android, iOS) have been a disruptive, on-demand transit revolution. Operating in dozens of countries and more than 600 cities, Uber makes hailing a ride simplicity itself, so long as you can get a mobile or Wi-Fi connection. Set up an account, link a credit card, and then simply type in your destination to request your ride; Uber will do the hard work of connecting you to a vetted driver, complete with an upfront pricing. While 2017 has been a rough year for the company, Uber remains a valuable resource for casual and business travelers in cities worldwide.
Navigating public transportation and foot routes in a foreign city can be daunting task, and while many mapping apps offer turn-by-turn navigation, few are quite as adroit at planning a multi-modal commute as Citymapper (Android, iOS). Users can plot trips combining public transportation options such as buses and ferries, and more unusual methods including car- and bike-sharing. Citymapper coordinates with local transport agencies to provide information such as up-to-date rates, schedules, and bus trackers where available, and even informs you of service interruptions. Users can plan their trips and then save maps and routes for offline use, allowing you to navigate on the go, even without a cellular signal.
Nothing takes the fun out of a vacation like getting stuck in traffic. But loading Waze (Android, iOS) on your phone before you hit the road can spare you some frustration. The navigation app feeds your smartphone real-time traffic information, based on reports from other Waze users. That data includes accidents, speed traps and other hazards that might keep you from getting to your destination in a timely fashion. Other features sure to impress travelers include automatic rerouting, cheap gas alerts and the ability to send your ETA to anyone waiting at your final stop.
Google's own flight finder and price tracking service, Google Flights, has steadily added on to its features and reliability since its launch in 2011, making it an excellent companion app for prospective travelers looking for a great deal on international and local flights. Google Flights works its magic by comparing prices across thousands of flights from flag carriers, budget airlines, and charter flights to bring the best price, and in addition, Google works in its own search magic into the mix, allowing users to filter their searches through a variety of parameters, searching for flights by date, departure or destination airports, and more. Google also added a price prediction feature, alerting you to price changes, and likely fluctuations in price.
Skyscanner (Android, iOS) is a great tool for travelers looking for the perfect deal on domestic and international flights. SkyScanner works its magic by comparing prices across millions of flights and hundreds of airlines. From there, users can book flights directly from the app with provided links to travel agents or airlines. Flights can be filtered by airline, cabin class, price or takeoff and landing times, with weekly or monthly chart views to check out prices over time.