As sad as it may be, I don’t remember how I functioned in the days before the iPhone. How did I ever find my way around without Google Maps? Or go all day without checking Facebook? While the iPhone is essential, no doubt your phone is stuffed with useless apps. Today I’m breaking through the clutter with my 9 favorite travel apps that I actually use on a regular basis. Every day there’s a new “must-have” app to download, but these usually just waste space on my phone and eventually get Xed off into app heaven. That being said, there are certain apps I couldn’t live without while I’m planning and actually going on trips.
Photo: Ashok Govind via Flickr
Best For Finding Local Restaurants & Things To Do: Foursquare
Many people hate Foursquare, but I personally love it. It’s easy to “check in” wherever you are so you don’t forget the restaurants, shops, and bars you enjoyed during your trip. If you’re in an area where Foursquare is popular (especially NYC), you can also use the search function to see which spots are trending and get tips from locals on where to go. Since hunting down the coolest restaurants is my life mission, Foursquare is definitely one of my top travel apps.
Best For Photos:Snapseed
Snapseed is not specifically a travel app, but something any aspiring iPhone photographer will appreciate. This application makes simple photo edits like adjusting brightness, shadows and contrast so easy. It’s much faster and more convenient than waiting until you get home and editing shots on your computer.
Best For Travel Budgeting:Trail Wallet
I discovered this app thanks to Alex in Wanderland, and so far it’s helped me immensely. Trail Wallet’s purpose is for travel budgeting: you type in how much money you have and the length of your trip, and it gives you a daily spending limit. Every time you spend, you input how much. It’s simple and straightforward, which is why I like it. Other money management apps like Mint.com take so much time to set up, and they never seem to be accurate for me.
Travel Apps: Foursquare & Trail Wallet
Best For Staying In Touch:WhatsApp
Everyone knows about WhatsApp, since it was just purchased by Facebook for a hefty price. But it’s also one of the staple travel apps that have been on my phone forever. It’s essential for keeping up with friends & family on the road.
Best For Navigating a New City:HopStop
This public transit app was a major help to me when I first moved to New York, and it works in a number of cities around the world, from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam. HopStop provides easy to follow transit and walking directions between any two addresses. So much better than wandering around the subway station trying to decipher the maps in a foreign language.
Best For Language Learning:Duolingo
What do I do during long car rides or while I’m waiting in line for something? I brush up on my Spanish with Duolingo, an app that makes language learning easy. You can read more in my post about how to easily learn a language for free before your next trip.
Best For Staying Fit On the Go:Mind Body Connect
This one is a little faulty, which is probably why it’s not well publicized, but I love it for one reason: it gives me the details on where I can get a workout practically anywhere. You may have to hop on a computer to actually sign up for a class, as I couldn’t get that aspect to function correctly, but for research purposes the app works great. MBC will let you search for classes, view schedules and see fitness studios on a map in any city with participating local businesses. It’s obviously immensely popular in New York and LA, but I just did a search and there are a few options in Copenhagen as well. Perhaps I’ll be trying pilates in Danish next month?
Travel Apps: HopStop & Mind Body Connect
Best For Staying Organized & Sane:TripIt
Every tech-savvy frequent traveler knows about this one already, but for those who might not I had to mention it. TripIt is one of my favorite travel apps of all time. Basically it sorts all your itineraries for you, from hotel reservations to plane tickets and tours. You just forward your email reservations to them and they do all the work for you. It’s amazing to not have to dig through my bag for a piece of paper when I need to find a confirmation number!
Best For Planning the Next Getaway:Kayak
Kayak is another that makes the list of travel apps everyone already knows about, but I really do use this one every day. That’s because I’m constantly dreaming about where to go next. If I overhear someone raving about their recent trip to Savannah, I’m stealthily looking up flight prices on my iPhone.
Travel Apps: TripIt & Kayak
There are a million other travel apps out there, but to be honest I’ve tried and tested many of them and they weren’t really necessary. I’d rather save the room on my phone for photos and stick with the essentials mentioned above.
It's the easiest and fastest way to get between cities, but there are a few things you should know before...