6 Travel Apps Every Globetrotter Needs

Fuel your travel inspiration, track down deals and expertly plan an itinerary with these six apps.

By Melissa Shin, Staff WriterAug. 31, 2015
By Melissa Shin, Staff WriterAug. 31, 2015, at 9:22 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

6 Travel Apps Every Globetrotter Needs

Young business woman texting on the street

With an app like MAPS.ME, you can drop pins on places you plan to visit and access your maps even when you lack a Wi-Fi connection.(iStockPhoto)

For globetrotters, quenching wanderlust is a simple task thanks to the slew of travel apps at their disposal. With these tools, researching new destinations, checking reviews and comparing prices on the fly is easier (and more popular) than ever before. According to Statista, an online statistics portal, the amount of time consumers spent on travel apps grew by 89 percent in 2014. However, more time is only beneficial when you're using the right apps. To refresh your travel app arsenal, we scoured the Web to find cult favorites and new apps worth downloading. These six apps will help fuel your travel inspiration, track down deals, plan an itinerary and pack what you need for a worry-free trip. 

Price: Free
For: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

Complete your travel bucket list with flight deals on dream destinations, courtesy of Hitlist. The app notifies you when there's a deal on any of the destinations you've selected. And the "Explore" section features curated lists, such as "Top couchsurfing cities," "Best cities for vegans" and "Whale-watching destinations," that users can thumb through to find new destinations to add to their hitlists.

In the "Trips" section, you can also browse suggested trips, such as Labor Day deals and Caribbean getaways, or find flights with no destination or dates in mind. The one drawback is that the app is a bit clunky when it comes to purchasing a flight: Skyscanner opens within the app and then directs you to the airline or an online travel agency (like Expedia) when it's time to book.

Price: Free
For: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Tablet, Android, BlackBerry

Need help creating a detailed travel itinerary, complete with travel time and weather forecasts? You might want to download Tripomatic. This app features attractions, tours, daytrips, hotels, car hires and more. Attraction descriptions include a brief overview, the amount of time needed for each activity, a list of related tours and a feature that allows you to request a ride through the Uber or Lyft apps. You can create an itinerary for multiple days and see the total time you'll need to set aside for select attractions.

All the attractions are mapped, so it's easy to plan according to distance, and the estimated travel time between each attraction is provided within the itinerary. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, editing your itinerary is simple -- you can drag and drop icons representing each attraction. Although Tripomatic is useful for mapping out your days in a destination, you can't book hotels and tours within the app. Instead, you'll be directed to Booking.com for hotels and Viator for tours. Other drawbacks include limited information on certain destinations and the steep price tag ($18.99) for offline maps.  

Price: Free
For: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android

MAPS.ME is an easy tool for navigating offline. Users can download maps of countries around the globe and use the app to search for nearby restaurants, hotels, sights, Wi-Fi, gas, parking, shops and more. Once you select a category, you can search on your downloaded map. Green dots marking the different locations will appear, and you can navigate to your selected destination, much like Google Maps. Before a trip, you can drop pins on places you plan to visit and easily locate them on the map later. MAPS.ME solves the conundrum of looking up directions with no Wi-Fi connection.  

Price: Free
For: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android

Find nearby restaurants, museums, parks, shops and more on the go with Foursquare. Unlike Yelp, Foursquare provides personalized recommendations and short, character-limited reviews. Users can indicate their personal tastes by adding tags such as "margherita pizza," "live DJ" and "friendly quick service." The app uses this information, along with previously visited businesses, to generate suggestions.

Aside from standard categories, such as shopping and dessert, you can also search "Trending this Month," "Nearest," "Specials" and "Top Picks." Pay attention to the "Specials" category, in particular: it generates a list of nearby places offering deals. To narrow your search, adjust any of the filter options, including recommended by people you follow and happy hours.

PackPoint Premium
Price: $2.99
For: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android

Don't ruin a well-deserved vacation by forgetting an essential at home. PackPoint Premium creates a comprehensive packing list based on your destination, travel dates, weather, planned activities and more. When it generates the approximate number of clothing pieces you should pack, the app even factors in whether you're willing to repeat wearing basics and if you'll have access to laundry facilities. You can also view your packing list online with a shareable website link.

You can download the app for free or, for a few more bucks, upgrade to its premium version, which includes TripIt and Evernote integration, as well as custom packing templates. With TripIt, PackPoint automatically creates packing lists for your saved trips, and Evernote allows you to access your lists across all devices.

Price: Free
For: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

In the realm of airfare predictors, Hopper is a difficult app to beat with the company boasting it can save users up to 40 percent on flights. After putting your destination in the app, it generates color-coded calendars that indicate when it's cheapest to fly from your home airport. Once you select your departure and return date, the app informs you of the best deal available and advises you on whether to book or wait.

You can also set notifications on specific trips to find out when prices change. The price prediction gives you a timeline on the projected rise and fall of prices, including the estimated price increase after a specific date. Hopper even features a tips section that provides information on the cheapest travel dates and the most affordable arrival and departure airports.

Melissa Shin, Staff Writer

Melissa Shin is a digital producer for the Consumer Advice team at U.S. News. You can email ...  Read more


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