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When it comes to vacation, travelers are relying on their smartphones more than ever, not only as a source of inspiration but for booking and logistics as well.

Luckily, there are plenty of apps built to help with everything from day-of hotel bookings to last-minute flight changes, replace heavy guidebooks and foreign-language dictionaries, and simply provide on-the-ground local expertise. Basically, whatever your interest or need when it comes to hitting the road, there’s an app for that.

These are the apps most loved here at TPG for making your next adventure go as smooth as possible — all at the touch of a button (or two).

The Best Apps for Vacation Planning

TripIt

TripIt organizes all your travel itineraries and documents so you have everything in one place before you even get to your destination. Just have your reservations automatically sent to TripIt, which will let you view travel confirmations, flight itineraries, tickets, hotel and Airbnb booking info, rental car reservations, ferry tickets and driving directions in one easy place. The app also makes it simple to share your trip plans with whoever is picking you up from the airport or train station, as well as anyone else who may need to coordinate with you or know what your travel plans are.

Download: Android and iOS

Google Trips 

Google Trips is out to give TripIt a run for its money. The app offers customized tours, guides and maps, and shows restaurants and/or monuments that are close to your hotel. Google Trips gathers all the travel information from your Gmail account, easily storing it offline so you’ll have access to it with or without Wi-Fi. Looking to travel lighter and save time? Consider using the app’s destination-based features as an alternative to lugging around a heavy guidebook or digging through a ton of emails to find your reservations.

Download: Android and iOS

Roadtrippers 

Perfect for organizing that epic road trip you’ve always wanted to take, Roadtrippers not only plans out your driving route but also lets you book hotels along the way. The free app is especially useful for finding interesting and off-the-beaten-path places to visit as you go, helping you find cool restaurants and one-of-kind spots that you can bookmark and go back to during the trip.

Download: Android and iOS

Packing Pro 

Packing Pro helps organize your suitcase with a checklist that breaks down what you’ll need by category. Start by telling the app how many days your trip will be, where you’re heading and what the weather is supposed to be like. You can also add other relevant information, like whether or not you’ll have access to a washing machine or if you’re going to be swimming. The app then offers a tentative list of clothing, footwear and other necessities, which you can amend and save. In addition to packing lists, the app also reminds you of any important things you’ll need to accomplish before traveling, like renewing your passport, getting vaccines or buying a first-aid kit.

Download: iOS

PackPoint

With PackPoint, you’ll be able to relax and just pack what you’re told to pack. The app shows you what to bring based on the length of your trip, the weather in your destination, and any activities you’re planning along the way. If you’ll have access to laundry facilities in your destination, PackPoint even allows you to account for washing your clothes and wearing them multiple times. Just download and install the app, type in the city you’re visiting, and plug in your travel dates. Don’t wait until the day before your trip—start packing now!

Download: Android and iOS

Skiplagged

Once you’re ready to book your flights and hotels, use Skiplagged to find the best rates and deals. The free app offers clear and concise search features and is so user-friendly that even the most technology-impaired can still figure it out. The app also has plenty of nifty filter options when it comes to booking hotels, so you can select the features that are most important to you — like free parking or a swimming pool — and immediately see which properties will work for your criteria.

Download: Android

Kayak 

This well known travel website also offers an app – among the most popular travel apps available – which allows you to book flights and hotels easily. The app compares hundreds of travel sites in order to find you the best rates.

Download: iOS

Airbnb

Airbnb is a popular online marketplace that allows users to search and rent out homes, apartments, private rooms, hotel rooms or private spaces within homes. While an Airbnb experience won’t help you to earn any elite status, it can foster a unique, local experience while traveling.

To stay in an Airbnb on your next trip, visit the website or use the app. Enter the location that you’re planning to visit, select a check-in and check-out date and the number of guests included in the stay. Airbnb will suggest local experiences as well as rooms and homes to rent. You can filter results based on the home type, price, booking method, amenities and more. If find something you like, you can book directly through the app.

Download: Android and iOS

The Best Apps to Use While Traveling

XE Currency Converter

The XE Currency app quickly provides live, up-to-the-minute currency rates, then allows you to store and view them even when you’re offline. No need to ever wonder again if you’re really getting a good deal in another country.

Download: Android or iOS

Google Translate

Google Translate can translate more than 100 languages and several dozen languages offline (make sure to download your desired language while still connected, of course). The instant camera translation (hover your camera over text and it will automatically translate) is available in 38 languages, and two-way instant speech translation is available in 32 languages. (Note that Google adds more languages all the time.) You can even draw characters instead of using the keyboard in 93 languages.

Once your text is translated, the app makes it easy to copy and share the translation via social media, text or WhatsApp so you can communicate with those at your destination before you even get there. You can also save frequent or favorite translations in your own phrasebook for future use. The playback mode, where the app will speak the translation for you, is especially useful when you’re not sure how to pronounce your translated text.

Download: Android or iOS

Free WiFi Finder

There’s nothing worse than being stranded in a strange destination, desperately needing to connect but not able to. With a Wi-Fi finder, you can always find a spot where you can connect, especially if you are hoping to avoid hefty roaming charges while traveling abroad.

I recommend using Free WiFi Finder for Apple devices. Since the data is stored locally, you don’t have to be online to use these apps. They’ll also map out the locations for you and let you know where you can find free Wi-Fi connections, as opposed to paid hotspots

Download: iOS

Pocket Earth

Once you’re on the road, it can be challenge to figure out exactly where you are, where to go, and how to get there without missing out on any cool places or things to see and do along the way. With PocketEarth, you’ll be able to find your way with detailed worldwide maps that are ready to use offline at the click of a button, allowing you to preserve your precious mobile phone data. There are also a variety of destination-based travel guides included in this app that you might find useful.

Download: iOS

Trail Wallet

No matter where you travel in the world, trying to keep track of how much you spend every week—let alone every day—can be a real pain. Fortunately, the Trail Wallet app enables you to easily track your travel expenses and get back to enjoying your trip. You have the choice of tracking by trip or month, as well as the options of setting a daily budget and adding your expenses on the fly. One of the cooler features of this app is that it notifies you when you go over your pre-set budget and breaks down how much you’re spending by category (e.g.,  Entertainment, Transportation, Food, etc.).

Download: iOS

Trover

If you love to post travel and trip photos and don’t mind losing yourself for a few hours by looking at picture after picture after picture, you’ll love Trover. This app was created with bucket-list travelers in mind by bringing the world to you through the eyes of other travelers near and far. All photos are geo-tagged, allowing you to not only see the region of the world in which it was taken but also its actual location—so you can go find it for yourself. Much like Facebook and Twitter, you’ll have your own personal newsfeed which will showcase all of the top sights and things to see and do around you based on your current location.

Download: iOS and Android

Star Walk 2

The next-generation app for all you stargazers out there, Star Walk 2 is the upgraded version of the best-selling, award-winning Star Walk. Star Walk 2 enables you to simply point your smartphone or iPad up towards the sky, and you’ll be instantly shown the positions of the stars, planets, constellations, comets, satellites, and just about everything else that’s floating out there in deep space. With a brand new interface for retina displays, beautiful 3D models of celestial bodies and real-time motion tracking, this app is an absolute dream for the wannabe astronomers in all of us.

Download: iOS and Android

Zomato

Available in 22 countries, Zomato makes it easy to discover new places to dine. Its restaurant listings provide in-depth reviews, entire menus, photos of the decor and dishes, and the typical cost for a meal for two people. In order to further filter your search results, you can choose whether you’re interested in dine-in, delivery or takeaway. You can also quickly and easily bookmark the restaurants you want to visit in the future, in the US, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, India, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey and more.

Download: iOS and Android

FlightAware

The FlightAware app allows you to track flights online, see a live map of the flight moving and check on delays, cancellations, and gate changes.

Download: iOS

Hotel Tonight 

One of the most popular travel apps out there, Hotel Tonight allows users to make same-day reservations as early as 9:00am, and links up to properties all over the world. Studies have shown that more and more hotel bookings are taking place via apps, and that of those, the vast majority are at the last minute, so Hotel Tonight is in the right place at the right time. So far, you can book hotels in 12 countries and 150 destinations, and they are continuing to increase this. Check out our review of the app and the booking process here.

Download: iOS

mTrip 

The app mTrip provides travel guides to cities all over the world. The best part is the offline maps and navigation, so you don’t have to use your data while getting around the city. So far mTrip provides guides for 28 cities and counting in the US, Asia and Europe. With mTrip, you can creates a unique and customized travel itinerary to reflect your travel interests, trip dates, geographical location, pace preference, the opening hours of attractions and ratings submitted by other travelers.

Download: Android

LocalEats 

LocalEats helps you find the best local restaurants the USA and select international cities. Absolutely no chain restaurants via this app! You can search by Top 100 lists, price, neighborhood or cuisine to find the best local restaurants wherever you are. Restaurants cannot pay for inclusion here and all places are hand selected by the Local Eats staff.

Download: iOS

SayHi Translate

Depending on your destination, you may need a language travel app to help you with some local phrases. Who wants to tote around a dictionary or phrase book when you can get one on your phone? 41 languages come in the standard pack, and the app is geared towards conversational speaking, rather than business talk. This app in particular has been said to be user friendly, which is always a plus. You can unlock more languages and specific dialects via in-app purchases.

Download: iOS

GlobeTipping

Not quite sure how much to tip when traveling internationally? GlobeTipping will advise you how to tip adequately depending on your situation in 200+ countries. It also offers a tip calculator for easy math.

Download: iOS

Uber

Uber is one of the most popular ridesharing apps out there. It’s a convenient way to hitch a ride to or from the airport or to get around while traveling. Simply enter your pickup and drop-off location and select your ride option. You’ll get matched with a driver who will meet you at your pickup location and drive you to your destination. Rate your ride on the app and decide if you want to leave a tip.

Download: Android and iOS

Lyft

Lyft is another popular rideshare app that tends to have competitive prices. It works similarly to Uber. To request a ride, confirm a pickup and drop-off location, meet your driver and then get off at your destination. You have the opportunity to rate your ride and tip on the app here as well.

Download: Android and iOS

Priority Pass

Priority Pass allows access to more than a thousand lounges worldwide and provides hefty meal vouchers at select airport restaurants across the world. Several credit cards including The Platinum Card by American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offer Priority Pass memberships just by being a cardholder. However, you can pay to be a member by paying an annual fee and, depending on your membership tier, a fee to enter each lounge on top of the annual fee.

The app is user-friendly. On the home page, enter the city, airport name or airport code that you’re in. Priority Pass will compile lounges or restaurants that you have access to. You can then browse photos of the lounge and learn more about the hours, amenities and location of lounges so you can chill out before or after you pass through security.

Download: Android and iOS

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a great messaging service for travelers to utilize while abroad. It’s been praised by websites like Triphackr for using little data and therefore being a very economical option for messaging while out of the country. It works like most other messaging apps. You’ll first need to create an account, then add your friends and family to contact, and voila! You’re able to call, video chat, send messages, images, voice memos and files just as you would in, say, iMessage. Plus, you can download WhatsApp on your Windows or Mac computer.

Download: Android and iOS

Feature photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy

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