5 Apps Every Traveler Needs

By on December 15, 2015

Smartphones are great for a number of reasons, not least of which because they tend to be a lot less bulky than older cellphones. But with increasingly more apps on the market these days, smartphones have actually become an important travel tool. Of course, you can use your smartphone to take those awesome destination selfies, but did you know that your smartphone could really help you with every step of the travel process? Grab these apps to help you plan and execute the stress-free trip of your dreams:

  1. The Flight App

If you’ll be flying to your next destination, apps are the easiest way to search for cheap flights, and sometimes you can find on-app deals that aren’t available online. For conglomeration apps that pull results from many different companies, Skyscanner and Kayak are amongst the favorites due to their usability and accuracy, but there are a lot of choices out there. And if you have a favorite airline or have already narrowed your search down to one specific airline, you can usually find an app for that airline as well—which can also make it a breeze to check in for your flight.

  1. The Transit App

The Transit App

So you’ve arrived at the airport; now what? If you’re like me, renting a car is the last thing you want to do. Figuring out local driving laws can be a hassle, and oftentimes it’s an inconvenience to have a car in a city anyway. Usually it’s possible to get from the airport to downtown using public transit such as buses or railways, so before I arrive, I always try to download a local transit app to be my guide (you’d be surprised at how many cities have them!). If you can’t find a city-specific app, Google Maps and other map-apps often have a transit layer that you can use, but make sure you’ve either downloaded maps for offline use or taken screenshots of your directions!

  1. The Accommodation App

Regardless of what type of accommodation you’ll be using, there’s an app to help you with everything from booking to reviews. For hostels, the main ones are Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. If you’re looking for a unique, cheap local experience, you might be able to find a place on someone’s couch using the Couchsurfing app. Or you could also try your hand at snagging a cheap apartment using AirBnB. Looking for a hotel instead? Many chains have their own apps that you can use, or you can check out conglomerate apps like Booking.com or Hotel Tonight (you may even snag a great deal on the latter, which specializes in filling up those last-minute openings at hotels, usually at cheaper-than-average going rates).

  1. The Tourism App

These days, nearly every major city (and plenty of minor ones as well) has its own tourism app that can cover everything from restaurants to attractions to events and more. Do a search in your app store or online for the place you intend to visit and see what you can find. I also love being able to look at the TripAdvisor app for reviews and the Yelp app for a good idea of what’s around me (especially when I’m looking for a place to eat). These both have reviews written by real people rather than pulled from outdated guidebooks, so they’re generally pretty accurate!

  1. The VPN App

Traveling with a smartphone, for all its advantages, can also be a bit dangerous. This goes beyond the pickpocketing and other unfortunate physical dangers: if your phone gets hacked anywhere, you might have your identity stolen. Not only can this be difficult and annoying to have to rectify if you’re out of the country, but hackers actually love to target travelers. I’d recommend never traveling without a strong VPN app, such as ExpressVPN installed on your phone. It’ll encrypt the information your phone is sending out so that identity thieves can’t easily intercept your passwords, credit card information and whatever else they want. Even better, because a VPN is designed to hide your real location by displaying a fake IP address to site servers, you can also use it to bypass Netflix and Hulu’s geo-blocking tactics and continue to stream your favorite shows while you’re on the road.

Do you use your smartphone when you’re traveling? What are some of your favorite apps?

About the Author:Jess Signet is a blogger who writes about technology, traveling,internet security, and must-have apps for your next vacation. Having visited places all over the globe, traveling is both her love and addiction. She does not want to be cured.

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