7 Top Travel Apps You Don’t Already Have (But Should)
Back in the olden days, you had to be in the know—or know someone—to get airport lounge discounts, find that sweet road-trip shortcut, or zero in on the coolest spots in town. These days? All you need’s your phone (and some nifty travel gear).
Whether you’re hopping on a jet plane or simply planning a weekend road trip, these top travel apps will help you score cheap prices, navigate unfamiliar cities with aplomb…and get down with all the local-approved fun stuff while you’re at it. Heck yes.
Leave no device behind, thanks to the list-wizards at PackingPro. Photo courtesy of Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Thinkstock.
Let’s start with your packing list. Ever remembered to pack everything…except your charger? Or generally just hope that the contents of your mental list manage to translate to your suitcase? Do one better with PackingPro. This genius app doesn’t just have a database of 800 common packing suggestions to help jog your memory; it also offers themed lists, so you’ll know what to bring for that camping getaway before you even think of it yourself. (You weren’t going to forget the tent, right?)
For the best gate-waiting experience, make LoungeBuddy and GateGuru your new best friends. Photo courtesy of furtaev/iStock/Thinkstock.
Looking for an airport experience with a bit of luxury—or just the chance to shower? LoungeBuddy is the guide to download. The app connects you with some pretty fancy-schmancy perks, many of which are available for the cost of a sandwich at your average café. Looking for a general airport guide? Apps like GateGuru provide guides to your local airport, complete with pointers for the best eats, plus notifications for key amenities.
You’ve got direction—especially when Scout and Sygic are at the ready. Photo courtesy of iStock.
Even if a sense of direction was never your strong suit, gone are the days of wrestling with folding maps (or pulling over to flag a local for help—how primitive!). Scout’s got your road trip solved. The app operates via visual maps and voiced directions that keep you updated on every twist and turn, complete with back-up routes if traffic strikes. If you’re in need of offline maps, on the other hand, Sygic is another must-download. The app doesn’t just display maps, but walks you through step-by-step guides to your destination—all without an internet connection. Magic.
Keep your car fully fueled with the handy roadside app GasBuddy. Photo courtesy of kasto80/iStock/Thinkstock.
Speaking of road trips: Don’t rely on infrequent exit signs to plot your next tank refill. Instead, there’s GasBuddy, which doesn’t just keep tabs on all the gas stations in the vicinity—it even does price comparisons so you can score the most wallet-friendly fill-ups around. (Though, of course, you already know that we cover your gas bill on every Ziptrip.) Trust us: It’s better than getting stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Not that we’d know about that.
Have the full non-tourist experience with the experts at Assist and Localeur. Photo courtesy of william87/iStock/Thinkstock.
As far as we’re concerned, local advice is some of the best you can get. If you’re in San Francisco, make Assist your go-to. If not, Localeur has definitely earned its place among our top travel apps. Currently based in 18 U.S. cities and poised to expand further, the app maintains connections with a number of “local connoisseurs” (see what they did there?) to write about the places they actually hang out in on the regular. The result? It’s like having a group of friends in your pocket who are always up-to-date on the best spots in town. Just, you know—not such a tight squeeze.
Catch shut-eye (even with a red-eye) with Entrain. Photo courtesy of m-imagephotography/iStock/Thinkstock.
Light treatments, questionable teas, even melatonin supplements...there are a lot of supposed jetlag cures out there, but their effectiveness remains to be seen. But then there’s Entrain. If you’re time-zone skipping, this app helps you get adjusted quickly by tracking your circadian rhythms and beginning the reprogramming before your journey even starts. If that means less passing out before dinnertime (and missing the sights and sounds you travelled so far to experience), then we’re totally on board.
Postcards get even more personal with the selfie-tastic Touchnote. Photo courtesy of william87/iStock /Thinkstock.
Think of Touchnote as the best-of-both-worlds hybrid of Instagram and old-school postcards. One of the top travel apps for those who love to chronicle their journeys, Touchnote trades in the cheesy Times Square snaps for your personal shots, meaning you can send custom postcards or greeting cards of all your most exciting exploits around town. #Humblebrag.