Technology and travel can go hand in hand, especially when you take advantage of some of the travel apps that help you get the scoop on must-see spots, find sweet travel deals, or feel more at home upon reaching your destination. Sometimes, you don’t even have to pay $1.99 to take advantage of the best ones. Here are 5 of the front runners, all free to download.
1. Hopper (iOS only)
Real talk: Figuring out how to get the best flight deals is a huge pain. Hopper can help you ease that anxiety with information on when to buy your seat and which airline to use. The app analyzes billions of airfares and can give you a heads-up when rates reach historic lows. You can also look at a color-coded calendar and see when rates are lowest. Try the “Insider Tips” section if you have some flexibility in your travel plans and want suggestions about the cheapest airports to fly out of or which day of the week to depart.
Can’t find that flight confirmation in your Gmail account? TripIt’s got it: The app handily compiles all the confirmation emails for your trip into a single app. You can also share that information with others via text or email, which is helpful when traveling with friends or keeping loved ones in the loop. Not in the mood to import your itineraries into the app? No worries—after you synch your email account with TripIt, the app does it automatically. This is the future, people.
This app is about to make all your airport dreams come true. It gives real-time arrival and departure information, and it can help you feel a lot more at ease when navigating an unfamiliar airport. It tells you TSA security checkpoint wait times so you can avoid lengthy queues, or plan for them in advance. If you have enough time before your flight to grab a decent meal or a cup of coffee and aren’t sure which place to pick, rely on thousands of reviews from other airport guests to help you get an idea of what to expect. No more heavy cursing when there’s no Starbucks in sight.
4. Travel Guide by AFAR (iOS)
Okay, this might be a shameless plug—but we’re super proud of our new app. With over 100 destinations worldwide and countless guides, this tool takes the guesswork out of trip planning. We’ll tell you what you need to know before you go, the best times to visit, and give you expert-curated lists of what to do when you get there depending on your interests. Not sure what to do? The app uses your location to help you discover recommended things to do nearby. Pretty nifty, if we do say so ourselves.
A traffic and navigation app driven by input from real people, Waze just may become your road-trip staple. The app can help you find the cheapest place to fill up your gas tank, plus avoid traffic jams and fender benders that could delay your trip. It also links up with Facebook so you can coordinate arrival times with friends when you’re reaching a destination in separate vehicles.
Want more? Check out our favorite language-learning apps!