Essential Travel Apps
By Patrick Baker ~
Whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure, independent of the kind of trip, destination, or activity, there’s an app for that. Here are a few apps that help travelers plan their trips and make the most of their time at their destination. All apps noted are available for both iOS and Android.
Depending on where you’re traveling, the excursions you’re planning, and how you plan to get around, there’s a lot to organize and plan. TripIt helps you create a basic travel itinerary. Simply forward your confirmation emails for flights, lodging, rental cars, excursions, and other reservations, and TripIt will create a master itinerary for your trip. There are free and paid versions. Both have a ton of valuable features.
Are you searching for a more outdoorsy destination? Something near a national park or a particularly scenic area? What about accommodations? Whether you want to rough it in a tent or enjoy a catered glamping experience, Hipcamp can help you find a home base for your outdoor excursion. Enter your destination and travel dates, and Hipcamp presents available options Airbnb-style. You can filter the results by type of lodging (campsite, housing, or RV).
Road warriors will appreciate this app. GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas prices and allows you to filter the results by location, price, brand, and available amenities. GasBuddy can also send you alerts when gas prices increase at stations near your destination so you can tank up in advance.
Navigating in a new place can be daunting and time-consuming. Fortunately, apps like Google Maps take the guesswork out of navigation and wayfinding. Whether you’re traveling on foot, by car, or on a tour bus, you can use maps to identify your current location (assuming you have cell service), nearby attractions, and get real-time directions while traveling. There are even has interior maps for popular destinations like the Louvre.
If you’re an English-only speaker in a non-English speaking country, reading signs, menus, monuments, or other printed material in a local language you don’t understand can be frustrating. Not to mention talking with the locals. Google Translate utilizes your phone’s camera and translates signage, menus, and other printed material into English or the language of your choice. It can also use your phone’s microphone to translate a spoken conversation in real-time.
Hiking, walking, running, and cycling enthusiasts will enjoy using AllTrails. Using crowdsourced information, photos, curated maps, and route descriptions, AllTrails provides the outdoor enthusiast with tons of information about an excursion. Users will learn what to bring, challenges along the route, and scenic stops along the way. A pro version is available that includes offline maps and turn prompts, and the ability to stay in contact with friends and family.
Similar to other communications apps and very popular internationally, WhatsApp allows you to use the internet for text, group chats, and voice calls with other WhatsApp users. Furthermore, WhatsApp uses secure, encrypted communications.
Numerous other apps can help you with travel planning and logistics. They include airline, hotel, and rental car reservations and apps for travel services that enable you to book all reservations from one app. Some destinations, cities, and lodgings have an app. TSA PreCheck has an app. As of this writing, there is no official COVID “passport” app, but that could eventually become a crucial app to have on your phone when traveling.
What are your travel plans now that summer’s arrived? What apps do you rely on when traveling? Website readers can leave a comment. Online and print readers can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patrick Baker is an IT consultant and the founder of Prime of Life Tech. To learn more about his services, visit primeoflifetech.com, email email@example.com, or call (720) 319-7145.
Do you have technology questions? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Patrick will follow up with you and may use your question in a future edition of this column.