12 Best Travel Apps for Better Family Vacations

travel apps

Traveling is supposed to be fun, but it can also be time-consuming and overwhelming. The travel checklist can feel endless, from packing to booking flights, dealing with airports, and finding suitable hotels. Traveling during covid has just made planning a trip even more complicated, with testing and entry requirements changing by the day. Luckily there are some incredible travel apps to make these tasks more manageable for you!

In this blog post, we have reviewed the 12 best travel apps that will help take the stress out of your next vacation and will change your vacation game forever. We’ll cover everything from destination reviews and travel insurance to making money online while traveling. Check it out below!

1. Trip Advisor

Overview

Tripadvisor is a great resource when planning your next getaway. You can book flights, hotels, and restaurants through the site. In addition, it has reviews from travelers who have been there before, which makes it easy to see what’s worth doing at your destination. You can also find reviews for guided tours and excursions.

Tripadvisor is best for planning a trip ahead of time compared to last-minute deal hunting. It’s an excellent resource when traveling!

Pricing

Free!

Our Verdict

If you are anything like us, you like to plan how to spend your time and money wisely. Trip planning isn’t too unlike learning how to invest in stocks or create a home gym. You can maximize your results by learning from others who have done it before you.

Similarly, we frequently use TripAdvisor to learn from travelers who have done it before us. It’s one of our top resources for finding things to do wherever we want to travel. There are plenty of forums for frequently asked questions that locals or other travelers have answered. For example, if you want to find out where to buy bus tickets in Lake Garda, someone has likely responded to that question on TripAdvisor before.

The only downside about the site is that some prices could be higher than going directly through another website or booking service. So we tend to use it more as a research tool rather than actual bookings.

2. World Nomads Insurance

Overview

Traveling is a lot of fun, and talking about insurance is somewhat of a bummer. We get it! Insurance is the last thing you want to think about when you are excited about your upcoming trip. So let us look at it from a financial perspective. We believe in spending money smartly and investing for the future. Just like you can save money and stay healthy by eliminating toxins from your kitchen, you can save thousands in potential bills by purchasing travel insurance.

It’s not an app, but with World Nomads Insurance, you can get quick, affordable travel coverage at your fingertips – no matter where you are in the world. Enter your travel plans and choose your coverage.

The best part is that they cover 250+ specific activities you may be inclined to participate in during your trip. Want to go jet skiing, mountain biking, or scuba diving on the same trip? It’s covered. You can also buy optional coverage for ‘high-risk’ activities like skydiving or freeform rock climbing.

If you do need assistance, their customer service is quick to help.

Pricing

It depends on the coverage required

Our Verdict

We have used World Nomad’s insurance before and recommend it. While on a trip to Croatia, we had a minor scooter accident, but Ash required stitches. We called World Nomad, and they directed us to a nearby clinic that took care of it. The unexpected does happen, and it pays to be prepared for these scenarios.

3. The Weather Channel App

Overview

The Weather Channel App is a must-have for any traveler. It’s best to be aware of what to expect weather-wise when traveling so you can pack accordingly and not risk getting caught in an unexpected storm! The app has all sorts of information, including forecasts, radar imagery, satellite images, and heat maps. It’s great if you’re traveling to places where the weather is unpredictable. You can also look up local conditions by city or zip code.

Overall, our favorite thing about this app is that it has accurate and up-to-date info on local weather, no matter the size of the city or village.

Pricing

Free!

Our Verdict

Here’s why we love this app: We went to the train station for a day trip from Milan to Venice in late August. We happened to look at the app and saw that it was supposed to rain in Venice from 1 pm onwards. Armed with that information, we went to Turin instead. A couple of days later, we were thankful for the app while digging into a gelato on a beautiful sunny day in Venice.

4. The Google Translate App

Overview

The Google Translate App is a lifesaver when traveling to a new place and not reading or speaking the language. The app has improved over the years and is simple to use. You can use it in 3 ways for translation:

Type in what you want to translate
Use the mic to record what you wish to translate verbally
Use the camera feature and point it to signs and text you want to translate in real-time (very useful when you can’t read parking signs in Greek).

You can also have the translation read aloud if you are trying to have some conversation or ask for directions.

The best part about the app is that you can download language packs on your phone for offline translation. So if you don’t have a data or wifi connection, you can still have a conversation or read that bus timetable.

Pricing

Free!

All in all, this app is best for when you’re on the go and need some help understanding what’s going around you or want to understand the ingredients before ordering food!

Our Verdict

While we speak a couple of languages and have a basic understanding of some others, we often find ourselves turning to Google Translate. We have used it extensively in places like Morocco, Germany, Thailand, and Italy. We use it most of the time to translate written instructions, bus or ferry timetables, covid related instructions, asking for directions, etc. One of our most frequently used and best travel apps.

5. Money App

Overview

Traveling isn’t cheap. There aren’t many ways to make money while on the go. If you’d like to make money online while traveling, The Money App makes it easy to do so. You certainly won’t get rich off it, but it can offset some expenses.

Using the app is simple. Download the app for iOS or Android, sign up, and earn credits for completing tasks. Tasks can include watching videos, completing surveys, mystery shopping, etc. Once your credits reach the threshold to withdraw, you can cash out and deposit your money into a Paypal account.

Pricing

Free!

Our Verdict

We have not used this app ourselves, but it has a 4.9 rating with over 128K reviews on the Apple App Store. Test it out for yourself and let us know if you agree that this is one of the best travel apps.

6. The Currency App

Overview

The Currency App is best for when you need to convert currencies on the go. It has all major and minor currencies, it updates automatically so that your conversions are always accurate (no dealing with foreign transaction fees), best of all – it’s free!

The best part about this app is how easy it is to use without having too many bells and whistles. We just have to type in what currency we want to convert into another one, then hit “convert” or “calculate.” As simple as can be! Overall best quick converter around.

For those who like simplicity over extra features, check out the Currency App!

Pricing

Free!

Our Verdict

We use The Currency App frequently. We like to spend our money smartly, so we often find ourselves converting the prices of items from local currency to the US dollar to figure out if it’s a steal or highway robbery!

7. Couchsurfing

Overview

Couchsurfing is best for travelers who want to meet locals and make friends while traveling. It’s a great site where you can search through people in different cities or countries that are willing to host other “couch surfers.”

We have mostly traveled as a couple, so we personally never used the site before but have met several people who have had a good experience using the app. Most of them recommend it as a way to travel cheaply and also to make friends or connect with locals.

The best part about Couchsurfing is that it’s free and connects people from around the world. It also has an extensive network of cities, so the options are varied.

Pricing

Free!

Our Verdict

Couchsurfing seems like a great way to meet people and travel cheaply. It is best when traveling alone, as you may have trouble finding ‘couches’ when traveling in a group. Also, we have heard that it is increasingly difficult to find matches in popular tourist spots. There is a lot of competition, so sometimes it can feel like trying to match someone on a dating app. You need the right profile, the right vibe, and the proper references. Overall, if you do find a couch, we have heard overwhelmingly good experiences from other travelers.

8. Skyscanner

Overview

Skyscanner collects prices from the various flight, hotel, and car rental providers and allows you to compare them. After comparing prices, you can book the airline’s or hotel’s website or another reservation agent like Hotwire or Expedia.

Once you have completed the booking, you deal directly with the service provider. Skyscanner has a 4.3 rating on TrustPilot, with most customers liking the ability to find cheaper airfares than other booking sites.

Pricing

Free!

Our Verdict

We use the multiple city search often on Skyscanner. We also like the granular search options like a filter for specific flight times, airports, or the number of stops.

9. Trip It

Overview

TripIt is a handy app to organize your travel plans, especially if you are a frequent traveler or plan to take a long, multi-city trip. As you make bookings for flights, hotels, car rentals, or restaurants, email them to TripIt. The app organizes your schedule by date, time, and place, so you always have your full itinerary in your pocket.

The app allows you to share your itinerary with your group easily and provides navigation routes to nearby places of interest.

Pricing

Free for the non-PRO option!

Our Verdict

Since Google Trips shut down, we are using TripIt right now on our two-month Italy trip. It has been pretty helpful since it organizes all the train bookings, Airbnb reservations, and places to eat – there are a lot! For easy access, we have also uploaded pictures of our vaccination certificates which are needed everywhere for entry in Italy right now.

Another helpful feature these days is the handy Covid-19 guidelines and requirements that the app provides for each destination. We recommend cross-referencing those with the official government websites for each destination before you travel.

10. Airbnb

Overview

This hotel-alternative app has taken the world by storm. While it is controversial for taking away housing supply for residents in some cities, Airbnb is an excellent option for travelers.

Wherever you are traveling, the chances are that Airbnb has homes (even treehouses) listed for a short-term vacation rental there. The app has listings available in over 100,000 cities in 2021.

Download the app, create a profile and search for your destination. The app works by allowing both the renter and the listing provider to rate the stay. This way, you can be confident that listings with many positive reviews will be safe, clean, and have all the amenities you need.

Pricing

Free to download, but Airbnb charges a service fee for each listing. Check the detailed breakdown of pricing for charges like cleaning, additional person, cancellation, etc.

Our Verdict

We like to have a kitchen and amenities like a washing machine while traveling. While some hotels provide those, we generally prefer staying in well-rated Airbnb homes. The main exception is where our travel card points can earn us a five-star hotel visit for free.

The flip side is that each Airbnb host and listing is unique. With hotels, you can be confident that you will receive a standardized experience. Some highly-rated homes on Airbnbs have still sometimes left us underwhelmed. So it’s essential to read the reviews in detail, even for highly rated units. Look out for red flags about cleanliness, host responsiveness, location, wifi, number of stairs, etc.

In general, though, we have had some great stays on Airbnb – from beachfront properties in Barbados to historical centers in Europe to middle-of-nowhere seclusion in Canada.

11. Roadtrippers

Overview

Lots of us got in our cars or RVs and took off on road trips this past year to avoid the hassles of overseas travel during Covid. Are you planning a road trip or already on one? If so, the Roadtrippers App will make your life easier.

Roadtrippers lets you plan your journey and get to your desired destination in the most efficient manner, with estimates of cost and total trip time. The app also offers advice for planning exciting road trips that will make the most of every leg by providing suggestions for detours and stops recommended by travelers who have already been there.

Pricing

Free for the basic membership that lets you set up to 7 stops along your route.

You can enroll in Roadtrippers Plus for $29.99 to get additional features like longer trips with up to 150 stops, RV-specific routes & experiences, plus group travel planning with fellow travelers.

Our Verdict

We recommend sticking to the free version, which is helpful for short day trips. Our RV-owning friends tell us that the navigation features are buggy. The recommendations are only sound in the United States, even though the app is available in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Overall, the yearly fee is high and may not be worth it as the main features are available through Google Maps.

12. HotelTonight

Overview

Hotel Tonight is a last-minute hotel booking app that claims to provide discounted rooms from hotels with excess inventory. It is similar to other last-minute booking sites like Priceline.

If you are flexible with your plans, the app has last-minute hotels available in major cities worldwide. The tourism industry, in general, now operates on the principles of dynamic pricing. The pricing that you see for flights, hotels, and rental cars online is all based on demand. If you want the security of having your plans firmed up in advance, you may pay considerably more. For last-minute bookings, hotels have an incentive to discount their rooms that otherwise may go unsold.

With the Hotel Tonight app, you can book a hotel room up to 7 days in advance. The closer you are to your date, the cheaper your room may be. You will, of course, have fewer options.

Pricing

Free!

Our Verdict

Nowadays, we prefer to have firmer plans in place. Ten years ago, while we were backpacking through Europe with a Eurail pass, Hotel Tonight would’ve been a lifesaver. If you are planning (or not planning) a flexible trip, then Hotel Tonight is an excellent resource to save money. We recommend double-checking the hotel reviews on Google before booking no-name hotels.

Wrap Up

As the world opens up again, consider packing your bags and using the best travel apps above to make your post-pandemic freedom trip even better! These are our top favorites and the best travel apps on the market for everything, from finding cheap hotels and flights to organizing your itinerary and finding the best attractions around you. Bon Voyage!

This article is originally on Savoteur.

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Ash & Pri are the Founders of AshandPri.com where they empower others to make smart money decisions across all aspects of life. They achieved financial freedom in their 30's and have traveled to over 30 countries, thanks to a disciplined approach to money management. Both hold an MBA degree and have 13+ years of experience in financial services, consulting, and telecommunications.

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