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22 Apps You Should Never Travel Without Again

Thank you, Alex Scola, for compiling this awesome list of apps for travelers! These apps will help you organize, navigate, communicate, and make the most of your future experiences abroad.


1. Hipmunk:

What it lacks in features, it makes up for in style points (and an adorable aviating friend). Hipmunk is a solid all-in-one for planning and booking your next trip. (Free)


2. Kayak:

In a world of Expedia’s and Travelocity’s, Kayak is king. It’s pretty consistent at returning the lowest prices when it comes to booking flights (at least in my experience), and the mobile app comes with a butt-load of handy features. (Free)


3. TripAdvisor:

Imagine a free guidebook to the world, whose content is updated daily and rife with best-kept destination secrets, and firsthand accounts. Enter: TripAdvisor. (Free)


4. Airbnb:

The site that just about killed Couchsurfing, this location-based list of rental rooms and owner-leased accommodations is instrumental in helping you find the perfect home base (from villas to treehouses, castles to yachts) while traveling, on any budget. (Free)


5. TripIt:

For the compulsive and casual traveler alike, TripIt is the best place to dump all of those plans, reservations, receipts, directions, maps, and itineraries, and keep them organized and accessible. ($0.99)


6. Packing Pro:

While there is a free version of this app, this one is for the discriminating list-maker. The type of person who knows that there is a place (and app) for everything. The person who dreads the day they realize they’ve forgotten something while sitting at their gate, and checks their lists more than Santa Claus. With a customizable master list of items and host of sample lists, you simply plug in your travel details into Packing Pro, and it generates a packing list for you. ($2.99) 


7. Skyscanner:

Probably my favorite app in its class, this stripped-down flight booking app helps you compare airlines and prices in an elegant way (usually involving bar graphs). No frills, but a lot of information delivered with user-friendliness in mind. (Free)


8. GateGuru:

If you’re like me, you have nightmares about missing connecting flights and getting trapped in Nowheresville overnight, expensively upsetting your delicately laid vacation plans. This app puts those fears to rest, as it not only includes up-to-date flight information (with push notification updates), but also TSA wait estimates, terminal maps, advice for successful airport navigation, and it works offline. Planning your gate-to-gate exit strategy has never been so easy. (Free) 


9. SeatGuru:

Powered by TripAdvisor, this utility gives you everything you’d want to know about flights, but with the added oddity of over 700 seat maps for 100 different airlines, and seat selection advice culled from feedback submitted by travelers daily (including seat pitch, width, and amenities). Peruse the user-submitted seat photo gallery, and submit your own (so that the next dude who sits in your seat can know who’s been there). Because hey, when you’ve gotta know, you’ve gotta know. (Free)


10. Google Maps:

Ah, my old friend. Google Maps will get you from point A to point B just about 100% of the time. (Free)


11. Accuweather:

All of the power of your standard weather apps, plus a few neat features. Personally, I like that you can watch time lapse animated radar forecasts, and get minute-by-minute information (particularly handy in Portland, because the weather doesn’t like to make up its mind here). (Free)


12. XE Currency Calculator:

Elegant in its simplicity and an absolutely necessity for travel abroad, you put in which currencies you want to calculate (starting and ending), and the app does the rest. It’s great if you want to keep exchange rates in mind, but shines in on the spot calculation. Plus, it gives trend charts for comparison of rates over time. (Free)


13. WiFi Finder:

Let’s face it, one of the first things you want to do when you touch down abroad is let everyone you know know you made it safely. And of course, take advantage of all of these internet-based apps (but mostly it’s all about that “HEY EVERYONE I’M IN PARIS” status update). That’s where WiFi Finder comes in. Teamed up with ISP’s around the world, WiFi Finder is privy to 650,000 hotspots in 144 countries, making it pretty much the final word when it comes to finding WiFi (and you’ll even know in advance whether or not you’ll have to pay to use it). (Free)


14. Uber:

If you haven’t heard about Uber yet, you’re in for a treat. This simple app, whose network reaches across 140 cities globally, allows you to order a car (taxis and a variety of private and/or environmentally friendly vehicles) to your location and pay for the ride right on your phone. You can even watch your car on its way to you, and get updates on its progress. Brilliant and increasingly popular. (Free)


15. Hotel Tonight:

Knowing full well that I am absolutely this kind of person, and that every night out is one night closer to inevitably waking up in Tijuana, I like to take the necessary steps to make that rude awakening as gentle as possible. Hotel Tonight (with service in North America, Central America, South America, and Europe) partners with local hotels to offer any available rooms for last-minute (often same-day) booking at incredible deals. And while most choose to use this app for more than “party insurance,” for me it’s all about peace of mind. (Free)


16. World Around Me:

I’m going to put this out there: it’s about damn time we got Augmented Reality. World Around Me is that quintessential app that tells you what’s around you, and where to go for what you’re looking for... but with the added bonus of being able to see it through the lens of the future: with superimposed signs. ($0.99)


17. Wikitude:

Social media meets Wikipedia meets augmented reality meets your phone. (Free)


18. Citrus

Imagine: you’re wandering the streets of a new city, and you find the most awesome little coffee shop. Your friend/travel companion is back at the hostel. You want to inform your friend that you have found the most awesome coffee shop, but have no idea where it is, or how to direct them to it. With Citrus, you can send geotagged information about your location to anyone you’ve linked up with on the app, and they can either send you information about their whereabouts, or navigate in real-time on a street level map to your location. (Free)


19. WordLens:

The single coolest app in this roundup. The be-all-end-all of apps, bless you Google for buying the technology and making it a reality. With this app, you can select an input language, and an output language. The app then uses your camera to read and translate words in the visual field in real time, and superimposes them back into their correct locations (with matched fonts and colors). The future is now. (App and Language Packs Free for a limited time) 


20. WhatsApp:

I can personally attest to the usefulness of this app abroad--I downloaded it at the recommendation of a Moroccan stranger in Casablanca. WhatsApp allows you to text anyone else with the program for free, provided you’re on a WiFi network. Paired with WiFi Finder, you’d be able to communicate with virtually anyone, anywhere, for free. (Free) 


21. Camera+:

It’s been around since the early generations of iPhone, Camera+ is one of the best ways to get the most out of your smartphone camera. User friendly, and with a ton of photo editing features, Camera+ has helped me snap photos that rival those taken with a significantly more expensive standalone camera. ($1.99)


22. Photosynth:

A panorama-stitching program, Photosynth’s best feature is the ability to take seamless 360-degree panoramas, and share them. Imagine getting a media-text from a friend travelling abroad in Italy, and opening it to view the Roman Coliseum around you as your friend is seeing it. Except you’re at home, in your underwear. It’s the dream! (Free)




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