Whether you’re looking to plan the perfect family vacation, or you’re a serious world traveler looking to get the most out of your journey, your mobile phone is one of your best tools. When you’re traveling to places you’ve never been before, you want to make sure you’re seeing the sights and getting the best value for your dollar, yen, euro, or pound. From hotels to tourist spots, cheap flights to bargain cruises, there is an app for all your needs. Nowadays, people won’t go into the next room without their phones, never mind another country. These apps are your best options when you want to bring a wealth of information with you no matter where you’re going.
Tripomatic launched as a web-based platform in 2011 and quickly developed into an app for iPhone. It’s a pretty straightforward concept. Plug in your destination and how long you intend to stay, and Tripomatic will generate maps for you that pinpoint attractions, landmarks, and things to do. The app itself is free, but you can buy personalized offline maps for $1.99. You can also transfer your itinerary to PDF form, print it out, to share it on Facebook and Twitter. It’ll really save you time researching the most interesting things to see and do when you reach your destination.
Part revolutionary, part slightly creepy, SeatID is designed to help you choose the best seat for you on those long international fights based on the other passengers around you. How does it do that? By connecting with Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks and directing you to their profiles. So if you’re traveling to Australia and want to avoid sitting near someone who will be irritated by a fussy baby, you can find someone compatible to share the journey with. Airlines will require you to opt-in if you’re okay with your social media identity being shared, but chances are that SeatID could change the way people fly.
Struggling to remember where you need to be and when you need to be there? Use TripIt to access all your travel plans on the go. It’s easy! Simply forward confirmation emails and TripIt will automatically build an itinerary for your trip that you can access anytime, either online or from a mobile device. Planning a family renunion? Use TripIt to share travel plans. And rest easy knowing that if fares go down, you’ll be the first to know about flight refunds.
If your family is prone to taking spontaneous trips, HotelTonight is a great way to find discounted hotel rooms at the last minute, discounted up to 70 percent across North America and Europe. You have to search after noon on the same day, but all of the locations are sanctioned by the company and there are promos and discounts available for your bookings. Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android, this app has become an indispensable tool for people who are constantly on the go.
Are you always hearing about deals on cruises but never know where to start looking? Even today, around 90 percent of passengers book with a travel agent. But apps like iCruise can change all that, with its database of 20 cruise lines and deck plans for 220 ships. Yu can easily select the port you’d like to leave from and browse all available itineraries, making window-shopping for the perfect cruise much simpler than going into an agent’s office. The app will also let you know of all available discounts and all the hot deals on the horizon.
There’s a lot that goes into planning the perfect vacation—especially when there are kids involved and you need things to go smoothly. From planning, booking, and packing, to knowing what to do when you arrive, it’s nice to know that in the digital age, there’s a wealth of convenience available with the push of a button. Great travel apps can help you get the most out of life when you’re seeing the sights, and that will make your experience richer and more simplified. Don’t be afraid to hop on a plane and take the benefit of technology along with you. It’s probably better than anything you could put in your suitcase.
Amy Nielson is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @NielsonAmy.