Top 10 Free Travel Apps for Planning Your Next Adventure
Who doesn’t like to travel? According to the U.S. Travel Association, spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.7 billion a day, $113.1 million an hour, $1.9 million a minute, and $31,400 a second in 2016. People spent $683.1 billion on leisure travel, and $307.2 billion on business travel. U.S. residents had 1.7 billion trips for leisure purposes and 457.4 million business trips in 2016.
Travel planning can be stress-free and fun with the help of technology. Luckily, there are apps that can assist you in all your travel needs, from booking a hotel to picking up a new language.
The tools we share in this blog post will help you save time and money when traveling. We have used these apps to plan multiple road trips, weekend getaways, business trips, and family staycations in the United States. They were equally helpful, and sometimes indispensable while traveling internationally to countries like Mexico, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, and Turkey.
We like hotels.com because it makes it so easy to find hotel deals anywhere. You can enter a specific address that you would like to stay close to, and the search engine will sort all available hotels and arrange them conveniently in terms of distance. It will arrange searches by distance to city center by default. You can read reviews of hundreds of other people who stayed in that hotel before making your choice.
Hotels.com offers heavily discounted rooms virtually anywhere. Moreover, every time you book a room, you earn reward points. When you collect 10 nights, you get one free night of equal or lesser value. You can use your free nights later, wherever you want. I have 3 free nights accumulated on my account now. They will come in handy during Thanksgiving travel season, or I might use earlier for a weekend getaway with my husband. Go ahead and explore hotels.com and don’t forget to set up an account before booking your stay.
Roadtrippers allows you to plan a trip with multiple stops. You can save your trip guide and access it on the go. Instead of printing out your itineraries and taking them with you, you can easily plan your entire journey on your computer or phone and adjust your trip details later in real time. Your trip guides are saved in your account and can be accessed from your phone or iPad on the go. When you are exploring a new location, Roadtrippers lets you search thousands of trip guides created by other people. It’s another way to explore the area and plan your trip.
Waze is the best app for optimizing your drive in real time. It will make your road trip a breeze! It’s another app with a strong sense of community. Waze users report traffic updates, police cars, accidents, hazard on the road, traffic cameras, and road closures. Read our review of Waze to learn more.
Maps.me is a great offline map app for worldwide travelers. The app works even when you don’t have cellular data or wi-fi. You just have to download maps of the area or country you are planning to visit. When you are finished exploring the area, delete the maps you no longer need. You can add locations to the map to help other travelers, bookmark locations, share your location with friends, and find walking, biking, or driving directions between locations.
Airbnb is gaining popularity in big cities, as well as in rural areas. Its secret is in making a connection between those who are looking to rent their homes and those who are looking for accommodations worldwide. It helps people travel domestically and internationally on a budget and feel at home anywhere they go.
Since you are staying at someone’s home or apartment, you will typically have access to the kitchen. It helps to save money on eating out and adds an extra level of comfort. Needless to say, renting with Airbnb is often much cheaper than renting a hotel room. Often, there is a one-time cleaning fee, regardless of how many days you stay. I noticed that some owners offer a discount if your length of stay is longer than a certain number of days.
We stayed at Airbnb during our recent trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It is a great way to cut your hotel bills, especially if you are traveling with a large group. In Las Vegas, the condo we stayed in had access to the pool at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, which was very nice. Here is our affiliate link to join Airbnb, that will give you $40 off your next stay. This coupon code will never expire, so you can just sign up now and it will be on your account when you are ready to plan your trip in the future.
If you need to book a flight, Hopper is a great ticket price analyzer. The app tracks thousands of flights and analyzes the data to determine if now is a good time to book. Price prediction provides you with an estimated timeframe of when the ticket prices for your selected destination are going to increase and by how much. I found this app thanks to this article by Andrew Villagomez at National Geographic Travel digital. I traveled quite a bit this summer, so having this app on my phone was very helpful.
Duolingo is a free app for learning a new language. It has dozens of languages and offers fun and interactive exercises at various levels of language proficiency. The exercises are broken down into small chunks by topic. With some pre-planning, you can pick up the basics of a new language in a few months by studying 15 minutes a day.
It’s always a good idea to learn at least a few basic conversational phrases in a language of the country you are planning to visit. The locals will appreciate your effort! Google Translate app can help you to translate menu options and even maintain a conversation with a local. You can either type or speak the phrase you need to translate in the app. I could easily maintain a conversation with my Turkish nephew using Google translate. He has been taking English classes in the last few years. So we don’t need to use a phone as an intermediary anymore.
Yelp is a good app for finding restaurants and other businesses in a city you are visiting. User reviews will help you to make the right choice. You can also contribute your own reviews and photos.
TripAdvisor is helpful if you want to discover a new area. I always go to “Things To Do” in a city, when I want to find local attractions and sightseeing opportunities. Attractions are ranked from most recommended by travelers to least recommended. You can read reviews for restaurants, hotels, and places you are planning to visit. You can also add reviews for places you have visited and help other travelers to plan their travels.
- If you are going to a major city, you can save a significant amount by buying a CityPASS. It gives travelers a chance to explore the city on a budget. All the top attractions are typically included in one pass. Currently, CityPASS is available in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. I used a CityPASS for a family vacation in Atlanta a few years ago. Everyone was happy to enjoy the attractions and save some money to enjoy the local food scene.
- Speaking of food, don’t forget to check Groupon for hot deals at local restaurants. We used Groupon several times on a recent vacation to Las Vegas. It gives you a chance to try new places without overspending.