If you’re planning your next vacation or are already en route, remember that there are a ton of travel apps out there these days that are designed to help you out with everything from finding your accommodation to finding things to do in the area to protecting your personal information when you’re connecting to foreign Wi-Fi networks. But amongst the thousands of apps available, you’ll find that there are, unfortunately, a lot of duds. Here are seven great apps that are sure to enhance your trip, rather than leaving you frustrated and lost:
1. PackPoint — Packing to travel abroad can get difficult: you often have to research the climate and the culture, plus consider how much space you have to pack into. But the PackPoint app makes this all a lot easier by doing all the research for you and telling you exactly what it is that you have to pack. Of course, you’re not beholden to what the app says, based on your personal style, but it should, if nothing else, at least give you a starting point so that you don’t accidentally pack those three long-sleeve shirts to bring to Southeast Asia just because it’s monsoon season and the nights are a bit chillier than the days (but are still warm to most travelers!).
2. AirBnB — Although motels and hostels have typically been the way for backpackers to travel, sites such as AirBnB are definitely making waves these days, even for travelers who only plan to be in a city for a couple nights rather than long term. Often, it can be cheaper for travelers to books apartments, especially if they’re traveling with friends. And who doesn’t love having their own space for a night? If you have a look, you can often find something within your budget, even at the last minute.
3. Expensify — If you’re not traveling on a budget, it can be difficult to see why you should have and regularly keep track of a daily budget. But having a daily budget can help you plan your finances prior to your trip, justify expenses while on the trip, and narrow down your list of available food, accommodation, and transportation options during the trip. Expensify offers you a clean, user-friendly travel app to plan as much as you want to—without going over-the-top and making you plan everything ahead of time. Instead, it focuses more on your real-time activities, allowing you to take pictures of receipts and forward flight itinerary costs and more to a central account for inclusion in your expenditures.
4. TripAdvisor — Although TripAdvisor may not always be 100 percent accurate to your style of travel, the sheer number of users who leave reviews on this site mean that you’re likely to find out the good and the bad about your chosen accommodation, restaurant, tour, site, and more prior to your actually visiting the place. These days, it’s one of the most trusted travel apps for planning what to do with your travels, so it’s well worth your time to install it and start looking up places that you might visit. They’ve even got suggested itineraries for a lot of places that you might visit, meaning the amount of planning you have to do is minimal. Let’s face it: for most people, the fun part is the journey, not the anticipation of the journey!
5. TripIt — If you have a lot of different reservations coming at you from a bunch of different places—such as your flight, you accommodation, that tour that your friends insisted on, that offsite call that you need to be included on, etc.—you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed with scheduling. But TripIt will take all your different itinerary plans, as long as you forward them to one email address and combine them into one easy-to-follow itinerary. It’ll even go so far as to allow you to forward your itinerary to interested friends and family members!
6. Express VPN — If you’re traveling abroad, one of the most crucial apps that you can have is a VPN, or virtual private network, both for you computer and your smartphone or tablet. See, every time you access a public Wi-Fi network—whether at a hotel, coffee shop, or wherever else—your information is subject to hacking because you are leaving available ports on your computer. And because hackers do generally love to target travelers, you’re basically waving a flag asking for someone to steal your identity. Instead, using a powerful VPN such as ExpressVPN will encrypt your web connection and limit the amount of information your computer shares with the sites that you’re accessing, meaning that you’re no longer an appealing target for hackers, who generally will go with other, easier-to-hack network users.
7. Netflix — The great thing is, not only does a VPN app such as ExpressVPN hide your personal information, but it also hides your true location from the sites that you’re visiting. It does this by supplying them with a false IP address, meaning you could be located anywhere in the world as far as the site cares. This means that if you have a VPN enabled, you’ll be able to keep your personal information safe, but you’ll also be able to access apps such as Netflix that employ geo-restrictions to limit what you can see based on the country where you’re currently located.
Having a thousand printed documents for your travels is a thing of the past; instead, now it’s easy to combine your itineraries and booking confirmations all into one place! The more travel apps that are available, the easier your travels become, so if you’re going abroad with either a smartphone or tablet, it’s definitely in your interest to look into the options available to you. Make things as easy on yourself as possible by downloading apps to smooth your logistics, and you’ll find that you’ll enjoy your vacation a lot more!