9 Apps for Easier Travel

travelapps2“There’s an app for that” became an eye-rolling meme long before Internet shorthand like “ridic” (for ridiculous) and “obvs” (for obviously) wormed their way into the Scrabble dictionary. For many, the explosion of apps has made the more tedious tasks of everyday life disappear with the poke of a thumb, despite the tendency of software purveyors to take things to extremes.

But for travel purposes, phone apps are as remarkable in their way as printed maps must have been in the 15th century. How did we ever find that charming off-the-beaten-path Roman pension or that quaint shop in Bruges with the wine cork world map or the entrance to underground Seattle without them?

So it was with a renewed sense of adventure that we scoured the Internet to uncover these nine ingenious travel apps on the planet, available free in iPhone and Android provenance.

TripIt: Meeting planners in particular will appreciate TripIt’s ability to store every detail of your journey, including hotel and restaurant reservations, flight, car rental and ground travel confirmations, and trip and event itineraries, in one simple app.

PackPoint: Simply input your gender, destination, length of stay and planned formal and informal activities, and PackPoint generates a customized packing list Mom would be proud of.

Hopper: No need to study the ebb and flow of airfares to nail the best price – Hopper does it for you. If your flight window is tight, Hopper’s Watch a Flight feature will send a push notice when fares bottom out. But if you’re flexible, its color-coded calendar will reveal the best times to buy over one month out. Available now for iPhones; an Android app is in the works.

The Weather Channel: No matter your destination, The Weather Channel has an app that provides the climate data you need for your travel, event and offsite planning purposes.

GasBuddy: Find the best gas prices around and a handy map of nearby fuel stops, including driving directions by Google Maps.

Google Translate: If you don’t parlez-vous the local language, this app can aurally translate conversations between two languages. While the brief translation pauses may seem awkward at first, it sure beats the alternatives.

Postagram: What fun is travel without a postcard barrage, right? Postagram instantly converts your favorite vacation photo into a customized, printable postcard and sends it snail-mail anywhere in the world for 99-cents U.S. or $1.99 worldwide.

GateGuru from TripAdvisor: Make the most of your layovers with this handy app, which provides a comprehensive guide to the airport’s restaurants, shops and services, as well as personalized flight delays, wait time and gate updates.

Hotel Tonight: Need a room tonight in Paris, London or New York? This app surveys the last-minute vacancies and prices in town to find you a room at the inn when the city seems full.

Bon voyage!

Jay MacDonald

Jay MacDonald

Jay MacDonald is an award-winning journalist, author and blogger who incorporates humor and human interest into a broad range of topics. Follow him on Twitter @omnisaurus

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