This week, I’ve personally put together 10 free travel apps that I think will help ease the hustle and bustle of traveling this holiday season. Planning a trip is a great way to take a break from studying for finals. Whether flying or driving, these apps will help you focus on being there, not getting there.
Entrain (iOS, Android)
Entrain aims to help you adjust faster to new time zones and schedules by monitoring your body’s circadian clock using your smartphone. There are mixed reviews about how practical the app’s suggestions are but it’s definitely worth checking out if getting to your destination involves traveling through time zones. Nothing puts a damper on winter break like jet lag!
Waze (iOS, Android)
Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. I use this app often, for navigational purposes as well as for checking out where cops are hiding on the road. Any app that helps me avoid traffic tickets is fantastic, in my humble opinion.
GasBuddy (iOS, Android)
GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas prices with one tap. Want to help others find cheap gas, too? Submit gas prices via the app, and everyone wins. This is a great app whether you’re traveling far or staying close to home!
Wi-Fi Finder (iOS 5.0 or later, compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)
Thanks to a simple yet informative title, the purpose of this app is pretty self-explanatory. I definitely could have used an app like this when I traveled to Italy last summer and cancelled my data plan. I spent countless hours wandering the streets of Pistoia and Firenze looking for places with free Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Finder’s database can be downloaded for use offline and has over 650,000 Wi-Fi locations in 144 countries worldwide. Although not 100 percent accurate as new businesses are cropping up or disappearing all the time and rife with pop-up ads, this app is a pretty great way to quickly and easily find free or paid Wi-Fi when you travel.
Trip Advisor (iOS, Android)
The TripAdvisor apps operates much like the TripAdvisor website which is a pretty authoritative source for the lowest airfare, best hotels, great restaurants, and fun things to do (wherever you are). This is a great app to use whether you stay put or go abroad this winter break.
YPlan (iOS, Android)
This apps claims to uncover the best events every day in your city and/or the city you plan on traveling to. Great for discovering hidden culture, epic parties, and cool places to hang out with existing friends or to meet new ones!
Google Translate (iOS, Android)
Did you know that Google Translate comes in app form? Did you also know that when using this app you can literally point your smartphone camera at text (a street sign, ingredient list, instruction manual, dials on a washing machine) and Google Translate will tell you what it says? Can you tell how excited I am about this super cool feature? Would you like me to stop asking questions? Additionally, you can type to translate 90 languages, and 2 way automatic speech translation is available in 40 languages. One other fun fact: No Internet connection or cell phone data needed.
WhatsApp (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Nokia)
WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app that allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message. Meaning, if you have access to Wi-Fi you can message your family and friends using WhatsApp. In addition to basic messaging users can create groups, send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages.
PackPoint (iOS, Android)
PackPoint is a smart packing list app that organizes what you need to pack on your trip based on variables such as length of travel, weather at your final destination, and any day activities planned during your trip. Unfortunately this app stops just shy of physically packing all of your clothes for you, but it does take some of the guesswork out of the process!
TripIt (iOS, Android)
TripIt is a handy app that turns all your confirmation emails into a master itinerary so all your travel plans are in one place. You can view your itinerary anytime, on any device — even when you’re offline. It even syncs up with PackPoint, for an added bonus!
Have you used any of these apps for traveling before? See anything I’m missing? Feel free to share in the comment section below!