railway in japan

We’re passionate about travel. We believe travel experiences should be accessible to everyone, and the tools and talents we’ve learned should be shared with everyone. Having a great experience on your next trip really does start with going places that you can have a great experience, and for us, having a great experience is easier and more predictably enjoyable whenever we use mobile apps. Thus, we have one of the 5 Essential Travel Apps for anyone to use.

My first use of a mobile device on vacation was in France, in 2004. I caused quite a stir in Bordeaux when I showed up at Bed and  Breakfast table using Map Point 2004 on my Windows Pocket PC 2002 device! It felt like it was from the future, and it’s fair to say that it was a memorable experience for everyone involved.

Here are five free mobile apps useful after you find a great deal on airfare. We chose these apps for their class-leading utility, ease of use and free price. Many of these could be replaced by personal preference, and if you prefer your app over an app here, by all means, stick with your app! Finally, familiarize yourself with these apps before you go on your next vacation.

Without further ado, here are the top 5 Essential Travel Apps for busy travelers:

1. Maps: Google Maps

Google PlayiTunes  

Not getting lost in a foreign country means getting a map, and mapping applications, as long as you have the bandwidth, are a practical and handy way to find your way on the road. Almost everyone has used Google Maps, so sticking with a familiar app is a good idea.

The best reason to recommend Google Maps is that no other map provider offers car/bike/ferry/walk and rail options in the same app. In many parts of the world, where booking a train ticket or getting a seat on a ferry is the norm, this is a key feature. This was only recently added to the app (it had been on the browser version only) so we can now recommend the app over the website. Finally, Google Maps has a great feature that’s missing in most other free mapping programs: airport interior maps. Finding an international gate in a new airport for a connecting flight can be stressful. Don’t miss your flight!

2. Airline Info: FlightView Free

iTunes – Google Play

FlightView Free is the best app for real-time flight information. When is that flight scheduled to arrive? Get an alert for that flight. Departure gate changed? Get an alert. Connecting flight changed? Get an alerted as soon as it happens. You can set custom levels of alerts, see real-time flight paths, arrival and departure times (or delays) all updated within seconds. You can even find out information about the plane model. Enter your flight info, the app does the rest. Essential. From OAG.

3. Translation: Google Translate

Google Play – Itunes 

The app offers text, speech and snapshot translation, meaning if you can take a pic with your smartphone, you have a great shot at translating the sign. Google Translate now includes French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Portuguese as offline translators for when you’re tight on bandwidth (more on that later.) We still recommend learning a few conversational phrases (and knowing what they mean when you are asked the same phrases) but traveling with a translator opens up another level of great travel experience.

Mobile Device on Vacation

Mobile is for more than pics on your next vacation

4. Spending and Budget: Mint

iTunesGoogle Play

Saving a lot of money on a plane ticket is a smart way to experience travel. Overspending your budget can be fun, but it can take away the benefits of saving a lot on your next vacation airfare. Mint helps you track expenses and keep your budget in mind when you travel. Since online privacy and security are a big concern too, we feel safe recommending Mint.

Mint is now part of Intuit, who has been making personal finance software forever, so the user experience and features are great right out of the box. 

5. Itinerary wrangling: TripIt: Trip Planner

iTunes  Google Play

TripIt places high on our list of essentials because it’s an easy and free way to keep your travel plans organized. If you forward travel confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com, TripIt will create a streamlined master itinerary for each of your trips that you can access anytime, anywhere, on any device—for free. If you have a Gmail account, it will do its organizing on its own – no forwarding necessary.

Key Features of Tripit are:

  • Instantly creates a schedule with all your travel details in one place
  • Imports travel plans directly from your email
  • Gives you access to your travel plans on any device
  • Adds your travel plans to your calendar for you
  • Keeps family, friends, and colleagues in the loop
  • Stores essential travel documents and contacts

And there you have it. The top 5 essential travel apps to begin utilizing. You don’t have to use all of them, but using just one will definitely improve your experience!

Amazing Airfare was created to offer travelers unbelievable discounts (in every case at least 50%) on airfare to international destinations.  If you’re a traveler looking to find the biggest discount, or just too busy to keep searching for incredible deals, Amazing Airfare might be the ticket!

If you’ve found this post useful, or if you’ve got questions or comments, drop in your comment below, we love to hear from fellow travelers!