50 of the Best Smartphone Apps for Indie Travelers
The exponential growth in Smartphone use has meant the popular ‘there’s an app for that’ mantra has hit the travel world with full force. Though the truth is, there are probably a hundred apps for that, so at BootsnAll we thought it might be a good idea to compile our own list of the most useful travel apps out there for your iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry.
Some of these are travel app mainstays that appear on every list, but we also tried to include less popular apps that cater to off-the-beaten-path or long-term travelers. So from getting your visas to getting your vaccinations, finding an ATM to finding a toilet, booking a flight to booking a campsite, here are 50 of the best travel applications that are sure to make your travels less stressful, more convenient, and above all, really, really cool.
This is the mobile app version of the website in every traveler’s flight planning kit. Use Kayak to compare flight prices and details from hundreds of travel websites to ensure you’re flying JFK to Heathrow for the lowest possible fare.
Once you receive your flight confirmation email, upload it to Flight Track Pro. FTP will track your flight with updates and zoom-able maps and send real-time alerts so that a late-season snowstorm and 3-hour delay won’t catch you off guard.
3. Train Schedules Europe (iPhone, iPad: $3.99, Train Schedule Beta for Android: Free)
Train Schedules Europe will be the Swiss Army app for anyone traveling through the continent on Eurail or Interrail. You can search train departure times and routes and see yourself on a map at your approaching location so you won’t miss your stop even when the voice on the PA system is in German. Similar apps exist for other countries where train travel is popular like India, Japan and England.
Zipcar is the evolution of car rental services. You can use this app to locate the closest Zipcars to you, reserve one, and then honk the horn with your Smartphone so you can find it in the lot. For more information on the Zipcar service, visit zipcar.com.
AllSubwayHD offers the best collection of subway maps for most major subway networks on every continent. The maps are viewable offline and with an Internet connection you can easily access subway websites for schedules and fares.
6. Maplets (iPhone, iPad: $2.99)
Maplets is touted as the most comprehensive offline map app in the Apple store. Worldwide maps range from city maps to national parks, bike routes to ski-resorts. If it’s navigable, it’s eligible, and with over 6000 maps and growing, Maplets is sure to have a diagram for your next destination.
With MotionX GPS you can track your location anywhere in the world on street, topography and satellite maps. The app even lets you track trip statistics like date, start time, distance traveled and speed. It’s great for hiking, exploring the city, or being miserably lost.
8. Serendipitor (iPhone, iPad: Free)
Serendipitor is GPS for the chronic wanderer. Simply enter an origin and Serendipitor will create an indirect route to your destination. Along the way, the app makes suggestion for actions you can take, giving you the best opportunity for spontaneous cultural experiences.
With the Travisa Visa app you can look up detailed information on the travel visa requirements and passport services for over 200 countries. This is great for those long trips spanning multiple countries where it’s difficult to keep track of how many passport sized photos, crisp $20 bills and copies of applications you’ll need.
We’ve all used HostelWorld to book a cheap bed, and now, just like on the website, you can use the Smartphone app to browse over 25,000 hostels, read user reviews, and book a bed that won’t bust your budget.
Shatner’s made it to your Smartphone, and he’s kicking, punching and cutting his way to discount deals on hotels and car rentals for you. You can also bid on Priceline for even cheaper deals than are posted on the app.
12. TripAdvisor (iPhone, iPad, Android: Free)
TripAdvisor is your go-to source for peer hotel and hostel reviews. Before you book a room on HostelWorld or Priceline, download this app and make sure you’re really getting what you’re paying for.
Amongst many camping applications, iCampsitesHD makes the list because it has probably the most extensive list of campsites abroad. You can use the app to search for the closest campsites to your location and the details of the site. iCampsites is small right now, but seems poised to grow.
14. FoodSpotting (iPhone, iPad, Android: Free)
Unlike most food apps that offer reviews for restaurants, FoodSpotting gives peer reviews of specific dishes. You can search for restaurants by what you want to eat and get dish recommendations from fellow Foodspotters, friends and experts. This app is used best for exploring a place through its signature dishes.
TV Food maps may not be the most useful travel app, but on the other hand, it will help you find all those excellent restaurants you’ve seen on the Food Network and Travel Channel. Use it to find those smaller establishments and hidden gems that cook great food but don’t appear in the guidebooks.
Cor.kz is for wine lovers and those interested in knowing more about that glass of red they had by the Grand Canal. With Cor.kz you can look up a bottle or just scan the barcode if available and access over 2,000,000 notes and ratings from the wine-drinking community. Cor.kz can also help you improve your palate and makes recommendations.
17. iBeersPro (iPhone, iPad: $3.99)
Want to know about that hefe your sipping in Bavaria, or the pint your pounding in the pub in Dublin? Then download iBeersPro and take advantage of their database of over 2,700 beers to reference the brewer, beer type, alcohol volume and country of origin. For beer lovers, this app is a great tag-along as you travel and imbibe.
18. Can I Drink The Water? (iPhone, iPad: $.99)
A simple straightforward app with extreme utility. Can I Drink The Water? provides water quality information for over 200 countries. The app is also location aware, so it’s easy to look up if the water is drinkable in your current position.
19. ATM Hunter (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry: Free)
ATM Hunter will use your Smartphone’s GPS system to locate the nearest ATM or search for a particular ATM. With ATM Hunter you no longer have to worry about scouring the city for those elusive three letters just so you can eat at that recommended hole-in-the-wall joint that doesn’t take a card.
The Chase and Bank of America mobile apps let you take your banking with you on your travels. You can easily view your balance, make transfers and pay bills so you can stay on budget while away. Your bank may have a mobile app as well.
21. TripBoss Travel Manager (iPhoto, iPad: $4.99)
TripBoss is a travel budget manager that helps you organize your expenses into easy to understand categories. The app can also make real-time currency conversions and will convert all your stored data into a different currency when you cross the border. Budgeting is often sidelined in lieu of grand travel ambitions but TripBoss makes it easy to keep money in mind while still enjoying yourself.
22. BillMinder (iPhone, iPad, Android: $1.99)
With BillMinder you can upload all your bills to your calendar and the app will send you notifications of when they are due or set up auto-pay. So whether you left a mortgage, student loan or rent payment, BillMinder keeps your home-life intact while you’re away.
23. Pano (iPhone, iPad: 1.99. Android: $2.99)
Pano uses your phone’s camera to take 360 degrees panoramas by stitching together up to 16 separate photos. The app has a semi-transparent guide to help you line up your photos and also offers alignment, blending and color correcting functions to ensure you take the most seamless panoramic photos possible.
24. Camera+ Pro (iPhone, iPad: $1.99)
Camera+ Pro adds features to your Smartphone’s camera that aren’t available by default. This includes 36 additional photo filters and 9 distortion effects, real time editing and ‘soft flash’ to get higher quality photos in dark lighting. Essentially, the app elevates your Smartphone’s camera as close as is currently possible to taking high-quality DSLR photographs.
25. Magic Shutter (iPhone, iPad: $2.99)
Nothing ruins a photo like over or under exposure, and sure you could make some adjustments in post, or you could fix the problem at the source. Magic Shutter uses your phone’s video capturing capabilities to take long exposure and repeated exposure shots so those low-light scenes come out true and sharp. It also has an advanced Smart Exposure function to warn you of over-exposed areas.
26. Iris Photo Suite (iPhone, iPad: $1.99)
You will use Iris Photo Suite just like you would Photoshop, iPhoto or Gimp on any old computer to add textures, correct shadows and highlights, color balance with layers and masking control. Iris makes photo editing mobile with few sacrifices so your pictures can be Facebook-worthy before you make it back to the hostel.
Photobucket is the mobile app of the popular photo-sharing social website. After you’ve adjusted your functions, snapped several masterpieces then cropped and contrasted, you can directly upload your shots to a Photobucket album. Then geo-tag your photos, share them on Facebook and Twitter, or view and comment on other albums from fellow travelers.
TripIt is the ultimate travel app. When you receive a confirmation email from anywhere you’ve booked, forward it to email@example.com and the TripIt app will automatically sync your reservations to your phone’s calendar and create your trip itinerary. TripIt ensures you won’t show up for your flight three hours late or check into your hotel a day early.
The trusty Lonely Planet guides we’ve come to rely on for solid accommodation, attractions and dining recommendations have gone mobile. Browse through their list of 58 cities and 17 language phrasebooks to find the city you’ll be traveling to next. In many ways the app is even better than the book as it is location aware, attractions and amenities are geo-tagged, and maps can be viewed offline making your phone a less bulkier option than the book.
30. Packing Pro (iPhone, iPad: $2.99)
Packing Pro would be no more useful than a piece of paper if it only helped you organize your things into an easy to manage packing list. Fortunately for travelers, the app also has sample packing lists, a master catalogue of virtually any useful packable item and an ‘Expert List Assistant’ that will create a packing list for you based on factors like destination, temperature and number of days.
31. Accuweather (iPhone, iPad, Andriod, Blackberry: Free)
The Accuweather app allows you to view 15-day forecasts on your phone’s calendar, share weather information via Twitter, Facebook and email, and place friends on a map so you can view what weather they are experiencing. But ultimately, Accuweather tells you if you need a poncho or sunscreen to go see Ankor Wat tomorrow.
32. Voltage and Sockets- Plugs Around the World (iPhone, iPad: $.99)
This little app that could ranks up there with some of the behemoth apps on this list in terms of utility. It’s no longer taboo to travel connected with your iPhone, iPad, MacBook, iPod and Coolpix. So the handy Voltage and Sockets app will keep you juiced and de-fried by telling you exactly what converter and adapter you’ll need for every country you’ll be visiting.
33. Ski and Snow Report (iPhone, iPad, Android: Free)
With the Ski and Snow Report you can add up to 12 resorts to your phone and get notifications when there is new snow and when vital conditions are updated like the number of trails open, snowfall over the last 72 hours, and depth at the base and the top. Additionally, planning an impromptu trip with your friends has never been easier as the app lets you share conditions via Facebook, Twitter and email.
Magic Seaweed is to surfing what Ski and Snow Report is to skiing. Get the forecast for over 2,500 worldwide beaches including swell height, period and direction, wind strength and direction and temperature. MSW has become one of the best ways to find out the conditions of the beaches around you so you won’t go chasing the wrong swell.
35. Dive Locator (iPhone, iPad: $.99)
Dive Locator is a social application in which users upload dive locations and review them so that anywhere in the world you can find the closest dive site and decide if it’s worth taking the plunge. Dive Locator also provides the weather, temperature, humidity, winds, barometer and tide tables for over 4,200 sites.
36. EveryTrail (iPhone, iPad, Android: Free)
Using the GPS function on your phone, EveryTrail will plot the photos and videos you take during a hike directly onto the route map on the app. Your route can then be uploaded to the app for others to view. With EveryTrail you can also use your GPS to find trailheads near you and track your route, download maps to be viewed offline, and view other users’ hikes to help plan your own.
37. 1000 Ultimate Experiences (iPhone, iPad: $4.99)
Here is a bit of wanderlust for the cubicle traveler. Created by Lonely Planet, this app outlines the company’s 1000 Ultimate Experiences through awe-inspiring photos and videos. Great for planning your next trip or passing time on that 15-hour bus back to Bangkok.
38. Fotopedia Heritage (iPhone, iPad: Free)
If 1000 Ultimate Experiences wasn’t enough, here’s an extra dose of wanderlust. Fotopedia Heritage documents earth’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites through photos. Again, this app is great for planning and armchair traveling, as well as impressing your friends with your knowledge of geography and travel.
Cope and communicate
Many of these apps as well as your email and blog rely on an oft-elusive Internet connection. Free Wi-Fi Finder has a worldwide database of stores, restaurants, hotels, areas etc. that provide free wi-fi so wherever you are you can avoid the dodgy internet cafes and get online somewhere close, cheap and convenient.
Skype has revolutionized the way travelers communicate, and this app is taking it even further by making your obligatory weekly phone call back home possible literally anywhere there is an internet connection. Downloading Skype is a selfless commitment to letting your loved ones know you’re still alive.
41. Word Lens
Word Lens makes the list for cool factor and potential. Focus your Smartphone’s camera on a word or sentence in a foreign language, and the app will translate it for you. Currently Word Lens only works from Spanish to English and vice versa, but as it grows in popularity more languages will be added.
42. Google Translate (iPhone, iPad, Android: Free)
This stalwart of travel app lists makes it onto this one as well. Google Translate is your best option for a more conventional translator. Just type what you need translated, select your target language, and click.
43. HiConverter (iPhone, iPad: $.99)
HiConverter is a superior conversion app that boasts the most complete collection of currencies, units and other conversions. This app is great because it not only provides basic conversions like exchange rates, metric to American and Celsius to Fahrenheit, but also more obscure travel relevant conversions like clothing sizes, wattage and fuel consumption.
44. BlogPress (iPhone, iPad: $2.99)
With BlogPress, blogging while on the road has become as convenient as ever. Upload multiple photos or videos to each post, place and text wrap with just a few clicks, and post to other blog platforms with the BlogPress app. Now there’s no excuse for not keeping your blog updated.
45. MaxJournal (iPhone, iPad: $2.99)
Countless little details never make it to your blog and fall into the recesses of your memory never to be recalled again. But instead of forgetting them, write them down with MaxJournal. You can add up to 30 photos per entry, customize your theme, text wrap easily and conveniently recall entries.
46. The World Clock App (iPhone, iPad: $.99)
The World Clock App automatically synchronizes to the appropriate time zone, adjusts for daylight savings times, and has a sweet real-time Earth day-night map. But its most useful feature: an alarm clock that will adjust according to what time zone you are in so you’ll never wake up at the wrong time in Prague because you spent the previous day in Barcelona.
Medical and emergency
47. Helix Travel Vaccinations (iPhone, iPad: Free)
This easy app tells you what vaccinations you should get for what country you plan to visit. Then, once you get the vaccinations, store your history on the app so you’ll never forget if that shot was for Hepatitis A or B.
48. Help Call (iPhone, iPad: $2.99)
For emergency situations, HelpCall uses its Location Auto-Detect function to call the local Police, Fire Department or Ambulance in 126 supported countries with just a click. And in extreme circumstances, if you can’t see or touch your phone, the app lets you designate an emergency number that will be called if you shake your phone.
49. PillBox (iPhone, iPad, Android: free)
It’s hard enough keeping track of your meds at home, and the problem is compounded on the road. Pillbox allows you to make lists for all of your family members and what medications they should take during the week. You can also use the app to find information about medications if you’re sick in a foreign country and don’t know what over-the-counter will work best.
50. Sit or Squat (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry: Free)
The famed Sit or Squat application might make every ‘Best Apps for Travel’ list because of its extreme utility. Use the app to find the closest public restroom, read reviews and see pictures of the toilet, and find out additional information about changing tables and handicap accessibility. When nature calls… be ready with an answer.
Find more great travel apps:
- BootsnAll’s Favorite iPhone Apps
- Best Travel Organizer iPhone Apps
- Best iPhone Apps for Business Travel
- Best iPhone Travel Gear Apps
- Great BlackBerry Travel Apps
Every week, on “Round the World Wednesday” we share tips for planning, budgeting and selecting a route, plus advice on where to go and what to see and do all around the world.