Tech

The Most Essential Travel Apps to Help You Plan Your Holiday

From trip planning to execution, these are some of the best travel apps available for both Android and iPhone.
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Going on trips has become a lot easier with the help of travel apps. In this day and age, technology has become so accessible that there are numerous travel apps in the App Store and on Google Play to choose from. How do you select which ones are the must-haves and which ones you could go without? We round up the most essential travel apps to have on your phones.

What are the best travel apps?

It’s hard to prescribe which apps are the best for traveling, because these are all subject to the personal preferences of each traveler. However, since many trips follow the same planning process, at least one app each for the following are recommended: booking, planning itineraries, navigation, and messaging.

1| Travel apps for booking

There are a lot of things to consider when going on a trip: How early should you book your flight? Which dates should you pick? Which airline should you fly? Where should you stay? What activities should you do?

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Going through the official apps or websites of each airline, hotel, or tourist destination can become tedious to the point of exhaustion, considering there are a lot of airlines, hotels, or tour providers to consider. So your best bet in finding the best travel apps in booking your trips more efficiently? Aggregator apps.

These are useful travel apps that collate various offers from official websites and then present them as lists so it’s easy to compare them against each other. They’re usually clustered by segments: flights, hotels, transportation needs, or even activities. The best part? These apps often provide promo codes, discounts, and exclusive deals.

Here are some of the best travel apps for booking:

  • Traveloka (flights, hotels, activities)
  • Google Flights (flights)
  • Skyscanner (flights, hotels, car rentals)
  • Klook (activities, dining, etc.)
  • Kayak (flights, hotels, car rentals)
  • KKday (tours, activities)
  • Airbnb (accommodations)
  • Hopper (flights, hotels)
  • TripAdvisor (hotels, dining, activities)

2| Travel apps for planning your itinerary

After securing dates and accommodations, the next thing vacation planners usually worry about is arranging the tour itinerary. This includes planning, not just the places and activities, but also the schedules and allotted budget.

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Keeping track of everything can be a daunting process, especially if you’ve opted to forego availing of the services of travel agencies. If this is the case, it’s best to use travel apps that let you keep your whole itinerary on your phone—available whenever and wherever you go.

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Here are some of the best travel apps for planning itineraries:

  • TripIt - consolidates all your trip plans into one master itinerary. You just have to forward all your travel confirmation emails to the designated email address.
  • Google Trips - gathers all the travel information from Gmail and Inbox, and organizes them accordingly. Available offline.
  • Google Sheets - for the more detail-oriented travel planner. Highly customizable, but doesn’t automatically collate information unless it’s encoded.
  • Packpoint - creates a checklist of your essentials, to ensure that you’ve got everything you need.

3| Travel apps for navigation

Of course, traveling wouldn’t be complete without going around unfamiliar roads. While it can be considered as the thrill of every trip, it’s easy to get lost in a crowd of busy people and fellow travelers especially in popular tourist places.

To make sure that your trips still go as planned, there are a handful of useful travel apps that can guide every travelerbe it for commuters or road-trippers.

  • Waze - shows real-time road traffic and suggests alternative routes for faster drives.
  • Google Maps/Apple Maps - useful for simple navigation. Easier to use than printed out maps.
  • Moovit - provides real-time train and bus schedule and suggests which public transportation vehicles to take for commuters. Available in 90 countries and over 2,700 cities.

4| Travel apps for messaging

While many people organize trips to relax and disconnect, it is still important to make sure you are reachable in case something happens that requires your immediate attention. It goes both ways, too, since these messaging apps will be useful should you face an emergency during your trip.

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In the Philippines, Facebook Messenger is the widely used messaging app. But in some places, particularly China, the platform is blocked. To keep connected to people from home, it’s important to keep your channels open by maintaining backup accounts.

Here are some of the best travel apps for messaging:

  • WhatsApp
  • Telegram
  • Viber
  • Wechat
  • Line
  • KakaoTalk

5| Other essential travel apps

  • Google Translate - necessary to have when traveling to foreign places that use different languages.
  • Currency Converter Plus - computes foreign exchange and can function offline.
  • AccuWeather/Weather Timeline - provides real-time weather updates in different locations.
  • WiFi map - finds free WiFi hotspots near you.
  • Mobile payment apps - these may not be needed as much for domestic travels, but having a few on your phone is highly recommended for international trips.

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About The Author
Pauline Macaraeg
Esquire Philippines
Pauline is Esquire Philippines’ data journalist. Follow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg.
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