Via LearnVest By Jason Hall ~
Picture this: You’re spending a week in your dream city of Paris, when you decide to hop a train at the last minute to see Monet’s Garden in Giverny.
But where will you stay and eat? And is there anything else you shouldn’t miss while there?
This is where the new guard of smartphone apps comes in. There are apps for fun stuff (attractions and adventures), necessary stuff (flights and hotels) and even trip details (gas prices and currency conversion). And the best part about these 13 picks? They’re all free.
- HotelTonight. Properties work with this app provider to fill vacant rooms, so you can book last-minute accommodations in 12 countries—like Mexico and Ireland—for up to a 70% discount.
- GasBuddy. This app locates the closest gas stations, and also lists the prices you can expect to pay—saving you both time and money.
- Kayak. Their famous slogan “search one and done” means that you can book airfare and hotels, manage your itinerary and track your flight status in one place.
- OANDA Currency Converter. Avoid nasty overspending surprises by using this app to convert prices between different currencies—it even takes into account ATM and credit card fees.
- Tripomatic. This app plots out nearby attractions and activities the minute you program a new location into the application. It also lets you share your travels with friends in your social network.
- Trip Advisor City Guides. With this app, you can download maps and city guides onto your phone, so you have them at your fingertips even when you can’t access the Internet.
- TripIt. Forward confirmation emails to Tripit, and the app will organize your trip details into a master online itinerary. It automatically includes maps, directions and weather info, and also gives you the option to book restaurants, entertainment and activities.
Travel Tips Apps
- SeatGuru. This app provides seat maps, photos and comfort ratings for flights from all major airlines.
- GateGuru. Consider it the SeatGuru for airport terminals: The app ranks the best restaurants and businesses in each terminal, and it can be linked to Tripit or Kayak, so you can download your travel itinerary.
- Free Wi-Fi Finder. Having trouble finding wireless? This application helps you locate and connect to Wi-Fi hot spots all over the country.
- Google Translate. This tool quickly translates both spoken word and text, as well as repeats words out loud for you.
Hidden Gem Apps
- Airbnb. This service allows people to rent out their homes to travelers at reasonable prices. (Don’t worry: All renters are reviewed and approved for trustworthiness by the company.) Whether you’re looking for an apartment for the night or a villa for a month, this app allows you to book travel anywhere on Earth from your mobile phone.
- Wikitude. Another great restaurant-and-event-finding app, Wikitude has an added element of cool: If you use your camera phone, the app will superimpose information about what you’re seeing (thanks to GPS) over your image.
Jason Hall is blogger and Brand Manager for Budget Car Hire, Australia’s premiere car rental company. He enjoys writing about trending travel topics, as well as travel adventures.