Got an adventurous vacation planned? You might skip packing that unflattering fanny pack or those touristy tennis shoes. But make sure you include these travel apps to enhance enjoyment before, during, and after your journey. I gave these mobile travel apps a test run on several recent business and personal trips.
Tripadvisor–Independent reviews give this app and website its strength. It injects a social layer showing friends who have been to a location. TripAdvisor also supports downloadable offline city guides and maps that are chock full of information.
Airbnb is all the rage since it leverages the strengths of the collaboration economy. Home and vacation owners list rentals in 30k supported cities. Travelers save money booking directly with the independent owner. A robust review capability helps travelers assess the quality of the property and any security concerns.
Staying organized on the road is a challenge, especially since hotel, air and car rental reservations may arrive in disparate emails or accounts. Both the Tripit and TripCase (handled locally out of Southlake) apps aggregate trip information, making travel details readily accessible in one spot within the app. You can auto-import by linking an email account. The app then searches for terms like reservation or confirmation and can automatically construct a trip.
The apps will also alert you to flight status changes. I found TripCase’s flight change notifications better than the airline’s, since it alerted me first when the delays occurred via the app, vs. my arbitrarily timed AA notifications buried in my email.
The apps make it easy to share travel plans. TripCase seems best for those valuing privacy, emphasizing itinerary sharing via email. Tripit promotes plan sharing with social networks. It’s especially helpful when LinkedIn colleagues share travel plans when attending professional events or tradeshows, since it reminds colleagues to schedule meetings.
If you’re a Google Maps user (who isn’t?) you may have noticed information on route closings and accidents from an integrated app called Waze. It’s well worth it to download the app which includes mapping, voice recognition, and gives you the ability to share construction delays, accidents and slow traffic with a single touch of a button.
If you’re planning a long drive, I strongly recommend you look for state websites or mobile apps highlighting construction plans. The two minutes spent downloading I Drive Arkansas can give you back two hours of your life!
I’m hooked on Glympse, which is a great app for coordinating multiparty travel, or to use around town to notify when you’re running late. Glympse sends a text or email with your GPS location so your friend can track you en route. They simply click on a link and don’t need to download the app. You can opt to share your travel speed (or NOT!). Glympse shares an ETA and your actual map location. The temporary glympse expires after 4 hours, making it a great way to get status information from privacy craving young adults uncomfortable with being permanently tracked.
No article on travel apps is complete without discussing translation applications. Since I haven’t had the fortune to travel internationally recently, I recommend this article. What I find most interesting are social translation apps. Linqapp and VerbalizeIt are now leveraging crowdsourcing to provide near-real time answers to travelers with specific translation questions. (How do I tell my server at the seafood restaurant in Spain that I am allergic to shrimp?)
After the Trip
Although Facebook is great for photo sharing, there are interesting apps to turn your travel selfies into physical postcards and mail them. Postcard on the Run, featured on Shark Tank, will do this for you for about $2.50. It’s nice for a non-socially connected older relative, or just because it’s special to send personal mail these days. The app has two drawbacks: I couldn’t figure out how to put copy on the front of the postcard (Greetings from Sunny Florida!) and it took about a week for delivery, when actual mail time was about 3 days.
Finally, a favorite discovery is Waterlogue. It’s an easy to use mobile app that turns travel photos into water color works of art. Share with your social networks, mail as a physical postcard, or print on fine quality paper and you have an inexpensive and beautiful souvenir of your trip.
I can’t wait for some more travel, and the chance to try some more apps! What’s your favorite travel app?
About the Author
Laurie Shook is a Portfolio Leader at Verizon, focused on new product innovation for unified communications services. Her passion is helping enterprises improve internal collaboration. She represents Verizon at SocialMedia.org, an industry best practices group, and serves as Vice President of Communications for SMC Dallas.