Are you about to embark on a journey to unknown territory? Or maybe you’re just excited to explore a new city, but have no idea where to even begin your day?
Check out these eight great apps that can help you plan and make the most of your next vacation!
Finding a tasty, affordable meal in a destination you’ve never been to can be quite the crap shoot. You could judge a place by its cute sign or, perhaps, by scanning menus online. Or you could allow the Yelp app to help you discover the restaurants, bars and other services that your fellow users have chosen as the best and most popular in that particular location.
Plus the Yelp app gives you access to tons of reviews and photos that other users have taken so you can get a good idea about the vibe of a bar or the size of a meal that a diner serves. You’ll also find all the pertinent information you’ll want right upfront, including hours of operation, the location’s rating — on a scale from one to five — contact information and a map. The Yelp app will even tell you how far away you are from a particular business.
You’re following your map app when all of a sudden you lose your Internet connection and the next thing you know, you’re lost. To prevent this situation, Maps.me allows you to download detailed maps to your device that you can access while offline. Although it is not a navigation app, Maps.me can help get you from point A to point B. And because you access Maps.me offline, you won’t be eating up your megabytes while using this app.
Are you that traveler that always forgets at least one important item every time you hit the road or forgets to check the weather and packs the wrong clothes?
If so, you definitely need the free PackPoint app. Just tell this app when and where you are going, for how long, and what activities you’re planning to engage in, and PackPoint will whip out a customized list for you. It will even check the weather for you before creating your list. And if the list has items you won’t need to bring, just delete them. And, of course, you can also add items to your list.
Have a quick layover between flights but know that you’re going to want to grab some food before your next flight? Then the AirGrub app is for you. Here’s how it works:
Input your flight information and the time that you want to pick up your food. AirGrub will show you a list of available restaurants near your gate.
Check out the menu.
Select and purchase your food.
Look for the orange AirGrub Pick-up sign.
Show your boarding pass to pick up your food.
BOOM! You’re done! You won’t have to stand in line to order or wait for your meal to be prepared. And the restaurants don’t add any markups on top of your bill.
If you travel abroad a lot, you know that messaging friends and family back home can end up costing you a lot of money. But with this data-based text messaging app, you can message anyone for free as long as you have an Internet connection. You can also call and send photos and videos using WhatsApp. This is a must-have app if you want to stay in touch with loved ones at home while out of the country.
Perhaps, you already use Instagram to check out photos from your friends and family. But did you know that Instagram can also be used to discover a destination’s hidden gems — a beautiful overlook, for instance, or a natural swimming hole. Just attach a hash tag to the name of your destination and do a search, and a slew of photographs should appear.
You can also meet up with other Instagrammers (IGers) who may be gathering to socialize or to take pictures of a particular destination. To do this, you will need to find the IGers page. Just search for this page by typing @igers plus the city name — for example, @igers DC for Washington D.C. Then search for Instameet announcements. If you’re lucky, there might be one occurring during the time period that you will be visiting.
While traveling, it’s always nice if you can share a word or two in the native language with the locals. The free Excuse Me app, which is available in Chinese, English, French, Japanese and Spanish, can help you with approximately 200 travel-related phrases. One of the great features of Excuse Me is that you can either learn how to say the phrase from the app, or you can use your phone’s speaker to say it for you.
Are you worried that jet lag may ruin your big vacation?
If so, download the Entrain app, which uses your body’s natural circadian rhythms to help you adjust to a different time zone. Developed by researchers from the University of Michigan and Yale, the Entrain app will tell you when you should go to sleep and when to wake up, gradually adjusting those times until you are awake during the normal hours for a particular destination.
Of course we can’t say enough about relying on the expertise of someone who has been there and done that when it comes to your next adventure.