The 11 Best Travel Apps for the 2018 Holidays

woman on vacation

Getty Images / darekm101

If you’re one of the many people who travel during the holidays, you’ll want to begin preparing now. You can start by downloading some of these super-helpful apps to make your research and arrival easier. From booking reservations to organizing them, from packing to planning, from eating to paying to communicating to getting around, you’ll be glad you have these little helpers for your next adventure. 

kayak travel app

Award-winning travel app Kayak allows you to search for flights, hotels, and car rentals. The clean interface gives you a full list of possible options, including reduced “hacker” fares, where you book outgoing and returning flights with two separate airlines. You can easily set filters to find exactly what you want. Not sure if now’s the right time to pull the trigger? The app answers that question with a green “Buy” indicator when it looks like prices are going to go up.

Kayak on Google Play

Kayak on App Store

google trips travel app

Like your own personal travel concierge, Google Trips tracks your trip reservations, recommends sights to see, creates day plans based on geographical areas or interests (such as architecture), finds places to eat, offers discounts on attractions, and shares emergency and “need to know” tips. No internet connection? No problem; you can download any of your trips so you can see all your information offline. 

Google Trips on Google Play

Google Trips on App Store

packpoint travel app

A delight for anyone who hates packing, PackPoint will tell you what to bring. First enter where you’re going, when, and for how long. Choose business or leisure, then select the types of activities you’ll be doing. The app develops a list based on the information you provided, plus expected weather. Check items off as you pack them, or swipe to remove ones you don’t need. The $2.99 premium version removes ads, gives you custom activities and packing templates, and integrates TripIt and Evernote.

PackPoint on Google Play

PackPoint on App Store

hotel tonight travel app

If you’re a seat-of-the-pants type traveler, or one who likes to have a backup plan in case your reservations don’t work out, try HotelTonight. Just tell it where you want to stay, and watch the deals appear on your screen. Tap one to get additional details. A few more taps to pay and you’ve got yourself a room for the night.

Tip: You can make reservations further in advance, but the longer you wait, the better the deals are. 

HotelTonight on Google Play

HotelTonight on App Store

citymapper travel app

Navigating a new city can be maddening if you don’t know how to use the local transportation systems, and a breeze if you do. With Citymapper you’ll be getting around like a local in no time. Just pick your city, then either a location or your preferred mode. Citymapper gives you complete, clear instructions to reach your destination hassle-free. 

Note: Be sure to switch to the right city before downloading.

Citymapper on Google Play

Citymapper on App Store

foursquare city guide travel app

This app makes it super easy to find somewhere to eat or something to do. Just enter the area where you want to search and what you’re looking for. Use the flexible filters (including distance, price, open now, places you’ve been) to narrow down your search. Tap your selection to see additional details including ratings and photos. If you end up liking it, you can add it to a custom list. 

Foursquare City Guide on Google Play

Foursquare City Guide on App Store

google maps download map

Just as Google Maps is great for finding your way to a new location in your home area, it can help you get around in a new location. Use it the same as you would normally. Or, if you think internet service may be spotty, you can download a map of the area you’re going to visit. Here’s how to do it on an Android or iOS device:

  1. Within Google Maps, search for a general location.
  2. At the bottom of the screen, tap the name of the place. Note: For iOS, tap More.
  3. Tap Download. Note: for iOS, tap Download offline map > Download.
  4. After you download an area, use Google Maps within it as you normally would.

Tip: This Google Maps function may not be available in all areas. To avoid getting lost if you run out of electronic options, consider buying an old-school paper map when you arrive at your destination. 

Google Maps on Google Play

Google Maps on App Store

xe currency converter travel app

This simple converter allows you to easily determine exchange rates. Just type in the amount in one denomination and see the results in as many others as you want. To add another currency, tap the editing icon and search for the one that corresponds to the place you’ll be visiting. You can use the Charts function to see how the rates between currencies fluctuate throughout the day. 

XE Currency on Google Play

XE Currency on App Store

guides by lonely planet travel app

These thorough guides are like having a tour leader in your pocket. Download the city you’ll be visiting, and swipe through the options (See, Eat, Sleep, Shop, Drink, and Play) to get expert ideas. You can get results by “recommended,” or by “nearby,” and you can further filter by price and subtype of activity. Tap any that you’re interested in to see a detailed description. Then you can save your favorites for later reference, or share with your travel companions. 

Guides by Lonely Planet on Google Play

Guides by Lonely Planet on App Store

zomato food finder travel app

Perfect for traveling foodies, this app has it all: recommendations for a nice lunch out, trending restaurants, nightlife picks, delivery services, and where to get food to go. Looking for something specific? No problem, just do a search for your term. When you find something that looks yummy, tap it for a map, menu, reviews, photos, and ways to call, bookmark, share, and review after you’ve experienced the cuisine.  

Zomato on Google Play

Zomato on App Store

itranslate travel app

Gone are the days of fumbling with a paper dictionary as you try to assemble sentences in a language you don’t know. Use this app to type or speak your sentence, and immediately get the translation in your chosen language. A handy “expand” feature allows you to display the result on your full screen to show to locals you’re trying to communicate with. Use the offline mode when internet service is spotty.

Tip: The basic version is free, but doesn’t allow you to access some of the features. You can pay for an upgrade, or just activate the seven-day free trial at the beginning of your trip. 

iTranslate on Google Play

iTranslate on App Store