The Top iPad Apps for Traveling Anywhere

Essential iPad apps to make your vacation or business travel a breeze

A couple uses an iPad on a plane.
Getty Images / Hero Images

The iPad is a great enhancement to any home, but it can also help you get away from home and provide much-needed resources and entertainment for when you are on vacation or traveling for work. These essential travel apps for your iPad will help you do everything from booking your trip to finding the best restaurants.

You'll even be able to talk to your friends, translate other languages and figure out the whole foreign currency equation. Did someone say best iPad travel apps? Yep. And here they are.

Napili Beach and beachfront condos, Maui

 Greg Elms / Getty Images

The first thing you'll need to do when planning a trip is to book your airfare and hotel, which makes that first travel app you will want to install on your iPad.

Kayak offers you the easiest way to compare the best deals for airfare, hotel room, and car rental deals. Kayak is powered by, a web engine that searches travel websites to find the best deals.

The mobile app not only lets you find the best deal but also check out photos and read reviews, giving you all the information you need at your fingertips.

What We Like

  • Lots of search options.

  • Can check flight status on the go.

  • Can set price alerts.

What We Don't Like

  • Comparisons open in multiple new windows, which can be annoying.

  • Doesn’t cover cruises.


Yelp screenshot

Daniel Nations

Once you arrive at your destination, you'll probably be hungry. But where should you eat? Whether you like to play it safe on vacation by eating at well-known chains, or you are the type of traveler that wants to explore the local eateries, Yelp will help you find the perfect restaurant.

Yelp is a must-have app for any iPad, and when it comes to travel apps, Yelp is a no-brainer. It is powered by user reviews, and Yelp actively scrubs false reviews from the system, so you are mostly getting reviews from people who actually ate at the restaurant. You can also get a peek at the food itself and a link to the menu and/or website for the restaurant.

What We Like

  • Reviews from people who have visited the establishment or used the service in question.

  • Monocle function provides info about a business you point your camera at.

What We Don't Like

  • Reviews are personal and subjective.

  • “Fixed' reviews sometimes slip through, despite vetting.

TripIt Travel Organizer

Grandparent and grandchild air travel

Westend61 / Getty Images

Once you have all of your travel plans nailed down, you'll want an easy way to organize them. TripIt is a travel organizer, keeping all of your trip details and email confirmations in one spot.

Reservations are saved by forwarding them to, which uses them to create a single, detailed page with all of your travel information. You can even share the information with family, friends, and co-workers.

What We Like

  • Consolidating info saves time and frustration.

  • Automatically creates itinerary when you email details.

  • Helps keep groups of travelers in sync.

What We Don't Like

  • Advanced features available only with paid Pro account.

  • Lots of sponsored content.

Packing (+TO DO!)

Open suitcase
N·ria Talavera / Getty Images

Have you ever started a long trip only to find that you left behind your toothbrush? Or later found out that you left your favorite shirt at the hotel?

This packing and to-do list app helps you keep organized so you can not only make sure you bring everything you need but for those vacations that have you trotting from one hotel to the next, the app provides a checklist to make sure you don't leave anything behind. (Just make sure you don't leave behind the iPad else you can't check the list.)

You can even total up how much overall weight you are bringing with you and sync your lists between devices using iCloud.

What We Like

  • Can access lists from anywhere.

  • Keeps lists specific to destinations.

  • Frequently updated.

What We Don't Like

  • Interface a bit cluttered.

  • Not much more than a simple, targeted list app.


Trip Adviser screenshot

A great alternative to Yelp is TripAdvisor. And while they both provide similar services, they can really be used to enhance each other by filling in the gaps. If you don't find what you are looking for with Yelp, which can be great for finding restaurants but may not do as great a job at finding other forms of entertainment, you can check out TripAdvisor.

This free app can be used to find flights, restaurants, hotels or simply things to do, which is where it really shines compared to other travel apps. And not only can you check out reviews of the places, but you can also look through photos of the location.

What We Like

  • Best used in concert with Yelp.

  • Lots of photos and detailed reviews of places and things to do.

What We Don't Like

  • Reviews not always legitimate.

  • Sheer volume of diverse opinions can be overwhelming.


Waze Route to LACMA screenshot

Apple Maps has a great interface and links to excellent resources such as the Yelp page for restaurants and businesses, but it is not always best with one of the most basic functions: giving you directions. Two problem areas for any mapping software are traffic congestion and construction areas. Waze solves this puzzle by letting other drivers solve it for them.

Waze utilizes cloud-sourced information, which means other people on the road are alerting it to traffic conditions. This allows it to react faster and more fluidly than many other mapping apps.

This makes it great for travel. Most of us are aware of the traffic patterns in our home city. We know when certain highways will be busy and when to avoid them. Waze helps bring that same knowledge to all cities.

What We Like

  • Crowd-sourcing provides real-time traffic alerts.

  • Calls out presence of police, obstacles, and stranded vehicles.

  • Adapts route to real-time information.

What We Don't Like

  • Cluttered, confusing interface.

  • Uses considerable battery power, making a car charger essential for long trips.

XE Currency

XE Currency screeenshots

Are you traveling out of the country? Whether you are going to Canada, Paris or Moscow, it can be handy to have a tool for converting dollar amounts into any currency. The XE Currency app not only downloads the current conversion for the currencies of the world, but it will also store the latest one for use in offline mode, so you don't need to be connected to the Internet to use it.

What We Like

  • Offline mode allows use without internet connection.

  • Live updates for more than 180 world currencies.

What We Don't Like

  • Ad-supported.

  • Dated interface.


Speaker device in various languages


David Madison / Getty Images

Sometimes, the quickest way to get to the closest bathroom is knowing how to ask for directions to it in any language. iTranslate not only provides a translation to over 50 different languages, but you can also listen to the translations of over 20 of those languages. This makes it easier to hold a conversation when you are completely murdering the pronunciation.

What We Like

  • Easy to use.

  • Accurate.

  • Can save your most commonly used phrases for quick access.

What We Don't Like

  • Support for each language varies.

  • Not as fully featured as Google Translate.

Weather Channel

Young woman standing on windswept hill

 Laurence Dutton / Getty Images

It's also a good idea to check the weather forecast for your destination. This can be a great way to plan the little details, like which day is best to go to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World and which day is best to dedicate to indoor activities. The Weather Channel app gives you a weather forecast for locations all around the world, the latest news coverage, and U.S. pollen maps.

What We Like

  • Reliable and well-regarded.

  • Fast access to current and future radar.

  • Appealing interface.

What We Don't Like

  • Free version has lots of ads.

  • Display not customizable.


video chats with grandchildren via skype are treasured by many long-distance grandparents

Photo Portra Images / Getty Images

Want to video conference with a loved one while you are gone or place a call from out of the country without getting hit by a huge phone bill? Skype is your ticket for saving a lot of money while still keeping in contact with friends and family. Obviously, the uses go well beyond just travel, but for those work trips or family vacations, Skype is a great way to keep in touch.

What We Like

  • Remote video conferencing reduces business travel costs.

  • Instant messaging great for project collaboration.

  • Allows free international calls.

What We Don't Like

  • Requires decent internet connection.

  • Can’t detect physical location, so no emergency/911 calling capability.


Crackle Home Menu screenshot

Having trouble getting to sleep? Nothing on TV and unwilling to pay huge rates just to watch a movie in your hotel room? Crackle provides free movies and TV from Universal Studios, which means you can watch films like Talladega Nights, classics like Ghostbusters II or even older classics like 1941. Crackle also has a selection of TV shows like Seinfeld, News Radio and classics like The Three Stooges.

What We Like

  • Completely free.

  • Account signup not required, but available.

  • Access to lots of obscure content.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited selection.

  • Inconsistent video quality.