Despite the fact that the Internet age has brought more people together and delivered more information directly to the consumer, there still remains the need to venture outside of one’s comfort zone every now and then. Yes, whether it’s for business or pleasure, travel is just as popular as ever, and no laptop or smartphone will ever change this reality. Having said that, modern technology – like smartphones – can facilitate travel and make the process easier than ever before. And the best way for travelers to use technology to their advantage is through mobile apps.
But anyone who browses the Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store is likely to encounter more apps in the travel section than they’ll know what to do with. So in the interest of keeping things concise and helpful, here are the best free travel apps in 2013.
Those who spend a lot of time moving about likely have mountains of digital receipts, confirmations and reservations, and all this digital clutter can overstuff an inbox very quickly. TripIt is basically a digital organizer that takes all incoming travel-related documents and organizes them into a single itinerary, viewable on smartphone or computer. That means no more scouring the email account for that flight number, car rental code or hotel reservation ever again.
Almost everyone who travels frequently has been late for a plane (or perhaps missed a flight or two altogether). To this end, no frequent traveler should be without an app like FlightAware, as it offers real-time tracking and updates of all commercial flights worldwide.
Gone are the days when the average airport was only a hub for transport. These days, large terminals pack in so many restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and boutiques that they resemble shopping malls more than airports. This is where GateGuru comes in handy. With this app, users can search the terminal in question for specific restaurants and merchants. Need a new paperback for the flight or some pasta before boarding? GateGuru will quickly deliver directions to the nearest book store and Italian eatery in the airport.
The travel giant released this hotel-oriented app to help those in transit find decent lodging at discount prices. The app provides listings for over 130,000 hotels nationwide and makes selection and booking easy with a mere four taps of the touch screen. Expedia Hotels even helps users score great same-day last-minute deals on lodging.
This option makes booking a cab a simple and quick process. The app itself has a booking feature that works in conjunction with the online dispatch systems for cab companies. The user can book and pay for his or her taxi within the app and it even tracks the estimated arrival time of the cab via dispatch updates.
All of the above options are geared towards making the process of traveling all the easier. Those who install one – or even all – of the apps on this list will likely enjoy quicker airport experiences, lower hotel rates and easier transport.