Top 5 Mobile Apps for Summer Travel

The summer travel season is here. With Memorial Day in the US and temperatures rising, it’s time to hit the road. To plan your trip, a few mobie apps will help you plan, save and enjoy your time traveling this summer.

1. Plan and Book – ITA

Kayak is a well-known travel site with a slick mobile app useful for finding flights, hotels and car rentals. It’s great for a quick search that uncovers the best deals on specific searches, especially domestically in the US.

ITA-Mobile-Travel-App

If you’re looking just for airline tickets, however, try OnTheFly by ITA. This app provides beautiful visualizations on prices, suggests alternative airports and makes serious travel hacking easier by quickly showing the best days to travel and the best locations to use as a hub. Plus it saves itineraries, history of searches and enables changing the sales city and currency which is perfect for international purchases. Not surprisingly ITA is built on Google search, and its website similarly functions perfectly.

2. Alternative Housing – AirBnB

I’m a big fan of Couchsurfing and finding alternative housing when traveling. Not only does it save you money, but it also gives you a unique look at a city and its inhabitants. If you’re not in the mood to fight for expensive hotel reservations, you can rent someone’s home (with or without them there). AirBnB (and its mobile app) gives you a wide range of places to stay, both in amenities and price. Consider this alternative as you head out this summer.

3. Find Food – Yelp

By no means a new app, Yelp stays on my phone and always comes out when traveling. I use it to find the best restaurants that are within walking distance from wherever I’m staying. I also love the ability to look at certain neighborhoods and filter the results within a small area. As a vegetarian by proxy, Yelp has helped enormously when traveling.

4. Grab a book – Kindle and Instapaper

You don’t need a Kindle to enjoy reading with the Kindle app. I never thought I would want to read books on my iPhone until I realized that an iPhone screen is the exact same size as a column in a newspaper. If I can read a newspaper, I should be able to read on my iPhone. With the Kindle app, I’m able to read a page or two while waiting in line, riding the bus or waiting, which is an essential skill when traveling.

If you’re not in the mood for a book, I recommend using Instapaper to catch-up on the latest articles and news stories. Instapaper allows you to save stories to read later as you are browsing in the Internet (or Twitter). I often see links that look interesting but don’t have time to read them. I add them to my Instapaper and can then read them later when I’m offline, like on a plane or bus. I catch up with the stories that interest me and waste less time waiting for stories to load on slow wireless connections that I’m not even interested in.

5. What’s here? Find out with AroundMe

When arriving to a new city, the first question I usually ask is what’s here? Where are the coffeeshops, restaurants, post office, bars and bus station? The AroundMe¬†app has a simple interface and offers quick advice. It tells you just enough to quickly get directions, a phone number and an idea of the options. Great when landing in a new city or trying to quickly find wi-fi.

What apps do you recommend?

New apps appear frequently, but these have stayed on my phone and are opened whenever I’m planning or enjoying a trip. What apps do you recommend for travel?

Posted on May 29th, 2012 in Travel