If you're a frequent traveler, you're likely looking for ways to make the process easier, faster, cheaper, and more organized. Once you've mastered efficient packing, learned how to avoid jet lag, and joined a few travel rewards programs, other ways to optimize come into play.
Whether you're headed across the country to pitch an investor, going overseas to attend or present at a big conference, or finally taking a much needed vacation to relax and explore, download a few of these apps before your next trip to have a more seamless and enjoyable travel experience.
If you travel often, then you know how trips can blend together and how difficult it can be to keep track of your plans. Simply forward any travel-related emails you get--flight confirmations, hotel bookings, ticket receipts and more--to the specified email, and TripIt will import your plans and create a fully interactive itinerary, keeping all your plans and documents organized by trip in one convenient place.
You can use the free version of the app to manage basic logistics like checking into your flights and getting directions to your hotels, and the premium version offers even more features for the road warrior in need of a personal assistant.
No matter how well you plan, if you travel often, something is bound to slip through the cracks at some point. Whether you forget to book ahead, end up extending a trip, or miss a connecting flight, HotelTonight is an easy and efficient way to book last-minute accommodations. (This app saved me last year when I landed in LA late one night, only to realize I had no response when the cab driver asked me "Where to?" Whoops.)
They have more than 15,000 hotel partners worldwide, so you'll always find a cheap room no matter where you travel. And, hey, if you like to live on the edge and don't mind waiting until the day of a stay to book, you can even use the app to save on all your accommodations.
If you're traveling overseas to a country where English is not the dominant language then this app will come in handy! Just like its handy desktop iteration, the Google Translate App allows you to instantly translate text to and from more than 100 languages, some without a data connection.
A travel-specific perk: You can upload a photo of a sign or menu in another language while you're out and about, and the app will help you make sense of it. Just be sure to download the appropriate language pack before you leave so you can communicate sans cellular connection.
If you don't travel frequently enough or split your time between airlines, you may not have earned the elite status that gives you access to airport lounges, or sometimes you find yourself on a particularly lengthy layover in an airport you're not familiar with. That's where LoungeBuddy comes in.
It's like Yelp for airport lounges, letting you browse reviews, photos, and lists of amenities from more than 900 airports around the world. If you find one that has what you're looking for, you can book a guest pass right from the app to switch from waiting to lounging on the spot.
Your internet provider's app
Many internet providers offer free access to Wi-Fi hotspots around the country as part of your home internet service package. Having that app on your phone will help you locate and capitalize on available free Wi-Fi hotspots to reduce roaming costs, avoid having to pay for Wi-Fi, and help you stay connected when you might otherwise not have international cell service.
Optimum offers a Wi-Fi-finder app (iTunes | Google Play). But if your provider doesn't offer hotspots, search your app store for "Wi-Fi" and explore some of the free unaffiliated apps, like WiFi Map (iTunes | Google Play) that will help you locate other open networks.
Whether you prefer Uber (iTunes | Google Play), Lyft (iTunes | Google Play), or a taxi-hailing app like Arro (iTunes | Google Play), these ground-transport apps will help you hail a ride no matter where you're looking to go.
For fast airport transport or a day trip in the city you're visiting, you can use these types of apps to get a ride you can count on, often with pre-determined and clearly agreed-upon rates that ensure you're not getting bested by a language barrier.
Your airline's app
Regardless of whether you're a platinum flier on one airline or you're racking up miles across several, you should definitely download the app of the airline you're flying before you board. United (iTunes | Google Play), JetBlue (iTunes | Google Play), Delta (iTunes | Google Play), Southwest (iTunes | Google Play), and many others have apps with perks an features made to save you time, money, and stress.
Most airline apps offer check-in, seat selection, flight updates, upgrades, and more, and some have extra features like airport maps and recommendations for key destinations.