Photo courtesy of Imaxtree.
Universal travel apps to help you get the most out of your vacation no matter the destination:
1. Bucket-list builder: Sullivan’s List is the ultimate travel inspirational app. Named after a park ranger who was struck by lightning seven times (each time vowing to make a list of everything he wanted to see and do), this collection of gorgeous photographs of the best places to visit and things to do will make it tough to narrow down your own “do before I die” list ($2.99, for iOS).
2. Good booking: The Hipmunk app aims to take the pain out of finding and booking the best deals on flights and accommodations. The app’s unique “agony index” weighs results by price, layovers, and flight duration. And unlike other sites, Hipmunk includes listings for Airbnb and HomeAway (free, for iOS and Android).
3. Best-laid plans: Organizing a vacation shouldn’t feel like work. That’s why the TripIt app collects all of your confirmation emails – flights, hotels, dinner reservations – and creates a detailed schedule of your trip (free, for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone).
4. Tackle the time change: Tell the JetLag Genie app when and where you’re travelling along with your typical bedtime and sleeping routine, and it’ll help get you on Rome time (or wherever you are flying) days before you hit the tarmac ($2.99, for iOS).
5. In the bag: The Packing Pro app does everything but fold your clothes for you. Pick from an array of sample packing lists or create a customized list based on a selection of details that wouldn’t have crossed your mind – like how your clothes are going to be washed or whether or not you’ll be preparing meals ($2.99, for iOS).
6. In-flight information: Link the flight tracker App in the Air with a TripIt account and it will keep you up to date on check-in times, delays, and boarding times. Opt to have notifications sent to your friends and family and there will be no need for that “We’ve just landed” call (free, for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone).
7. Waiting game: Pass time in the departure lounge by playing an airport inspector game with the Jetset: A Game for Airports app. You must get everyone through security – sans contraband cheese, of course – while abiding by ever-changing rules like “no pants allowed.” If you don’t violate any civil liberties, you could win rewards specific to the airport you’re flying out of ($0.99, for iOS).
8. Private ride: Gone are the days of hailing a cab the old-fashioned way. Open the Uber app in any of over 100 cities and a driver will come to you. The app lets you know in real-time how far away the driver is, estimates your fare, and handles the payment via credit card (free, for iOS and Android).
Continue on for more travel app recommendations to find the best restaurants, Wifi hotspots and map it all out…
9. Pro tips: What the GlobeTipping app lacks in appearance it makes up for in thoroughness. Its list of the tipping customs in over 200 countries means that you’ll never be at a loss for how much to tip the porter in Angola (free, iOS).
10. All mapped out: The City Maps 2Go app is as straightforward as it gets. Pre-downloaded maps and offline GPS services help you navigate in cities where the streets have no names – or where the names happen to be in Mandarin (free, for iOS and Android).
11. Make a connection: Nothing puts a damper on your post-vacation glow like a hefty cell-phone bill. Jiwire’s Wifi Finder app can lead you to hotspots in 145 different countries, even when you’re offline (free, for iOS and Android).
12. Trust the chef: What are chefs but the ultimate foodies? The Find.Eat.Drink app reveals the favourite restaurants and dishes of top chefs worldwide, steering you away from the typical tourist traps (free, for iOS).
13. Elegant exchanges: More intuitive and sleek than we ever imagined a converter app could be, The Converted by Ideon requires no typing to determine how many yen you can get for your $20 bill – all it takes is a simple swipe of the converter bar ($2.99, for iOS).
14. Account on it: Personal finance app Mint.com makes a handy travel companion. In addition to tracking your bank accounts and credit cards, it can help you save up money for the big trip and stick to your budget while you’re away (free, for iOS, Android, and Window Phone).
15. Sign language: Hold your phone in front of any printed text and be amazed as the Word Lens app instantly translates the foreign words into English (or vice versa). Imagine the possibilities now that this app is available for Google Glass (free, for iOS and Android).
16. Localized language: In addition to its extensive dictionary and accent coach, the TripLingo app translates common phrases and greetings four different ways, from police-station formal to drunken-night-out slang (free, for iOS and Android).
17. Mind your manners: The World Customs and Cultures app helps you avoid cultural faux-pas in over 160 countries with tips on greetings, taboos, gender issues and more (free, for iOS).
18. You’ve got mail: The Postagram app brings new technology to an old tradition, turning your beach selfies and sunset photos into stylish postcards to be sent almost anywhere in Canada, the U.S., and Europe (free, for iOs and Android).
On the next page: 12 more apps for different travel personalities…
12 apps for travel personalities from the
BEACH-GOER and the
SET-JETTER, to the
LAST-MINUTE-ADVENTURER and the
19. Look before you leap: The Toronto-made
Waterkeeper Swim Guide app for Canada and the U.S. not only directs you to the
nearest beach, it lets you know whether or not the water is monitored and if it is safe to swim (free, iOS and Android).
20. Got you covered: Fill in your skin type and the SPF of your sunblock and the
Sunscreen app will detect the UVI rating of your location, alerting you when you’re due for another spritz or sunsceen.
21. Turn back time: One part time travel and one part film historia, the
ScenePast app uses movie and TV stills to show you what locations looked like way-back-when. Use the “Nearest” option the next time you’re traveling in the U.S. and stop to check out the locations in person. Back at your hotel, hit “Watch Now” to download the related movie or TV show directly from iTunes ($1.99, for iOS).
22. Star map: Create a personalized walking tour of locations from your favourite movies, TV shows and songs with the
PopSpotter app. Use the app to find out if anything is currently being filmed nearby and follow its directions to find the location – or, should it be a Ryan Gosling project, just listen for the screams of adoring fans (free, for iOS).
Last-minute adventurer apps
23. Day-of deals: Forget what you were taught about planning ahead. By waiting until the last minute, the
HotelTonight app can score you the deals on unfilled rooms at hotels worldwide (free, for iOS and Android).
24. Fun finder: For when you happen to find yourself alone in Oslo on a Wednesday night with no set plans. The
Nearify Events app connects you with festivals, plays, concerts, meetups or even political rallies in numerous cities worldwide (free, iOS and Android).
On the next page: Gwyneth Paltrow’s favourite app, plus how to find the hottest new museum exhibits…
Carefree wanderer apps
25. One for the road: Choose a route from the Roadtrippers app’s extensive list of U.S. driving guides: From uber-cultured winery trips to the, urm, not-so-cultured Duck Dynasty tour (fFree, for iOS and Android).
26. Made for walking: Turn your post-meal walk into a scavenger hunt by purchasing one of the Stray Boots app’s 60 itineraries for any of 16 U.S. cities. In New York, choose from tours like Chinatown or The Met and earn points as you solve riddles, answer trivia questions and snap photos (free, for iOS and Android).
27. Paltrow’s picks: The City Guides by goop app is the answer to the frequently asked question, “What would Gwyneth do?” The app for New York, London, and Los Angeles includes guided bike rides, videos of Gwyn at her favourite boutiques, restaurants, and galleries, and advice on anything from hailing a taxi to whom to call in case of emergency ($3.99, for iOS).
28. Luxurious lodgings: The Jetsetter app’s 360-degree panoramic photos are the ultimate hotel porn. Signing up with the app gives you access to deals on a myriad of outrageously beautiful vacations and accommodations (free, for iOS).
Art aficionado apps
30. Gallery hopper: So many museums, so little time. Choose where you’ll spend your afternoon from a list of nearby galleries provided by the Museums of the World app. Better still, the app updates you on new exhibitions and events (free, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone).
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter