The Best Travel Apps You Need on Your Phone Before a Trip
Now you can unlock scooters in cities around the world, listen to Oxford University-trained professors give lectures on historic sites, and be told exactly what to pack for your vacation. Meet the next-level travel apps, all of which have been vetted—and given very high marks—by top travel experts and bonafide road warriors.
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars—not to mention many hours—on tours, download AppyGuide, an audio guide travel app that provides engaging information about art, history, and culture from some of the world's leading experts. The startup has already signed superstars such as BBC presenter and art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon and Martin Kemp, one of the world’s leading experts on Leonardo da Vinci. For now the app, which is free to download and comes with over $100 credit for first-time users, only has Florence content—for now. There are more European cities to come. "The goal is to change how people travel and experience art," says Geneva-based AppyGuide founder Anastasija Krasnova.
When the head of an airline recommends a flight tracking app, it's probably worth downloading. "FlightRadar is currently the best flight tracking app in part because they have installed their own network of ADS-B receivers which will be the required standard for all aircraft as of Jan 1, 2020. This advanced network is more accurate than radar technology. I use it constantly to track our own aircraft as well as airline flights which is essential for connections to our flights in the Caribbean," says David Zipkin, Vice Preside of Tradewind Aviation.
While taxis may seem like a vestige of the past, that just might be because you're not using Curb - The Taxi App. Curb is the number one taxi app in the US that connects you to taxis in New York, Boston, Miami, and Las Vegas, among many other cities. Extra bonus: no surge pricing. "This app is especially perfect for visitors in the NYC area. When you’re traveling and not sure where you’re going, it can be stressful to coordinate with an Uber vs. jumping in a taxi and simply giving them the cross streets," says Jean-Charles Perino, Co-founder of La Compagnie, the boutique all Business Class airline.
Took a million videos of cool things on your trip that you meant to share with your family and friends but just never got around doing it? "GoPro app is amazing for editing and sharing videos throughout your holiday instead of waiting until you get home," says Stephen Haskell, General Manager for OneFineStay in the United States.
Andy Levine comes up with itineraries for DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co, part of his job as CEO. His favorite tool to help him to do this is Strava, which is not only a distance tracking app because it also has a social networking component. It gives users the ability to share your location in real-time—always a good emergency feature to have when you're traveling. "Strava helps me to keep track where I’ve been, measure distance and elevation, then plan our trips around the best rides I’ve discovered,” says Levine.
When Yandisa Ngcuka, who is Wilderness Safari's Sales Managers for North American, is traveling, she often has to hit one city per day. She relies heavily on TripIt, which pulls together all your travel details from your email, and organizes them in one place, reminds you of upcoming reservations, gate changes, and delays. There's a free version of the app. TripIt Pro ($49 per year) gives real-time flight alerts, shows security wait times, updates people on your travel plans, and keeps track of rewards. Basically, the only thing it doesn't do is book your ticket and drive you to the airport.
On a recent trip to Paris, Stephen Haskell, of OneFineStay, loved using the Lime app to unlock e-scooters all over the city and take them for a spin. You can use the Lime app in many places in the U.S., including Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. Globally, they have a presence in Singapore, Brazil, Spain, Greece, and Italy, among others. Happy scooting.
Having spent 30 years in the luggage industry, and now having recently co-founded the completely customizable suitcase brand ROAM, CEO Larry Lein swears by Packpoint as your packing north star. "The app curates a customized list of what you’ll need to pack for your trip based on the destination, travel dates, length of stay, and the activities you’re interested in doing while there." As Packpoint says, never forget anything again.
Not all hotel apps are created equal. Xavier Herit's (Grand Marnier’s National Brand Ambassador) favorite one is the Starwood Group's BonVoy app because of its loyalty program, ability to search amenities like fitness rooms, and the wide selection of hotels—everything from Bulgari to the Ritz Carlton to the St. Regis falls under the Starwood brand. Not only can you check in on your mobile device, but the app also gives users an electronic key (you'll never have to go to the front desk for a replacement ever again), and you can order food from your phone so it will be ready once you return to the hotel.
Instead of doing multiple Google searches for "best massage" or "best yoga class" when she gets to a destination, Jennifer Hawkins, CEO of Hawkins International PR which works with mega hospitality brands like Accor, uses the MindBody app to find different spas, gyms, and services in the city she's visiting. The app also offers deals, the ability to sync with your FitBit, and lots of reviews so you know exactly what you're getting—it's kind of like having a wellness concierge in your pocket.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors