Top Ten Travel Apps

Leave the heavy guidebooks and cumbersome maps at home (who can re-fold those things, anyway?) – we’re sharing our top ten picks for the best apps to enhance your travels and help you live like a local on your next home exchange.

Walk Score  

Walk Score calculates the walkability of any location based on the proximity of different necessities such as grocery stores, restaurants, and more. It will also show you a map and photos of neighborhood gems like parks and public art spaces. The app is currently supported in the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. iPhone/Android 

Uber

Currently available in the major cities of 18 countries, Uber allows users to request a ride, track its progress, and receive a text message when the car has arrived. Best of all, you can calculate an estimate for your fare in advance and keep a credit card on file, so you never have to worry about monetary language barriers. iPhone/Android 

HopStop

Navigating public transport in a foreign city can be tricky. Luckily, HopStop simplifies things with quick and easy door-to-door transit directions (including walking) and travel time estimates. HopStop is currently available in 600 cities worldwide. iPhone 

Mapkin

Consider Mapkin a virtual city guidebook for your guests. It’s GPS navigation for locals, combining a great map and personalized voice instructions (think “our favorite restaurant is just ahead on your left” or “there’s usually parking available up ahead”). Choose your own route and markers, like your favorite scenic drive and the best coffee in town. This brand new app is currently available only in the USA. iPhone

Stay.com

Stay.com is a great way to plan your sightseeing activities. It allows you to create your very own tour book with only the things you want to see. You can share it with friends and family to get their recommendations, and it will automatically sync to all of the travelers in your party. Best of all, once you get started it’s available offline, meaning you don’t have to search for wifi or rack up your data charges while browsing. Stay.com is currently available in 140 cities worldwide. iPhone/Android 

Foodspotting

Instead of searching for restaurants by name, Foodspotting lets you search for specific dishes by image. Want to see what looks good in your area? Fire up the app and browse away. Craving noodles? Search by keyword and see which dish people near you love. Note: you won’t find any negative reviews here; this app is all about sharing great food, not bashing meals you didn’t enjoy. iPhone/Android/Blackberry/Windows 

Field Trip

Field trip is the perfect companion for exploring a new city. It runs in the background on your phone and alerts you when you’re approaching something interesting. If you have a headset connected, it will even read you the info. Just select the feeds that interest you, such as food, shopping, and history. The perfect way to live like a local. iPhone/Android 

Skype

Just like the Skype you know and love on your computer, the Skype app allows you to talk with any other Skype user for free…no matter where you are in the world. Skype is perfect for keeping touch with family, friends, and even your exchange partner while you’re overseas without racking up insane phone bills. iPhone/Android/Blackberry/Windows 

Help Call

Help Call is a must-have for any foreign traveler. In the USA, 911 is the go-to number for emergencies, but what about Spain? France? Norway? This extremely simple app automatically detects your location and places a call to the nearest police dispatcher, fire station, or health emergency number. You can also program in an “emergency friend” to call with just one tap. iPhone 

Google Translate

We’ve all experienced language barriers when traveling. Google translate allows you to type or speak a word in one of more than 70 languages and have it translated almost instantly. You can then have the app speak the translation – no more butchering foreign languages! iPhone/Android 

Do you have an app that you can’t live without while traveling? Share in the comments!

2 Comments on “Top Ten Travel Apps

  1. I love Tripit. This keeps track of all of my reservations I have made on line automatically, so that I have them organized and available when needed. I can also of course add to my itinerary other reservations and trip information that was not made on line.

  2. I love the city guides from TripAdvisor. You can download them on your phone at home and consult everything on the road, even when you’re offline. Handy advice on things to see, where to eat nearby, different areas of the city, etc. And Free.

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