Brussles, Belgium

15 Useful and Free iPhone Travel Apps

These days most everyone has a smart phone, and although many people like to disconnect while traveling, your smart phone can come in handy in more ways than you ever thought possible and in some situations, can even save the day. Micah and I both have iPhones–all of the following apps are iPhone compatible, and many are supported by Android, Blackberry and other devices as well.

We are leaving today for Iceland and Norway, so I have been testing out my apps to make sure I have the best ones installed before we leave. I have found a few new apps that I included in the list below, but the others have proven useful time and time again.  And, I have to admit, I snuck two in that do cost a very small amount of money, think less than $2, but they are just so useful that I couldn’t leave them out!

Brussles, Belgium

Here’s our list of the most useful and free iPhone travel apps around

Tripit:

This is such a great app and is probably one of my favorites since it helps keep all my travel documents and confirmations in one easy to reach spot. It automatically organizes your documents and tracks everything for you once it has your confirmation emails. You can even sync your email to the website and it will scan your email for confirmations and automatically organize everything. The only part about this app that bothered me is that you must have a Google or Gmail email address for it to sync. I have one, but unfortunately it is not the primary email I use when making reservations. Of course, if you can’t or don’t want to sync your email you can send the confirmations to the app by forwarding them to plans@tripit.com and they will be assigned to your account.

Google Translator:

Never be caught lost in translation with the Google Translator app. Although struggling through a new language can be beneficial, sometimes you just need a little help. This app has you covered with over 50 languages and you can even keep track of your translation history as well as star your favorite phrases.

Gate Guru:

If you need some advice or are looking for a restaurant/business inside of an airport, Gate Guru has you covered. It is a great directory source and has detailed terminal maps, but as it is still fairly new, the review function is thin. I think the reviews will fill out more as time goes on, but until then, it will provide you with lots of assistance when you are looking for a bite to eat on your layover.

Oanda Currency Converter:

Not knowing the current exchange rates can put quite a dent in your pocket if you aren’t careful. Keep track of up to date exchange rates so you don’t get caught off guard when you look at your bank balance.

Skype:

When you have a WIFI or internet connection, Skype can really come in handy. With the chat, video and call features, it can save heaps on international roaming charges. As long as you have an internet connection and are talking to someone else on Skype, the service is free. You can buy Skype credits if you want to call a cell or land-line and it will most likely cost significantly less than through your wireless provider.

WhatsApp:

OK, so this one isn’t completely free, but it is only $0.99 to download this messaging service that gives you the ability to text, send photos and videos and share locations with anyone else who also has WhatsApp. It isn’t as convenient as being able to text anyone under the sun, but it beats paying high international messaging rates.

Paperless:

I love this app–it is simple, but allows you to create list after list and is essential in helping me stay organized. I use this app on a daily basis, if I’m traveling or not. When traveling, I use it to create packing lists, to do lists, keep track of my frequent flier account numbers and for a list of places I want to see. You can create what seems like an endless amount of lists and assign an icon to each one if you desire, which helps to easily identify your lists at a glance. Within the list, you can choose to set it up in listing form or checklist form and there is also room to include a description. The only detail this app is missing is the ability to create sub lists. If you store a lot of information in your lists like I do, I would recommend backing up your lists to Dropbox or iCloud because you would hate to lose all your to do’s!

Flashlight:

This app has come in handy more times than I can count. When you are searching for something in the dark, but are without a light and can’t quite find what you are looking for, pull out your phone and turn on the flashlight. It produces a beam of light through your camera flash that is way brighter than your screen itself.

Pro HDR:

This is the other app that is not completely free, however, it is only $1.99 and well worth the price.  Use this photo app to enhance you photographs in almost any setting. The app will take two pictures of your subject and then merge them together into one. Both photos are taken with different lighting exposures, so when they are combined it makes everything pop and stand out. You can change settings such as brightness, contrast, saturation and temperature to get your desired final image. It is ideal to use this app when photographing landscapes or anything that does not move as your photograph may turn out blurry with a moving subject.

White Noise:

I don’t know about you, but I have issues sleeping, especially when I am on the road.  Inconsistent noise is one of the main factors for my lack of sleep, and the white noise from this app has helped me immensely. With settings such as a fan, ocean, rain, thunder, jungle, and 5 others you have many sounds to choose from. It also has the ability to create your own mix of sounds that you can save on an easy to reference playlist, you will have a good night sleep in no time.

Kayak:

When you are at the airport and find out your flight was suddenly cancelled, do you wait in an hour-long line to find a replacement flight? Well, it might be a good idea to get in line, but when you are there, grab you phone and start searching for alternatives on Kayak. This website is very beneficial as it searches numerous airlines and booking sites all at once and provides you a nice breakdown of flight options by price and time. It comes in handy, trust me. I have not only used it for myself, but for my parents when they call from the airport with a flight issue. Even if you don’t necessarily have to rebook a ticket, it is still beneficial to see what’s out there and available in case you need to offer up an alternative flight option to the gate agent. It is also a great site in general for hotels, car rentals and flights, even if you are at home starting to plan a trip. I use it all the time when I am starting to search for travel arrangements.

Free WIFI Finder:

This app comes in handy for very obvious reasons, when you need Internet, this is where you should be turning. When searching for a connection, you will be provided with a map that shows all nearby WIFI locations. After turning on the offline database, you have the ability to find a WIFI connection when you are in offline mode, so if you are trying to avoid high roaming data charges, this is your perfect companion.

City Guides:

This is more of a general suggestion rather than one particular app, but download an app that correlates to your destination. For example, we are heading to Oslo next week, and Visit Olso has a great app where you can search for restaurants, activities, hotels, tips and much more. When we were in Paris recently, I downloaded the Fodor’s City Guide to Paris, and before heading to Washington D.C., I downloaded the National Mall app. So many cities and destinations now have apps, and many of them even work offline–make sure to do a quick search on your specific location before you head out.

Trip Advisor’s Offline City Guides:

In addition to the guides for a specific city, this app gives you tips and reviews for many cities all in one. I feel like the city specific apps give you more in depth info, but this is a great addition as it provides reviews from the website and you do not need internet to access it. It also uses your devices GPS to find nearby restaurants, activities or anything else you may be looking for.

Pocket:

This handy app takes articles and websites and turns them into PDFs and stores them for later perusing. It is a great help if you want to save a quick clip of information from an article about a great restaurant you were hoping to check out to something as simple as directions to your hotel or even a great blog post with useful information. You can access the files when your phone is offline as well, which in my opinion, makes it worth downloading.

What are your favorite travel apps? Have you had any apps that “saved the day”?

5 Comments
  • Jess
    Twitter:
    Posted at 21:29h, 18 May Reply

    Gateguru looks useful – I spend too much time wandering aimlessly around airports!

    My favorite app to use when I’m traveling is foodspotting – it lets me browse through all the food options closest to me, so I can see what looks good when I’m in a new city.
    Jess recently posted…DC Cup-piesMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 16:02h, 27 May Reply

      Yeah, GateGuru can be really helpful! I will have to check out foodspotting, thanks!

  • Lew
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:51h, 22 May Reply

    Top Apps I have been using while traveling include: SAS & Norwegian (airline apps with all my flight details & ability to check-in early) and Booking.com for my hotel bookings. If I can’t keep virtual documents in these apps, I save a PDF in iBooks. For city guides, I use TripAdvisor City Guides for free offline maps and ideas of what to do, sometimes Wallpaper* if I’m looking for something a little flashier and sometimes Lonely Planet (a mix of apps and digital PDF chapters saved in iBooks).
    I’m about to try out TripIt to keep all those itinerary notes in one place.
    Lew recently posted…Manta Rays, Moray Eels and More in Similan IslandsMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 16:09h, 27 May Reply

      Hope you like Tripit! SAS would have come in handy this last week! Oh well, maybe next time we fly them I will have to download it! I love booking.com too–I always seem to find good deals through them, but I’m not sure if I have the app–I’ll have to check! The PDF is a good idea too, thanks!

  • Vedran
    Posted at 07:19h, 23 May Reply

    There is a quite comprehensive free guide to Great Britain, – mX Great Britain
    for iPhone
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mx-great-britain-official/id561674205
    and Android
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobiexplore.gb

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