30 Helpful Apps to Bring on Vacation

Vacations can be quite complicated. Finding flights, booking hotels, procuring transportation, scouting tourist locations, and grabbing a quick bite to eat are just some of the daily tasks you’ll have to juggle. Fortunately, your iPhone makes the perfect travel companion and can make all of these tasks a lot easier.

Below we’ll take a look at 30 incredibly helpful apps that will help you spend more time enjoying your vacation and less time worrying about the particulars. Most of the apps are free so you can start downloading right away without dipping into your travel budget!

Travel Organizers

USA TODAY AutoPilot

“USA TODAY AutoPilot is your all-in-one trip companion. By gathering your trip itinerary, along with flight status and the current time, AutoPilot organizes your flight, lodging, and rental car details into an easy-to-digest format and consolidates information so that the most timely and relevant information about your trip is always front and center. USA TODAY AutoPilot also offers a suite of travel tools, USA TODAY travel articles and blogs, and photography from Flickr.”

Price: Free

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USA TODAY AutoPilot

TripIt – Travel Organizer

“TripIt Travel Organizer puts all your travel plans right on your iPhone no matter where your travel was booked! Forward travel confirmation emails to [email protected] to build a trip itinerary.”

Price: Free

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TripIt - Travel Organizer

TripDeck – Travel Itinerary Manager

“The best itinerary organizer out there – and it’s FREE. Manage your hotel reservations, car rentals, flights, cruises, restaurants, meetings and more with easy-to-read Trip Decks for each itinerary. You can also view your entire itinerary on a gorgeous map. And now you can add some amazing flight tracking features to make your itinerary managing even better!”

Price: Free

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TripDeck – Travel Itinerary Manager

TripCase

“The best mobile travel app on the iPhone for organizing your travel information, getting realtime flight updates and more – and it’s free!”

Price: Free

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TripCase

Automobile Travel

Park Place!

“Park Place is the premier application to find convenient and affordable city parking. With Park Place you can easily search for parking near your current location, point of interest, or at a specific address.”

Price: $1.99

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Park Place!

CabHouse

“CabHouse is your online Taxi stand. We house all major Cab and Limo companies that fit our eco-friendly standards to provide you rapid service. CabHouse has hundreds of local cab companies ready to accept your requests for taxi and limo needs.”

Price: Free

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CabHouse

Trip Cubby

“After many failed attempts over the years at keeping a paper mileage log, we created Trip Cubby to take the time and tedium out of this money saving process. We designed Trip Cubby to be fast, clever, and above all, easy to use. With predictive input, auto-entry, auto-calculation, and quick access to frequent trips, Trip Cubby does the hard work for you. A few quick taps will create useful data ready to search, sort, and generate email reports.”

Price: $4.99

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Trip Cubby

Taxi Magic

“Taxi Magic is revolutionizing the taxi industry with the first online taxi booking service that is directly integrated with taxi dispatch systems, so no phone call is needed.”

Price: Free

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Taxi Magic

Flight Tools

American Airlines

“Introducing the travel app that understands who you are and where you’re going. From where you’re departing and from what gate. Where you’ll sit and even where you are on the standby list. Simply swipe and tap your way through your personalized American Airlines travel information with the app that’s perfect for flying through airports.”

Price: Free

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American Airlines

Southwest Airlines

“Traveling with Southwest Airlines is now even more convenient with our first iPhone app. Make reservations, check in for flights, and access your Rapid Rewards account directly from your iPhone. Plus, our iPhone app has DING! functionality built in, giving you instant access to exclusive, limited-time-only air fare deals. When a DING! fare is made available, you’ll be notified immediately on your iPhone.”

Price: Free

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Southwest Airlines

My TSA

“My TSA provides real-time operating status for U.S. airports from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); a tool to find out if an item is allowed in your carry-on or checked baggage; information on ID requirements, liquids rules, and tips for packing and dressing to speed through security.”

Price: Free

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My TSA

Live Flight Tracker

“This app allows you to track the real-time flight status and tracking map of any flight in the United States, Canada, or United Kingdom. It can track general aviation (private, charter, etc) or airline flights.”

Price: Free

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Live Flight Tracker

KAYAK Flight, Hotel Search

“KAYAK for the iPhone connects to kayak.com, the best travel search engine in the world. Compare hundreds of travel sites at once. Find airfares and hotel prices quickly, for free! Why pay for looking up airfares when Kayak gives it to you for nothing?”

Price: Free

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KAYAK Flight, Hotel Search

TripTracker – Live Flight Status Tracker

“Get real-time status for flights, real-time itinerary push alerts, live weather reports, route maps, hotel information and car rental information to make your travel a breeze.”

Price: Free

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TripTracker - Live Flight Status Tracker

GateGuru – featuring Airport Maps

“Do you get frustrated in airports? Not sure where the freshest food is or where the closest gift shops are located? Stuck with a long layover only to have a terrible meal? Walking around aimlessly in hopes of finding a good book for your flight or that last minute souvenir for your loved one? Standing on the security line forever only to find your best food options were pre-security? Make these situations a thing of the past and download GateGuru, the leading airport tool.”

Price: Free

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GateGuru - featuring Airport Maps

Find What You Need

Google Earth

“Hold the world in the palm of your hand. With Google Earth for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, you can fly to far corners of the planet with just the swipe of a finger. Explore the same global satellite and aerial imagery available in the desktop version of Google Earth, including high-resolution imagery for over half of the world’s population and a third of the world’s land mass.”

Price: Free

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Google Earth

Yelp

“Looking for a burrito joint open now? An Irish pub nearby? A gas station you can drive to before your tank hits empty? Yelp for your iPhone is here to help. Use us to search for places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play then read reviews from an active community of locals in the know. ”

Price: Free

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Yelp

OpenTable

“Restaurant Reservations – Free, Instant, Confirmed. With OpenTable for iPhone you can make free restaurant reservations at over 13,000 OpenTable-enabled restaurants in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. Plus, OpenTable members earn valuable Dining Rewards Points redeemable for Dining Cheques good at any OpenTable restaurant.”

Price: Free

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OpenTable

Wi-Fi Finder

“Quickly and easily find FREE or paid Wi-Fi when you travel with the JiWire Wi-Fi Finder for iPhone and iPod Touch. iPod Touch users can download all of the locations offline, so they know how to stay connected when they are on the road.”

Price: Free

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Wi-Fi Finder

Wikihood

“Wikihood is organizing the information of the Wikipedia for any place in the world. Within a few clicks you not only get access to all the locations around you, but also the vast information related to these locations categorized by “persons” und “culture/buildings”.”

Price: Free

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Wikihood

Citysearch

“Need to find a local bar that adds enough mint to your mojito or that hidden Italian cafe across town? Mobile by Citysearch will help you explore your neighborhood from the palm of your hand! Whether it’s a restaurant, bar, spa or shopping you need, Mobile by Citysearch has the answer. We offer access to local business listings, reviews and ratings, maps, and more whether you’re exploring a new neighborhood or right in your own backyard. And even better: it’s all for free. ”

Price: Free

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Citysearch

Foodspotting

“We created Foodspotting to make finding good food easier: Instead of reading and writing long reviews, you can simply see what’s good around you and share photos of foods you recommend. No foods near you? We just launched in January 2010 and are counting on you to represent your neighborhood by sharing your favorite foods and where to find them.”

Price: Free

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Foodspotting

Social Travel

Gowalla

“Meet up with friends, discover local hot spots and share your favorite places, photos and events. Gowalla makes you happy!”

Price: Free

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Gowalla

foursquare

“foursquare helps you find new ways to explore your city. See where your friends are, learn about the places they frequent and unlock rewards as you travel through the city”

Price: Free

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foursquare

Miscellaneous Travel Tools

Travel Budget Tracker

“Travel Budget Tracker is an app dedicated to help you save money while on your next vacation. Create categories and keep track of how much is spent and Travel Budget Tracker will do the rest!”

Price: $0.99

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Travel Budget Tracker

Priceline Hotel & Car Negotiator

“Stuck without a place to stay at the last minute? Give this app a shake, pick the exact neighborhood and star level you want, and save up to half-off when you bid for a hotel. ”

Price: Free

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Priceline Hotel & Car Negotiator

AAA TripTik Mobile

“AAA TripTik Mobile provides latest gas prices, maps, directions, and AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotel details and bookings. Route to an address, or find and get directions to nearby restaurants, events or attractions. A shake of your iPhone redraws the route from your current location if you get diverted, and also provides voice guidance for your next maneuver. The app identifies your location if you need Roadside Assistance from AAA.”

Price: Free

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AAA

Currency

“Currency provides up-to-date exchange rate information for over 100 currencies and countries! Great for when you travel abroad and need to calculate the latest exchange rates. Great for forex traders! ”

Price: Free

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Currency

SitOrSquat: Bathroom Finder

“SitOrSquat is the world’s first wiki for recording and accessing bathroom information globally. All of our toilet finder content is added by YOU, our loyal users. We currently have 65,097 toilets worldwide and we need your help in growing that. Join the SitOrSquat movement!”

Price: Free

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SitOrSquat: Bathroom Finder

Language Translator

“Translates words, phrases, sentences and whole paragraphs of text between different languages using Googles language translation service. It can even detect your source language (except Chinese). Whether you want to learn a foreign language, fresh up your skills, travel abroad or just curious this iPhone web application will help.”

Price: Free

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Language Translator

List Your Favorites!

The list above represents the best utilities we could find to help you enjoy your vacation. Leave a comment below and let us know which apps you’ve tried and what you thought of them.

Also be sure to let us know about any we missed!


  • Emily

    These are some great Apps! I’d like to add “Point Inside.” I use the App whenever I travel because it has maps with shops, restaurants and services in Airports across the US. It’s nice to actually be able to find a healthy place to eat. Oh and the App also has maps/directories of malls and it’s FREE!

  • Dave

    As a word of warning, many of these apps require some sort of online connection, either through the network (Edge/3G) or WiFi. The problem when traveling internationally is that downloading on a phone network is not a viable option (unless you’re filthy rich with money to burn) and WiFi — free or otherwise — is usually scarce. In such circumstances, be sure to use apps that have the ability to cache data for offline use.

    For those traveling overseas and looking for a GPS or mapping alternative to Google Earth or Google Maps (both of which require map downloads on the fly), check out GPS MotionX. it allows users to cache maps of predetermined locations and the GPS works stunningly abroad.

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  • http://trustedones.com Arnox

    I am the developer of the free iphone/ipad app called “trustedones”. The app is for people who feel that most recommendations out there are paid placements and even those that are not come from people we likely have nothing in common with.

    My wife and I use it to add points of interest for upcoming trips, and we also ask friends to add their favorites.
    Once we arrive at the destination, the app makes it easy to look at our own lists of things, view friends’ suggestions, get maps and directions, and add new things as we discover them. It’s essentially a travel log that we share and grow with our friends.
    The app also works with cached information, when data services aren’t available.

  • http://www.liligo.co.uk Jeremy

    Great list! If you allow me, I would add the app that we develop to the list. Free and particularly useful for Europeans, it is liligo for iPhone, a flight search engine that allows you to search and compare on more than 250 travel sites (airlines, low-cost, travel agencies). Quick, complete and easy!

  • Scott

    We’ve gone on a few driving trips and (with 2 kids) like to use iExit. This app tells what restaurants, gas stations, hotels & other businesses are at each exit on every highway in the US. It can use the GPS to tell you which exits are coming up down the highway, but if you have an iPod touch, it also stores all the exits on the app. This way you just look up what state & what highway, then it lists all the exits, and what businesses are on that exit.

    • http://www.designshack.co.uk Joshua Johnson

      That’s an excellent app idea! I’ll check that one out.

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  • Dom

    I’d like to point out that some of these allegedly “free” apps won’t work unless you log onto a subscription service… the App itself is free, but to do any useful travel planning, you have to pay a monthly fee.

    Also, Frommers has a travel tools app that is just awesome, multiple tools like a currency converter, flashlight, packing lists, postcards, and access to guidebooks. Most functions will work without wifi, also.

  • Gman

    For me, travelling and going on vacation means no internet most of the time, which is why things like “offmaps” and “allofwiki offline” (which is the entire wikipedia database downloaded to your iPod/iPad, are awesome.

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  • Tro.Foreau

    I’ve found this global audio travel guide app really useful during a recent trip:
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iguidu/id443712445?mt=8&ls=1

    No roaming, worked like a charm!
    more about it: http://www.iguidu.com

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