Vacations are supposed to be fun, but they can swiftly devolve into sniping, acrimonious angst fests filled with sunburns, bedbugs, disintegrating romances and crying children if they aren’t correctly planned and executed — and mobile technology can help keep travels fun and organized.
Whether you’re into road tripping to boulder rocks in Utah or jetting off to an all-inclusive in Mexico, there’s a bevy of vacation apps designed to suit your needs.
This travel app isn’t particularly fun or flashy, but it is immensely useful: TripIt organizes any and all important travel information, providing updates and a clear schedule to make sure planes get boarded and bags get packed in a timely manner. TripIt’s easy-to-use mobile itinerary ensures no one’s scrambling to find a confirmation number or hotel address at the last minute, so it can save a lot of headaches, especially when traveling itself can get hectic and arrangements go easily awry. There’s a free version with ads and a $3 version without, and TripIt also offers TripIt Pro, a subscription to a digital trip assistant for $50 a year.
2. Packing Pro
Packing pro is another essential, but not-super-fun app. It may not be glamorous or entertaining, it’s certainly better than arriving in Aruba without a bathing suit or showing up in Aspen with nineteen pairs of underwear and no shirts. Packing Pro helps travelers navigate the often-stressful task of deciding what to bring on trips. The app offers customized packing lists and lets users see what other people’s lists look like as guidance, organizing and breaking down a sometimes complicated task.
For travelers longing for the open road, Roadside America provides extensive coverages of attractions in North America, ranging from beautiful buildings to wacky oddities like the world’s largest pig hairball. Road warriors can buy an app displaying information for one of seven regions for $3, or get the whole enchilada for $6.
Roadside America helps people find hotels on their route and points out a variety of kooky attractions and worthwhile diversions. There’s even a sunset alert, for those looking for photo opps to post on Facebook and make all their friends jealous.
No point in taking travel shots unless you can make them look like they were taken with a Polaroid on a hazy day in 1977 and then post them to the Internet, right?
For the uninitiated, Instagram — which recently made headlines when Facebook bought it for $1 billion — is a free photo-sharing app for iOS and Android that lets users share photos after applying a variety of flattering filters. The app has a huge user base, and its ability to cross-post to a wide variety of photo services and social networks guarantee an easy time sharing and documenting your journey with others.
A user-review haven, Yelp isn’t just for people on vacation, but it sure comes in handy when one person wants to find out where the best Korean barbeque joint in town is and someone else wants to get a bespoke suit.
Yelp offers user reviews for everything under the sun, and the honest takes on food, sites, shops and services are the antithesis of euphemistic travel guides. It can help travelers root out a burger shop by their hotel without a Zagat sticker slapped on the door or clue foreign party animals into the bars to avoid.