No two travellers are alike. Maybe you’re on a frugal family road trip, seeking out inexpensive frills in the Outback. Or perhaps you’re a cosmopolitan solo sojourner, flying first class and dining in Michelin-starred kitchens. Luckily, there’s an app for just about every permutation of vacationer. Here are 10 free downloads to check out before your next departure:
For frequent flyers: Flio
So your flight is booked, your hotel is paid for and your itinerary is set. The only thing you haven’t researched is the airport wher — whomp whomp — you’re stranded because of thunderstorms. Relax. Flio has detailed maps and alphabetized directories of more than 3,000 airports around the world, so you can make the most of your layover. The app also offers duty-free discounts, the chance to purchase lounge access, and insider tips from fellow travellers.
For go-with-the-flow-ers: Roadtrippers
The best parts of a road trip are the unexpected gems you find while you travel, and Roadtrippers makes it that much easier to find them. Plot your start point and destination, and the app spits out all the attractions — like hotels, restaurants, monuments, museums, trails and national parks — along the way, each with essential details and user-generated photos and reviews. And if you need ideas on where to wander, the app also has a number of built-in trips, like a dino-themed drive through the Canadian Badlands.
For tiny travellers: Geocaching
Instead of pacifying your kids with a phone full of games, why not play along? For fun-loving families, there are few options better than Geocaching, an app-enabled IRL scavenger hunt. Using a map and clues, you hunt caches — small containers with a log and, occasionally, trinkets you can take or leave — hidden by other Geocachers in street lamps, tree hollows and just about everywhere else. With more than three million caches around the world, you’re never far from a treasure hunt.
For active adventurers: Spinlister
Homes. Cars. Tools. You can rent just about anything from anyone using an app. Now, add bikes and boards to the list. Spinlister, available in more than 100 countries, lets you rent bicycles, skis, surf and snowboards from locals by the hour, day or week. Prices vary depending on the equipment, but the recommendations you’ll inevitably get from owners come free of charge.
For foodies: Time Out
Yelp’s crowd-sourced reviews might cover more culinary ground, but Time Out is an expertly curated gourmand’s bible. Each guide on the app — there are about 60 cities, including London, Paris and New York — features a list of the most worthwhile local restaurants and bars, each with a pithy write-up that tells you exactly what you need to know. Depending on the city, the app can also pump out theatre, art and live music recommendations — and help you steer clear of tourist traps.
For culture vultures: Culture Trip
If you find guidebooks and pamphlets a little impersonal, try Culture Trip. The app is a collection of articles and tips written by locals, often with a charming dose of personality. The writing, photos and videos, produced exclusively for the app, range from typical tourist fare (“How to spend 48 hours in Cairo”) to obscure local lore (“This Canadian doctor is a legend in the Japanese indie music scene”).
For travel buds: Splittr
You may have heard of the expense-tracking app Splitwise. Splittr is its fun-loving, globetrotting cousin, designed specifically for group vacations. Instead of stuffing receipts into your wallets, just enter the details of your purchases into the app, including optional photos, dates, notes and expense categories. Once you’re back on the home front, simply press the “Settle Up” button to see who owes whom.
For trailblazers: Komoot
Komoot was created for vacationers who prefer summit sunrises to poolside piña coladas. When you first fire up the app, it will ask you to select your favourite activities: running, hiking and/or three types of cycling. From there, you can explore trails, peaks, parks, lakes and route highlights. The app is free, but you’ll need to pay for hyper-detailed trail maps; it’s a few bucks for a single region or $40 for the whole world.
For pack rats: PackPoint
Does packing stress you out? Try PackPoint, an app that takes the guesswork out of vacation preparation. Enter your destination, travel dates and planned activities (the list includes camping, working, beaching and so on), and the app will pump out a tailored packing list based on your answers and the forecast. Disagree with its picks? Swipe to remove an item, or add your own.
For scatterbrains: TripIt
Vacations are too short to waste time sifting through email inboxes for boarding passes, hotel confirmations and restaurant reservations. TripIt compiles all that necessary but annoying travel paperwork in one paper-free place. The basic version of the app allows users to edit, share and sync itineraries with their calendars, while the pro version (US$50 per year) unlocks flight alerts, reward points tracking and travel discounts.
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