My Top Travel Apps • Best Travel Tools for Trip Planning

Woman holding phone, looking out to the mountains at Mount Rainier National Park

These days I use my cell phone for way more than just meal pics and creeping on Instagram; I’m using some pretty amazing tools to help me make the most of the trips I plan. Whether you’re trying to book a flight or find stops along a road trip, the App Store can be your best friend. There are so many apps I use that can help me either book, plan, and/or experience a trip better that sometimes it can be hard to keep track, but for me, these are the best travel planning apps I’ve used to date.

Best Travel Deals & Booking Apps

We all love a good travel deal, right? Well do I have some helpful resources for you! No list of best travel planning apps is complete without the apps that find you good prices! These are the tools and apps I use to find travel deals when booking hotels, flights, and/or rentals.

Google Flights

So *technically* this is a web tool not an app but it is irreplaceable and the best tool on the market for finding flights. This tool aggregates almost all of the airlines into one singular tool, and allows you to book directly through the airline.

You can also set alerts for certain trip routes to keep an eye on cost and when is the best time to buy. This is truly the best flight tracker there Is, in my opinion.

Hopper

This is another tool – an actual mobile app this time – that will tell you the best time to purchase a flight. If you typically travel with known dates but don’t know when to buy your tickets to get the cheapest price, you’ll love this app.

You can also look for hotel and car rental deals, but I haven’t used those features yet. 10/10 recommend for flight deals, at very least.

HotelTonight

The most accurately named app in the bunch, this tool helps you book a hotel tonight for cheap. It has hotel rooms that aren’t yet sold listed cheaper than you’ll find them elsewhere, as a last ditch effort to fill the room. You can book up to three months out too!

AirBnb or VRBO

I’m a big fan of these homeshare platforms. They’re not always the cheapest lodging option available (definitely compare rates against hotels when researching), but I like the unique options available in so many places. You also feel a little more embedded in your destination when you go with a home vs a hotel.

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Best Road Trip & Driving/Navigation Apps

Looking for an app that will help you drive around your destination? Or find rides? Or make driving easier? Or the best of the best when it comes to road trip apps? I’ve got some you’ll love!

RoadTrippers

This absolute gem of a tool has both a web version and a mobile app. Basically, if you know you’re going from point A to point B via road trip, use this app to find interesting stops along the way. This road trip app is probably the best that I’ve encountered, and I use it every time.

ParkMobile

If you’re going to be driving around a city quite a bit during your trip, this app will be super helpful for you. This is a parking meter app. Pay your meter via the app, increase your time, and even reserve parking for later.

Google Maps

A classic for a reason, this is my favorite app for directions and driving routes. Bonus? You can download maps offline so you can still access them even if you lose service.

Another thing I like to do with Google Maps is create a My Map and drop pins at all of my lodging spots and excursion locations throughout my trip. I then share this with my partner and family so they know where I’m at should something happen.

Turo

Turo is basically Airbnb but for car rentals. This car rental app has quickly become a favorite of mine for finding cheaper car rentals for my trips. You rent from an individual and can ask for additional features like a cooler. I’ve had great experiences with Turo.

Lyft or Uber

We know that these are the massive players when it comes to ridesharing, but did you know depending on where you are, you can also rent a car on these apps as well? This feature isn’t available everywhere yet, but if you’re in a big city check this out as a money saving car rental hack!

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Best Travel Itinerary Apps

Some people like to plan their whole travel itinerary using an app. If you’re one of those people, these are some that you should be using.

TripIt

Want an app that builds your itinerary for you? TripIt is the one for you. This is one of the best travel itinerary apps because you have to do so little work for it to map out your trip. Simply forward travel confirmation emails to the TripIt email address, link your TripIt account to your email and calendar and watch it work.

Google Docs / Sheets

More of the DIY type when it comes to itineraries? I can’t blame you, so am I. Highly recommend either Google Docs or Google Sheets – whatever you’re into – to keep track of your itinerary and important information.

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Other Great Random Travel Apps

These are a few other apps I use to make my life easier when planning a trip that don’t fit into one nicely packaged topic. But just because they’re sort of random, doesn’t mean I don’t love them. I love them, they’re some of the best travel apps in the bunch!

SplitWise

Traveling in a group? SplitWise will be your best friend! Put all the costs associated with the trip in the app and it will split up who owes what, so you don’t have to do an ounce of math.

Google Translate

Don’t speak the language of your next travel destination? Google Translate is going to be your best friend. Translate using a photo of the phrase, typing it in, or using the audio feature to translate a conversation. This is literally so helpful, you’ll never know how you traveled without it.

Mobile Passport

If you’re an American traveling abroad and don’t have Global Entry, this is one of the best travel apps to have on your phone.

Basically, you upload your passport information and speed go through customs in a different line at many American airports. I’ve seen the lines as short as Global Entry before; this is a must have travel ap!

Radical Storage

If you need to temporarily store some luggage while exploring a city, this badass app has got you covered. Find local storage units to store your luggage for a few hours/days and explore the town a lot more easily.

AllTrails

If you’re a hiker, AllTrails is one of the best travel planning apps to have in your arsenal. Create lists of hikes for your trip, download trails to use in offline mode so you never get lost, and read tons of reviews so you can see what you’re getting into on each when you tie your boots.

The NPS App (National Park Service)

An absolute must for national parks exploring! You can download maps for every national park, find the most interesting stops, and check out where to stay. My most used feature is for sure the downloaded maps, since I’m all but guaranteed to lose service when entering national parks.

So there you have it, the best travel planning apps according to yours truly! Have any questions? Feel free to reach out, happy to answer any questions!

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