Planning a vacation can be an overwhelming experience, but thanks to our smartphones, it’s easier to navigate the globe than ever before. While sightseers once had no choice but to rely on a travel agent, there are now countless mobile apps that make everything from booking tickets to discovering local gems an absolute breeze.
Whether applying for travel visas or calculating currency conversions, these apps help solve some of the most frustrating and niche issues that globetrotters often encounter. Make sure you have plenty of storage space on your phone, because here are eight of the best travel apps to download for an adventure-filled 2023.
While U.S. citizens are free to travel most of the world with just a U.S. passport, several countries from Australia to Vietnam require visitors to apply for a visa, which can be a harrowing process. Government bureaucracy often leads to nothing but confusion, especially with certain nations having their own sets of specific rules. Well thanks to Atlys, travelers needn’t jump through hoops anymore. Atlys’ own studies have suggested that it can take up to 13 hours for travelers to work through certain complex visa applications, but with this app that timeline can shrink down to a mere 10 minutes. Atlys turns tedium into a streamlined series of steps that will have you flying across the globe in no time. Even better is that by filling out just one visa application using Atlys, you immediately qualify through the app to visit over 150 countries, as 90% of visas require the same information.
Sitting at the airport can be excruciating, as delays and cancellations can cause both stress and boredom. On the flip side, some overcautious people arrive at the airport hours early and are left with nothing to do but sit around and wait. No matter which group you fall into, LoungeBuddy helps make the most of your airport experience by offering access to comfortable airport lounges around the world. You don’t need a special ticket or any sort of membership, all you need is to book a one-time lounge pass and voila! Suddenly you’re relaxing in a comfy chair with decadent cocktails, or taking a warm shower after a long flight. For as low as $25, you can turn the hectic nature of visiting the airport into a spa-like experience, as the app offers access to over 200 lounges in locations ranging from Atlanta, Georgia, all the way to Singapore.
One of the biggest concerns for travelers — especially solo travelers or those taking a vacation with children — is knowing that you’ll be safe during your trip. OZZI is an app that puts worried minds at ease. Whether you’re looking for a safe neighborhood, secure hotel, or tips from locals about staying safe, Ozzi has all the information necessary to avoid being accidentally thrust into a treacherous situation. Furthermore, the app sends real-time alerts once you’ve reached your destination, keeping you up to date on any unexpected happenings in the near vicinity that may put you at risk.
Sometimes the most stressful part of a vacation occurs long before it begins — we’re talking of course about packing. There’s no worse feeling than stressfully stuffing every last piece of clothing into a suitcase only to realize you forgot something after reaching the airport. PackPoint is an app that seeks to make sure that mistakes like that never happen again. According to their mission statement, PackPoint will take into consideration length of travel, weather conditions, and other planned activities in order to come up with a packing list that will cover all the bases throughout any vacation. The app has actually been around since 2013, and supports 20 languages, making it accessible for a wide array of travelers. Checklists are also shareable, making it perfect for coordinating on a group trip. You can also upgrade to the premium version in order to sync your Packpoint account with itinerary planning apps such as TripIt.
Xe Currency Converter
When traveling internationally, tourists should always be on the lookout for people trying to take advantage of them financially. For all the reputable currency conversion counters out there, there are plenty also trying to scam people who are none the wiser about conversion rates. With Xe Currency Converter, you needn’t worry about being taken advantage of, as the app provides live updates on foreign currency exchange rates for the U.S. dollar, British pound, and countless other types of legal tender. The app’s interface is simple and easy to use, and allows users the added benefit of viewing 10 years of historic data to see how rates have changed over time.
While it may be a bucket list item to visit the Eiffel Tower or Copacabana beach, it can be just as memorable to experience new destinations that are located off the beaten path. WithLocals is an app that operates in over 50 countries, where locals provide tips and tricks for how to explore the city like a true native resident. WithLocals highlights options that may be overlooked in most popular travel guides, and it’s all thanks to the word of mouth from those who know the country best. One of the coolest features of the WithLocals app is the ability to book a tour with a local guide who can show you hiking trails, museums, campsites, and so much more. Meeting friendly people abroad can be a challenge, especially with language barriers. But with WithLocals, it’s easier than ever to find a friendly face in a foreign land.
Speaking of socializing with locals, there are few things that bring people together more than food. Food is also one of the most indulgent ways to immerse yourself in another culture. That’s where Eatwith comes in, which is an app akin to Airbnb, but for food. Travelers can book unforgettable culinary experiences and enjoy a home-cooked meal in a far off land. But not only can you dine with locals, you can also sign up for a cooking class in over 130 cities worldwide. Some popular meals available for booking include a bistro dinner alongside the Amsterdam canal, a classic Roman market tour, and a macaron making workshop in Paris, so be sure to reserve your spot before they’re all booked up.
For the traveler who’s more keen on taking a roadtrip than a flight, Roadtrippers is the app for you. America is a big country, and even if we don’t realize it, driving down the highway means passing by dozens of local gems. Roadtrippers helps you find the best restaurants, roadside attractions, and scenic vistas along your route, adding an exciting and unexpected element to any roadtrip. You can add up to seven waypoints with a free Roadtrippers account, or a whopping 150 points if you upgrade to Roadtrippers Plus. And it’s not just the United States that this app comes in handy, as Roadtrippers also extends to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and more.