The Ultimate Guide to Travel Apps
Smartphone travel apps may be all the rage, but with so many to choose from, where do you even begin to look? This is your first—and last—stop in the hunt for the best travel apps on the market.
COMPARISON SHOP With thousands of user-generated reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions worldwide, TripAdvisor has long been a mother lode of unvarnished assessments. What it hasn't been is a model of simplicity. The travel app cuts through the clutter, bringing just the facts—er, opinions—filtered by price or neighborhood, to the fore. Free. Download it: Android, iPhone/iPad.
SCORE A CHEAP ROOM If landing a rock-bottom rate ranks higher than remaining in complete control over where you stay, roll the dice with Priceline Hotel Negotiator app. You choose a preferred star rating and an ideal price (recent successful bids in the area are listed as a guide), and the tool will lock in a room that meets your criteria. Bonus: The app uses GPS, which is priceless for lining up convenient last-minute accommodations for unexpected overnighters. Free. Download it: Android, iPhone/iPad.
GET A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW You've probably already used Google Earth's satellite images to zoom in on your childhood home or your current residence—in almost scary detail—but the intuitive app also serves as an easy way to suss out a hotel's rooftop pool deck or the size and location of various parking lots at a big museum or other attraction. Free. Download it: Android , iPhone/iPad.
FIND THE RIGHT SHIP With more than 12,000 itineraries on 20 cruise lines, the new Cruise Finder app by iCruise.com has one of the largest listings databases out there—plus plenty of other features to smooth your sailings. Want to preview your digs? Check out the detailed cabin photos and deck plans. Need help locating the port on departure day? The travel app provides step-by-step directions from your front door. Free, requires Wi-Fi (Cruise ships usually charge for Wi-Fi on board—expect to pay around 75¢ a minute). Download it: iPhone/iPad.
SET A BUDGET It's easy to lose track of all the scattershot incidental costs that add up over the course of a cruise. Typing daily expenses like tips, excursions, and that round of karaoke-lounge mai tais into the Cruise Card Control app each night helps ward off any sail's-end surprises at the purser's desk. Bonus: The app's running tally doesn't require Wi-Fi, so you can watch your spending without going overboard on data fees. $1. Download it: iPhone/iPad.
GET ADVICE FROM FELLOW CRUISERS The social-network-style Always Be Cruising app provides an instant entry point into the passionate community of die-hard cruisers: After creating a profile and sharing your itinerary, you can connect with other passengers—past, present, or future—and get advice on anything from where to book the best deal to which buffet to avoid to which cruise director doles out the most upgrades. Free, requires Wi-Fi (cruise ships usually charge for Wi-Fi on board—expect to pay around 75¢ a minute). Download it: iPhone/iPad.