Written By: Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC, Co-founder and Editor, Travel Professional NEWS®
At the end of March, 2020 over 2.87 million apps are available for download on the Google Play Store, while Apple’s App Store has almost 2 million to choose from. The options are overwhelming. When someone shares a cool app with me, I immediately download it whether I need it or not. It just seems like it would perhaps come in handy someday. That is if I am ever able to find it on my smartphone among all the many apps that reside there.
Good travel apps have one thing in common: they all solve a problem you didn’t even realize you had until you had the app. We wrote an article about this a few years ago, so I thought I would circle back around and see which of those apps even exist anymore and what else might be of value in today’s reality. Enjoy!
Turn your mobile phone into an instant authentication device with MobilePASS from SafeNet, an innovation in software authenticator that allows you to generate one-time passcodes instantly on your phone, enabling secure remote access to corporate and web-based applications. MobilePASS combines the security of strong two-factor authentication with the convenience, simplicity, and ease of use of One-Time Passcodes.
FlightStats one of the best live flight trackers available. To begin, you can track flights anywhere in the world via a specific flight number, route, or airport. After searching for any flight, the information will be saved in the My Flights tab to quickly access later.
One of the best features of the app is a real-time flight tracker live map. The map shows the exact position of the airplane. You can select from a number of different layers to include the flight plan, actual flight path, weather radar and more. The flight information can also quickly be shared directly from the app.
What I love about this is that anyone with an Apple Watch can take a look at flight information on the small screen of the wearable device. Users can even customize a specific Apple Watch face with the widget that will provide information without needing to open the app.
Along with being able to see the status of any commercial airline flight worldwide, FlightAware Flight Tracker can track general aviation flights like private and charter planes in the United States and Canada.
You can search for a flight by aircraft registration, route, airline, flight number, city pair, or airport code. Along with the full flight information, the app provides a full-screen map with a radar overlay.
As a nice touch, you can receive push notifications with departure and arrival information for a specific flight along with cancellations, gate changes, delays, and diversions.
NOAA Radar Pro: Weather Alerts
NOAA Radar Pro is a powerful and easy-to-use weather station right on your mobile device. You are able to see real-time animated weather radar images on a highly interactive map enhanced with severe weather warnings. We use this app often when we are at our home in Mexico to track weather patterns in high-definition. See what weather is coming your way, and keep you and your family safe.
WeatherPro is a very reliable app that offers unrivalled, high-quality, detailed information, including Apple Watch support. It offers 7-day forecast data in periods of 3 hours and weather reports for 2 million worldwide locations. Another feature is comprehensive detail on temperature, wind direction/ speed, air pressure, precipitation amount/ probability, relative humidity, UV index, feels like temperature and more. You can be notified of worldwide alerts and warning levels for extreme weather conditions. Best of all there are no advertisements which of course is a huge bonus for a free app.
Jet Lag Rooster
Those of us in this industry are likely to have had the effects of bad jet lag at one point or another in our journeys. If this is something you suffer from, you might want to check out this app. Jet Lag Rooster is the #1 free and scientific jet lag app. You just enter your trip details to get a customized jet lag plan. The plan tells you exactly what to do to reduce jet lag. After entering your flight details, typical sleeping times, and how when you want to start making adjustments, this app provides a tailored, specific timetable of when to go to sleep, when you should get light exposure and when to be in total darkness. It even tells you when to take melatonin if that is your thing.
This is a simple and intuitive currency converter, perfect for travelers. It provides accurate exchange rates for 160+ world currencies. With few taps you will be able to know the exact value of tons of world currencies. Hourly updated exchange rates allows you to have always precise conversion results.
XE Currency App – Free Edition.
Another great currency conversion app is XE Currency. You can access rates to charts to global money transfers. XE puts all your currency needs into this one easy-to-use app. World-renowned as the most trusted resource for currency exchange rates from around the globe, compare prices anywhere while traveling abroad to be sure you’re getting the best deal at the current rate.
PackPoint Travel Packing List
Never forget your items again! PackPoint is an intelligent packing app and packing list builder for serious travelers. PackPoint will tell you what you need to pack based on length of travel, weather at your destination, and any activities planned during your trip. Punch in the city you’re traveling to, the departure date, and the number of nights you’ll be staying there.
Packing Pro is a super-enhanced version of the popular, top-ranking Packing app. If you desire great syncing & sharing options, display customization, a huge catalog, lots of sample lists, & additional, built-in Expert assistance, then Packing Pro is for you! Tell it where you’re going, how long for and who with and it’ll spit out a suggested list of what you might need, split up into essentials (passport, currency), clothes, gadgets and more, with separate lists for additional family members. This is a great family app that will allow your family to pack well no matter if luggage is lost, or not.
I downloaded this one the minute I discovered it! Most of us love being outside in the summertime. Sunshine not only makes everything look better, it makes us feel good too. But ultraviolet (UV) rays in the sunlight can damage the cells in your body. You should do everything you can to avoid getting burnt by the sun. This is because over time small amounts of sunburn damage can build up, which may lead to the development of skin cancer or melanoma. My dermatologist was thrilled when I shared this with her!
This is a must download! I struggle with this and have found this to be a huge help. Tipulator is a beautiful, fun and easy to use tipping guide available for Apple and Android fans. It lets you easily split the check among friends and colleagues as well as calculating tips excluding sales tax.
The Snow Report
As much as we hate stating the obvious, it’s a simple fact of physics that you won’t have much of a skiing holiday without snow. Keep this on your home screen and you’ll have the reports for your local runs. There is even detailed trail map information to guide you back to the lodge. It’s free
Want to know what the surf looks like? My husband is constantly checking. This is the app you need if you like surfing and beaches. The app shows every beach information near you by using your current GPS location on your smartphone. The user can search beaches filtered by region or even city in the app. It allows you to save your favorite beach and surfing spots in just one click. The app provides information about surf lifesavers or surf guards at a particular beach of your choice. Besides this, the app gives all the essential details before you go surfing.
Who said snail mail was overrated? Postcards are the classic thinking-of-you travel mementos for friends and family. With Postagram, you can bring this tradition into the digital age by sending personalized photos and messages from your phone to relatives, which they’ll receive on actual postcards for $0.99 a piece (postage is included). The app is free.
When you’re in a foreign city, you sometimes look around and ask: Where are all the people? Goby has the answer. This app pinpoints the neighborhood hot spots (including museums, hotels, eateries, and more) in your vicinity. But it’s true value comes in finding nearby events. You’ll discover concerts, plays, and more right around the corner.
When your Rosetta Stone education falls short, turn to Google Translate. This app can rapidly translate whole paragraphs of text or even the spoken word. Simply say a phrase in English, and Google Translate will repeat your words in the foreign language of your choice.
The best way of dealing with crowded terminals, bad food, and noisy fellow passengers is to avoid them completely, right? Lounge Buddy lets you do just that, with detailed information and reviews of over 2500 airport lounges around the world.
By filling out your profile with airline status, credit cards and other details, you’ll be notified of the lounges you’ve got access to in a given airport. If there aren’t any, you’ll be advised which ones you can buy a day pass for – in some cases, you can do it directly through the app.
GateGuru is the best friend of those unfortunate souls caught with long layovers and delays. This app provides you with a map of the terminals as well as reviews of restaurants within the airport. However, the most helpful features might be the “tips” section and the average wait time at each terminal’s security checkpoint.
If you’ve flown much in the past, you’ll know that not all seats are created equal, even in coach. Some have a bit more leg room, while others are even more cramped than usual. You could end up seated beside the bathrooms, with all the noise and smell that goes with it, or in a seat that doesn’t recline. On a long-haul flight, in particular, small things like this can make a big difference to your flight.
Rather than relying on the check-in staff to give you the best seat (hint: they probably won’t), take matters into your own hands with SeatGuru. With maps of over 800 aircraft and 45,000+ reviews, the app uses a simple color-coded system to show good, bad and average seats on your flight, plus detailed information about each one.
Use it to request the seat you’d like, or check out what you’ve been assigned and ask for a different one if it’s no good.
AroundMe allows you to quickly find out information about your surroundings. How many times have you found yourself in need of finding the closest gas station? It is easy to use and quickly identifies your position and allows you to choose the nearest bank, bar, gas station, hospital, hotel, movie theatre, restaurant, supermarket, or taxi. This app shows you a complete list of all the businesses in the category you have tapped on along with the distance from where you are.
700 City Maps
You can choose from more than 700 maps to download. All the data for each map is stored on your iPhone or iPad, so it works where you have no access to the Internet – it works where Google Maps is inaccessible. This prevents expensive data roaming charges by loading all the map data to your iPhone or iPad before you leave home. You can turn off all network functions and still be able to find your way around. It lets you find all streets, and many useful locations such as ATM’s, parks, museums, and many others. It even remembers where you’ve been and you can find that parking spot where you left your rental car, or that great restaurant. It also llows you to mark interesting locations to visit in advance.
This is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. You can join drivers in your area who share real-time traffic & road info to save time, gas money, and improve daily commuting for all. I use this app all the time! Just by driving with Waze open, you’re already contributing tons of real-time traffic information to your local community. You can also actively report accidents, police traps and other hazards you see on the road. Get road alerts along your route and find the cheapest gas prices around you shared by the community. Plus, you can add friends, send locations or keep others posted on your arrival time. This one really helps.