There is nothing more exhilarating than going abroad with just a backpack and improvising your travel from day to day. But not all of us have the courage to be that adventurous, and usually we plan trips out at least a bit to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Our smartphones can give our planning a boost thanks to numerous apps specially designed for travelers and tourists. Here are the best travel apps for Android.
Best for admin: Google Trips
Planning a trip involves a lot of moving parts, tickets, bookings, bills itineraries, maps and so on. Google Trips helpfully consolidates information from your emails (travel itineraries, flight details, hotel and car reservations, tours and so on) and sorts them out into trips.
In addition, the app provides recommends day plans and sightseeing activities based on your tastes, interests and local information. If, like many of us, you already surrender a vast amount of personal information to the Google panopticon, you might as well make it work for you on your holiday. Trips lets you save travel details locally to your smartphone for offline use.
In addition to Trips, Google also provides another handy tool for travelers in the form of its My Maps app, that lets you add colored pins on your Google Maps and plot out routes for offline use on the go.
Best for air travel: Skyscanner
If you want to go a long distance, flying is the best way to go. Skyscanner is the best app for flights. You can look at the dates of the flights directly from your smartphone. You can choose your destination and find the lowest-cost airline and book flights with no fees.
Best for carpooling: BlaBlaCar
You might be aware that the cost (and comfort) of public transportation might be inadequate, but fortunately there are a few alternatives. Carpooling is expanding and there are many apps that facilitate this, but BlaBlaCar is the best one out there. You can jump in with someone else driving to the destination you want to go to at a fee to the car owner.
Best for car navigation: Waze
Of course, you can travel with your own car. This allows you to carry more things than taking a plane, train or someone else's vehicle. The downside is that the success of the trip depends partly on your navigation skills. If you know the road well, it will not be a problem but if you are traveling to Santa Fe for the first time, you could have some navigational issues. Fortunately, there are many GPS applications to help you to your destinations. Waze is one of the most popular navigation apps on Android.
Best for accommodation: Airbnb
So you have solved the problem of transportation, and you have your dates set. Now there's just the question of accommodation: where will you be staying? Again, Android can help. Of course you could find a hotel via Google Maps or, if you are in a bigger city, book a hotel directly. Another option is to go through Airbnb. If you're unlucky, you could have some surprises but overall it is a good system.
Best for hotel comparison: Trivago
If you prefer hotels to staying at other people's apartments, then Trivago has got your covered. Trivago allows you to search for and compare hotel rooms virtually anywhere in the world. It pulls data from hundreds of sites worldwide, so you can be sure to get the best price on a room or suite in hotels and hostels.
Best for tracking the weather: The Weather Channel
So you've arrived successfully at your destination and are settled into adequate accommodation. Starting tomorrow, the vacation can begin. It's better to think about the weather before you plan any activity because the weather can change quickly. Many Android phones have weather apps pre-installed. Of course, you can install another application if your pre-installed weather app does not suit you. The Weather Channel app is one of the most popular.
Best for language: Google Translate
Of course, you were responsible and brushed up on the local language with Duolingo or Babbel before you arrived, right? Well, no one's perfect, and even the most diligent among us will come across some unexpected language barriers, and that's where Google Translate comes most in handy. It's not just for quickly looking up words people say to you. Just hold your camera up to the mysterious text – such as a sign, instruction manual or a menu – and Google will translate it for you. It can be a real lifesaver.
Best for choosing restaurants: Yelp
If you go somewhere, there's a good chance you'll find the standard chain restaurants. But what if you want to venture outside of the norm and try some local cuisine - but how do you avoid having a bad experience? Luckily, there are apps out there that can tell you what other travelers thought about particular restaurants. Yelp gives you ratings on how popular a restaurant is, the people who went there and what they thought of the establishment. Of course, what's true for some might not be true for others, but it allows you to get an idea.
What travel apps do you use? Let us know in the comments.