Anyone who travels even a couple of times a year needs a travel app on her Android smartphone. Having all of that information right in front of you, whenever you need it, is more than a convenience. At times it can save your hide. Here are a few of the best travel apps for Android.
How does an app survive over 10,000 ratings in the Android Market with a 4.5-star rating? By being one of the best in its field. TripIt has the travel thing down right. It’s a simple premise, too. All you do is forward your confirmation email to a tripit email address, and it automatically populates the app with your travel information. This includes not only flights, but also hotels, restaurant reservations, cruises, and more.
There’s a social element on top of this, too. You can share your travel plans with friends on Facebook. Maybe you just want to brag a bit. Maybe you’re looking for companions. Or maybe you just like to let your family and friends know what’s going on. In any case, it’s an available feature with TripIt.
Best of all, TripIt is free. You can, however, add a premium service for $ 49 per year. TripIt calls it “your own personal travel assistant.” Basically, it monitors deals for you, so you can always get the best deal on travel amenities. It also includes alerts while you’re traveling.
One of the more established mobile travel apps, WorldMate has made its way to Android. Not only that, but it has picked up the vaunted Editors’ Choice tag. It provides many of the same services as TripIt, but it does add some interesting effects, even on the free version.
Managing your itinerary works the same. You just forward the confirmation email, and WorldMate organizes it all in the app. It’s after that, though, that WorldMate gets interesting. It pulls from Google Maps to lay out your itinerary. This can work well for driving directions, since you’ll have everything already plugged into the device. (And really, how many of us have gotten lost going from the rental car depot to our hotels?) Speaking of rental cars, you can book one right through the app, or otherwise book a car service. You can also book hotels from the app, if you haven’t done so already.
This really is an all-in-one travel app. The only thing you can’t do, really, is book your flight right from it. As with TripIt, WorldMate has a premium tier as well. This includes calendar syncing, flight alerts and statuses, and the stripping of ads. But with a little elbow grease and ingenuity, you can take care of most of those features for free right from your Android smartphone.
While TripIt and WorldMate help you organize your travel plans, Orbitz can help you book them. That is, it lets you do most anything you can do on the Orbitz website. Find your flight, and then add a hotel and rental car to the package. Once you go through the motions and book your travel itinerary, Orbitz will store the information in offline mode, so it provides that same valuable feature that the other travel apps do.
Not only does Orbitz add value in its ability to book trips right from the mobile app, but it also has mobile-only deals. You could actually save money on, say Chicago hotels, if you check the mobile app and find the right deal. There’s also the option to call an agent right from the app, just in case there’s anything you want to ask.
While TripIt and WorldMate do a better job of storing and displaying you travel information, Orbtiz’s advantage is its ability to actually book those arrangements. It might not be a selling point for infrequent travelers, though the mobile-only deals do make it enticing. For the busy traveler, it could prove extremely useful.
The previous apps have focused on storing travel information and, in one case, booking itinerary. Yet they leave out one stage: planning. An app such as TripAdvisor can complement any of the apps above. It helps you with research, so you know what you’re getting into when it’s time to book.
Think of TripAdvisor as the Yelp of travel. It provides user reviews of hotels, restaurants, and other attractions at hundreds of destinations. You can get information on the amenities, read what other users have to say, and even call the location if a number if readily available. There are even forums, where you can get more information on your travel plans. Add in photos, and it’s a great research tool.
TripAdvisor can be a companion at any juncture. Whether it’s researching a destination before booking, or it’s finding something to do while you’re on the road, this app can be your guide.