Travel always seems so glamorous (think: martinis in first class and personal tours of the world's cultural hubs). But in reality, the act of traveling is often a frantic mess. Being a globetrotter is a full-time hobby and only the most practiced or wealthy can pull it off with true ease.
For the rest of us, it takes work. Luckily, we're not in it alone. From booking your flight to tracking your adventures, these five apps will help make your summer travel experience one for the books.
5. Hipmunk Flights & Hotels There are tons of search engines out there for finding flights and accommodations (Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz -- pick your poison). But as an app, Hipmunk differentiates itself in a couple of ways. Flights are sorted by their "agony" rating which takes into account things like layovers, pricing, and flight length. Similarly, the hotel searches include maps that indicate the proximity of restaurants and nightlife. But the real kicker for this app is a feature that allows you to integrate your calendar info into search results. Um, yes please.
4. TripIt This app is sort of a no-brainer; it's been making headlines for years. Once you have your stuff booked for a trip, TripIt compiles it all in one place so you don't have to worry about forgetting something. For the scatter-brained this is a godsend. You can also have multiple trip plans going at once, so it's great for those whole travel frequently.
Cost: $.99 for the add-free version
3. FlightTrack If flying stresses you out, download this app right now. You know on some flights how you can switch the movie screen to show you where you are in the air? This app does that, and the graphics are about a billion times better. You can also use the app to check flight status and view full flight details.
2. TripAdvisor Offline City Guides When you are in a foreign country with no wifi, finding a place to eat lunch can suddenly become a very daunting task. TripAdvisor's Offline City Guides allow you to access info any time anywhere. The app includes self-guided tours and GPS directions. Obviously not every city everywhere is listed, but the ones included are pretty good. And we're happy about any app that lightens the packing load (au revoir 600-page travel books).
1. HipGeo If you're into cataloging your experiences but don't want to bombard your other social media outlets (your friends will thank you), this app is your new best friend. HipGeo is travel blogging gone mobile. You can upload videos, photos, text, places, and routes. At the end, there's a cool travel animation feature where you can play a slideshow of your trip complete with map animations. Welcome to the future of travel journaling.
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Bonus: Postagram Snap a photo, and it becomes a postcard for your friends and family back home. While this app shouldn't replace handwritten postcards, it's a pretty fun alternative (and possibly cheaper depending on where you are traveling).