Grads have gotten clear of college, Memorial Day is coming, and that means it’s time for some spur of the moment vacation planning. Here are the best travel apps to smooth the bumps in that unplanned road trip, or last-second flight.
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Every traveler, spontaneous or not, needs a good map. Even with Waze coming on strong, Google reigns supreme. In addition to the directions and mapping, you can also download maps for offline use, making the app especially handy if you’re planning to log off, but suddenly can’t find a paper map.
If Airbnb horror stories linger in your brain, consider using HotelTonight (Android, iOS) instead. The app is a last-minute deal hunter where hotels list their empty rooms, usually at a steep discount so they can fill every bed for the night, and customers grab them on a first-come-first served basis.
Wallaby (Android, iOS) is better known as a credit management app, but it’s a useful tool on the road. Wallaby manages your credit cards for maximum possible rewards, and also tracks balances for you, so you don’t use a card close to its limit. For international travelers, it tells you which cards will work, and which won’t.
There are a lot of flight booking apps out there, but Hopper (Android, iOS) has a distinct advantage; where most travel apps will just tell you the cost of the ticket, Hopper helps you work out the fees that go with the flight. If you’ve got to check bags, or if the airline is sneaky with the fees, you’ll know what you’re signing up for.
The official app for US Customs and Immigration, Mobile Passport is designed to make dealing with paperwork at airports a snap. International travelers should have it as a standard, and if you’re taking that last-minute trip to Europe, it’ll help you get everything together.
Pana (iOS only) solves the problem of anybody stuck vacation planning for a group or even just a hapless significant other; it gets everyone on the same page. Itineraries are automatically put in order, and the app itself serves as a sort of digital assistant, automatically setting things up and guiding you through the trip planning process.
Finally — though sadly limited to iPhone users — Wallet is your travel organizer. Keeping your cards, boarding passes, and other travel data in one place makes getting around easy.
By Dan Seitz