The rise of the almighty travel app has all but destroyed the careers of many a travel agents throughout the world. Who needs them really? There are tons of travel apps out there to suit almost anyone’s needs.
Today, I’d like to detail some of the best travel guide apps out there. Apps that can put you in touch with the pulse of the area you’re visiting, offering information about places to see sights you’ve never seen before, eat delicious food you never dreamed existed, and otherwise make sure you don’t get lost along the way — unless you want to!
Here are 5 of my top travel guide apps for the summer of 2017:
TripAdvisor is perhaps one of the best itinerary suggestion apps out there. They’ve certainly put in the time, being one of the oldest yet still most current in their category. Listing what TripAdvisor can’t do would be far easier than listing everything it actually does.
It isn’t limited to being a mobile travel guide app. TripAdvisor helps you in finding the best flight and accommodation prices and destinations. It also connects users to the best local hotspots, hidden sightseeing gems, and offers a gazillion local reviews of every conceivable destination in every single travel city on the planet. Their “Near Me” function geo-targets your location to connect you with all the cool stuff nearby — sightseeing, shopping, bars, clubs, pubs, restaurants, and more. You can also connect to their forums any time you want to ask for tips from locals and experienced travelers.
You can’t talk about travel guide apps and not mention Yelp — ie., the bane of every retailer’s existence since its launch way back in 2004! While the corporate giant is often associated with negativity, for it’s willingness to host the most scathing of reviews about various eateries, bars, night clubs, shopping retailers, products, and service companies galore; there’s a lot of positive information to be gleaned by travelers using Yelp.
Yelp basically offers honest reviews for every place you plan to visit and service you want to use while traveling, as long as someone has taken the time to leave a review. Yelp Questions is a feature within the app that allows you to ask specific questions about places before going there, such as how friendly the service is, and whether a business can cater to your specialized needs. Features like Yelp Reservations for saving your spot at local restaurants, and EAT24 (both US only) make sure you’re never starving no matter where you are.
Google trips is a must for Gmail users who like to travel and want the ease that comes with connectivity and integration with your favorite mobile apps. While this app is still in it’s infancy and not at all a preference for privacy, it has all the power of the mighty data giant, Google, behind it. All you have to do is make your transportation, accommodation and itinerary reservations through your Gmail account with the various providers you’ll use, and Google takes care of the rest.
Trips then collates that data and creates an easy-to-read and use trip calendar, and allows you to download your itinerary and suggestions before you leave or at the hotel if you’re traveling sans-data. The app has plenty of functions like Reservations, Things to Do, Saved Places, Day Plans, Food & Drink and Getting Around. Even if your itinerary only consists of flying somewhere and then taking it from there, Trips can offer complete guides for more than 200 cities worldwide, ensuring you’re never bored.
Google’s network of data is vast, collated over years of research, real people on the ground, and a massive technological infrastructure. Lonely Planet is well known in travel circles for getting all its information from real travelers, from all walks of life. That’s what makes up the brunt of this app’s appeal to travelers.
Though the jury’s still out on just how nuanced and niched down Trips is, Lonely Planet Guides is well established as the go-to app for all the popular and not-so-popular, off-the-beaten path sightseeing and destination suggestions, as well as a bevy of kitschy cafes, pubs, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants with amazing food and reasonable prices. This is the ultimate app for backpackers, freelancers, and those seeking the most authentic travel experience on a budget.
The Localeur app isn’t going to be every traveler’s cup of tea this summer, but it’s a lightweight app that’s sure to please the majority who use it. They don’t have the massive database that Google does, or the history that TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet and their network of experienced travelers do. However, Localeur is frequently placed at the top of lots of major publication’s lists of preferred travel apps.
The app focuses on offering real recommendations from locals who live in cities all over the place. Learn where to find the best dessert joints, clothing boutiques, hotels, and hideaways to get some privacy with your loved one. The app currently boasts 10,000 reviews/recommendations, but beware, most of the recommendations are focused on North American travel, with a few scattered reviews for international destinations like the UK and Australia.
If you have any apps you’d like to share with the UpTourist community, don’t hesitate to link to it in the comments with a brief description of why you think it’s essential for those looking for the best digital travel tools.