Summer months are quickly approaching and we couldn’t be more ready for the sun, warmth, and time on the beach. As you plan your amazing getaways, here’s a helpful list of our favorite smartphone apps for summer 2020. These will get you organized, help you find great deals, share itineraries with multiple parties, and save you money along the way, making for the perfect vacation recipe. Summer bliss, coming right up!
Whether your trip involves a lot of road travel, or you just want to find a faster way to get to places in your own city, consider Waze. Recently purchased by Google, it uses social media input to give real-time updates on traffic situations. So, for example, if there’s a game downtown in the city you’re visiting, as you’re trying to navigate that same area to get to a restaurant, Waze will let you know where the jams are so you can avoid the tangle and the time (and fuel) wasted waiting for game-goers.
GasBuddy is another app that takes advantage of the constant updates and interaction of crowdsourcing. People input gas prices and keep an eye out for low prices, so users can quickly and easily search for gas stations nearby and compare prices to ensure the best deal wherever your trip is taking you.
This is a great tool to use in partnership with your travel agent or if you’re traveling with friends or family! Reservations, tickets, events, meetings, personal gathering with friends or family — you can have all the important details of your trip at your fingertips, all in one convenient place. You know all those confirmation emails that you get from hotels, airlines, car rental services and the like — the ones you frantically search for in your Inbox the night before you leave on a vacation? Your travel agent can simply send all these emails along to firstname.lastname@example.org, which will then magically generate a digital itinerary that you can refer to on your mobile device.
It also provides weather info and maps of your destinations. You can add multiple trips to TripIt if you’re a frequent traveler, or just use it for a single vacation. TripIt was awarded Best Travel Mobile App for 2011 at the Webby Awards. All the services described above are free, or you can upgrade to a paid version for even more cushy service and alerts.
Ever find yourself in an unfamiliar city, and you just want a decent cup of coffee or a place to buy that toothbrush you forgot to pack despite checking your list five times? This application tells you all the points of interest near you. It checks your current location, and lets you select from categories like bars, cafés, hospitals, pharmacies, and hotels to filter through the results.
If you’ve ever planned a road trip, you know how important small stops along the way are. And how much effort it takes to find the stuff cool enough to stop for, and that’s exactly what Road Trippers does for you! Here’s how it works: type in your starting point and destination points. It then tells you distance, time and estimated gas costs. We love this app for day trips — think of a great tour of Napa while staying in San Francisco. While the distance-finding feature in itself isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, RoadTrippers goes one better and tells you about all of the attractions worth seeing along the way, from the obvious to the wonderfully ridiculous.
This one is for the hikers, bikers, dog walkers and trail runners. Alltrails is the ultimate trail guide that’s packed with every bit of information you need to know before you set off – distance, trail markers, maps, reviews, and crowdsourced recent status updates about the trail that you may find useful i.e. – yesterday the trail had ankle-deep mud, and a small part washed out from the rain last Wednesday. The kind of information that can help you get the most out of your day’s wander. The Pro version (paid) offers real-time updates and the ability to download maps to your phone so you can easily navigate even without a signal, which can happen in the woods.
You can even mark your own trails and share it with those joining you, or send it to someone back home so they know where you are for safety.
Gotta go? It happens. Flush is a toilet/restroom finder which currently has 200,000 toilets mapped and ready for your use. The app also lets you know if the toilet has a fee, as is common in much of Europe. It also includes disability access and if a code is needed to gain access.
This app that searches for cheap flights is twice as useful when it comes to your summer travel. First, it’s great for finding the cheapest flight to get you to your destination with customizable searches. Fiddle around with layover times, numbers of stops, and general level of agony associated with a specific itinerary. But for last minute summer travel, it’s also useful for it’s suggestions for places to go, especially if you’re less set on a specific destination and more focused on going somewhere. Head to the “Be Inspired” section to see where you can go within your budget.
Check out our guide to booking cheap flights for some great tips on ways to save money on flights.
If you’re stumped on activities to get involved in once you arrive at your vacation or you’re seriously concerned about leaving your running group back home, Meetup allows you to search for local groups with interests similar to your own. Join in on a morning running group, a cooking lesson, beginner surfing, or an art lesson. The app allows you to connect with people who share your interests and passions. Making friends around the globe certainly makes for a memorable summer vacation, and it gives you someone to visit for future trips!
For summer travel that involves adjusting to a new time zone, Timeshifter eases the pain of jet lag by setting you a proposed schedule for the day. It includes elements like when to get some sunlight, when to avoid caffeine, and even when you should be napping on the plane. Even seasoned travelers struggle with jet lag and sadly, it can eat into precious vacation time. Timshifter’s schedule is pretty involved, but you certainly don’t have to absolutely stick to it. Just do as much as you feel works for you, and reap the benefits of beating the dreaded jet lag. This also works well for coming back home and getting back into the swing of everyday life.
If your summer vacation plans involve a group, splitting costs can get tricky. Splittr does all this dirty work for you with a simple interface that’s quick to learn. Share it with everyone on your trip, easily label who the money should go to and even convert currencies into USD. It also works offline and can turn all of your expenses into PDF form, if you need to email others or keep records, for example, if you’re on a work trip. This takes any confusion or awkwardness out of making sure all expenses are split as they should be.
Travelers heading abroad this summer can get a great start on learning the basics of the language of your country of destination. You can go far beyond the basics too, if you set up the notifications to send you emails from the adorable owl mascot. We can’t disappoint the owl, so we log more hours and become more proficient in the destination language.
This universal messaging app can be a lifeline when traveling internationally. When the hotel asks for you to call them once you arrive at the airport, but you don’t have a local number, Whatsapp gets the job done. Using data or wifi, this app is able to call or text phone numbers all over the world. This works well for contacting accommodations, getting those dinner reservations, or connecting with friends who live in your destination.
Ready to get planning for summer 2020?
There are tons of apps to explore, of course, and this is just a small sampling. But these should get you started for your summer travels by adding some fun and helping you plan and save a few dollars. Once we’ve worked together to plan your awesome summer vacation, give these apps a try and let me know how it goes! The world awaits.