My go-to travel apps

I have a slight addiction to my IPhone. Without it, I feel naked and afraid. It’s sad, I know, but I don’t think I’m the only one with an electronic monkey on my back. I have 60 apps on my phone, and many have proven their worth time and again on my local trips and trips overseas. Here are some of my favorites:



Description: Location-based review website, most useful for restaurants, bars, shopping, museums

Why its on my phone: If I were on a deserted island, this is the app I would choose. Oh wait, on a deserted island, this app would be completely worthless. You get what I’m saying though. I rarely set foot in a restaurant anymore without checking out the Yelp ratings and reviews first.


Description: Review site for hotels

Why its on my phone: As I do with Yelp for restaurants, I will not stay in a hotel that I have not first looked up on TripAdvisor. This app has not done me wrong in over five years of use. I put a lot of trust in the user-generated hotel rankings for a city I’m traveling to. If the hotel is ranked in the top 10% of hotels, you can pretty much be sure that your stay will be a good one.


Description: Booking site for flights, hotels, and rental cars

Why it’s on my phone: I like how user-friendly the site is. It’s also fun to explore possible flight ideas even if you’re not looking to book right then and there. I like the app for its security too. I once booked a $1000 flight through the app and have complete trust in it.


Description: major international hotel app

Why it’s on my phone: I travel occasionally for work and usually stay at Marriott hotels to rack up points at one chain. I like how you can check in and out of your room using the app.


Description: restaurant reservations

Why it’s on my phone: This is one of those apps, like Yelp, that I use almost every week, even if I don’t leave Washington, DC. Just list your neighborhood, dates, number of people the reservation is for, and the app spits out all the restaurants with availability. The app is not very good for determining the quality of the restaurants though, as most are rated 4 stars or higher. I think Yelp is better for that. One downside–I don’t think the app works overseas.

Uber and Lyftuber-and-lyft-side-by-side

Description: taxi-hailing apps

Why they’re on my phone: I like Lyft because I think it’s as good as Uber and the prices are a little cheaper. I also like that by using Lyft I’m in a small way staving off Uber’s rise to world domination.


Description: train booking

Why it’s on my phone: Amtrak really has gotten its stuff together in the last few years. I use the app all the time to book tickets and pull up my ticket on the train when I need to show the conductor.

TV Food Mapstvfoodindex

Description: restaurant locator

Why it’s on my phone: I don’t use the app that much, but I find it to be a really good app for locating restaurants that have appeared on TV shows such as Man vs. Food, Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, Chopped, Bar Rescue, Bizarre Foods, and so on.


Description: photo sharing

Why it’s on my phone: Instagram is the perfect way to share photos with your friends. Take a picture, upload it to the app straight from your phone, write a cute caption to go with the photo, and bask in ensuing likes. Download an app called Layout that goes with Instagram. It allows you to put 4 pictures into one Instagram post and gives you different options to arrange the pictures.


Description: encyclopedia

Why it’s on my phone: I have a curious mind, so often find myself looking up random things on this extremely useful app. I think the content is the same as the website, so it’s amazing to have the world’s most extensive encyclopedia in the palm of your hand.


Description: car travel and routes

Why it’s on my phone: I don’t drive that much, but when I go on longer road trips along heavily-traffic’ed routes, Waze can be really useful.





Description: Shows the price of gas at the gas stations nearest to you

Why its on my phone: I rarely use the app, since the price of gas usually doesn’t differ that much between  stations in the same general area. And even if there is a significant price difference, the station with the cheapest gas is often a bit too far away to consider driving there to save 37 cents on a fill up. I did use GasBuddy once in San Francisco when my wife and I couldn’t find a gas station on the way to drop off our rental car. So while I don’t get much use out of the app, it can be useful in these clutch situations.

Are there any apps that I should consider?


Kevin is based in Washington, DC and writes about his travel adventures in the Mid-Atlantic region and around the world. Through entertaining writing and eye-catching photography, he aims to provide readers with useful information as they plan their next trips.

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