There are thousands of travel apps that claim to reduce the stress and chaos of international travel. But it doesn’t take a genius to know you can manage your flight reservation from the app of your specific airline, so we won’t be boring you with redundant information that’s obvious to anyone with stamps in their passport. Here’s a list of travel apps that are actually useful.
1. Reduce travel stress with Pigment.
With adult coloring books all the rage for reducing stress and unlocking creativity, it was only natural for this phenomenon to bubble over into the app world. Pigment has dozens of free coloring pages and palettes (as well as some for purchase) that will keep your brain too busy to freak out over a flight delay or a late check-in. Enhance the experience by borrowing a stylus from that one fun aunt you have for easier coloring.
2. Find (and keep) your center with Calm.
Daily meditation is always recommended – whether you’re beachside in Rio or sitting at a slot machine Reno. The Calm app offers a variety of timed meditations, both guided and unguided, that will not only help you relieve stress, but also fight muscle soreness (think night-after-night of sleeping in a bed that isn’t yours) and manage your jet lag. Isn’t that worth 15 minutes?
3. Split travel expenses with Venmo.
Unless you’re globetrotting with Taylor Swift, there’s a high probability that you’ll be sharing some travel-related costs with a friend or significant other. Rather than fumble with foreign currency or figure out who picks up the bar tab based on who paid for dinner, sync your bank account with Venmo for easy and nearly-instant money moving – as well as an accurate record of your payouts.
4. Use iBooks to view maps offline.
Sure, download that Jane Austen novel you’ve been meaning to reread. Get it out of your system. But your standard iBooks app can be used for much more than in-flight entertainment. My favorite iBooks feature is it’s capability to store and share a library of PDFs, including maps. Find and save PDF versions of the most important maps you’ll need when you’re out and about without easy access to wifi – transit lines, city center maps, and points of interest. You’ll easily be able to get your bearings and plot a course – and without racking up exorbitant international data charges.
5. Document the journey with BonJournal.
Unlock your inner Hemingway with this this minimalistic journaling app. BonJournal lets you easily create beautiful journal entries by combining your stories and photos. Easily share your entries with friends so they can recreate your experience.
6. Use Time Out for smarter sightseeing.
This infamous New York publisher has expanded across the globe and now boasts city-specific publications on 6 of the 7 continents. I love using this as a travel app because the content is right-to-the-point, curated lists of restaurants, bars, events, and sights worth seeing that I can quickly skim and use. The app also lets you save the best information to your home screen – which is fully customizable.
7. Chat in any language with Google Translate.
Never again wonder about the mystery meat in your dinner entree or if the couple on the Metro are making fun of your fanny pack. Simply open the app and point your camera at a line of text to watch it translated before your eyes. You can also speak into the app to have your words translated and then play them back aloud in your preferred language for quick and easy conversation. Adios, language barriers.
8. Keep doing you (even on vacation) with Habitica.
One of the most disruptive aspects of travel is feeling like you’ve fallen behind on accomplishing all the things you set out to do in your normal, everyday life. Habitica is a free productivity app that gamifies your daily routine, to-do lists, and habits. With easy set up on your desktop before you depart, you can keep yourself accountable from anywhere.
9. Share photo albums in the cloud with Flickr.
Easily upload, edit, and share photos and albums from your trip – before you even get back. Gone are the days of texting, emailing, and AirDropping the 87 selfies you look cute in. Flickr not only saves you steps when you want to share images, it also ensures you’re not using unnecessary storage space and ensures all your memories are safe – from the public and from you accidentally dropping your phone in the Seine.
10. Workout from anywhere with Daily Burn.
If a leafy running trail isn’t in close proximity, or the weather isn’t cooperating, Daily Burn lets me get my sweat on from the comfort of someone else’s living room. (Thanks, AirBnb!) Simply choose your workout type and length of time you want to exercise and get a long list of options. Note: full use of this app requires a subscription – $12.95/month – but first-time users get a 30-day free trial.