Top 10 travel apps for Android

With these apps your Android phone or tablet becomes an essential travel companion

Android Central UniversityThere are a whole bunch of great apps available in the Google Play Store for those of us who travel, be it regularly or only occasionally.

Whatever the trip, whatever the purpose, with an Android smartphone in your pocket you've got the potential to have a powerful travel arsenal at your disposal to help you out in any situation.

It'd be impossible to mention them all, or even just all of the good ones, there's so many. But we've whittled down to a list of what we consider to be 10 of the very best travel apps available for Android, in particular apps that aren't too specific (like airlines) or too region restricted. Let's take a look.

TripIt

TripIt

TripIt is as close to a no-brainer for frequent travelers that you'll find. It is so useful it's actually ridiculous. So long as you're happy enough allowing it access to your inbox, you need never worry about collating your travel plans again. Flights, hotels, train journeys and much more will just automagically be pulled into your TripIt account from your inbox and have trips created for you. As you book more for that trip, it's smart enough to recognize the matching dates and organize accordingly. (And if you'd prefer TripIt not sniff around your inbox, you can still send itineraries manually.)

All this is available in the free download (ad-supported) or the regular ad-free $0.99 version. If you pay up for a yearly TripIt Pro subscription you get even more on top of this. Push notifications keep you up to date with the latest as you're hauling through the airport, seat tracker helps you set up alerts to find a better seat and you can even keep track of your frequent flyer programs all in the one place.

If you could only have one app to manage your travel plans, this should be it.

Hotel Tonight

Hotel Tonight

Hotel Tonight is one of those apps with a very focused purpose, but that delivers that purpose extremely well. It only offers you the chance to book a hotel to check in on the same day – hence the name. It doesn't have hundreds of hotels to choose from, rather offering up a selection with deals on available rooms. If you're travelling at short notice, Hotel Tonight can help take some of the grind out of finding some accomodation.

It also comes with a really nicely done Android application that's well designed, easy to use and allows you to integrate your Google Wallet account if you're in the U.S. Add to that support for a bunch of major cities across the States and around the world and you'll never be left without a bed for the night.

Laterooms.com

Laterooms

If you're looking to book a hotel a little further in advance than the day of travel you can do a lot worse than Laterooms.com and its Android app. The service itself is very competitive with frequent deals across a range of hotels to take advantage of and the Android app is absolutely superb.

It pulls in Google Maps to overlay hotels and their respective prices on so you can get a real feel for where you're searching. It also has the traditional list view and a whole host of filters you can apply to help whittle down the search listings to find exactly what you're looking for.

The simple slide out menu helps you manage your account on the go and access your present, past and future bookings and generally offers a pleasant experience to something which is often tedious and tiresome.

Loungebuddy

Loungebuddy

Airports are usually noisy, hot, extremely busy and full of people rushing around left right and center. Or at least that's how it goes at London airports! We're not all priviliged – and wealthy enough – to be allowed access to our airlines business and first class lounges, but there are other options at the terminal. And with Loungebuddy on your Android device you can find the very best of them.

It crowdsources its reviews – think TripAdvisor, but for airport lounges – and its users can upload images along with some blurb to help you decide whether or not its the one for you. Airline lounges are also included so you can check out that swanky first class lounge before you get to the terminal. Just add in your journeys and let it do the rest.

It's well designed, easy to use, full of useful information, and just might help you escape the melee.

XE Currency

XE Currency

We've all been there. We're out shopping in a foreign country and the first question is always "I wonder how much that is in (insert your own currency.)" So grab a currency converter app to help you out. They're not particularly exciting, but XE Currency is one of the best of the bunch. At a glance you're able to convert into a range of different currencies and the exchange rates are updated frequently.

Uber

Uber

When you're in a strange town you still need to get around and that's where Uber comes in. It gets the nod here over some similar services primarily because of its more global reach. With big money backers that includes Google Ventures, Uber allows you to call for a ride and pay for it without having to stand in the street trying to hail a cab or hand over any cash. In the U.S. you can even pay using Google Wallet.

Uber has different levels of car from the more basic through 'executive' and right up into 'luxury.' The fare quoter at least gives you an idea how much you'll be paying for each, but the rates are generally extremely competitive and you might well find that you can go around in a bit of style while you're out on your travels. There's also plenty of opportunity to earn free credit – sign up using a referral to get started then get your friends and family to use your own links to boost your own account.

Expensify

Expensify

The business travellers best friend. If you're on a business trip and you're going to need to submit an expense report and receipts then Expensify is still one of the easiest ways to collate that information. It's been around for some time now and has a faithful user base that swear by it. It's hard to argue with any of them when you've got things like travel itinerary support and smart scan that will read the information from just your pictures of receipts.

You can try it out for free too for individuals. Can't say fairer than that.

Google Maps

Google Maps

Google Maps needs literally no introduction. It remains to this day one of, if not the very best mobile mapping service around. When you're travelling you're going to need to know where you're at and where you're going. And for that you can't go far wrong with Google Maps.

And with the latest update adding much easier access to offline maps, Uber integration and a bunch more, it really is a travel essential.

Skyscanner

Skyscanner

Part of travelling – often the worst part – is searching for and booking flights. With countless airlines and different routes possible to get to where you're going, any tool to help take some of the pain away is welcome. Skyscanner is a fantastic option for doing just that. Tell it where you're going and when and it will scour the web to come up with the best options available. It might even help save you some money since it often comes up with great deals on flights.

The app itself is pretty well designed and a synch to use. And definitely helps take the pain out of finding flights.

Google Now

Google Now

Google Now takes its rightful place in this list because it does many similar things to some of the apps mentioned above, with the bonus of being pre-installed on new Google certified Android devices. It isn't as feature rich as something like TripIt, but if you're looking for a basic flight tracker, currency converter, world clock and travel guide, then don't overlook it. Really don't.

Your picks

So, those are our top 10 picks for helping us get through our travels, but what about yours? Got a particular travel app you just can't live without? Sing its praises in the comments down below!

 

Reader comments

The best travel apps for Android

59 Comments

Horsebox software's airport apps for terminal guides and flight info are very good and comprehensive. I think there are similar, but I got Heathrow, then Heathrow Pro last year, while it was constantly changing, and I like the developer I got in touch with.

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What makes this absolutely worth buying when Google Maps is free and also offers offline mapping capabilities? (Genuine question, never come across this app before!)

Well, you have a free edition too. Give it a try. The complete offline maps for instance, for Brazil, take less than 300MB and have a way more detail than the offline cache of Google Maps, that, for example, it is not available in most of Brazilian cities (and you can't download all the country at once).

I have Skobbler GPS Nav and Maps. About £1 per extra country. Also great.
What happens when you haven't downloaded Google's beforehand and you have no data. Its excellent.

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ALOT of countries don't have offline maps available on Google Maps. In fact most of the countries I travel to don't, especially in Asia. Unless you stick to major Western countries, Google's offline maps have very poor coverage. Maps with me also has offline searching I believe.
There are also standalone travel guides for many countries, that are worth mentioning (eg. "Japan with me").
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Why don't you just disable roaming data? It's a standard setting in android.

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Cause I just want to Whatsapp with friends which is only a few 100 KB to 1 MB over an entire holiday. Or I want to stay with in the 20mb package a day I get from my provider when abroad. Those setting aren't available in the settings or I have to root my device which I don't want to do. When you disable internet on Android an turn it on again after a few hours all the apps in your phone will wake up and start downloading. With Roamy I don't have that I can keep using instant messaging from Whatsapp/Viber/Telegram with all my other apps accessing the internet an costing me a shit load of money.

This list obviously focuses on general travel apps, but in terms of provider-specific apps, I've been *very* happy with United's app since the redesign from a few months ago. I've also been taking the Acela a lot lately, and I've been really pleasantly surprised by Amtrak's app. I expected it to be garbage, but it's pretty well-designed and usable.

I have a lot of experience with United's and Delta's, and both are pretty good. The other US carriers' apps are junk. I'm not familiar with any non-US carrier apps, though.

Alaska Airlines is great, I use it all the time,

British Airways is half ok, cant change or look at your seats like Alaska

Delta's app is great. Saved my butt when stranded in DC during a winter storm and couldn't get thru on the phone.

Oh, you bet. Delta's app has all the functions you need from an airline, it's attractively and intuitively designed, and it works well even when there's obviously a heavy server load. Their design and development teams both really deserve a lot of credit.

I use the CLC(Corporate Lodging Card) App to find Hotels, my Co. requires it. Only useful if your Co supports it tho.

As a road warrior, I wouldn't leave home without OpenTable and FlightTrack installed on my device. Hard to believe you'd list Google Now over a travel specific app. I know it does cool stuff, but this article is about travel apps.

@ fillossofer:
FlightTrack is one money grab after another. After buying their application, they turn around and stop support for it and re-release the same application under a new version at a separate cost. On top of that, they have add-ons that you would have to buy in order to get full use out of the application. Horrible application solely due to the company behind the scenes; I'm not referring to app functionality.

Admittedly I am still sporting FlightTrack 4.5 because I liked it much better than later versions. Still, for checking whether or not you'll make a connection, or tracking flights of people you're picking up at the airport, it does a good job. I've also found it quite useful for finding alternate itineraries if I miss a flight.

I agree with nikon120, they should be ashamed of themselves for all the nickel and diming they do. Now with that being said, I still use 4.5 as well but it seems like they have skimped on some key features as well. For example, previously I would get my gate information as much as 12 to 24 hours in advance but now I don't get shit until I am at the airport already at my gate. Previously, if there was a gate change, flight track would notify me 5 minutes before the agents at the gate could do so. Now, if there is a gate change and don't pay attention to the information board, I'm screwed.

The only thing I miss about a BlackBerry is BlackBerry Travel. Tripit is close and i use that on My Droid max. Good app and worth the .99

Good list, and I'll try Hotels Tonight.
Bookings. com has worked best for me so far.
Uber have been causing protests in several European cities, and Canada I think. They don't take responsibility for drivers apparently, and they take a whopping 20%, so tip well! Goldman Sachs backing says it for me, though I worked for a G S partner.

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I've found the cheapest fairs for the last few trips I've taken through OnTheFly. It has a simple interface and shows rates for a month at a time with several different trip lengths. Definitely give it a try.

Posted via Android Central App on my Droid Maxx

Would like to see some good personal travel apps. Something vacation focused, and social where you can organize photos, log places you visited, etc. Something like Traveler

I use Travel Journal since it offers vast methods for journaling your trip.

I like Triposo since you can download your destination ahead of time & it will read detailed descriptions audibly so it makes it like a fun, self-guided tour experience.

Then for finding things to do, TripAdvisor & Yelp have lots of user reviews that make it easy to find great, sometimes hidden places. And finally Foursquare to save your favorite places to a list (before or after the trip).

You know, I use Kayak and find its My Trips function to be pretty good. Am I setting the bar way too low?

Posted via Android Central App on Nexus 4

I happened to download the ultimate, nay essential, travel app a short while ago while I availed of their service.
I didn't know they had an app.
Everyone put it at the top of your list.
You arrive in a town or country and you're hungry.
You can now have the mac donalds app. Other synthetic food opportunities are available.

FlightTrackPro (the old version) is indispensable for a weekly flier like myself. Frustratingly, their new app doesn't sync with Tripit, so you are out in the cold if you didn't buy the older version before.

It's incredible and more accurate and updated than the airport's own monitors!

I paid for Tripit Pro and this year I stopped. Terminal gate notifications (which were main reason to pay) were useless. Most of time I got them after landing or when I was already in a plane.

AirBnB is a big omission to this list. It really is the new model of travel accommodation bookings

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Foursquare, Booking.com, Kayak, Expedia, TripAdvisor. I don't get why these wouldn't make any travel list when in their own right they have become staples for the majority of mobile users on the go, and are all well built and free.

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Definitely I recommend Triposo even the very useful tips about sightseeing, attractions, restaurants, hotels and others they have maps. I just need to download the city or country you are going to visit. For Asia the hotelquickly works very good.

Great summary of useful travel apps! When being abroad I always use RingCredible to keep in contact with my friends and family back home... It works fine with WiFi!

KAYAK (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kayak.android) !! I travel often alone and I use it for years and never travel without use it. Triyed TRIP IT , but Kayak to me is even better.. it even alerted me when a flight was cancelled suddenly when I was already in the lounge waiting my flight. And have many other useful funcions like currency converter, flights price alert etc.... I strongly recommend people try it to test. Very good!

Great recommendation!! But I must say that recently launched travel app by HolidayIQ.com has really gone viral in such a short time. I think this is the easiest travel app ever made for travelers. But traveler bad luck is that it just launched for Indian Destinations for now. I think we have wait a little longer for the universal travel app by Holidayiq.com. For now, the App is available on Google Play and itunes and on the site itself @ http://www.holidayiq.com/mobile/app