10 Travel Apps Even Non-Tech Road Warriors Will Love

travel apps

Photo courtesy of Joshua Earle via Unsplash

I’m not a huge tech person. My friends make fun of me because I still go to a physical bank to cash a check and have never ordered food from my smartphone before. There are a few travel apps, however, that I do find extremely fun to use when I’m traveling or exploring my home of NYC. Along with being entertaining, another requirement I have for any app that makes it to my phone is that it’s free (hey, I’m a budget traveler) as is the case for all the items below.

Have any favorite travel apps in this list, or one you love that I haven’t mentioned? Please share in the comments below.

travel apps

Planning a road trip from NYC to Denver with Roadtrippers

1. Roadtrippers

If you go on road trips, Roadtrippers simplifies the process by a million — and makes it fun. Choose “Plan A Trip” and enter in your starting and ending points to be brought to an interactive map. From there, click the interest icons representing attractions, restaurants and outdoor fun (among other choices) to be shown options along the way. All of these will show up as waypoints on the map. Click the waypoint to learn more about the site, with the option to “Add To Trip.” Once your map is complete, you can share it with your friends.

Even if you’re not going on a road trip, you can “Explore The Map” by typing in your destination, choosing your area of interest and having cool experiences around town shown for you to plot on the map.

Available on iOS & Android, as well as the website.

travel apps

Photo courtesy of Stray Boots

2. Stray Boots

There are a few live walking tour apps — I personally like Kamino (free); however, Stray Boots gamifies the experience, turning the excursion into a scavenger hunt with trivia, puzzles and challenges embedded throughout. Many users claim that even in their own neighborhoods they end up making discoveries and learning interesting tidbits of information. While the app is free, individual tours range from about $2-$12.

Available on iOS & Android.

travel apps

A look at HeyLets

3. HeyLets

I know there are a lot of die-hard Foursquare users out there. I’m not one of them. I had the app for a little while when you used to get free beers and coupons for checking in at places; however, I lost interest over time, finding the app felt and looked a bit dated.

HeyLets takes the local, personalized user-written recommendation idea and takes it to a sleeker new level. Connect the app via Facebook and it’ll start to get to know you. For me, its first suggestion was the Brooklyn Bridge Wine Bar (it’s like it’s known me forever). You can filter results based on location and interest — as well as sub-interest, such as Music -> Alternative & Acoustic, or Dining Out -> French. Add items to your Wish List by clicking a heart icon to create a fun itinerary.

Available on iOS & Android.

travel apps

Making a postcard for mom in Touchnote

4. Touchnote

Touchnote allows users to upload their photos into a postcard design, add a caption and mail it to loved ones as a glossy postcard (greeting cards are available, too), printed in one business day. While the tool is free, you will need to pay for credits to send the postcards. Credit packages range from six cards for $9.95 to 75 for $99.95 (the more you buy, the more you save). A postcard is one credit and a greeting card is two, including the cost of printing and shipping.

Available on iOS & Android, as well as the website.

travel apps

Watching a Tastemade video by one of my favorite content creators, Joshua Johnson, aka @Joshywashington.

5. Tastemade

Don’t think you’re a videographer? Tastemade allows even the most un-skilled content creators to make beautiful videos by telling you step-by-step what to film and for how long. Choose between creating a “Quick Take” (20 seconds) or “Full Scoop” (1 minute), and you’ll be given a menu of fonts and soundtracks to set the mood before you take directives. There’s a social community aspect as you can follow creators, interact with their content and share videos on social media.

Available on iOS & Android.

travel apps

Photo courtesy of Tinder

6. Tinder

While typically thought of as a dating (and sexing) app, Tinder is actually an excellent app for meeting locals. I actually recently wrote a (slightly tongue-in-cheek) article for Road Warrior Voices on “Why Tinder Is The Best Way To Meet People When Your Flight Is Delayed.” A blogger I interviewed for the piece, Alyssa Ramos of  My Life’s A Movie, told me this “Tinderella” story:

“I swiped right on *Bob, and he asked if I wanted to grab coffee. I told him I was already two Chardonnays deep at the bar, but he could join me and save me from all the suits staring at me like I was fresh meat. Luckily, I already knew what he looked like, so when I saw him walking up I waved like he was my boyfriend. We carried on the conversation like we’d known each other for years. We still text and Facebook to this very day.”

At the very least, you’ll probably get a good travel story out of it.

Available on iOS & Android.

travel apps

Tripr screenshot

7. Tripr

As a solo traveler I find this app super handy. A newer app launched in winter 2014, travelers sign up via Facebook before inputting their destination and dates. From there, see the profiles of other users who will be in your destination during that time. There’s a Tinder-esque feel as you swipe right on those you’d like to connect with. If there’s a match, you’ll be able to chat within the app. A bonus feature is the capacity to see which of your friends have visited the destination you’re heading to, allowing you to ask them for travel tips and recommendations.

Available on iOS & Android.

travel apps

HelloTel screenshot

8. HelloTel

Another great app for solo travelers, HelloTel is a social network connecting its 150,000+ members at their hotels (and nearby hotels), as it shows other users who have checked in around you. When you post a status update, you have the option to only post to those staying in the same accommodation, or everyone. While I’m already imagining the pervy messages that will be popping up on this thing, I still think there’s a lot of potential here to make genuine connections. Users can add photos, comment, plan meetups, ask travel questions and request recommendations.

Available on iOS & Android.

travel apps

A bit of info on the Utrip experience

9. Utrip

This fun platform makes planning a trip uber simple and fun. Enter in your destination and dates — you can set interest preferences now or wait — before choosing your “Trip Profile.” Choices include Build Your Own, The Backpacker, The First Timer, The Returning Traveler, Utrip Team Picks and The Luxury Traveler, all written out on fun luggage tag icons. Now, you’ll be given a list of activity suggestions on the right, with the option to modify your personality profile on the left by shifting preference sliders. Maybe you’d like to show you’re very spontaneous, love hard core adventure and dislike museums. As you tweak, the suggestion change.

Finish by clicking the “Plan My Trip” button to be given an adjustable itinerary with live waypoint-filled Google map.

Available on iOS & Android as well as the website.

travel apps

Photo courtesy of Headspace

10. Headspace

Okay, so this guided meditation app is free but you’re going to want to make in-app purchases to really make the most of it; otherwise you’re only getting the Level 1 course. They also sell unlimited subscriptions starting at $6.24 per month (with a 30-day money back guarantee). Totally worth it. Along with foundation courses, the app offers an advanced level as well as specialized meditations devoted to Health, Performance and Relationships. If you’re the type that gets stressed and wants to relax on the road — or the type who doesn’t know how to meditate but wants to learn how — this app is perfect.

Available on iOS & Android (and, if you’re tech-forward enough to already have the Apple Watch, it’s on there, too!). 

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2 Comments

  1. I’m using a navigation app Spyglass that supports different maps, depending on my current needs: google maps, apple maps, open street map and open cycle map. It’s also very important that the app can read pre-downloaded maps when offline. Besides, it has many useful features for those people that are not very good at orienting. The app shows your current position on the map, can save waypoints and locations, for example, your car or your hotel location.
    https://itunes.apple.com/app/spyglass/id332639548?mt=8&at=11lLc7&ct=c

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