The Best Travel Apps of 2013

For a lot of people, traveling the world (or even a few states over) is one of the top items on their bucket list. Whether you want to see the wonders of the world, try the unique cuisine of different cultures, or simply see the sights, we all have our reasons for wanting to get up and go. But traveling can be stressful too, depending on where you’re headed, unless you have the right travel apps on your phone or tablet.

There are a lot of factors: is this your first time visiting? Are you traveling alone? What’s your budget? Do you speak the language? Thankfully, having smartphones has made our lives infinitely easier, and traveling is absolutely no exception. Your phone already has a ton of features built in that make travel easier (on the iPhone: Maps, Compass, Weather, Passbook), and adding just a few of the best travel apps below will make your trip that much easier, letting you focus on the fun, relaxing, and exciting parts of the adventure.

#5 Urbanspoon

urbanspoon2If you’re in unfamiliar territory, it can be hard to navigate the streets. So when your stomach is grumbling and you just walked by that greasy food truck for the fourth time, Urbanspoon is an awesome, simple travel app that can help you find food nearby that you’ll actually want to try.

It’s really easy, too: use location services so the app knows your general area, then search for what’s nearby.

You’ll even get a map to show you where and how far away it is, the type of food served, a customer rating of the joint, price points, and a few short Yelp reviews, if there are any.

If you know your general neighborhood, you can even sort by what type of food you’re craving and how much you want to spend- then lock in the search categories that are dealbreakers.

Craving a good burger and you don’t care where you have to go or how much you have to spend to get it? Lock in “American” food and get excited when all the delicious options across the city pop up. Save some for me!

Rating: 5 Stars
Cost: Free
iOS or Android? Both

#4 TripLingo

triplingo-screenshot-iosNo more botching your “thank you’s” or accidentally insulting the locals with your bad slang (hey, you tried, right?)

TripLingo lets you learn common phrases, greetings, and street slang of your vaca spot. The flashcard option will give you something to do while waiting at the airport, too.

Understand the phrases in context, hear them out loud, and get a phonetic pronunciation so there are no excuses for getting it wrong.

No need to spend a ton of cash on fancy language learning programs; this slick app helps you learn the basics and get on with the good times!

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Cost: Free
iOS or Android? Both

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” — St. Augustine

#3 Currency — Simple Converter

Traveling internationally can be tricky when it comes to currency; exchange rates are constantly fluctuating and planning your budget is crucial. Currency is the solution to that with a seamless interface and over 160 forms of currency to exchange.

It also has an offline mode for when your data connection is a little rocky and you’re nowhere near WiFi.

This app can not only help you budget your expenses better and understand pricing for your international destination, but it might even help you choose where (& when) to go in the first place.

How? It provides historical data on currency exchange trends, making it easier to see when the rates are more favorable. That’s genius, if you ask me.

Rating: 5 Stars
Cost: $.99
iOS or Android? iOS only

#2 Uber

Uber should be the king of all Travel Apps!

Uber should be the king of all Travel Apps!

Uber is a hot new app that makes catching a ride become instantly less stressful and more enjoyable. It’s a relatively new app, but it’s already available in 25 major North American cities as well as other major international travel hubs like Dubai, Paris, London, Singapore, Seoul, and others.

How does it work? It’s super easy. Choose a ride that matches your style and your budget. You can choose from everyday cars to a taxi, a private driver, an SUV, or a lux ride for those special occasions.

With more options than a shuttle service (and no awkward silence with those other 5 people also headed to the airport…), the Uber app uses your GPS to detect your location and connect you with a nearby driver.

You don’t even have to know the exact address! Once you request a driver and see your fare quotes, you can track your ride as it makes its way to you. No longer will you have to deal with figuring out how to call a cab or splitting the shuttle fare with your co-travelers, Uber is definitely one of the must-have travel apps.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Cost: Free
iOS or Android? Both

The Best of all travel apps is … WordLens

Probably one of the coolest travel apps to be developed for traveling, WordLens is another language translator service, but not in what you’d expect: it actually translates any signs you might come across on your journey. Trying to understand what the street signs say? What about figuring out what the prices are in the shop or on the menu at the hole-in-the-wall diner? Maybe you”re not sure which terminal to get off at.


These are all real life situations that would be totally prevented if you downloaded this app and used it to decipher what these important signs are trying to communicate. It’s not only a matter of convenience, but safety, especially if you’re traveling alone!

Users rated the app a 4.5/5 in the iTunes store, leaving such praises as “you”ll think you live in the future” and “I can’t believe this is real technology”. With those glowing reviews, you’d be silly not to have this important traveling app in your back pocket.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Cost: Free to download, $9.99 for a translation pack
iOS or Android? Both

Bonus Honorable Mentions:
Skype for easy chatting with loved ones, Hulu Plus (If you’ve got a Hulu Plus account, download it for free and watch all your favorites!), and if your bank (i.e. Bank of America, Wells Fargo) has an app, make sure you’ve got it for checking your account, transfers, and searching nearby ATMs.

Happy traveling!

Featured icon courtesy of Roman Jusdado

1 reply
  1. frankie
    frankie says:

    I’m a big fan of Urbanspoon of even Yelp. It’s nice to get people’s reviews of food places nearby. I’ll admit, though, I often use my GPS to find places nearby and use an app to verify it’s quality.

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