Top Travel Apps for 2020

If you plan on traveling in 2020, you can make the process easier and safer by using a good travel app on your smartphone.

Travel apps have become an essential part of helping travelers do everything from booking accommodations to managing their itineraries. But there are thousands of apps for travel on the market and it can be confusing deciding which ones to download.

Here’s a shortlist of the best for 2020, according to Most can be found on the Apple and Google Play App Stores.

TripWise by Allianz

Travel safety is an utmost priority today, so Allianz Global Assistance has taken the guesswork out of travel safety and developed the TripWise App to complement your travel insurance. The app will help you navigate emergencies when traveling.

Features include:

  • Country information – Real-time updates regarding travel alerts, security information, and emergency service numbers (i.e.: 911) of the country you’re visiting.
  • Hospital search – Uses GPS to find an Allianz accredited hospital at your destination.
  • Flight search – Tracks flights within three days for delays and cancelations.
  • Rx and first aid terms – Easy to use medical dictionary to help with deciphering internationally recognized prescription medications. It also translates first aid terms to more than 15 languages.

TripIt Free and Pro

TripIt is a free travel organizer to help with all your upcoming travel itineraries. It keeps all your travel details including flights, hotels and rental car bookings in one place which truly makes life easier when traveling through airports.

When you link your email address to TripIt, it automatically imports all travel plans from your inbox. TripIt stores all your confirmation numbers, contact information, and reservations in one handy itinerary. You’ll even get email alerts about upcoming travel plans.

The Pro version of TripIt offers:

  • Real time updates for flight delays and gate changes.
  • Seat Tracker: Lets you know if a better seat becomes available.
  • Point Tracker: Keeps track of your reward programs for you.
  • International travel tools such as what language, currency exchange and even electricity sockets and plugs to use at your destination.

You can also set an alert for what time to leave your home or hotel for the airport. TripIt lets you know how early you should be at the airport and how long you’ll need to get there. It even gives you your baggage claim details. Cost for the Pro version is $49/year.

Priority Pass

If you fly a lot, you know how important a break from the noise and chaos at the airport can be. When flying business class or when travelers have status with an airline, lounge access is one of the perks.

Priority Pass gives you access to 1300 airport lounges around the world and the app helps you find where they are and what terminal to find them in. Some users have noticed that Priority Pass lounges are often better than the regular airline lounges.

The cost for Priority Pass varies: Standard packages start at $99, but you’ll have to pay $32 per visit. For $299, you get 10 free visits and $429 unlimited free visits. Side note: American Express Platinum Card members get Priority Pass included with their fee.


If you don’t want to pay the annual fee for Priority Pass or the cost of an American Express Platinum Card membership, the Lounge Buddy app is a great option. LoungeBuddy lets you know what lounges you can access and for how much if you do not have a membership to a lounge. It gives the rates and you can even book up to two months in advance. LoungeBuddy lets you know about Priority Pass and Star Alliance too. The LoungeBuddy app is free and you can buy access to a lounge for as low as $25, depending on the location.


Hopper is a free app that keeps an eye on air fares and hotel rates and gives price predictions for upcoming bookings. That way, you can determine if you should buy now or wait for better deals.


For last-minute hotel stays, the free HotelTonight app finds empty rooms and offers discounts to travelers needing to book immediately. Hotels would rather sell a night at a discounted rate than leave a room empty. So if you are flexible and willing to take a chance, this may be a great option.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

What is STEP?

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Doing so allows you to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, so you can make informed decisions about your travel plans.

It also helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency and will enable family and friends to get in touch with you in an emergency.

Sign up at


Are Self-Driving Cars Really Safe?

A recent collision involving a self-driving Volvo SUV run by Uber and a woman driving a Honda CRV in Tempe, Arizona brought to light the potential dangers in self-driving vehicles.

The woman driving the Honda was cited for failing to yield the right of way, but the question remains: are self-driving vehicles inherently dangerous? While self-driving vehicles could improve the mobility of people who don’t or can’t currently drive, there are larger questions to consider. Do we really want vehicles that rely on cameras and advanced GPS systems sharing our roads and highways with us as we commute to work and school every day? And what about the autonomous driving option in our own cars and trucks, which is sure to happen in the coming years. Can we trust ourselves to use this new tech feature safely when many of us already can’t resist the urge to text and drive right now?

Here are some dangers of self-driving vehicles to consider, according to a Yahoo Finance article.

SDV passengers can expect to get more motion sickness.

As much as 37 percent of adult passengers in self-driving vehicles will experience an increase in the frequency and severity of motion sickness, according to a study published by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. The reasons: People in self-driving vehicles will be reading, texting, watching movies, working or playing video games in the vehicle instead of driving and focusing on the road ahead.

Road safety and accident rates will likely worsen before improving.

When self-driving vehicles start sharing the roads with conventional people-driven vehicles in greater numbers in the years to come, the risk of accidents for conventional vehicles will likely become elevated, according to the Sivak and Schoettle study. They found that SDVs may not be able to avoid crashes that aren’t caused by drivers prompting the authors to write, “It is not a foregone conclusion that a self-driving vehicle would ever perform more safely than an experienced, middle-aged driver.”

Hackers could highjack self-driving vehicles and remotely control them.

As our vehicles become more technologically connected, the possibility of them being hacked and used for criminal purposes increases, according to a report published by British bank Lloyds. For example, hackers could access personal data such as the location of a person, and where they typically drive every day, potentially indicating to a burglar that someone isn’t home. There is also potential for cyber terrorism. For example, a large-scale immobilization of cars on public roads could throw a country into chaos, added Lloyds.

Terrorists could take over SDVs as lethal weapons.

Hackers could also take over self-driving vehicles and use them as lethal weapons, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned. In a nightmare scenario, terrorists could program explosive-packed cars to become self-driving bombs, or a self-driving vehicle could be programmed to drive a getaway while criminals in the car could use their free hands to shoot at pursuers.

Majority of people shun self-driving vehicles

According to the second annual survey conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, almost half of motorists shun self-driving cars, with almost half saying they’d rather drive themselves.

Researchers Schoettle and Sivak received 618 responses from licensed drivers 18 or older via Survey Monkey. A similar study done in 2014 found many of the same reservations among consumers.

Given the choice among three levels of automation in a future vehicle — no self-driving, partial self-driving and complete self-driving the percentage of respondents who said they would prefer no self-driving technology actually rose slightly to 46 percent from 44 percent last year. Slightly fewer people this year said they’d be OK with partial autonomy (38.7 percent) than last year (40.6 percent).

Almost all, 94.5 percent are not comfortable being in a car that doesn’t have a steering wheel, brake pedal and accelerator because it is self-driving. Women were slightly more resistant than men to any autonomous features, as 48.4 percent of women said they want no self-driving capability compared with 43.1 percent of men.

Schoettle said he doesn’t expect Uber, Google, Apple or any traditional automakers to slow their efforts to achieve safe, but totally autonomous vehicles, but surveys like this can tell them what features people want or don’t want.

Source: Yahoo finance, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

How Technology is Changing Business Travel

Our world has undergone seismic changes over the past few decades due to technology, and the way we travel and do business has also evolved as a result.

To help you make the most of your business travel, here’s a look at the latest business travel trends, courtesy of American Express Global Business Travel.

Business travelers are using their mobile devices

The first business travel trend is not new or surprising, but it is continually evolving. Business travelers are increasingly using and dependent on their mobile devices and travel-related apps.

In 2015, the number of global mobile users surpassed the number of computer desktop users. Since then, mobile usage has also increased over desktop usage as the most used medium for daily digital consumption, according to a study by venture capital firm KPCB.

The increase in mobile usage has naturally changed the way people plan and travel for business and other reasons. Where computers were once just used for research and browsing, travelers of all kinds are now confidently and securely booking their travel via mobile devices.  According to estimates from eMarketer, mobile booking from smart phones and tablets will account for the majority of digital travel bookings during 2017.

Interestingly, millennials are at the forefront of mobile usage for travel. According to research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), conducted in partnership with American Express Global Business Travel, 72 percent of millennials use mobile devices to check itineraries at least once per day during business trips.

Millennials also lead all business travelers in using their mobile phones to track their expenses. This should come as no surprise, as 2015 research found that more than twice as many millennial business travelers were interested in using their mobile device to keep track of expenses when compared to travelers over the age of 55.

Home-sharing sites changing where we stay

Just as mobile technology is driving the business travel trends, it’s also had a huge influence on changes in travel accommodations. Home-sharing services like AirBnB™ and HomeAway™ saw a 56-percent growth in use between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016, according to data from Concur.

AirBnB, the most popular of the home-sharing sites, has an estimated 2 million listings worldwide, with revenue of about $2.4 billion in the U.S. last year. The business has been valued at $24 billion, higher than the $21-billion valuation of hotel giant Marriott International, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Nationwide, AirBnB lists about 173,000 units, equal to about 3.5 percent of the more than 5 million rooms rented out by traditional hotels, according to a study by CBRE’s hotel research arm. The study goes on to say that AirBnB properties have started to pressure hotels to keep rates low in a handful of cities where home-sharing units are plentiful, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.

Increased competition increasing hotel perks

Another benefit of increasing competition in the hotel industry is that we’re seeing a continued increase in the free services offered by hotels. For example, many hotels are offering free Wi-Fi in order to attract more business travelers. According to the latest GBTA research, 75 percent of business travelers said that Wi-Fi is vital to their productivity. Additionally, 25 percent of respondents said that a lack of reliable Wi-Fi access is the most frustrating part of their travels—even more so than the travel itself.

Source: American Express Global Business Travel