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 planetd.com. 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.
- 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.
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 https://step.state.gov/step/