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10 Essential Travel Apps for Summer 2024
10 Essential Travel Apps for Summer 2024

10 Essential Travel Apps for Summer 2024

June 20, 2024

7 -min read

At InterExchange, we are travel enthusiasts. After all, it’s at the heart of what we do. Most of the InterExchange staff enjoy leaving our comfort zone, discovering new places, and creating exciting new memories during our time off.

As the technology we carry around in our pockets becomes more advanced, the travel experience is evolving. The tools we have at our fingertips can take much of the stress out of traveling, allowing us to truly make the most of our time to explore.

Although we all take different approaches to travel—and have different needs—these are a few of my favorite travel apps for summer 2024.

Hopper

Let’s face it: airfare has not exactly been cheap lately. As a self-proclaimed budget traveler, flight costs are a big factor when considering where and when to travel. The Hopper app takes a little bit of the guesswork out of when to travel and when to purchase tickets.

What I love about it: After selecting your destination, Hopper presents a color-coded calendar that shows you at a glance which days will be more or less expensive to fly. After selecting your dates, the app will make a data-based prediction on whether your flight will likely increase or decrease in price before your travel dates. If prices are predicted to drop, you can set up an alert to “watch” that trip, and Hopper will let you know when to buy. If prices are low, you can “freeze” the price for a fee.

What it could do better: Although Hopper has some wonderful filtering features after selecting flight dates—including flight times, number of stops, and even preferred airlines—you can only select these criteria after choosing your dates. Hopper often encourages you to buy insurance and other add-ons, which can be a bit burdensome and will add costs to your trip.

4.8 ★

4.4 ★


Wanderu

If you’re traveling a shorter distance or just want to take in the scenery along your journey, Wanderu can help you find the best buses, trains—or combinations—to fit your schedule and budget.

What I love about it: Wanderu has been around for some time. However, unlike many other travel planning apps, it has kept its interface very simple and easy to navigate. The sort and filter features are very straightforward, and you can find some incredibly inexpensive transportation options if your schedule is flexible.

What it could do better: Currently, Wanderu only covers transportation options in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

4.8 ★

4.5 ★


Flight Aware

After installing the Flight Aware app, you may have more up-to-date information than the gate agents at the airport! The app offers real-time flight information on just about any commercial flight in the world.

What I love about it: You can quickly access the status of any flight, even if you’re unsure of the flight number.

What it could do better: If you’re in a location like London or Istanbul with a high level of air traffic, the map feature can feel a bit overwhelming. This app is heavily ad-supported.

4.8 ★

4.1 ★


Hotel Tonight

For the more spontaneous traveler, Hotel Tonight can come in handy when searching for last-minute accommodations around the world. You can often find same-day deals on hotels with extra vacancies.

What I love about it: Hotel Tonight offers a “Daily Drop” that shows the best deal of the day in the city you’re searching for (but you only get to see one Daily Drop per day).

What it could do better: Because hotels need to opt into the service, there may be available rooms that are not reflected on the app. Availability (inventory) can sell fast, and on occasion it may be out of date.

4.9 ★

4.3 ★


Google Maps

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Google Maps and likely already have it installed on your device. The app harnesses Google’s massive wealth of information to integrate customer reviews, street view, photos, and many other details about any landmark you may be searching for. And, of course, the app also provides step-by-step directions to your destination, whether by car, walking, or public transportation.

What I love about it: If you have storage space available on your device, Google Maps can save a map of a specific area for offline use. This comes in especially handy when you don’t have an international data plan or you’re traveling to a place with limited mobile service.

What it could do better: In cities with more complex public transportation infrastructure, real-time travel information like train delays may not always be immediately available.

4.7 ★

4.0 ★


Uber

Since its founding in 2009, Uber has had its share of controversy. But there’s no doubt that the ride-share app can be a valuable resource for travelers. With built-in safety features, no-surprise pricing, and the ability to reserve that early morning airport trip in advance, many consider it an all-around better alternative to hailing a taxi in an unfamiliar city.

What I love about it: In a country where you may not be proficient in the local language, it’s easy to enter your destination without any confusion that might occur in a typical taxi. It can also be handy when arriving in a new country where you don’t yet have any local currency.

What it could do better: Some of the app’s features, like splitting fares or adding multiple stops, can be difficult to find. It also lacks coverage in some areas, so I recommend doing a little research before you travel.

4.9 ★

4.6 ★


Viator

If you like to include curated cultural excursions in your travel plans, I recommend checking out Viator. This app allows you to explore walking tours, day trips, and other activities in various locations. In addition to well-known landmarks, you’ll find some more unique activities like food truck tours and off-the-beaten-path nature excursions.

What I love about it: The sheer variety of activities is impressive, and most offer free reservations and cancellations.

What it could do better: Although some activities are only available on specific days, this is not a filter option.

4.9 ★

4.9 ★


Culture Trip

Whereas Viator allows you to book guided tours, Culture Trip offers tools to create your own adventure and locations worldwide. A wealth of content is available from locals and travelers who are truly in the know, allowing you to craft a truly unique, memorable, and culturally immersive trip.

What I love about it: If guided group tours are not your thing, or you simply don’t have time to dedicate to a day trip, this app offers fantastic tips and advice to make the most of your trip.

What it could do better: This serves as a great starting point for planning, but travel guides and recommended restaurants are sometimes outdated. I recommend double-checking the availability of locations and activities before finalizing your travel itinerary.

4.8 ★

3.6 ★


Google Translate

This one may seem obvious, but Google’s robust machine-learning capabilities make Google Translate my go-to app for language translation. Now supporting over 100 languages, this free app supports text, image, and even active conversation translations.

What I love about it: Google Translate allows users to download entire languages to their phones for offline use.

What it could do better: As with any automated translation technology, linguistic subtleties like gender variation or formal/informal speech can literally get lost in translation.

4.3 ★

4.2 ★


Splitwise

Going on a group trip? Don’t let travel expenses run your friendships! Splitwise allows you to track travel-related purchases, small and large, and split them with your travel companions. At the end of the trip, you’ll see exactly who owes what, and everyone will know that they’ve contributed fairly.

What I love about it: You no longer have to worry about post-vacation spreadsheets or your friends’ questionable math skills. It also supports many different currencies.

What it could do better: Some features, such as receipt scanning and default splits, are only available on the paid version of the app. You can sign up for “Pro” for the time of travel and then cancel 😉

3.4 ★

3.4 ★


So there you have it. My must-have apps for travel in 2024. Note that this list is based on my personal experience, and InterExchange has no association with or formal endorsement of any of these tools or their developers. 

What would you add to the list?

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A fan of independent cinema and proponent of the Oxford comma, Matthew began his career at a Miami-based tech startup before returning to West Virginia University to pursue his M.A. in World Languages. He has worked at InterExchange since 2006 and currently serves as a Brand Marketing Manager.

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