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Six Free Travel Apps We Can’t Live Without

Travel smarter with our favorite phone applications

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Six Free Travel Apps We Can’t Live Without
Six Free Travel Apps We Can’t Live Without
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Our iPhones, Androids, and iPads have become primary means for surviving the expected and unexpected elements of travel. Below are six of our favorite free travel apps to help navigate everything from flight delays to last-minute hotel choices to shopping experiences in foreign cities.

FlightAware Flight Tracker

Learn about flight delays even before they’re posted on the airport flight boards (and even before you head to the airport). This app tracks every commercial flight in real time on full-screen maps and informs passengers of the daily whereabouts of their exact aircraft (plus it offers flight history for at least a week prior). Knowing the current status of your aircraft helps predict future flight delays. Beyond departure information, status of incoming aircraft, delays, cancellations, flight connections, and gate assignments, FlightAware Flight Tracker also offers more advanced GPS tracking and weather features for tracking inclement weather.

Hotel Tonight

Ideal for very last-minute travelers and those stranded due to transportation delays, this travel app offers same-day hotel bookings at discounts up to 70%. Inventory changes nightly and some rooms are available up to seven days in advance. The app works in major cities across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Australia.

Lounge Buddy

The best source for researching any and all lounges within all airports, including amenities, location, and entry requirements, is this easy-to-use app, which has information aggregated by airport and thus can tailor lounge searches to your airports of departure. Lounge Buddy makes its money through the purchase of lounge day passes where possible, but we simply use this app as a source of information and reviews and use our Priority PassTM or Platinum Card from American Express to actually enter the lounges.

Seat Guru

There are plenty of apps to choose from when it comes to analyzing airline seats, but old-school Seat Guru is our favorite—consider it your foundation for setting in-flight expectations and getting the best seat. The app maintains a full catalog of airline seating charts for various aircraft, with detailed plane layouts. You can search by airline, aircraft, or even a specific flight number to get the full details of your plane for your intended date of travel. Seat Guru utilizes a color-coded seat map, where, much like a traffic light system, red means avoid, yellow means caution, and green means book it. You’ll also get details about seat size (width and pitch), the presence/absence of in-seat entertainment, power outlets, and tips specific to your airplane.

TripAdvisor

Love it or hate it, TripAdvisor is a primary resource for many when it comes to choosing a hotel. The popular website’s mobile app allows handheld access to a half-billion reviews by TripAdvisor’s 315 million members. Whether fabulous or downright outlandish, these reviews allow the public to become travel critics (and voice an opinion on just about everything). In addition, TripAdvisor offers free Offline City Guides from your phone, with all of its restaurant, hotel, and review content as well as self-guided tours. tripadvisor.com/apps-itamobile

XE Currency

Keep track of live rates for every active currency on the planet, and convert between currencies with up-to-the-minute rates on the mobile currency calculator. Update the app before heading abroad, so you can store exchange rates and then convert prices offline when shopping internationally.

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Award-winning travel writer and economist Paul Rubio is a credit card enthusiast, whose sophisticated use of points and rewards has helped him travel to 125 countries for free. Paul is a Harvard graduate with a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in economics. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University with a double major in economics and environmental policy and a minor in conservation biology. He attended both undergraduate and graduate schools on full scholarships. Paul worked in the field of wildlife conservation before embracing his writing talents full-time in 2008. Since then, he has won more than two dozen national awards for his exemplary work in travel journalism. The prolific writer contributes to a number of top-tier international, national, and regional publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Fodors.com, Palm Beach Illustrated, Private Clubs, and Robb Report.