Traveling is an amazing way to open up your worldview, and bond with your loved ones as you all share an incredible experience. Going on a trip is usually fun, but planning a trip may not be. But, with these apps we’ve found, planning where you’re going gets a whole lot easier.
Maybe you’re not sure where you’d like to go on your next adventure. Or maybe you have a destination in mind, but you’re not actually sure what you’d do with your time once you’ve gotten there. The six apps and websites we’ve found below will help you not only pick your next great vacation, but they’ll help you find fun activities, too.
Whether you’re hoping to go on a couple’s trip, a family vacation, or a backpacking excursion with friends, the apps and sites below will make planning so much easier and more fun.
Read on to see why we like these apps for planning and executing a super fun vacation. Try them out yourself so your next trip can be the best one of your life!
1. Helpful travel guides for the curious
Compiling content about almost any city you can think of and putting it into iOS and Android app and web-browser form, Culture Trip strives to tell you about the less touristy attractions and activities available in your next vacation location.
Getting articles and videos from local freelancers, Culture Trip creates guides and lists of the best places to go to learn about the history and art of a city, as well as the best places to eat and stay.
The content on Culture Trip is original to the app and site, so this can mean there are gaps in its knowledge. Sometimes the “Art” section of a city profile won’t have any content on it. Not because there isn’t art to explore there, but because no one has written about it yet.
For heavily trafficked cities, this isn’t a problem. What you’ll get on Culture Trip is the chance to learn about less-frequented museums and neighborhoods and the ability to add these locations to a wishlist you can reference while on or planning your trip. For smaller cities and towns, you’ll probably find some good food and hotel recommendations, but not much else.
Since the content is original, you know Culture Trip has vetted its recommendations, so what you’re reading about will be genuinely cool and fun to visit. Just forgive the occasional gaps in information, use it for popular destinations and you’ll have a great time using Culture Trip.
2. Explore a city more intimately than by bus or car
Walking tours can be a ton of fun when you’re on vacation. They allow you to explore a city more intimately than ones by bus or car.
Plus, many walking tours are free, so long as you know where to look for them. The FreeTour website, plus its iOS and Android apps, is the place to look.
FreeTour compiles free and incredibly cheap tour options available in most major cities. These can be tours of neighborhoods, or historically-based journeys, or even pub crawls or Segway tours (though these usually cost some money).
This site tells you what times tours are available, languages the tour is available in, how long it will last, and shows you reviews and ratings from FreeTour users so you can decide if it’s worth going on or not. Tours can also be verified as legitimate by sites like TripAdvisor, so you can be sure you’re going on a real tour and not just meeting a stranger in a foreign location.
Like Culture Trip, FreeTour has a few gaps in its knowledge, so you won’t find every free walking tour available in every location in the world. Unfortunately, FreeTour has a lot of information about tours in Europe, but only has a few major cities listed for the U.S.
Plus, most anyone can sign up to be a guide through FreeTour’s site, so quality isn’t guaranteed from a tour that hasn’t been reviewed yet. Still, the rating and verification system can help you decide whether to take a tour. It's a great way to have fun and save money on your next vacation.
3. Free collaborative encyclopedia of travel tips
Culture Trip generates its own content to tell you about cool places to visit in particular locations. Triptipedia, a website with no apps as of this writing, has travelers and locals generate content to tell you about those places instead.
Travelers who have taken trips they’ve particularly loved, or locals that want to offer an insider’s look at a city or place, write blog posts on Triptipedia that allow readers to learn about great spots to check out. You'll also find information like the best ways to get there and how to get the most out of the experience of being there.
It’s a giant, searchable resource that gets into the nitty-gritty of traveling to certain locations. You can comment on blog posts and hear back from the people who wrote them, along with other travelers who have been to the area.
Because it’s user-generated, Triptipedia has more posts than sites like Culture Trip. It can cover more locations and different kinds of vacations, like a trip down the Mississippi River or hiking mountains, since Triptipedia posts don’t have to be tied to a particular city.
The downside is users can basically post whatever they want, so if something is inaccurate or out of date, Triptipedia might not be regulating enough to make sure it’s corrected. Just make sure you check the comments in Triptipedia posts and see if people are agreeing with what’s being said, or if they’re giving the post a thumbs up.
Favored posts are more likely to be accurate. Triptipedia makes sure the most popular and favored posts show up first when you search for a location.
To use this great site to help you plan your next trip, tap or click here go to Triptipedia’s homepage and start reading to get an idea of where to go for a destination you have in mind.
4. Tap into friends' expertise when planning your next trip
If you’re fortunate enough to know a lot of travelers, you can ask for their expertise next time you’re figuring out a trip with the help of Where Would You Go?
It's a travel planning site that lets you share a map of where you intend to go with friends, and they can tell you cool things to do in the area you’re looking at.
Where Would You Go? has you input the length of your vacation, your start and final destinations if you know them (you need at least one location to get a map made, unless you want your friends to submit any ideas at all to a blank screen), and the maximum amount of time you’re willing to put into getting from one place to another.
With this information, Where Would You Go? generates your map, and allows you to share it straight to Facebook, or by copying a link which you can send directly to the people whose opinions you want.
The site has some drawbacks. For example, you can’t say you’d like to stay in one place for a trip, you have to say you want to travel around (though the “stay in one place” option seems like it’s coming to the platform soon). And, you’re reliant on friends knowing enough to properly advise you.
If you do know a bunch of travelers and would love their input before a big trip, create your map right here on the Where Would You Go? site, and share it far and wide!
5. Use this crowdsourced map of suggestions for your next trip
If you like the idea of having a crowdsourced map of suggested locations to visit while on vacation and want to share and alter it with people you are traveling with, you will love TravelChime.
TravelChime lets you build an itinerary by letting friends going on the trip, and others if you share it with them, input location suggestions and food ideas. People can like suggestions, so the most popular ones can for sure get on the list, and the destinations can be exported straight to Google Maps to make navigating on your trip simple and fun.
You can also look at pre-made itineraries on the site, which are created by scouring the web and putting certain popular destinations together based on geographic proximity. This means you might end up at more tourist-heavy locations, as TravelChime is going off of Google suggestions.
But, with the ability to export maps and save them to be viewed offline, you can easily share a group-decided schedule that ensures everyone’s must-haves are had.
TravelChime is the perfect website for planning your next trip. Start that planning process by tapping or clicking right here.
6. Travel hack helps make airport visits a little more enjoyable
For frequent flyers or those who want to enjoy the traveling part of a vacation as much as the vacation itself, the iOS app and web platform LoungeBuddy exists. It's a great travel hack to make your airport visits a little more enjoyable.
Type in an airport and LoungeBuddy will let you know which airport lounges you can access based on your ticket type or airline memberships. Or, by letting you get access to a lounge with a one-time purchase or through a membership to the app.
Airport lounges have much more comfortable seats than the ones at the gate while you wait for your flight. Plus, you can get complimentary snacks and drinks in many of them, including cocktails. Food and drinks that aren’t free are often cheaper than in other locations throughout the airport, so you can save money grabbing a bite in the lounge.
If you have a long wait before a connecting flight or arrive on a red-eye, many lounges have couches or beds for you to get some shut-eye without having to leave the airport and many also have showers.
Airport lounges can also have rooms meant for children, so if you’re traveling with young ones, they can get out some energy before a flight.
LoungeBuddy knows the lounges and amenities of basically any airport that has them in the world, thanks to users reporting on and reviewing lounges as they encounter them. Users find the app highly reliable, and many have put in reviews they use the app before planning a trip so they know exactly where to go in the airport to really kick off their vacation.
Find travel companions to split costs with using this service
Traveling alone can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience. The downside is it’s a lot more expensive than traveling with a companion and can be more dangerous. But what do you do when you can’t find someone you know to travel with? Go to the internet of course.