Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Ryan Croft, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Croft Global Travel, a custom travel planning service and adventure operator based in Arlington, Virginia.
For connected world travelers like me, there is no shortage of useful apps to use on the road. Travel apps can help me when I am planning a dream honeymoon to Spain, a bachelor party in Panama City or leading a group down Istiklal Street in Istanbul. Here are my favorite 10 travel apps on the market for both before and during your trip.
Before your Trip:
1. Smart Traveler
The US State Department developed a surprisingly useful app stuffed full of juicy information. Country by country detailed data like Know Before You Go, Travel Warnings and Entrance Requirement info is invaluable when planning travel to remote destinations.
Favorite Feature: Shake for a random country (Nerd alert!)
➤ Free: iPhone only.
Our favorite booking app on the market takes the “agony” out of airfare and hotel search. Its simple and useful UI makes flight search fast and easy. The heat map function is useful to quickly see if your hotel is near nightlife, restaurants, or in the middle of nowhere. Not just hotels, Hipmunk even filters results from Airbnb and Hostelbookers.
Favorite Feature: Heat map “Vice” option
Pinterest has emerged as a disruptive travel site for inspiration. You can organize your boards by geography (Asia, Latin America, Africa, etc) or use it to plan your honeymoon, bucket list or dream vacation. Pinterest is a great way to discover the places you didn’t realize you want to discover.
Favorite Pinterest Travel photos: Huts over the water (anywhere!)
During Your Trip:
It’s still hard to beat Skype for price and ease when calling home from overseas. Simply hop on any decent WiFi connection and you are dialed in to the rest of the world for a fraction of what roaming rates would charge.
Favorite Feature: Accessing your phone book without adding a country code
5. PocketGuide by GPS City Guide
Remember those audio tours at museums that led you turn by turn through an exhibit? PocketGuide takes that concept and applies it to a full city. Runner-up at TechCrunch Europe, this award-winning app tracks users by GPS and guides you by audio through themed tours in 65 cities around the world.
Favorite Feature: Tours work without Wi-Fi or cell phone service
(Full disclosure: Croft Global Travel partners with PocketGuide)
TripIt lets you forget the days of printing out your travel confirmation emails. Just launch the app and your flight, rental car, and hotel details are at your finger tips. It’s extremely useful on the go and stores all travel documents virtually in one place.
Favorite Feature: Data entry? No thanks. Just fwd all bookings to email@example.com
One of the first location based hotel finders and still one of the best. Simple and intuitive, this app let’s you choose from 120,000+ hotels worldwide in 17 currencies and 6 languages.
Favorite Feature: Simple UI, Speed
8. Oanda Currency Exchange
No frills, just efficiently useful, Oanda Currency Converter is more accurate than your brain drunk or sober. Tap into 120+ global currencies to get exchange rates in real time. Speed kills—Oanda is lightning fast.
Favorite Feature: Recently used currency saves considerable search time
9. Sit or Squat
That spicy Indian curry was great 10 minutes ago, but you just left Alphabet City and you really gotta go. SitOrSquat from Charmin toilet paper swoops in to save your night from pending disaster. An interactive GPS map leads you to safety at over 100,000 bathrooms. Enjoy!
Favorite Feature: Actual restroom photos
For centuries we bought a corny postcard, postage and hand wrote a note to someone far far away. Those days are over with Postagram. Simply select a photo, crop, personalize a message and you are seconds from sending away. Love that Instagram photo at Chichen Itza? Yep, Postagram can pull photos from Instagram too!
Favorite Feature: Postagram stores your addresses on the app so no need to re-type Grandma’s address more than once.