Pack lightly and vacation wisely with a few good travel apps. Our four picks aren't for finding flights, hotels, or deals; rather, they're the travel companions that'll help you get around with the least friction. These apps will help you pack; speak the language; choose the best places to see, eat, sleep, and shop; and find that elusive free Wi-Fi.
Apps in this guide
Have you seen the fees for excess baggage lately? If you've ever been stuck with an unexpected fine for an overweight bag, or if you've forgotten that oh-so-necessary phone charger and adapter, then you know how important it is to pack the right stuff. PackPoint helps you figure out what to take on your trip. Enter your destination, dates, and whether the trip is for business or leisure. Then select activities and whether you'll be doing laundry while you're there. PackPoint will give you a list of recommendations: clothes, accessories, passport, boarding pass, headphones, and so on. Click the items that you want and swipe away the items that you don't. Once your list is complete, you can share it over email, text, or your messaging apps.
Don't be the doofus tourist who expects everyone to speak English. You'll get around better -- and get more out of the experience -- if you speak a bit of the local language. Duolingo offers lessons in 16 languages, and you can learn them for free, gratis, gratuit, frei, ledig, bedava. Create a daily goal and learn basic phrases through identification, translation, and pronunciation exercises that rely on your phone's microphone. And if you start slacking on your practice, Duolingo will send you reminders, pushing you to keep going.
After you pack your bags, pack your schedule: Who knows when you'll be back again? Guides by Lonely Planet will help you make sure you don't miss out on the top experiences. Choose your city -- there are 37 popular destinations in this visually stunning app -- and download your guide. We recommend downloading an Offline Map, always a good idea in case you end up out of Wi-Fi range. In your selected city, browse See, Eat, Sleep, Shop, Drink, or Play, or search by interests, such as monuments, music, history, and markets. If anything piques your interest, save it to your favorites with a tap.
WiFi Map Pro shows you nearby hotels, cafes, and restaurants with Wi-Fi, along with their passwords, so you can get connected when you need to. You'll need the Pro version to save your maps in Offline Mode in advance, or you can always just copy the info down the old-fashioned way.