(Credit: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock / Alena Ozerova)

People travel for a variety of reasons. For some, it's to visit family or spend time with friends. For other travelers, it's to find better weather in places like Florida or Hawaii; discover new cultures in Mexico, Belize, or Costa Rica; find yourself or love on a European vacation; relax on a Caribbean vacation to Jamaica or the Bahamas, or up the adventure factor on a Disneyland vacation. Sometimes you just want to get out of Dodge.

SEE: Top travel-planning apps

But before you take off on your vacation, getaway, or holiday, you may be stuck searching for cheap flights, airline tickets, or cruises; cheap hotels, vacation rentals, or all-inclusive resorts; or cheap tickets for popular attractions.

Our best free mobile travel apps will help you find the cheap airfare, cheap cruises, cheap hotels, or cheap vacation packages that you seek. These smartphone apps will also help you pack appropriately as well as get around and, perhaps most importantly, even relax once you're there. If problems arise on your trip -- because they always do -- we've even got an app for that.

Travel booking

Hopper (Android, iOS)

Free app Hopper for iPhone and Android enables you to save up to 40 percent on flights and hotel rooms by predicting whether the flight and hotel pricing you can't currently afford drops to a price you can and notifying you when that happens. Then you can book quickly and easily in the app.


TripIt (Android, iOS)

Organize your travel plans in one place with the TripIt app from Concur. After booking, just allow the app to automatically import your travel plans from your preferred calendar or email box and it will use this data to develop your master itinerary. Then you can easily access them from your device, at any time.


TripAdvisor (Android, iOS)

TripAdvisor offers 500 million hotel, restaurant, and tourist attraction reviews and photos from travelers such as yourself, so you can uncover and book the best deals with just a couple of taps. Once you're at your destination, you can use the Near Me Now button to discover cool restaurants, for example, nearby.


Kayak (Android, iOS)

Kayak searches and compares prices across hundreds of travel sites to serve users some of the cheapest flights, hotel rooms, and car rentals around. It also offers last-minute deals and mobile-only rates that you can't find anywhere else, so you can book with confidence. The app's Trips feature organizes all of your travel plans -- everything from real-time flight status updates and airport terminal maps to security and layover wait times -- all in one place by auto importing this data from your Google account.



AccuWeather: Weather Tracker (Android, iOS)

How will you know what to take if you don't know the weather where you're going? With AccuWeather, you can plan any vacation wardrobe with confidence (up to two weeks in advance) and know what to expect minute by minute -- from temperature to wind speed to humidity -- once you're there.


PackPoint (Android, iOS)

Take packing off your to-do list with PackPoint, which 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.


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HotelTonight (Android, iOS)

Need a last-minute hotel deal or one 100 days from now? Then search no further than Hotel Tonight. Hotel Tonight offers the best deals for your upcoming worldwide bookings, whether you're looking for basic, hip, or luxurious accommodations. When hotels can't fill their rooms, they drop their prices and pass these discounted rates along to Hotel Tonight, which then passes the savings onto you. Get the bonus location-based Geo Rate discount (marked in green) for added savings. 24/7 customer support can handle any questions or issues.


Airbnb (Android, iOS)

If you'd rather stay in a home away from home, Airbnb offers 4 million-plus accommodations -- rooms, apartments, and houses -- to rent in locations around the world. Now you can also book cool travel experiences set up by local guides within the app. After booking, you can message your host with any questions within the app.

(Credit: Airbnb)

Getting around

Uber (Android, iOS)

Uber is a ridesharing app that enables you to quickly hire Uber drivers in your area, 24 hours a day, to take you to destinations near and far.


Citymapper (Android, iOS)

Or if you'd rather take public transportation, then Citymapper, drawing on real-time data, helps chart your fastest public transit trip.

(Credit: Citymapper)

Google Maps (Android, iOS)

Google Maps guides you to your next destination using real-time navigation, no matter what your form of transit, and it recommends points of interest along your route. The ability to download and reference offline maps when you're out of Wi-Fi range is a major bonus.


Google Translate (Android, iOS)

You need to find an Internet connection, but don't know how to ask your barista for the password in Italian? Google Translate is a highly convenient real-time speech and camera translator to and from 103 languages online and 59 languages offline, so you'll always have a way to communicate, no matter where you are in the world.


Duolingo (Android, iOS)

But you'll get around better -- and get more out of the experience -- if you speak a bit of the local language ahead of time. Duolingo offers lessons in 25 languages, and you can learn them for free, gratis, gratuit, frei, ledig, bedava.

Duolingo app
(Credit: Duolingo)


WhatsApp Messenger (Android, iOS)

Checking in with everyone back home is easy and free with WhatsApp. The popular messaging app lets you easily make free voice and video calls and exchange text messages, no matter where you are in the world -- for free.


Netflix (Android, iOS)

Have some downtime on a flight or in your hotel room? Netflix's app is your gateway to the streaming service's vast collection of original programs, such as Black Mirror, Stranger Things, and Daredevil; network and cable TV shows; blockbuster and indie movies; and informative documentaries.



WiFi Map (Android, iOS)

Free Wi-Fi always comes in handy when you're searching for Wi-Fi hotspots on the road. Wi-Fi finder WiFi Map shows you Wi-Fi locations at nearby hotels, cafes, and restaurants, along with their passwords, so you can get connected when you need to. You'll need the Pro version ( iOS) to save your maps in Offline Mode in advance, or you can always just copy the info down the old-fashioned way.



AirHelp (Android, iOS)

You've got 99 problems, and flight disruptions ain't one. Unfortunately, delays, cancellations, and overbookings are a common occurrence, but easy-to-use app AirHelp makes things better, promising up to $740 in flight delay compensation for qualified travelers. Just scan your boarding pass and AirHelp will check to see if money is owed you from any delayed or canceled flight over this trip or any getaway within the last three years. The app will then follow up your claim with the airline and get you your cash back. Problem solved.


Also see

(Credit: AJR_photo, Shutterstock / AJR_photo)
Joshua is an editor for CNET's He covers the mobile tech and apps that power our lives and interviews celebrities about their favorite apps. Previously, he worked as an editor at Healthline and and as a contributing writer for Mac Directory, MacAddict, SF Weekly, SF Examiner, and SF Chronicle.