The 7 Apps That’ll Make Summer Travel Better, Cheaper and Friendlier

Like: “Can I get you a drink?” in a dozen-plus languages

May 10, 2016 9:00 am

Everyone’s got Google Maps, Citymapper, Kayak, Airbnb — the novice traveler’s starter pack.

But newer, better travel apps pop up every day, often finding innovative ways to simplify, decode and economize our global wanderings.

Herein: the seven you need before hitting the road this summer.

This is the one we can’t live without. Set up a barrage of routes, and Hopper will notify you when the airfare drops, or if it looks set to rise. We like to set up Hopper to track dozens of flights for us throughout the summer — whatever comes up cheapest, we grab.

The startup world’s answer to the standard-bearing Michelin guides (they do more than hand out stars to restaurants), this good-looking, easy-to-use app will build your itinerary, pointing out useful stops along the way and building them into the journey.

Not strictly a travel app, but certainly useful when everyone’s wandering around Disney World, Glympse shares users’ locations with a preset contact (or contacts). The name “Glympse” is meaningful: users can set a “timer” on how long they broadcast their location, and there’s an automatic shut-off mode in case they forget to switch it off.

You definitely have at least one map app on your phone. What you might not have, though, are offline maps, which are crucial if you’re overseas (and don’t have T Mobile, which offers free data roaming in most countries to most customers). City Maps 2Go offers just that, allowing you to wander freely in 7,000 destinations without worrying how much it’ll cost to download the map that’ll get you back to the hotel. (Truth: It once cost us $460. Don’t download maps when roaming!)

Maybe you’re happy putting out an APB on Tinder. For a slightly less swipe-right environment — that still allows for a few serendipitous connections — try Adventurely, now in beta in New York. Choose your activity and a possible date range, and the app will notify other interested parties so you can hit, for example, the Met or Rockefeller Center together.

This app is like Strava for people: Head out for a day of exploring by foot. Come back, check the results, and you’ll discover a map showing exactly where you’ve been — useful when you’re trying to remember which little street had that cool-looking shop you swore you’d go back to for souvenirs.

You can navigate nearly any big city on Earth with your English skills — but head away from city centers and you may find that the language barrier is still a very real thing. To the rescue: Bravolol, which comes in 13 languages and offers standard (and crucial) phrases in all of them. If you need to say “Can I buy you a drink?” in Korean, they’ve got you covered.  

This is but one part of an ongoing series called 37 Things a Man’s Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September


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