5 Great Travel Apps to Help Plan Your Summer Vacation
Farecasting is a game as much as a science. To win that game and maximize your summer vacation budget, start looking for airfares now. My preferred go-to is Google Flights (GOOG), followed by Kayak and Hopper. There’s also a new service called DealRay that sends text messages to your phone with breaking fare news, so you won’t miss those $29 offers from JetBlue (JBLU) and flights to Asia for less than $400, including taxes. At $10 a month DealRay is pricey, but it could eventually pay for itself if you find a rock-bottom fare deal. Here are a few other tools that can help with finding great airfares—and figuring out what to do once you get where you’re going.
One of the best apps on the market that analyze an archive of data, Hopper spots trends in airfare prices and predicts the best time to pounce on low fares. Once you plug in your preferred departure and destination info, Hopper pulls up a color-coded multimonth calendar that presents the best time to fly at the cheapest cost. It also tells you when to expect prices to rise or fall. It will watch a trip for you and send alerts when the price drops. Free.
This concierge app is a handy travel guide with curated suggestions for the best sights, restaurants, and shopping for four types of trips: business, pleasure, romance, or a family visit. It includes self-guided walking tours and mapped routes for a morning run, and themed itineraries feature Woody Allen’s New York City and a gin lover’s tour of London. The downside? It’s available for only 12 cities in the U.S. and Europe—and unfortunately the avatar for Clarice looks nothing like Jodie Foster. Free.
It has been said that the best way to explore a city is to get lost in it. Perfect for flaneurs, LiveTrekker helps curious wanderers keep a diary while they explore a city by foot. Create audio and text notes and post photos and videos to log your route as you wend through the urban jungle. There’s no need to jot the name of that charming garden café you discovered; just snap a pic, and the GPS-enabled app will help you return to it later. Share your route or download other users’ treks—such as a walking tour of Jaipur, India, or the best driving route to discover the German castles between Albstadt and Sigmaringen. Free.
This app is a great resource for travelers seeking pet-friendly hotels, a local vet, outdoor restaurants, or parks and beaches that allow animals—as well as the nearest pet store. It will even help you determine whether a hotel permits larger dogs and if there are additional fees tied to a pet stay. The only thing it won’t do is take Fido for a walk—though it can help you find a local pet sitter or dog walker. Free.
This app is a must-have for travelers who don’t speak the local tongue. It has hundreds of key basics in 13 languages, including traditional and simplified Chinese. Listen to audio pronunciations and then record and play back your own voice to hear how you sound. Extra categories can be accessed by upgrading to the pro version for $4.99 per language. It even includes important phrases for romance, such as “Can I buy you a drink?” and “Leave me alone.” Free.
A version of this article appears in the April 1, 2016 issue of Fortune with the headline “Travel Tech.”