This post is in collaboration with Verizon Wireless. All thoughts and opinions are my own. My experience may differ from your own. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Summahtime! It’s coming! I am so ready. Besides the more relaxed schedule, one of my favorite things about summer is the opportunity to travel with the kids. It’s one of my favorite things to do, explore new places with them and make memories. While I try to be pretty organized with our trips (because winging it will only get you so far), I do like to plan on some spontaneity and give us the freedom to stop and discover hidden gems on the road.
Thankfully there are lots of free apps out there that make it possible to do just that. I can quickly find family-friendly activities near our current location, find hotels and restaurants, and change our plans on the fly. With Verizon Unlimited, I can use these apps to my heart’s content without worrying that I’m sucking down all my data while we travel. And because they have such reliable service, I don’t have to worry that I’ll find myself in a place with no signal. This is peace of mind when traveling period, but especially when traveling with kids. (Did you know Verizon will cover your costs to switch?!)
Here are 10 free apps that I use, or recently downloaded, that help me make the most of our family vacations. As a person who used to bring a folder of printed confirmations and reservations, I’m happy to say these apps have led me to that perfect balance of a planner and a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pantser!
10 Free Family Travel Apps
Managing The Details
I primarily use Tripcase when I’m flying, versus taking a road trip. It’s great for tracking your flights. I enter my confirmation numbers and everything is right there. I can quickly see what seat I’m in, what gate I’m boarding at, and if the flight has been delayed. Once my plane landed late and I had to be rerouted. It came right up on that app and I knew exactly where to go to catch my new connection. This app will also let you store your lodging info and more details of your trip, plus save receipts (nice for business travel!) and add notes to your event.
When you’re exploring a new place, it helps to have someone feeding you directions. I use this app all the time, even for local travel. I like that you can store your home address or points of interest so you don’t have to keep re-entering them, and the directions are read aloud to you by the app, so you don’t have to look at your phone to see where to go.
One of the biggest expenses of a road trip is the fuel. GasBuddy will help you not only find a gas station that’s close, but also help you find the one with the best price. Users actually report gas prices so this info is pretty up-to-the-minute and a great way to save a few bucks on the road.
Either of these apps would work, but having a notes app to store all the little bits of info you need when traveling is a lifesaver. When we’re on a trip, I create a new note with all my travel info in it for quick reference: hotel addresses and confirmation numbers, flight numbers and departure times, a list of recommendations from friends on attractions to check out or places to eat, and anything else that I’m going to want to have handy. If you’re sharing your adventure on social media, this is where I store hashtags I want to use, too. A quick copy and paste saves me lots of time when Instagramming our vacation. Think you’re going to need any other important info, like a list of medications for the family? Store it before you head out.
Finding Things To Do
I love this app for finding new places to explore. It’s especially helpful if you’re on a road trip and looking for a place to eat or want to see if there are any cool attractions nearby to check out. Just tell it what you’re looking for (lodging, food, gas, attractions) and in what town and you’ll get a list of options complete with other TripAdvisor’s customer reviews. You can even book your hotels on the road using this app.
This app looks really cool, though I’m an Android user and it’s not yet available for Android so I don’t have personal experience. iPhone users traveling with kids, this is worth a look. It lets you find family-friendly activities complete with parent recommendations and reviews, and then it offers special deals and savings on these attractions!
Smart Apps to Use
I know there are a bunch of weather apps out there but this is the one I use. I like that I can quickly change the location and it stores them so I can go back and forth between seeing what the weather is like where I am, and what it’s like at home. Make sure you have something to check weather with because if you’re on a beach vacation and it’s going to storm all day, better find some other plans.
If you’re traveling abroad you’re going to want to know what your money is worth, and how that translates into the local tender. This app will quickly convert for you.
If you’re like me you’re taking 40 million photos on your vacations. And you better hope you don’t lose your phone, right? I actually lost mine once while in Disney World and amazingly it was returned, but I was most worried about having lost all the photos of our trip. The DropBox app has a setting where any photos taken with your camera will automatically shoot to your DropBox file and save there, so if you would happen to lose your phone, you don’t lose your photos. A pretty nice insurance plan on your memories.
Just for Fun
Postagram is really cool for those of us who take a million photos but aren’t so good at actually printing them (raising up both hands here). The app itself is free, and starting at $.99, you can turn your photos into printed postcards and have them mailed to Grandma or whoever while you’re traveling. So fun! You get to add a personalized message and customize the colors. Why didn’t I think of this?! Brilliant idea!
These are the 10 apps that I use to simplify family travel. Which ones would you add to the list?