I bought my first iPhone back in 2009 because I thought it would be useful on an upcoming West Coast road trip. Since then, new apps and new capabilities have come along to make the iPhone an essential piece of travel gear.
Here is a list of apps I currently use when I travel:
Clock: Shows the local time no matter what time zone you’re in. Also doubles as an alarm clock.
FitBit: You don’t need a FitBit to use the app. There is a feature where you can go running and it will use the GPS to track and map out your run.
Google Calendar: Keep your itinerary on the calendar and set reminders to stay on schedule.
Weather: Add all of your destination locations to see what the weather is like in each location before you actually get there.
Kindle: With Amazon’s Kindle app, you can bring your entire library of books with you everywhere you go. I no longer need to bring books with me on my trips. Just make sure you download the books you want to read to your device before you head out.
Podcasts: As an alternative to reading, sometimes I listen to podcasts while traveling.
Google Photos: Store all your pictures and videos on the cloud while on your trip. That way, even if you lose or break your phone your pictures won’t be lost.
Google News: Before a trip, I like to monitor the local news at each destination so I’m aware of what’s going on when I visit.
Google Maps: With this app, you will never really be lost. Get driving, walking, and public transit directions to anywhere.
Google Drive: Google Drive gives you access to all your documents from anywhere.
TripAdvisor: Shows the best tourist attractions, best accommodations, and the most popular restaurants in the area.
Yelp: Shows you the best restaurants in the area. Differs from TripAdvisor because Yelp users are usually local while TripAdvisor users are typically tourists.
Google Keep: Before your trip, make a checklist of things to do and bring. Then before you actually head out the door, go through the checklist so you don’t forget anything. Excellent for taking notes. This replaces the notebook I used to always carry when I travel.
Airbnb: A great alternative to traditional hotels and motels.
Google Keep (or iOS Notes, or Evernote): Lets me scrawl quick notes with my finger. Especially useful when getting recommendations or directions from somebody and having to write them down quickly or draw pictures.
GasBuddy: Shows the cheapest gas in the area.
Camera: The cameras on newer iPhones rival the quality of point-and-shoot cameras I used to rely on when traveling.
Kayak: Compare prices for hotels and flights.
Wallet: You can save your flight’s electronic boarding pass here.
Uber: Get a ride. Great for getting a ride to and from the airport.
A few other apps that I haven’t really used in my travels, but look interesting:
Field Trip: Find local attractions
BringFido: Find dog-friendly places
Roadside America: Find weird roadside attractions
Geocaching: Use your GPS to play a real-world treasure-hunting game