Photo: Vela Teodor/Shutterstock

The 9 Must-Have Travel Apps in 2019

Technology + Gear
by Zibby Wilder Mar 13, 2019

Whether you’re a frequent flyer for work or taking off on the trip of a lifetime, apps can make your travels a lot easier. There are apps to help you pack, keep track of itineraries, keep in touch with folks back home, and even to help your fitness goals as you go. Here are nine must-have travel apps in 2019.

1. Track your travel: App in the Air

App in the Air

Photo: iTunes

A personal travel assistant for frequent fliers, App in the Air tracks everything about your travel, from flight delays and boarding/landing times to boarding passes and real-time TSA security line wait times. In addition, the app uses crowdsourced information to highlight places where you can grab a bite to eat during airport off hours or even find little-used charging spots. If your flight is majorly delayed, the app’s “nearby” feature locates other travelers to connect with — maybe one who can get you into the elite lounge, share an Uber into town with, or just to pass the time with. App in the Air also keeps track of frequent flier program information, so you don’t have to mess with clunky apps or try to remember multiple usernames and passwords.

2. Keep on track with your fitness routine: Zeamo

For frequent travelers or those who need to stick to a gym or physical therapy schedule, Zeamo allows users to explore over 25,000 gyms around the world. Filters can be used to find exactly what workout you’re looking for: from lap pools to yoga, boxing to tai chi; even gyms with daycare, saunas, and massages. A click of a button gets you a day pass and you’re free to work out. Visiting a local gym is also a great way to get involved in the local community and let’s be honest, sometimes small hotel gyms just don’t cut it.

3. Communicate with locals: Google Translate

Sure, it’s nice to be fluent in languages other than your own but if you aren’t, Google Translate is a must-have. The app allows users to type or speak directly (for character-based languages), on their phones to translate over 100 languages. It even translates photos, for those looking to navigate potential obstacles such as traffic signs and menus. Google Translate also features an offline mode, which enables use of the app when Wi-Fi is not available. Even if you’re not traveling, it’s a great tool to have to learn some of the basic pleasantries and phrases you might use someday when your dream trip comes true.

4. Cut the cost of airport lounges: LoungeBuddy

LoungeBuddy allows users one-time access to airport lounges without costly yearly membership fees or elite mileage status. Most lounges are in larger, more-traveled airports in cities including London, Berlin, Dubai, Denver, Las Vegas, and Sydney, but if you happen to have some time in an airport without an in-network lounge, you can purchase access through the app. It’s a great buddy to have when you have a long layover or find yourself stranded due to unexpected travel delays.

5. Check in with a loved one: Postagram

Postagram has been on the market for years but the idea behind it, sending a postcard, is even older — which makes it all the more charming. Checking in when you’re away from home is nice, but a surprise keepsake in the mailbox of a friend or loved one is even nicer. All you have to do is choose a picture, add your note, and send it (cost is $2 in the US and $3 internationally). 2019 is the year for more meaningful conversations but if you’re not looking to get completely analog, Postagram is a good free option.

6. Get help packing your bags: Packpoint

This detail-oriented app helps you pack for a trip so you won’t suddenly find yourself needing something important, be it clean socks or important medications. Packpoint creates a packing list based on the length of a trip, the weather at your destination, who you’re traveling with (such as children), and activities you plan on pursuing. The list can be customized and then shared with others you might be traveling with.

7. Track and share your adventure: Polarsteps


Photo: Polarsteps

Whether you’re traveling cross-country or across continents, this app allows you to document and share every step of your adventure. Polarsteps tracks your travels, allowing invited users to tune in and see where you’ve been, where you’re at, and where you’re going, along with the pictures and videos you share along the way. Once your trip is complete, the app gives you the option of creating a slickly designed travel book to preserve memories from that trip of a lifetime.

8. Stay in reliable contact with family and friends: Whatsapp

If your phone plan is too cost-prohibitive for supporting service as you travel abroad, Whatsapp is an easy way to stay in contact with friends and family at home — or even new ones you make along the way. The app runs off Wi-Fi instead of cell service, allowing users to stay in contact via text, photos, and videos, and even supports voice and video chat. All you need is your contacts list and the person on the other end to be connected as well.

9. Connect with locals: travelstoke

Matador Network’s own travel app, travelstoke, allows you to plan your trip based on information from locals and experts, and even meet up with them once you arrive. Crowdsourced information on destinations is organized in lists and also by topic, allowing users to search by destination for anything from food, places to stay, shopping, music, and outdoor activities. Trip planning questions can be posed to the community and you can even provide information on your hometown, to help get other adventurers stoked for their travels.

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