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46 Travel Tools to Optimize Your Next Vacation

As we bathe in the memory of friends, family and BBQ over this week’s Memorial Day holiday, our minds are now tuned up and ready to hit our favorite travel season – summer.

Let the games begin.

Happiness Factor

Did you know taking a break from it all actually benefits your psychological health?

According to Journal Applied Research in Quality of Life studies have shown the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.

“Vacations do make people happy,” says Mr. Nawijn, tourism research lecturer at Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.  “But we found people who are anticipating holiday trips show signs of increased happiness, and afterward there is hardly an effect.”

So Many Apps, So Little Time

While there are literally thousands of online tools and apps to help you plan the perfect retreat, here’s my top 46 list I hope will make your travel season one that’s effortless, fun and filled with great memories.

So get your Pinterest boards rolling and start pinning your next vacation. Perhaps even create a bucket list board to showcase places to want to visit within your lifetime – you’ll be happier for it.


  • Pinterest – No explanation needed here. (Web, iPhone and Android)
  • Trippy – Like Pinterest, but dedicated exclusively to collecting and sharing travel ideas (Web, iPhone)


  • To Do – Powerful set of tools that makes task management simple and fun (iPhone and iTouch)
  • Flight TrackerOnly free flight tracking/flight status app (iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows)
  • Travel Channel Layover – Travel like Anthony Bourdain and explore Tony’s favorite places to stay, eat and drink in 10 major cities around the world. (iPad, iPhone and iTouch)
  • Tripit – Keep all of your travel plans in one spot. (Web, iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows) 
  • Plnnr – Customized point-to-point trip guide for 20 popular urban destinations across North America and Europe. (Web)
  • Award Wallet – Track all your frequent flyer miles in one place. (Web, iPhone, Android)
  • Goby –  Search engine all about finding fun things to do with your free time, from this weekend to a fantastic vacation. (Web, iPhone, Android)


  • Speech Trans – Enables the user to have a coherent conversation with someone who speaks a foreign language without the need for an interpreter. (iPhone and Android)
  • Byki – Take your language learning on the go. (iPhone)


  • Packing Pro – Your very own personal packing assistant. (iPhone, iPad)


  • AirBnB –  See where your friends stay at this global network of accommodations offered by locals. (Web, iPhone, Android)
  • Tripping Touted as the Kayak of Airbnb, provides places to stay and people to meet in 15000 cities. (Web)
  • Jetsetter – Membership only site that provides access, knowledge and exclusive deals at luxury destinations across the world. (Web, iPhone, iPad)
  • Vacationist – Vacationist is a members-only website featuring exclusive sales for stays at fine hotels (Web)
  • Hotel Tonight – Last minute-deals on unsold hotel rooms up to 70% off (Web, iPhone, iPad, Android)
  • Priceline Hotel Negotiator Negotiate up to 60% off with Name Your Own Price and book a room in seconds. (iPhone, iPad, Android)


  • Gas Buddy – Find the cheapest gas on the go. (Web, iPhone, Android, Blackberry)
  • AutoSlash – Book your car and your reservation is automatically updated when better offers or discounts are available. (Web)


  • Kayak Book cheap flights, hotels, vacations and rental cars through top travel companies. (Web, iPhone, Android)
  • HipmunkDisplays real-time prices available on Orbitz, Getaroom,, HotelsCombined, or Airbnb and links out to the appropriate site to close the deal. (iPhone, iPad, Android)
  • FlightTrack Pro Stores and tracks your flights, pulls vital info like gate changes and weather reports for 5,000 airports and 1,400 airlines. Easy to search for other connections while you’re standing in line for the gate agent or even from 30,000 feet. (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry)


  • Foodspotting – Easiest way to find and share the foods you love. (Web, iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry)
  • Yelp – User Reviews and Recommendations, and a quick search interface for address and phone number lookup. (Web, iPhone, Android)
  • Urbanspoon – Uses three factors to classify restaurants: neighborhood, type of cuisine and price. (Web, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Android, Blackberry)
  • VegOut – Must have for any vegetarian who travels or is just looking for a new place to eat (iPhone)
  • OpenTable – Reserve popular restaurants ahead of time to make your vacation meal choices effortless (Web, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Android, WebOS, Windows, Blackberry)

Rain or Shine

  • Weather ChannelWeather forecast, local to international. Plan your day, your week or the next hours. (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows)
  • Weather BugWith its more than 35,000 monitoring stations worldwide, able to provide hyper-local weather updates (Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry)
  • Surf ReportCheck the surf height, swell direction, and tide. Monitor the weather. View a 2-day forecast. (Web, iPhone)


  • WiFi Finder – Search for public Wi-Fi anywhere in the world (iPhone, Android)
  • Skype Wi-FiGet online at over 1 million WiFi hotspots worldwide and only pay for the time you’re online with Skype Credit. (Web, iPhone, iPad, iTouch) 
  • ViberLets you make free phone calls and send text messages to anyone who also has the application (iPhone, Android)


  • XE AppLets you convert every world currency on-the-go. (Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Blackberry)
  • Google Wallet – Virtual wallet that stores your payment cards, offers, and more on your phone and online. (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Nokia…)


  • Mtrip Travel GuidesTravel guides for with the best attractions, museums, hotels, restaurants, bars & shopping with ratings, reviews. (iPhone, iTouch, Android)
  • iTrailMapIf you’re hitting the southern hemi for some skiing this summer this Trail Maps 3D ski resort trail maps is a must (iPhone, iTouch)
  • Google MapsGet free, turn-by-turn GPS navigation for driving, walking, and public transportation (Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows, Nokia) 
  • Airport Transit Guide – Going 28 years strong, only guide of its kind and the air traveler’s best friend, it gives all the details you need to make an intelligent choice. (iPhone)
  • Gate Guru – Tool to transform the chaotic and unfamiliar airport environment into a more satisfying experience before and after flights, and during layovers. (iPhone, Android)
  • HopStop – Get door to door public transit directions for Subway, Train, Bus, ferry, Bike & Taxi. (Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows, Amazon)


  • Instagram – The $1 billion app and a must have. Keep it real and post your own creations and be conscious not to spam your followers. (iPhone, Android)
  • Facebook CameraAt the time of this writing, it’s already the second most download free app on Apple’s App Store (iPhone)
  • Fastcamera – As soon as you open the app, Fast Camera begins taking 8-megapixel photos as fast as it can and doesn’t stop until you press a button – up to 800 photos per minute. (iPhone)
  • BlurbMake your own books from your photography stable. If you’re good enough you can even sell them. (Web)

Weigh In

What’s your favorite vacation app not listed?

What’s your favorite vacation you have planned this summer?