Family VacationVarious advancements in technology have brought us so far to the point that we no longer need a travel agent or guide to show us around new or unfamiliar places. All you need is a smartphone and an app installed containing all the information that will help you during your trip.

Planning a trip used to be a stressful experience, but now all you need is the right tools and applications installed on your smartphone in order make your vacation a breeze. There are several apps that can be used to help you get around, some, however, can be irrelevant to what you require, while others are only focused on specific necessities. Below is a round-up of 7 essential travel apps that will make your trips a lot easier and keep your stress levels to a bare minimum.

1. Google Maps

Google Maps is widely acknowledged as one of the best apps for navigation available today and it has remained in the top list of travel apps for quite a while now. It is very reliable when it comes to offering different options of local transportation in many countries all over the world and specific areas can also be downloaded for offline use. Google Maps can also be used to track prominent buildings such as museums or restaurants that are close by and its recent update can also allow you to confirm whether a place is busy or not.

2. Lyft

Lyft is one of the most popular traveling applications around the world. It connects drivers and travelers using phone’s GPS capabilities. It enables both parties to know the location and to eliminate the question of when the ride will arrive. Lyft operates 24hrs in the main cities, but in small towns at midnight, it’s dead. The app allows you to view the charges of your ride and enables you to connect to a driver at an appropriate time. After registering online, you can book your trip by just clicking an icon, and within few minutes Lyft sends you a taxi. They also often do a promo where users can get coupons to apply to their ride.

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3. Trip Advisor

When it comes to travel, Trip Advisor is considered to be a catch-all app. The app can allow you to quickly go through millions of videos, opinions, photos, and reviews that pertain to business or services that are related to your trips such as airlines, bars, restaurants, hotels, and more. The app also has a Near Me function that can be used to find nearby placed that have good reviews. Trip Advisor supports almost every country worldwide making it a necessary travel guide for anyone moving from place to place. Furthermore, the forum section in the app allows you to ask specific questions relating to your travel or add your own reviews of the places you’ve visited.

4. Yelp

Yelp is officially recognized as the yellow pages of bars and restaurants and it is currently gaining a lot of popularity in various countries all over the world. One of its most powerful features is the number of reviews it can house in the app enabling you to have a clear picture of where you want to go. It is an excellent resource for when you are looking to pay a visit to some of the best spots in whichever country you are visiting. Yelp also offers a phone number that can be used for listing, hours of operation, and sometimes even a menu of what is normally served at a particular restaurant or bar allowing you to be fully prepared before heading out to an unfamiliar place.

5. Google Translate

Google Translate remains as remarkable as it was when it was first released. The app provides users with translations that are now more conversational thanks to the machine learning technology and contains over 100 languages that allow you to listen to translations out loud, translate dictation, and even your own handwriting on screen. It allows you to bookmark or star your favorite words or phrases so that you can access them whenever you are offline or view the dictionary results for a specific word or phrase. Google Translate also allows you to leave a notification that is persistent so that you can quickly translate in another app.

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6. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a popular chatting app that has over a billion users worldwide and it is very likely that you will find most people who are outside your country who use this service and it has now become preferable than the standard SMS messaging services. Installing the app before you start on your trip can be very useful in case you make new friends in the location or country you are visiting and need a quick way to get in touch with them. It is also an easy way of keeping in touch with family and friends back home. However, you still need to have an internet connection in order to be able to send messages in WhatsApp.

7. Hotspot Shield

During your travels, you may discover that some internet service providers in certain countries have the tendency to block websites such Facebook and YouTube. The best way to get around such restrictions is to use a VPN so as to access the blocked websites securely and anonymously. Hotspot Shield has a wide coverage worldwide and does not require you to log in your details every time you want to use it. The information you send via the VPN is completely private and connecting to the service can simply be done with a single tap.