Check out these apps before you plan your next vacation!

I live halfway across the world from my family, so going to see them always includes an enormous amount of traveling. Luckily, traveling with apps makes my life so much easier! Here is a list of my favorite travel apps to make your vacation time cheaper, better organized, more culture-filled, and less stressful for a more enjoyable season. Planning a winter vacation at the last minute? Go read our post on 10 Awesome Options to Travel on the Cheap This Winter.

1. Get there (plus save some cash)

One of the biggest expenses of a vacation is the transportation costs. Whether you are flying or road tripping, it pays to have apps like these.

Skyscanner: Flying costs seem to always be on the rise, and finding the lowest price to get you to your destination can mean spending hours online (when you can be packing!). Skyscanner searches hundreds of airlines (even third party flight search engines) so that you don’t have to do the work. It’s a user-friendly, free app for iOS and Android systems. Best of all, it has always yielded me the lowest fares (and it appears I'm not the only one). If you really want to bag a deal you also have the option to pin your search to your start screen to keep a closer eye on price fluctuations.

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Other good meta-search engines for flights include Kayak, Momondo and SeatGuru. If you’re driving to your destination then an app like Gas Buddy can be great to help you save at the pump.

2. Stay organized

Since traveling can be so hectic, a travel agent that can organize and consolidate an itinerary for you can be a blessing, but they’re also expensive. Luckily, there are a few apps out there to help your travels stay organized.

WorldMate: This app can help ease your travel worries, plus it’s available for free on iOS and Android. Simply forward all your confirmation emails for flights, hotels, restaurants and events to trips@worldmate.com, and the app will instantly generate an itemized itinerary for your whole trip. It’s like having a free travel agent—right in your pocket!

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For the super organized, there are more apps to choose from! Along the Way (free on iOS) maps out restaurants, shopping and other places of interest along your route. Waze (free on iOS and Android) provides real time, user-submitted traffic reports to keep you out of a jam. Packing Pro (available on iOS devices for $2.99) will help you pack based on your destination, season and travel companions. For those who suffer from Jetlag, JetLag Genie (available on iOS devices for $2.99) can help you avoid that after-flight feeling by altering your sleep pattern gradually over time.

3. Keep in touch (without breaking the bank)

Have you ever accidentally downloaded a large email while traveling overseas and been hit with a ridiculously large bill? I know I have. That’s why I’ve found some really useful apps to keep me away from those shocking phone charges.

Wi-Fi Finder: This app, available for free on iOS and Android, helps you find the nearest Wi-Fi source so you can save on overpriced roaming charges.

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Onavo: Sometimes Wi-Fi just isn’t an option, so if you're really in a pickle and must use roaming then an app like Onavo can really help. It’s available for free on iOS and Android. This app compresses data, allowing you to check your email or Facebook for a fraction of the cost.


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For something a little more retro, TouchNote (available for free on iPhone and Android) lets you create your own postcards using travel photos and send them for just $1.99 a pop.

4. Soak in the culture

Don't know what that beautiful looking building is right in front of you? Can't read that sign in Mandarin? Don't know how much to tip in Timbuktu? These days there are a myriad of apps to help you soak up the culture and avoid some awkward moments.

Google Goggles: This app, available for free on iOS and Android, allows you to take a photo of a monument with your mobile phone and then it will give you relevant wiki articles about that monument.

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Word Lens: This will help translate foreign text via your phone's camera—so you’re free to go where you want with an app that will help you break the language barrier! It’s free for iOS and Android devices.

 

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Tipulator: Tipping can get confusing overseas, but there’s an app for that! Available for free on iOS and Android devices, Tipulator fills you in on what tip is culturally appropriate and helps you split tricky bills in cities across the world.

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5. Record memories

Looking back on photos from your vacation can be a great experience, but organizing them can be a huge pain. Consider this app to help keep your memories organized (so you can actually enjoy them!).

Trip Journal: Keep your phone’s GPS on, and this app will create maps of your adventures while geo-tagging pictures, videos and notes you take along the way. It’s available on iOS and Android for $2.99.

 

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This is a guest post by Katie from Argentina.

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