The blitz of the holidays is approaching and with it, holiday travel. There’s never been a better time to download a batch of helpful travel apps. Our editors researched tons of apps in the iTunes Store and Android Market and narrowed our list down to five that we think are pretty distinct and stellar. Read on to see the best apps to download to help you enhance and simplify your next travel getaway.
Whether you’re taking a jaunt to Vail for the opening of ski season or an extended stay in sunny Miami, travel confirmation e-mails can start to take over your inbox. TripCase reduces all of the clutter into a single and easy-to-use package. Simply forward any confirmation e-mail—hotels, restaurants, car rentals and more—to TripCase and the app automatically consolidates every step of your vacation into a single itinerary that you can easily share with other TripCase users. The app also monitors your reservation information and notifies you of any changes in your confirmed times. What we love most about this convenient app, however, is its ability to automatically import information from your Google or Outlook calendars—perfect for business travelers looking to simplify cluttered travel schedules. Free on iOS and Android
If you’re always the one responsible for picking up friends at the airport, you know that timing the drive is a difficult art to master. Just Landed removes all the guesswork from the equation. Simply input your companion’s flight number into the easy-to-navigate user interface, and the app sets an automatically updating timer that tracks the flight’s progress. You can monitor exactly how much time you have before you need to leave (Just Landed pushes notifications to the screen as the minutes count down), how long the drive will take according to traffic data and the flight’s scheduled arrival gate. When you reach the airport, you can even send a text from within the app to let your friend know you’re there. Free on iOS
Although they’re certainly one of the classic souvenirs of traveling, postcards are limited to what you happen to find in any given store. Postagram is one app that’s out to change that. It mixes the sentimentality of postcards with the technology of today by allowing you to create and personalize images directly from your smartphone. Just snap a picture of your Five-Star guest room or gourmet meal, type your personal message and select an address. When you’re satisfied with the 99-cent postcard, Postagram puts it right in the mail. A few days later (slightly longer for international deliveries), a sleek, glossy black-and-white postcard featuring your photo appears in the recipient’s mailbox. App users can even scan the QR code on the postcard to download your featured photo, ensuring the sentiment will live on long after the postcard fades. Free on iOS and Android
There are many apps that focus on discovering your surroundings, but nothing does it quite like Wikitude. Eschewing the traditional method of search engine discoveries, this app relies on augmented reality to spotlight what’s scattered about your vacation destination. After selecting a category ranging from restaurants to mountain peaks, Wikitude overlays the notable spots on your device’s camera, allowing you to take a stroll through the city as virtual points of interest appear on your screen. The app also features crowd-sourced information, meaning you’re able to add notes on a particularly delicious dish or something as simple as a fantastic view for all other Wikitude users to discover. Free on iOS and Android
For globe trekkers and frequent jet setters, tracking the finer details of your travels isn’t always easy while on the go. With Trip Journal, your device’s GPS function works in tandem with the app, recording every step of your journey. An attractive paper aesthetic makes uploading geo-tagged photos, capturing stunning vistas on video and writing notes about your journey easy on the eyes, and with built-in Twitter and Facebook integration, instantly sharing your progress is quick and painless. Friends and family can also follow each moment of your travels in real time through Google Earth, giving you more time to focus on your travels and less spent tapping the refresh button. $2.99 on iOS and Android
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