Type “best travel apps” into any search engine, and the one we all know and love pops up first. Naturally. But, TripIt aside, you’re bound to have specific needs when you travel that don’t involve organizing your trip. Needs like, prepaying for a parking spot, or deciphering labels at the grocery store.
As such, I’ve rounded up five apps that can accompany TripIt in your phone’s Travel folder. Let’s dig in.
1. Mobile Passport Control
When it comes to avoiding long lines at customs and border control, you might immediately think of Global Entry—and with good reason. That trusted traveler program is so popular that many of those who are trying to renew are unable to book an appointment… in the next year (or more).
Meet: Mobile Passport Control. It’s another trusted traveler program offered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but unlike Global Entry, it does not require pre-approval. Simply download the app and submit your passport information to get started.
“Get the Mobile Passport Control app. There’s something very satisfying about waving to your friends who are waiting in the long lines at customs and border patrol.” – Ashley Torres, creator of Everyday Pursuits
Planning a road trip? Renting a car for your next getaway? Download SpotHero now—and thank me later.
Here’s how it works: SpotHero allows you to search—and compare prices—for thousands of parking facilities across the U.S. and Canada. Once you’ve found the spot you want, you can book and prepay for it via the app. When you arrive at your destination, simply follow the instructions for how to park your vehicle.
Simply. Easy. And best of all, the app can save you loads of time and money on parking at airports, events, and more.
3. Priority Pass
So, you heeded the airline’s advice to arrive three hours early for your flight—and since you have CLEAR (thanks to your discount that comes with TripIt Pro), you zipped through security in, checks watch, 10 minutes. With two hours and 50 minutes to spare, you’re hoping to get some work done in the comfort of an airport lounge.
Don’t have lounge access via a loyalty program or your ticket class? That’s where Priority Pass comes in. With an annual membership, you can gain access to more than 1,300 airport lounges and experiences around the world. The Priority Pass app can help you locate their lounges, save your favorites for later, and more.
“TripIt and Priority Pass are my go-to travel apps. They help me stay organized and entertained when I’m on the go. I love people-watching in lounges; it’s one of my favorite parts of the travel experience.” – Julia Menez, founder of GeoBreeze
4. Google Translate
Does that container say milk or yogurt? You’re in need of cough medicine, but you don’t speak the local language—now what? In these scenarios (and countless more), Google Translate has you covered. Simply type in word(s) or phrase(s) in your language, toggle to the desired language—et voila! A translation appears, and you can be sure you’re picking up milk for your morning coffee (not yogurt) or asking the pharmacist for the right remedy for your ailment.
My favorite feature? With Google Translate, you can scan an image and it will translate the text right on your phone. This makes finding your way—around town, a menu, and more—that much easier.
Tip: TripIt’s Nearby Places feature can help you find local grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and more right in the app.
… but not for accommodations—for Experiences. Yes, the little toggle at the top of the Airbnb app (where it says “Where to?”) allows you to search and book tours, classes, day trips, and much more. It’s my go-to for finding things to do in a destination, even when I’m not staying in an Airbnb.
You can search by activity type (e.g., art and culture, food and drink, sports, tours, and more), read reviews, and book an experience right in the app. After you’ve booked, you can message the host via the app, if needed.
Best of all, you know you’re getting a local experience—and supporting a local business—on an app you’re probably already familiar with. It’s a win-win.
Tip: Remember to forward your parking reservations, tours, classes, and your other bookings to TripIt to keep all your plans in one place.