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Travel Tips

10 Best Travel Apps for 2017

It’s 2017--and it's never been easier to travel (thank you, technology.) Everything you’d ever need (maps, guidebooks, travel agents) can all be found on a handful of innovative apps. Get downloading.

Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.

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Google Trips Leave it to Google to release a game-changing travel app. Google Trips automatically imports all your flight and hotel information from your linked Gmail account and organizes it into one easy-to-use itinerary. It also taps into your consumer behavior history to give you customized recommendations on tours, events, and restaurants you might want to check out while you’re there. (This is Google, after all.) Plus, with the latest update, the app can now pull your bus and train reservations, and users can share their itinerary with friends.

AirHelp We’ve already been over the airline passenger rights you should know before your next flight. But if you’d rather skip dealing with customer service and have someone else deal with it for you, get AirHelp. The app’s main goal is to help travelers get paid for any canceled, delayed, or overbooked flights. And it seems to work: so far, those who use the app have been reimbursed an average of $450 per claim. (Just keep in mind that the company takes 25 percent.)

Detour Podcast people, rejoice! Detour’s audio guides are like This American Life meets walking tour. Tune in, and the location-aware app will lead you around while you hear narratives about some of the world’s most storied streets and sights from locals, chefs, actors, and more. (Don’t miss chef Marcus Samuelsson’s food tour of NYC’s Harlem.) The app is now available for San Francisco, LA, NYC, Chicago, Portland, Boston, Charleston, New Orleans and Washington D.C. as well as overseas in London, Paris, and Rome, with Tokyo and Seoul coming soon. There are also new features including video previews, and an augmented reality camera that shows users what historic places looked like in the past.

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Packpoint Ever wish you could have a personal packer? Well, Packpoint is as close as you’ll get. Enter your destination, trip dates, and any planned activities (dressy dinners, pool time, hiking, etc.), and the app will come up with a list for you, which you can customize and cross off once they’re packed. It even checks the weather forecast, so you’ll be prepared rain or shine.

Waze Waze is an absolute must for road trips. The navigation app’s massive community (85 million users, to be exact) provide real-time tips to alert drivers of accidents, traffic jams, construction work, cheap gas stations, and more. You can also sync it with your iCal so Waze will notify you when it’s time to leave But the best feature by far: it’ll tell you when cops and cameras are ahead as well as set off a sound alert if you’re going faster than the limit. So long, speeding tickets.

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Café WiFi We know the struggle—you’re on the road and need to send an urgent email (or, ahem, upload your latest Instagram) but there’s no WiFi to be found. Enter Café WiFi. This app uses FourSquare and reviews to map out local coffee shops, co-working spaces, and lounges with free WiFi in cities around the world. It’ll even tell you specifics like internet speed, power outlet availability, directions, menu items, print services and more. Bonus: the app can also be used offline when you have low service, so you can search for spots ahead of time and use GPS to find them later.

Rome2Rio If you’re planning an around-the-world trip, or maybe even a summer backpacking in Europe, you’ll want to have Rome2Rio in your pocket. Showing route information for more than 150 countries, this app is the go-to guide for traveling globally. It can tell you which flights, trains, buses, boats, and roads to take, both internationally and locally, as well as how much transportation will cost and how quickly you’ll get to your destination. Plus, the search results also link to the websites of each company, so you can book your tickets in just a few taps.

Grab Layovers are annoying enough, what with finding your gate, rushing to board on time, and then realizing you haven’t eaten anything but peanuts and pretzels for the last 10 hours. Oh, the joys of flying. But with Grab, you can search for restaurants in 17 U.S. airports, see their location on terminal maps, and order from their menus in advance, so your meal will be ready for pickup on the way to your connection.

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Sidekix Whether you’re home or abroad, there’s no better way to get to know a place than by strolling its streets and stumbling across hidden gems. Which is why pedestrians are swooning over Sidekix, an urban map planner that shows the best walking directions to your destination based on your interests. For example, it’ll point out curated suggestions of art galleries, trendy shops, and charming cafés along the way, so you’ll always discover something new.

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Citymapper Public transit can be stressful (just ask any New Yorker about the subway). That’s where Citymapper comes in. The app focuses on major cities around the world and provides maps and routes that show all the public transit options available. It gives live updates on delays and closures, shows the fastest route around, and can be connected to ride-sharing services like Uber. It’ll also alert you when you need to get off at a certain train or bus stop. We especially love the offline mode, where you can save directions, check subway times, and look at maps, even if you lose service.

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