7 Best Trip Planning Apps 2020

Ready to make the most of your travel and cut down on planning headaches? Try one of these top-rated travel planning apps.Read More

Do more than map your trip – plan it, book it, and research it with these top apps. (Source: iStock / Shomiz)

It’s time to start planning that 2020 getaway. But before you randomly start Googling airfare deals and trip guides, give our picks for the seven best travel planning apps a look. Not only will they make planning a breeze, but they’ll help guide you through your trip when it finally arrives. (Note: These often have both free and premium versions, so be sure to check the price before downloading.)

1: TripIt

Available on: Web, Mac, iPhone, Android

TripIt itineraries in detail (Source: Tripit.com)
TripIt itineraries in detail (Source: Tripit.com)

Launched in 2006, TripIt is an expected winner. It’s been one of our go-tos for half a decade – and for good reason. Not only can users forward email receipts of their booking confirmations to TripIt and have the app record the information in a master itinerary, but it is accessible on all devices, features carbon footprint info during your journey (to help you offset the environmental impact of your flight), travel stats (like time in transit), options for getting from one place to another when on the ground, and area safety tips and warnings. Extra bonus: There’s a TripIt for Teams that allows trip planners to map out itineraries for groups. All in all, it’s really hard to compete with the seamless, intuitive, full-featured offerings of TripIt. That said, it focuses primarily on getting around (and getting to) your destination. For apps designed to give you more insight on what to do or see, check out some of the apps below.

2: Roadtrippers

Available on: Web, iPhone, Android

Roadtrippers makes your four-wheeling to a new level with off-the-beaten-path adventures. (Source: Roadtrippers.com)
Roadtrippers makes your four-wheeling to a new level with off-the-beaten-path adventures. (Source: Roadtrippers.com)

If your trip is centered on four wheels, Roadtrippers is worth a gander. It gives you turn-by-turn directions when on the road, and while Google does that just as well, Roadtrippers takes your adventure a step further by suggesting “off the beaten path” destinations to check out along your route – complete with ratings/reviews and photos. You also get info on nearby food and lodging, as well as pre-fab itineraries to hep inspire your four-wheeled journey. Going with a group? Appoint someone as trip planner then have them share an itinerary with everyone who’s roadtripping.

3: Rome2rio

Available on: Web, iPhone, Android

Find your way between cities easily with Rome2rio. (Source: Rome2rio.com)
Find your way between cities easily with Rome2rio. (Source: Rome2rio.com)

Traveling internationally and worried about the nitty gritty of bus tickets and train schedules? Rome2rio makes it easy to pick a basic itinerary between two major cities and get transit deets. While TripIt can cover you on this front, Rome2rio does offer more substantive travel guides and information on sites of interest in major cities all over the world. Also, Rome2rio connects you quickly and easily to ticket-booking sites where you can ensure you have everything you need for a smooth trip. While we still prefer TripIt, Rome2rio is a close second.

4: Sygic Travel Maps

Available on: iPhone, Android

See your destination city's major cultural attractions on an attractive, easy-to-use map. (Source: Travel.Sygic.com)
See your destination city’s major cultural attractions on an attractive, easy-to-use map. (Source: Travel.Sygic.com)

Czech Republic-based Sygic focuses on travelers who are keen on soaking up the key cultural elements of a given city. The app allows you to set up a trip itinerary and then save all information for offline access. Once the app is loaded, simply click on a cultural site in your destination city and peruse detailed history, highlights, admission information, address, and hours. If you need additional details, Sygic gives you a link directly to the landmark’s website where you get purchase tickets (as needed) and get more up-to-the-minute information. It’s not quite as functionally dynamic as TripIt or Roadtripper, but spends more energy on profiling the sites you need to see wherever you land.

5: Tripadvisor

Available on: iPhone, Android

Find out what other travelers liked – and didn't like – on Tripadvisor. (Source: Tripadvisor.com)
Find out what other travelers liked – and didn’t like – on Tripadvisor. (Source: Tripadvisor.com)

Sometimes, you just want to know what the hordes have done (and enjoyed) so you can pick the activities most worth your time. That’s why we favor Tripadvisor when on the ground. Ratings/reviews of everything from hotels to restaurants, tours, and cultural sites serve as our compass for the most rewarding experiences (user commentary taken with a grain of salt, of course). You can also check flight ticket info and vacation rentals, but we tend to use the app only for the ratings/reviews.

6: Mobile Passport

Available on: iPhone, Android

Soar through customs with your mobile passport. (Source: MobilePassport.us)
Soar through customs with your mobile passport. (Source: MobilePassport.us)

This one might be a bit of a surprise, but it’s really handy for U.S. citizens traveling abroad. Make your transition back to the States seamless by keeping your “mobile passport” on your phone – so you don’t have to fumble through luggage to find your actual passport. Here’s how it works: With an account setup and your weary legs back on terra firma in the U.S., open the app and submit your info to Customs and Border Patrol. In short order, you’ll receive an encrypted barcode you can scan in the passport express line. There’s a premium version for $14.99/year that allows you to store additional data and make use of other expediting features, but the free one serves us just fine. (Note: Mobile Passport only works at 31 U.S. airports, but they’re the ones you’ll most likely be flying into from a trip abroad. For specifics, visit the website.)

7: Culture Trip

Available on: Web, iPhone, Android

A travel guide in your pocket, Culture Trip is the key to finding (and researching) major cultural sites all over the world. (Source: TheCultureTrip.com)
A travel guide in your pocket, Culture Trip is the key to finding (and researching) major cultural sites all over the world. (Source: TheCultureTrip.com)

The tagline “Created for Curious Travelers” really gets to the essence of this app. Basically a travel guide in your pocket, Culture Trip digs into the rich offerings of more than 450 destinations across the globe. Create wish lists of places to see while traveling, get snapshots of the coolest neighborhoods of your destination cities, and read timely articles about the latest and greatest in dining and nightlife. If you’re okay not having a visual representation of your itinerary (maps are not really a thing in the app) and are more keen to research your to-dos before departing, Culture Trip is a must.

BONUS: Rick Steves Audio Europe

Available on: iPhone, Android

Let Rick Steves guide you through the major sites of Europe. (Source: RickSteves.com)
Let Rick Steves guide you through the major sites of Europe. (Source: RickSteves.com)

Paying for guided tours can be pricey, and self-guided tours often don’t capture all of the highlights of a major landmark. A perfect solution: the Rick Steves Audio Europe app. This travel guide-in-your-pocket lets you download tours at countless destinations across Europe and enjoy them at your leisure. Need more time to absorb the historic details of a tour stop, or maybe just want to enjoy the view for a moment? Pause the tour and continue when you’re ready. Plus, the app comes with PDF tour maps to ensure you’re following the right path. Of course, tours are only available for Europe, so if you’re heading elsewhere, this is a no-go.

Have your own addition to our list of the best travel planning apps? Send us a note at editor@wideworldoftravel.com and we may just give you a shout in this article. You may also like our other app roundup: the best translation apps for 2020.