Travel tools have joined the 21st Century.  Gone are the days of guide books and maps. Now all you need to have an organized and nightmare-free vacation is a smartphone and the right apps.

Looking for that great restaurant your best pal recommended?  Did you miss that water park the last time you were in town?  Want travel tips for the best route?  Or maybe you’d just like to know the traffic situation while you’re driving to your destination. You can get these travel tips and so much more with today’s high-tech travel apps.

Pack your bags and double-check your travel plans. Presenting a small sample of $5 or less travel apps:


The best travel tool for the best route, every day, with real–time help from other drivers.

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app.  Join other drivers in your area who share travel tips from real-time traffic to road info.

Website:  waze.com

Cost:  Free

Platform:  iOS and Android

Travel List

If you need a little help to pack properly and not forget your charger or toothbrush at home, Travel List is the travel tool to help you organize the items you’ll put in your suitcase. Travel tips run the gamut from what to pack to what to see.  Add events to your calendar or set one-time or regular alerts.

Website:  travellistapp.com

Cost: $1.99

Platform:  iOS

Google Translate

Google Translate makes it easy to understand and communicate in more than 100 languages.  The travel tool features instant text translation through your phone’s camera, which means you can take a photo of any sign or writing you don’t understand and the app will automatically translate it for you.

Google Translate also has a conversation mode that will transcribe translations from spoken word. The biggest perk: get your travel tips without data if you download an offline translation guide ahead of time.

Website:  chrome.google.com/google-translate

Cost: Free

Platforms: iOS and Android

Trip It

Your mobile trip planner, Trip It shows all your trip details at a glance: flights, hotels, car, map, directions—all in one place. You can sync this travel tool with your online or mobile calendar, share itineraries and travel tips and post travel plans on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Website:  tripit.com

Cost: Free

Platform:  Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad and Windows Phone 7

U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler App

For American citizens abroad, there’s no better travel tool in an emergency situation than the U.S. Department of State—and the Smart Traveler Program makes it easy for you to keep in touch with the department and nearby embassies while you’re on the road.

Letting the State Department know where you’re traveling and enrolling for updates is easy to do online, and the Smart Traveler App puts travel tips, all travel alerts and warnings at your fingertips, by country. You can easily notify the State Department about changes in travel plans via your phone when Wi-Fi is available. No internet connection is required to browse in-app travel alerts or warnings.

Website: play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.state.apps.smarttraveler&hl=en

Cost: Free

Platform: iOS and Android


Keeping offline maps, in-flight entertainment, and all your travel photos on one device is sure to stretch its storage space. Make sure you have a cloud app like Dropbox on hand to store everything when space gets low. Getting to a photo or video-worthy spectacle and having to pause to delete old photos is one of the biggest travel annoyances, and could mean missing out on capturing some truly awesome moments.

Website:  dropbox.com

Cost: Free up to 20GB, then $0.99 to $1.99 per month depending on how much space you need.

Platform: iOS and Android


This financial travel tool lets you easily organize your finances, keep an eye on your travel budget and track your expenses during your trip. It’s absolutely safe and secure. That because it’s a “read-only” service, which means that you can’t move funds between accounts, and neither can anybody else.

Website:  mint.com

Cost:  Free

Platform:  Android and iOS

With hundreds of travel apps available, it’s easy to find just the one you need to make your journey great.  Have a safe trip!