Things I Love

Top 5 Favorite (Free!) Travel Apps

February 9, 2015

Get a great recommendation for fresh squeezed juice, get there, check your email on the way, and order in the native language all with my favorite apps. Finally? Relax and enjoy the view.

I’m always on the go, whether around the Midwest or around the world. From staying organized to finding great restaurants, scoring deals or navigating a new language, there really is an app for everything. After testing many, these are my absolute favorites for their ease of use and ingenuity. Mostly new but with a few trusty standbys, when travel is your life, these apps are lifesavers!

HeyLet’s – Finally! I feel like I’ve been waiting for an app like HeyLet’s for years, without even knowing what I was waiting for. It’s like Trip Advisor meets Instagram meets Foursquare meets Twitter, but better because it’s customized for you and focuses on the positive. Users upload photos of their favorite restaurants/bars/museums/whatever, and detail what they love about them in 200 characters or less. Match that with a category and an address, and the result is a fun and photogenic feed of recommendations you won’t want to miss. The app shows you experiences tailored to your interests and location, so even if you live in Chicago, you can open it in Paris and find nearby recommendations you’ll love. Because you see experiences posted by people with interests similar to your own, it’s like getting recommendations from friends around the world. Best of all, if you don’t have time for everything you can ‘wishlist’ experiences for next time. I actually use the wishlist feature all the time in my hometown to save new restaurants I want to try. Check it out here!

MailTime – MailTime makes email easier, which is exactly what you need for a quick work check-in from the airport (or the beach). It turns your emails into text message style conversations, keeping you professional and making you more efficient. Working on the road is so much easier without having to sift through my inbox and deal with the mail interface. For anyone who works while they travel, MailTime is a no brainer.

Uber – Uber isn’t new and by now most of you are probably already big fans, but I can’t have a travel list without it. Available in 54 countries and expanding all the time, Uber takes the hassle out of travel. Because it’s integrated with maps, you don’t have to worry about fumbling the pronunciation of wherever you’re trying to go, and it’s a lot easier than trying to hail a cab in a foreign city. If I have time, i usually opt to walk or take local transport (always a new sight or a new story), but at the end of a long day or when heading to a meeting, Uber is the fastest, easiest, most reliable option.

Rocketmiles – With dozens of accommodation sites out there, what else could anyone really come up with? Then Rocketmiles blew me away. Earn thousands of miles for hotel stays, at prices on par with discount sites like and Expedia. Rocketmiles partners with most major airline miles programs to help you earn miles on each night you book through the site. An average night earns you around 2,000 miles, but there are bonuses all the time. If you’re someone who stays in hotels often, Rocketmiles can help earn you free flights in record time. I only wish they had hotel listings in more cities!

Duolingo – The most fun way I’ve found to bone up on a new language fast. Duolingo uses games to test reading, listening, and speaking of nine popular languages. The lessons are short, so you can do them anywhere–perfect for while you’re waiting in line to board. You’ll learn common words and phrases first, so you can land with a basic understanding and the words you need to get around. Vamos!

There you have it. My five new favorite travel apps. Of course, I would be lost without a few old favorites too, including Google Maps (without which I would be literally lost), Kayak (I still swear it has the best flight deals), Evernote (blog drafts and to-do lists), Instagram (obviously!), Airbnb, and (love the rewards program).

Do you use any of these travel apps? What are some of your other favorites?

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  • Reply Natalie February 10, 2015 at 9:44 am

    I LOVE that you can earn miles from hotels instead of using miles on hotels. Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply McCool Travel February 24, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Yelp is by far my favorite travel app but I am always looking for others.

    • Reply curiosityandacarryon February 24, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Yelp is good too – I’m obsessed with HeyLets lately because it’s like Yelp and Instagram combined. Two of my favorite things. 🙂 And it’s tailored to you.

  • Reply Discovering Chicago With HeyLet’s | Curiosity and a Carry On Travel March 25, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    […] written about HeyLet’s before in my “Top 5 Favorite Travel Apps” post, but I’ve been using it so much in my daily life I want to write about it again not only […]

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