Choosing the right app can be just as confusing as deciding where to stay or how to get there. So we’ve combed through dozens of the latest travel apps (and a few mobile websites) to determine which tools are the most useful for planning a trip, getting around, finding friends, and saving money along the way. Unless noted, all apps are free and available for Android and iOS.
The $9.99 per month members-only airfare tracker finds low-cost flight deals and sends notifications when it detects massive price drops, error fares, or flash sales. iOS only.
Register your flight on this website up to two days before departure, and if it gets canceled or delayed by four hours, book a new ticket on any airline. Fees start at $19 for a one-way flight.
If you’ve only got a few minutes for a meal before boarding a flight, Grab will let you look at airport restaurant menus ahead of time, map them in the terminal, and in some locations order in advance and pick up your food on the way to the gate. The app currently serves 174 eateries at 17 airports in the U.S.; by early 2017, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport will offer Grab’s mobile ordering at all of its 200 dining outlets.
HappyCow lists vegan and vegetarian restaurants in nearly 10,500 cities worldwide, from major cities like London (Book & Kitchen) and New York City (Blossom du Jour), to obscure places like Vatra Neamului, in Chişinău, Moldova. Each restaurant listing comes with a short description of the menu and user-generated reviews. $3.99.
A typical hotel stay has you checking in around 3 p.m. and checking out by noon. This new last-minute-travel app is looking to upend that tradition by giving guest more flexibility to choose when they arrive and depart. AsYouStay has partnered with more than 50 properties in New York City, including the Park Lane and the Paul Hotel, and a dozen hotels in Miami’s South Beach, with properties in Chicago and San Francisco coming later this year.
Call it Tinder for hotels. After you’ve entered your destination, dates, and preferences (rating, free Wi-Fi, etc.), the app (the Android version is still in beta) presents a series of property profiles with photos. Tap on the green thumbs-up or the red thumbs-down and you’ll later be contacted by the hotels you’ve “liked” with their best rates.
With rates for car rentals fluctuating every day, it’s not easy to know if you got the cheapest price. AutoSlash asks you to input your car reservation details into its mobile site—an app is in the works for later this year—then tracks the rates for your dates and scouts competitor pricing, including coupons and discount codes. If a lower price for the same rental becomes available, you’ll be notified by e-mail and can rebook your reservation.
The new car sharing app from General Motors is taking on Zipcar as the most affordable short term- rental service on the market, starting at $8 per hour for most vehicles and $14 per hour for SUVs. The fleet features many Chevrolet brands, including the eco-friendly Volt. Every Maven vehicle is equipped with 24/7 OnStar assistance, remote start, Sirius XM radio, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. It’s currently available in 10 cities in the U.S., with more coming.
Health + Safety
Alleviate jet lag and reset your sleep clock with the help of binaural beats—repetitive sounds that cultures around the world have relied on for centuries to create relaxed states of mind. Besides helping you sleep, the beats can improve focus and attention, foster learning, and reduce anxiety, according to the app’s creators.
This location-sensitive personal security app will provide a safety score reflecting health risks, political uprisings, and environmental threats, and gives crowd-sourced information about thefts and assaults that have occurred in the area.
See the rest of the apps on Travel + Leisure.