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With each passing year travel becomes easier as technology advances. Can you imagine what it used to be like to write a letter or call a hotel to book a hotel room? The only way we’ll book directly on the phone these days is if it’s through the Orbitz app. And speaking of apps, while there are hundreds on the market, there are a few standouts that we can’t imagine leaving home without. Here are our 5 favorites:

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Snapseed is a free photography app that will take your photography to another level. Before you upload your travel photos to Facebook or Instagram, throw a quick edit on them in Snapseed. You can easily add text to your photos, crop things out, and adjust the colors to make them pop. You’ll be amazed what a few seconds of editing can do to your photos, and you’ll probably get a bunch more likes. Get it for Apple & Android.


Imagine emailing your flight confirmations and then getting updates right to your phone when it’s time to check in. This powerful little app will buzz when your gate is announced or for a delayed flight or gate change (usually before it’s even announced at the airport). It can even tell you which carousel to get your luggage. Not only does it monitor flights, but also hotel reservations and mileage points/hotel points by keeping track of when they are set to expire. (Nobody wants to lose miles.) TripIt has a free 30-day trial followed by a $49 annual fee. Get it for Apple & Android.


A VPN (virtual private network) is an app that helps add additional security and privacy on shared wifi networks. Basically, a VPN encrypts your internet connection and can make it look like you’re using the internet from somewhere like your couch at home when you’re really in a cafe in a far-flung part of the world. For example, when using public or hotel wifi, it allows you to securely log into your bank or credit card accounts. It’s also helpful in countries where certain websites, apps and even the app store can be totally blocked: Think travel to Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia and other countries. Finally, you may have noticed that while traveling abroad, you can’t always access all your favorite TV shows via Hulu, Netflix, etc. The location-restricted content comes thanks to specific licensing deals the companies have in each country, but the VPN can be a good workaround (though Netflix claims they’re trying to close this loophole). There are a few VPN apps that offer a free trial, but the best ones have an average monthly fee of $10. Two recommended VPNs are Hola and Express VPN.

ALSO: Get mobile-exclusive deals when you download the Orbitz app!


XE is a free currency exchange app that works offline. Before you head off on an international trip, add the currencies you’d like to monitor to your dashboard. You are allowed to track 10 currencies at a time, so if you’re traveling to several countries in one trip they can all be here. Having XE makes converting to USD so much easier. If you’re traveling to remote rice paddies in Vietnam with no wifi, it’s super easy to see that today $100 U.S. dollars are worth ₫ 2,275,830 Vietnamese Dong (you probably wouldn’t want to do that math in your head). Get it for Apple & Android.

Google Translate

You probably think you know Google translate, but did you know it can translate pictures? Just open the app and instead of typing in the text to translate, just hit the camera. Point the camera at a sign or a menu and watch the words transform into English. Next time you find yourself without an English menu open up this app. Get it for Apple & Android.

Orbitz, app, iPhone, travel, deals

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Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Hannah & Adam | Getting Stamped Bloggers
Hannah & Adam are travel writers & photographers who have called the road home since 2013. Their passion for adventurous travel has brought them to 60 countries and counting. They blog about their adventures on their travel blog

One thought on “5 most essential travel apps”

  1. Snapseed is my favourite app. I have also used XE and VPN while traveling across different countries. I will definitely try google translate and TripIt.
    All these apps are available for free on Tutuapp.

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