Eliminate travel frustrations with these free Android apps

Whatever your itinerary, these resources can save time, money, and maybe even your sanity.

apptravelkit opener

The ideal travel assistant

Nice as it is to make a grand voyage to cap off the year, holiday trips rarely go exactly according to plan. You might forget an essential item, be forced to sprint through terminals following mile-long security lines, or encounter traffic woes in an unfamiliar city. It happens to everyone, no matter how prepared you think you are.

But while we can’t avoid every little frustration, preparation still goes a long way when it comes to travel—and your Android device is a great ally for ensuring your trip goes as smoothly as possible. From storing your detailed itinerary to helping you suddenly book a new hotel or get around without cell service, these apps will make sure you’re ready for (almost) any travel challenge ahead.

apptravelkit tripit

TripIt

No matter how you’re traveling this season or how complex your agenda gets, TripIt is the ideal way to manage the madness. The organizer app neatly keeps track of all sorts of travel obligations, including flights, hotel info, car rentals, and social events.

It’s downright effortless, too: simply forward travel confirmation emails to a specified address and TripIt will automatically add them to your plan. The app also pulls in weather info and directions, as needed, and lets you access everything offline—perfect for traveling abroad without an international data plan.

And for frequent travelers, the $49/year Pro subscription offers perks like alternate flight finding and flight refund alerts—potentially paying for itself rather quickly.

TripIt Travel Organizer (Free)

apptravelkit waze

Waze

You might know all of the back roads, traffic chokepoints, and speed camera locations in your own neighborhood, but when in an unfamiliar city, a social assist can help you avoid pitfalls while driving. That’s where Waze comes in.

Sure, Google Maps is a sharp resource, but Waze uses data provided by its many millions of users to provide real-time route adjustments based on hazards like traffic and construction. If there’s an accident on the road or a cop car that you won’t see until it’s too late, virtuous Waze users will add it to the ever-updated map.

Waze is an Android essential for both everyday use and more elaborate jaunts, so grab it to drive smarter and spend less time behind the wheel this season.

Waze Social GPS Maps & Traffic (Free)

apptravelkit transit

Transit

Public transportation can be an amazing resource, but if you’re not a local native and you need to get to a destination in a hurry, plotting a route and discovering transfer stops can be a real hassle. Luckily, Transit can help.

Simply input your destination and Transit will serve up the myriad routes there, whether it’s via train or bus, or some combination of the two with walking. Transit also integrates Uber, estimating pickup time, cost, and duration compared to public transport, plus bike-sharing services are shown with current availability details.

It currently works in 87 cities across America and Europe, so if you’re not bringing or renting a car on your next trip, be sure to have Transit handy.

Transit App (Free)

apptravelkit packpoint

PackPoint

It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement and looming stress of an upcoming trip that you forget something at home. If you're lucky, it’s cheap and easily replaceable, but why risk it? PackPoint can provide a crucial assist.

Not only is PackPoint an ideal option for building your own suitcase checklists, but it’s smarter than that: it asks your destination and dates away from home, as well if a trip is for business or leisure and if you plan on tackling certain activities. From there, it generates custom lists based on the weather and your selections.

Maybe you don’t need long underwear or shoe polish, but PackPoint makes you think a little harder about the trip ahead, which can save some trouble later.

PackPoint travel packing list (Free)

apptravelkit maps

Google Maps

Yes, Google Maps might seem like a particularly obvious pick here, but we’re including it for a reason that might not be so clear: you can save rather large maps to your device for occasions in which you might not have network access.

It’s simple, really, but the option isn’t readily visible. Simply search for a location within Maps, swipe the info card at the bottom of the screen upwards, and then hit the three-dot icon in the upper right for the “Save offline map” selection. You can zoom out and customize the area saved, although size limits kick in if it’s too large.

The saved map works just like an online-connected one, with location names and multiple views available, and it stays saved on your device for 30 days.

Maps (Free)

apptravelkit hoteltonight

Hotel Tonight

Maybe you got to your hotel and it wasn’t what you imagined. Maybe you got there and a booking mishap emerged. Or maybe you just decided to shake up your itinerary. Whatever the case, Hotel Tonight can get you a great room right now.

Designed around the idea of finding you a place to stay tonight, tomorrow, or within the next week, Hotel Tonight is a nicely designed resource that does more than heap lists of local options on you. It’s curated, which means you’re not only shown a nice nearby hotel, but also told why it’s great and who they think will really dig it.

It’s perfect for when the local motel or chain hotel you booked falls short of expectations. Liven up your trip with minimal research using Hotel Tonight.

Hotel Tonight (Free)

apptravelkit gasbuddy

GasBuddy

Like Waze, GasBuddy thrives because of the generosity of others; the everyday heroes tapping in numbers on their travels about town. You can be one too! But seriously, GasBuddy can save you serious money wherever you’re driving.

It’s a simple app, but super effective. Essentially, GasBuddy lets the community keep tabs on gas prices by letting users enter the most current price they’ve seen. It’s split by fuel type and notes any cash/credit price differences, and you can sort by distance or price per gallon based on your current needs.

Users who report prices are also eligible to win free gas cards, so there’s incentive to get involved. But even if you just want to save a couple bucks, it’s a handy resource.

GasBuddy – Find Cheap Gas (Free)

apptravelkit touristeye

TouristEye

If your idea of a trip is less holing up with family and more spending time experiencing new places and things, TouristEye can help you make the most of whichever locale you settle on.

Like many travel-minded apps, it serves up attractions and restaurants to check out, with user recommendations and reviews along the way. But what’s most interesting about this Lonely Planet-backed app are the “experiences to live,” which offer intriguing ideas for activities to pursue rather than just more locations to visit.

And while not as robust as TripIt, TouristEye doubles as a repository for your travel plans, so you can use one app to both track your voyage and enhance it.

TouristEye – Travel Guide (Free)

apptravelkit loungebuddy

LoungeBuddy

Flying might be the quickest and most direct way to get home for the holidays, but you're signing up for long lines, incredibly congested walkways, and a pronounced lack of personal space. But LoungeBuddy can help you find a brief respite.

LoungeBuddy has a directory of more than 1800 private lounges within top airports around the world, and if you have any credit cards or membership plans that allow access, you can add all of that info to get personalized listings. Each listing has photos and location details, along with user reviews about the amenities within.

Even if you're not a member, many airport clubs let you pay a one-time fee to savor the high life for a couple of hours. You might need it amidst the stressful hustle and bustle.

LoungeBuddy (Free)

apptravelkit playmoviestv

Google Play Movies & TV

When it comes to traveling with kids of any age, keeping them entertained will save you an incredible amount of agitation. Movies and TV shows are ideal, and endless options like Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Instant Video are amazing—if you have Wi-Fi access.

Otherwise, Google’s own Play Movies & TV app can fill the offline viewing need. The Play Store is stocked with the latest and greatest films and TV episodes, as well as gobs of older stuff, and everything can be saved locally—in HD or SD, the latter of which saves space. You’ll often find free content, as well, along with various sales.

Of course, a multi-pronged entertainment approach is encouraged: load up your device with games, comics, books, music, and anything else that might keep a kid busy. You might even need it yourself. Better safe than sorry!

Google Play Movies & TV (Free)