These must-have apps for tourists can make your trip a delight

If you're going on a trip somewhere new, your phone can be your best companion.

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Smartphones aren't perfectly convenient in every situation, but there's one thing they have made cheaper and easier: Travel.

The Google Play store has tons of handy travel tools and apps that will take care of all the logistics for you—everything from finding cheap flights to booking last-minute hotel rooms to keeping all of your documents neatly organized. Once you arrive at your destination, there are apps that will help you navigate the city, find Wi-Fi, and translate foreign words on the fly. These apps are useful for all travelers, business and pleasure alike.

But what about apps that are specifically designed for tourists? If you're exploring a new city, you might want a little more than just an offline maps app and some handy phrases, after all. Check out these tourist-friendly apps if you want to get the most out your next vacation.  

Sample the local cuisine

Eating delicious food is one of the best parts of traveling, but it's not always easy to find a restaurant that suits your needs.

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No matter where you go, you're likely to find plenty of Yelp reviews.

For a comprehensive list of local hotspots, Yelp is the gold standard, no matter where you are in the world. The Yelp app uses your phone's GPS to locate restaurants, cafes, bars, and other businesses (such as stores and museums) near you. Though you'll need an Internet connection to browse Yelp's reviews, you should be able to use your GPS without racking up any charges. Yelp is mainly used by English speakers, and you can scour reviews for info on whether an establishment is tourist-friendly, check out photos of the storefront and menu, and even order in (in certain cities) directly from the app.

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Don't know what you're in the mood for? Foodspotting can help you decide.

If you're not sure exactly what you're craving, Yelp might not be that helpful. Instead, you might want to turn to Foodspotting, a free restaurant-finding app that focuses on individual dishes rather than the entire menu. Like Yelp, Foodspotting uses your phone's GPS to locate nearby restaurants. But instead of displaying a list of restaurants sorted by name or price, Foodspotting shows appetizing photos of popular dishes near you. If you're not tied to a certain type of cuisine or you're just browsing for inspiration, Foodspotting is a much more visually appealing app. 

Go sight-seeing

Even if you're not a typical tourist, there's probably at least one sight—a landmark, monument, or vista point—that you want to see in the place you're visiting.

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From restaurants to landmarks, TripAdvisor is a must-have for tourists.

If you're not sure where to start, the TripAdvisor app is a good bet. The app features a section called "Things to Do" where you'll find user-uploaded photos and reviews of a variety of tourist attractions. While other travel and tourism apps (including Yelp) tend to focus on businesses, TripAdvisor features a variety of different types of attractions. You'll find reviews of national parks, nature reserves, statues and monuments, and other major points of interest. The app also features links to paid touristy activities, such as walking tours and amusement parks.

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Museums of the World can help you find interesting, lesser-known stops.

If you're more of an indoor explorer, you'll find thousands of museums in the Museums of the World app. Not only does this app feature the interesting, off-the-beaten path museums (it's not just modern art and natural history), it also offers up-to-date information on upcoming events, temporary and permanent exhibitions, and interactive activities (such as workshops and lectures) that you can attend. And for U.K. tourists, there's even a special U.K.-specific version.

Plan a day trip

Maybe there's more than one attraction you want to see. In fact, maybe there are several, and maybe you're the kind of person who likes to plan out your day (or even your week) for the most optimal tourism experience. You're in luck! There are a couple of apps that can help you find a pre-planned itinerary or organize your own.

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Culture Trip is sort of like a travel magazine written by locals.

For inspiration, check out Culture Trip. This free app is basically a modern-day travel magazine that highlights local attractions and interesting sights all over the world. Culture Trip's content focuses on culture (arts, music, literature, film, design, food, and history) and is written by locals.

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Catch a local concert or sporting event, and use Musement to find out what's coming up.

Once you're inspired, you can use an app like Musement or Google Trips to plan a detailed itinerary. Musement is a free app that showcases local venues and events, such as concerts, sports games, and outdoor activities, as well as the expected restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Musement is technically available in over 350 cities, but for the most part its content is limited. The app focuses on 25 major cities (several of which are in Italy) with special content. For the highlighted cities, you'll find things like pre-planned itineraries (e.g. "24 hours in LA") and curated lists (e.g. "LA for the kids"), as well as discounted tickets for some of the advertised events and venues.

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Google Trips combines your travel info like flights together with tourist activities.

Google Trips combines travel logistics with touristy exploration. The Trips app connects to your Gmail account to pull flight and hotel info, and then uses that info to create customized itineraries for you based on things like how long you'll be on vacation and which days you'll be traveling. The Trips app also lets you create your own itineraries by dropping favorited locations and landmarks onto one map—the app will tell you how long you'll need to zip between locations and whether your timeline looks feasible.

Break out the guidebook

You're probably not carrying an actual guidebook around with you, because that would make you look like a tourist (and an easy target for thieves). And also, because it's 2017 and you've got a smartphone.

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Time Out is like a guidebook on your phone.

Want a little more info on the events and the restaurants you're patronizing? Check out the Time Out: Discover your city app for a free guidebook experience. The Time Out app offers city guides for over 40 different cities, with a focus on things to do. Each city guide features a "what's happening this week" section where you'll find info on events happening around the city such as concerts, festivals, and art exhibits. It's perhaps not a typical guidebook experience (there's no info on landmarks or the history of the city), but it's more put-together than user-based review apps.

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Tripwolf lets you buy travel guides in multiple languages.

If you're looking for a more typical guidebook experience and you're willing to pay, Tripwolf offers over 600 travel guides with premium content (including photos and insider tips) from Fodor's Travel and Marco Polo, plus additional information sourced from Wikipedia, Yelp, and Foursquare. The app also includes a trip planner and offline maps (with important attractions, restaurants, and hotels marked). The tripwolf app is free, but the guides cost $2 apiece or $20 for all 600.

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