Top 5 travel apps to stay organized on the road

On June 12th, 2015

It’s hard to be organized constantly.

It’s hard when you’re at home. It’s more difficult when you’re on the road, trying to remember where exactly you put that super-important sticky note with the really-super-important booking confirmation number for your hotel.

Thankfully there’s an app for your troubles. I rounded up the top five travel apps I regularly use to stay organized, both on the road and at home.

1. Evernote

iOS // Android // Free

Imagine if your brain could immediately access every website, memory or note you ever encountered. Imagine if you eliminated your wagging Post-It notes, your notebooks crammed with places to see, scribbled recommendations passed along by friends, or the couple last night at the table next to you.

Imagine if you could search those notes by a single word. Or organize them according to a simple yet effective filing system.

Welcome to Evernote: a virtual library of your must-sees and must-dos nicely organized in one place.

Install the app on your phone that automatically syncs to the website. Should something indescribable happen to your phone, panic not. Your entire precious database is secure and easily accessible via the Internet.

Save pages from the web, forward special emails, input notes, capture thoughts and pictures, record voice memos and share all your goodies with friends with a click of the button.

Evernote is my favorite. He keeps my mind organized and clutter-free while planning my greatest adventures.

I used this bad boy to plan multi-city trips, plot our route through Europe, and dream up new adventures. I also use it daily to record recommendations on what to see and where to stay on my next trip.

It serves as my highly organized personal assistant who even prods me to complete my daily to-do list. So I can never forget to check into a flight again.

2. Dropbox

iOS // Android // Free for 2GB

Call it your personal CYA plan. Call it your never-forget-a-document-again plan. Call it your ultimate back-up plan. Call it your storage in the cloud.

Call it what you want, but Dropbox is vital to life on the road. You can access your whole library of files from your smartphone or the slow computer at the Internet cafe down the street. Back up your photos from your iPhone into Dropbox for a complete database of hundreds of sunsets you’ve seen around the world.

Or keep writing, page by page, at the novel you’ve been dreaming of while clacking over train tracks in Siberia. It even saves former drafts of the same document so you can pull that sentence from five drafts ago back to life.

Dropbox holds your music, photos, videos, and files while you explore the world. It’s all organized by folders and as many sub-folders as your little heart desires. And if you drop your phone or computer in a lake or off a helicopter, no big deal. Your virtual world is still safe.

3. TripIt

iOS // Android // Free

Finally, an app that organizes all your convoluted, brilliantly messy flight plans into a nice, neat pile that actually makes sense. And that others — like your grandparents — can understand. It’s a master itinerary, with all your plans, in one place.

My favorite part is the notifications that kindly tell you of gate changes at the airport. (It’s unbelievably empowering to arrive at the airport already knowing your new gate when the airport’s computers haven’t updated yet.) And it reminds you of when to check in for flights.

It’s easy to use. Simply forward your confirmation emails for flights, car rentals, transportation, hotels to The app automatically organizes your plans. When you step off the plane, it gives you directions to your hotel from your current location.

The TripIt Pro version ($4.09/mo) gives you a slew of other helpful, awesome features like syncing plans with your calendar, real-time flight alerts, and finding out when a better seat is available. I use the free version, but have had a couple chances to try out the Pro thanks to TripIt’s generosity in allowing users to limited-time access.

4. TripAdvisor City Guides

iOS // Android // Free

TripAdvisor lets you see how other travelers rate attractions, hotels, and more. But you already knew that.

The better part of TripAdvisor is their maps and City Guides. You can see a map of the city’s transportation system, star favorite places, and navigate your way back to the hostel, even if it’s your first night in the new city.

Use the “point me there” feature to get oriented in the correct direction — very useful if you’re like me, twirling on a sidewalk, trying to figure out which direction is correct. Or ask the app to give you directions to your destination.

My favorite part is reading other travelers’ advice and recommendations. You can quickly get a flavor for the highly touristy areas of a city, so you can skim through them on your way to the meatier, juicier aspects where the locals live.

Best part? It works completely offline.

5. Wi-Fi Finder

iOS // Android // Free

A database of hundreds of spots offering free WiFi around the world.

This app has gotten me out of a pickle once or twice while trying to decipher transit maps in Dublin and when exactly the next bus comes when no timetable is posted.

It’s not always perfect, but it sure helps when you need WiFi and no Starbucks’ free WiFi is in sight.

Laura blogs at Waiting to Be Read where she dishes about awesome books to read, what actors work best as main characters, and why thinking is a dying sport.

Image: Jason Howle (flickr)