Top 5 summer vacation apps for iPhone

TiPb checks out the best, most must-have apps to take on summer vacation with your iPhone

Top 5 summer vacation apps for iPhone

School's out and it's time for a break from work. Curious which are the absolute best apps and games to take with you on your much deserved summer vacation? Odds are you'll want to share your adventures, brush up on local attractions, and stay connected while you're having fun. Luckily there are tons of apps available in the App Store that makes organizing and sharing your vacation from your iPhone super simple.

Whether you want informational apps for your own use or social apps to share, we've got you covered. Read on for TiPb’s top 10 most recommended, most must-have summer vacation apps to get your started.


For regular everyday check-ins, I typically use Foursquare. But for trips, Gowalla wins hands down. It acts as somewhat of a "digital passport". They offer stamps and pins for completing trips and checking in at certain places (similar to Foursquare badges).

You can also upload pictures and comments on places that you've traveled to. Sometimes you'll pick up items when you check into places. You can either drop them elsewhere for someone else to find (and to become a founder of a place), or you can choose to add them to your pack where they'll permanently stay. I'll typically drop items I've picked up more than one of and save more rare and unique items in my pack.

Gowalla also allows you to share check-ins and pictures to Twitter and Facebook as well which makes it even easier to let your friends and family follow along with your adventures.

Free - iTunes Link


I use Instagram on almost a daily basis but it's especially cool for sharing pictures on vacation. Not only does it upload your images to a plethora of services (Twitter, Facebook, etc) - you can also add all kinds of cool filter effects to your photos before uploading them.

I've always found uploading photos directly to Facebook to be hit or miss. I always use Instagram now. It's fast and connects to all the services I want to share to. The user interface is simple and uploading a photo only takes seconds, which is great when you're constantly on the go and just want to share a quick snapshot.

Free - iTunes Link


While you may have already loaded some GPS and navigation apps, you'll also want to make sure you have additional information about certain places. TripAdvisor is a great app to find out about hotels and attractions. You can read and write reviews straight from the app. I know we've saved ourselves some heartache by checking user reviews for certain hotels and restaurants before making our decision.

It'll work regardless where you're at so this is a great one to have on board for virtually any type of trip. And don't forget to write reviews for future travelers as well!

Free - iTunes Link

Beautiful Planet HD

No matter where you're traveling, Beautiful Planet has tons of pictures, facts, and descriptions of the most amazing travel destinations on Earth. I've found a lot of really cool destinations just by browsing through the app in my spare time. While on vacation, you can not only learn about the places you're visiting, but find other really cool areas to check out.

This app is perfect for vacationers that want to spend a lot more time outdoors than they do indoors. I also recommend this to travelers who don't necessarily have a strict itinerary and really want to spend more time exploring than anything else.

$1.99 - iTunes Link

Navigation and/or information apps

No matter where you're going, some type of GPS app should be on the top of your list. I personally prefer Garmin StreetPilot when I travel but you'll want to pick the GPS app that covers the areas your traveling to. That's why I'm not picking a technical "favorite" for this category. What you will want to use will differ based on where you're going. Just pick one that covers the area you're traveling to the best.

You can also look at specified navigation apps as well. I live on a lake and love the water, so I picked up an app called Marine&Lakes. These types of navigation apps are great for specified areas and a lot of times contain attractions or areas that you'd never otherwise discover.

Prices will vary depending what apps you choose to use.

Your top apps?

So there you have them, our top 10 best iPhone 4 apps to get you started. Be sure to check out our Picks of the Week and iPhone App and Games Forum for more recommendations, and if we missed any of your favorites leave them in the comments below!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Top 5 summer vacation apps for iPhone


trippit is amazing free and interfaces with a website so you can add edit finish a itinerary before you leave on your phone or a computer. Trip journal is a cool way of logging a trip and saves pics to camera roll so you have backups also has a cool flyby in the google export it can do that includes pics and is way cool. i also prefer tomtom gps as i can navigate back to places i took pics at which is really handy and the maps are on the device so reception doesnt matter and i can turn the phone part off if i want.

One thing to add about Gowalla: The app can check you into Foursquare as well. That's why I prefer the Gowalla app to the Foursquare app. It'll check ou into both at once.

My favorite vacation app? The off button. Seriously, you're on vacation. Turn the damn phone off and look around.
Personally, in 3 weeks I will be camping about 10 miles from Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. I f you've ever been able to enjoy the majesty of the Black Hills you'll understand how any technology simply ruins the experience.

TripAdvisor has to be one of the best planning apps I have ever used and it has got a lot of features that make getting the organization aspect complete. I always like to have fun in every part of my trip even the airports, which are always my least favorite part of traveling, and Instagram is an awesome app if you need something fun during delays. Dish Remote Access is another free app I have come to enjoy in airports because if you are watching a movie you are not thinking about the chaos around you. I am in college but I need a part-time job to help pay for my education so I am working at Dish to help my parents with the cost. When I learned the Dish sling adapter was free my parents got one and hooked it up to their DVR. This summer’s trip is taking me to France, which is so exciting, and I will have all my parents programming live streaming to my phone the whole time for airport boredom. I am really looking forward to using the Beautiful planet app as I know that is going to come in handy in Paris.