Best travel companion apps for iPhone: Foursquare, Airbnb, Duolingo, and more!

Whether you're going on a family vacation or traveling half way around the world on business, these are the very best travel companion apps for iPhone!

Looking for the best iPhone apps to help you travel smarter? Whether you're planning a family vacation or you have to travel frequently for business, there are hundreds of apps available in the App Store that deal with all aspects of travel. Everything from tourist guides to hotel and restaurant finders and more can be found. But if you're only looking for the absolute best travel apps for iPhone, you've come to the right place.


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Best travel companion apps for iPhone: Foursquare

If you could only choose one app to travel with and you asked me what it should be, I'd tell you it should be Foursquare. Sure it's a checkin service but at its core, Foursquare is so much more than that. Actually, Foursquare is full of priceless tidbits and tips from locals. Spending an evening in London but want Thai food? No problem! Foursquare can not only tell you what places are the best, it can give you ratings, tips, hours, and contact information all in one place. It can even route you to Google Maps or Apple Maps for directions if you need them. Any app can recommend popular tourist attractions, but the local tips set Foursquare apart. And you know what they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do!

For those wanting to explore and discover new places to eat and sights to see while traveling that are off the beaten path, look no further than Foursquare.

Google Maps

Best travel companion apps for iPhone: Google Maps

Let's face it, Apple Maps is not perfect, then again no mapping service is. However, Google Maps is arguably one of the best. And for anyone traveling in metropolitan areas, the superb transit directions that Google Maps provides are pretty much unparalleled. No matter where you are on the globe, Google Maps and an internet connection can't be beat.

When it comes to transit maps, or just directions in general, Google Maps is still one of the best.

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TripIt for iPhone and iPad

Best travel companion apps for iPhone: TripIt

If you travel frequently, TripIt is an absolute must have. It's an entire trip organizer all under one roof. While there is a free version of TripIt that can help you stay organized, the Pro version also includes notifications, the ability to track frequent flier miles, and so much more. Don't want to enter things in manually? Not a problem. TripIt gives you an email address to forward all your plans to and it'll auto-fill and populate everything for you. It really doesn't get any simpler than this for frequent travelers.

For seasoned travelers that just need a better way to keep itineraries, hotel checkins, and flights organized in one place, there's nothing better than TripIt.

  • Free w/ ads (some features require a subscription) - Download Now
  • $0.99 w/ no ads (some features require a subscription) - Download Now

Pixter Scanner

Best travel companion apps for iPhone: Pixter

If you're traveling in a foreign country where the main language is not your first language, reading things such as traffic and transit signs can become overwhelming and quickly eat up a lot of time. Enter Pixter Scanner for iPhone. This little gem of an app can snap a photo of any text you'd like and then translate it for you to any given language using optical character recognition. Just choose the language the text is written in and what language you'd like it to translate to.

When traveling to a country whose native language isn't your first language, Pixter can make translating signs and other written content painless.


Best travel companion apps for iPhone: Airbnb

Airbnb lets you book apartments, homes, and flats all over the world. Those that own them aren't big companies, but folks just like you and I. If you want, you can even book a room within a home. Airbnb verifies many of their listings, offers reviews, and lets you communicate with the owner freely. You can also see an availability calendar and manage all your bookings all in one place.

If hotels aren't your thing while traveling, you need Airbnb.

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Hotel Tonight

Best travel companion apps for iPhone: Hotel Tonight

If you're planning a last minute trip, or decided to extend a current one, Hotel Tonight does exactly what it sounds like it would do. It can find you a great deal on a hotel, tonight. Featuring many destinations across North America, Central America, South America, and Europe, Hotel Tonight can provide you deals that you can't get anywhere else. In most cases, you can even book for the night all the way until 2am.

Sometimes we get into a bind and need a hotel room in a pinch. Hotel Tonight can get you the absolute best deal at the last minute.

Google Translate

Best travel companion apps for iPhone: Google Translate

Google Translate currently supports over 80 different languages, and it's completely free. You can type, speak, or write your query and Google Translate will respond in the target language anywhere you have an active data connection. There is also a favorites section within Google Translate that lets you save common phrases you may have to remember which is great for travel to countries where you aren't familiar with the language.

If you're looking for a basic translation app that supports tons of languages, give Google Translate a try.

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Best travel companion apps for iPhone: Duolingo

While Pixter Scanner and iTranslate Voice can help you out of tough language barrier situations, it never hurts to know some of the native language, and the locals will like you even better for it. Duolingo is a language learning app that currently offers lessons in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English. The best part? The lessons are completely free. Not only that, they're fun. You can even compete with your friends in duels. Earn XP to buy cool stuff and unlock all new levels.

If you want to learn a new language, there's no better place to start than with Duolingo.

Your favorite travel and vacation apps for iPhone?

If you rely on your iPhone while traveling, what apps can you not live without? Are there any that have gotten you out of a bind while traveling? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.