8 Essential Family Travel Apps

Ensuring your next family vacation is fun and safe!


Regardless of if you’re family is driving across the continental U.S. or booking a Caribbean cruise, there are numerous travel apps on hand to help you book airline tickets, find hotels, decide on a restaurant, navigate foreign road signs, and even plan your entire vacation itinerary.

There are literally thousands of travel apps out there, but the following eight travel apps are must haves for families in my books. How do I know this? Because my husband and I downloaded them on our very own T-mobile used cell phones and tested them out on our last family vacation—with flying colors I might add…

1. TripAdvisor (Free – for Android and iPhone)

If you’re thinking of booking a hotel or cruise, but just aren’t sold on the website, check out what other travelers who’ve been there have to say. The TripAdvisor app features firsthand, no holds barred reviews, photos, and opinions about hotels, tour companies, attractions, and restaurants. I’ve used TripAdvisor in the past for their relatively reliable, honest reviews (you have to be cautious of fake reviews) of hotels, resorts, and tours before booking various family vacations. And you know what? This app has saved me money and headaches associated with poorly planned travel.

2. Roadtrip Bingo ($0.99 – for iPhone)

If you’re heading on a road trip—by train, bus, or automobile—you’d better have more than a few Disney movies in your arsenal of kids’ entertainment. The Roadtrip Bingo app is a travel specific app that features interactive games. For instance, kids become interactive with their surroundings via road signs, vehicles, animals, etc. Not only will they actually learn something on the journey; they’ll be entertained for hours!

3. TripIt (Free – for Android)

The TripIt app is a lifesaver as far as organizing your travels goes! I’ve used it on various occasions—for both work travel and family vacations. Most often, when you plan a vacation, you end up booking air travel, hotel, car, and travel excursions all from different providers. TripIt takes all of your travel information and organizes it in one handy intuitive itinerary so all of the information is at your finger tips when you need it. You can also share TripIt travel itineraries between business partners and family members so everyone is on the same page!

4. My Little Suitcase (Free – for Android and iPhone)

Family vacations are all about getting the kids involved in the travel action. So why not get them involved in the planning aspects as well? With the My Little Suitcase app, young children get to pack a virtual suitcase (game) with essential travel items, depending on their travel destination (i.e., swim suits and beach balls for beach vacations or binoculars and hiking boots for a rain forest adventure).

5. Yelp (Free – for Android and iPhone)

If you’re looking for the real scoop on restaurants, bars, shopping, or tourist traps waiting for you at your next travel destination then the Yelp app doesn’t disappoint. This app offers firsthand reviews on all of the above. You can search by category (i.e., if you’re looking for a dinner option) and even narrow your search by type (i.e., family eatery, fast food), distance from your hotel (with handy navigational maps), and price point.

6. SitOrSquat – Restroom Finder (Free – for iPhone)

If you travel with kids, it seems that you’re always scrambling to find a bathroom. The SitOrSquat app will point you to the nearest public restroom using the GPS tool on your smart phone. Believe me when I say that this toilet-finding app will be your best ally in a foreign city.

7. Google Maps (Free – for Android and iPhone)

With the Google Maps app you can be confident that your family will never get lost on vacation. This app uses satellite views of your location and lets you navigate unexplored destinations for tourist attractions, shopping, local hot spots, restaurants, and always keeps you on track!

8. Word Lens (Free – for Android and iPhone)

Take the linguistic confusion and danger out of travel with the Word Lens app. This app lets you use the camera in your smart phone to take a photo of foreign signs and provides English translations. You can probably understand the importance of understanding signs that point to things like high tides, sharks, military zones, and falling debris. So even if you don’t speak the language, Word Lens ensures that you travel safely.


Bio: Rachel Barnard is a self-confessed shopaholic and contributing writer for Style Cynics, a site featuring fashion tips and the hottest styles as well as a dose of Hollywood gossip and celebrity buzz.

About the author
Mrs. Hatland is a 30-something married, mom of 7 and the face behind the popular online publication, Motherhood Defined. Known as the Iowa Mom blogger by her local peers and “The Fairy Blogmother” worldwide. She has professional experience in working closely with clients on brand ambassadorships, client outreach services, content creation and creative social media advertising exposure.

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