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7 Best (Free) Travel Apps

May 31, 2016
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Traveling brings all sorts of memorable experiences, but the headache of booking your stay doesn’t have to be one of them.

That’s because nowadays your smartphone can be your travel agent, your deal finder, your agenda setter, your camera, your budget and just about anything else. Save yourself time and effort with these seven free travel apps that will carry you through your entire journey.

trail-wallet1. Budget for your getaway: Trail Wallet

The first smart financial move of any trip is deciding how much you can afford to spend before you spend it. Trail Wallet helps you do just that. It’s a travel budget and expense tracker that allows you to set daily spending limits, then log your expenses as you go. View color-coded charts to see how much you’ve spent on things like accommodations, food, transportation and entertainment. The app is free for the first 25 expense items you log; an unlimited number of items will set you back $4.99.

Download: iOS

2. Plan your trip: TripAdvisor

Know you’re getting time off from work, but haven’t decided where to spend your week in the summer sun? The TripAdvisor app brings you a vast selection of traveler reviews as well as photos taken by travelers (in case those pictures on the hotel website seem a little too polished for reality). Use the opinions of your fellow travel enthusiasts to decide where to go, then compare prices and book your hotel, flight and restaurants. You can leave your own reviews once your vacation is over.

Download: iOS, Android

3. Book your travel: Expedia

Use the Expedia app to book hotels, flights, rental cars, activities, entertainment and more. There are even mobile-exclusive deals available for travelers using the app. It’s also compatible with the Apple Watch.

Download: iOS, Android

» MORE: 7 must-have apps for the Apple Watch

packpoint4. Bring everything you need: PackPoint

Once the research and planning are complete, there’s one more hurdle that stands between you and the boarding gate: packing. Enter PackPoint, a packing list travel companion app. Just input your destination, length of your trip and planned activities. Then PackPoint goes to work, creating a list of everything you need to pack. Aside from actually doing the packing for you (we can dream, right?), this app will make stuffing your suitcase as easy as possible.

Download: iOS, Android

5. Buy cheap gas: GasBuddy

Whether you’re daytripping not far from home, taking a cross-country road trip or journeying somewhere totally new, you’ll likely be doing some driving during the course of your travel, either in your car or a rental. Make sure you aren’t overpaying for gas with the help of GasBuddy, a free app that uses your location to find the cheapest gas in your vicinity. It works in the United States, Canada and Australia.

Download: iOS, Android

6. Share your experiences: Pic Stitch

If you don’t already have photo-editing apps on your phone, before your vacation is an opportune time to start. Pic Stitch is a free collage-maker app that lets you combine all of your favorite vacation shots, add fun borders and apply filters to give your images the perfect lighting. Save your creation to your camera roll or post it on Facebook, Instagram and your other social media accounts to share your whereabouts with friends.

Download: iOS, Android

7. Get the lay of the land: Triposo

The free Triposo download brings you travel recommendations for over 50,000 destinations. Input yours to find suggestions for tours, bars, restaurants and more. Triposo is also unique because it works offline. That means international travelers can use the app without racking up expensive roaming charges.

Download: iOS, Android

While all of these downloads are free, some offer in-app purchases to access certain features.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.