10 Must-Have Apps for Travelers

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

What are the most popular apps for travelers? Which apps should you definitely have on your smartphone when you’re planning or booking a trip? Which ones will still be useful once you get home again?

This summer, mobile analytics firm App Annie began indexing the top apps in the Travel & Transportation category to see which apps are most popular among travel-minded Android and iOS users. Beginning in June, App Annie looked at the top apps in the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. While the June report looked at the category as a whole and divided apps into categories of Airline, Hotel & Lodging, Ground Transportation, and Aggregator, the July report focused on the Hotel & Lodging category, a specific subset of travel and transportation apps. The reports measure the most popular apps by number of downloads across Android and iOS, and draw on App Annie’s tracking of 60 billion app downloads.

As the mobile analytics firm notes, the travel industry has historically been slow to embrace technological advances, but now that tradition is changing to keep up with the market. “Mobile devices are quickly becoming the focal point of travel planning,” the June report notes. “Millennials, who will soon make up the lion’s share of travel spending, have the highest levels of smartphone penetration in the U.S. and are the most likely to use mobile apps to enhance their travel experiences.” 

In June, sharing economy apps like Lyft and Uber and public transit apps like HopStop Transit and Moovit landed in the top ten ground transportation apps. Similarly, Airbnb landed squarely at the top of the list of most-downloaded hotel and lodging apps in June, and five of the top ten overall travel and transportation apps were aggregators (think Hotels.com, Expedia, and TripAdvisor). Additionally, App Annie’s June results for the top seven airlines by app downloads exactly mirrored the top seven airlines by domestic revenue passenger mile with apps by Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, and US Airways at the top of the list. In the firm’s July report, App Annie paid particular attention to apps in the hotel and lodging category, because downloads of apps in that category grew by more than 30 percent with apps by Airbnb, Marriott International, Hilton HHonors, and HomeAway in the lead.

So what are the most popular travel and transportation apps that you should consider downloading? Let’s look at App Annie’s July results for the most popular travel and transportation apps. (These are the apps with the highest number of downloads across iOS and Android.) With these popular apps, your smartphone may be the only tool you need to plan and book your next getaway — or make exploring your own city a little more fun.