5 Free Apps For The Best Summer Vacation Ever

Whether you’re traveling across the country or the world, these apps help make the trip more fun.


This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer vacation season. Lucky for you, this week’s edition of Free App Friday can help you plan your summer trip.


As always, while they’re free now, we can’t guarantee how long they’ll last–so don’t wait too long.

Word Lens (Android and iOS)

Let’s start this one off by blowing your mind a little: Point your phone’s camera at text in Word Lens, and it instantly translates from English to Spanish, German, French, Russian, Italian, or Portuguese–and vice versa. It’s smooth, instant, and smart about separating backgrounds from words. It can’t decipher scripty handwriting, but signs and print are no problem.

Quest Visual was recently acquired by Google; this is expected to be a killer Glass app for techie travelers. All language packs are currently free, to celebrate the acquisition.

GateGuru (Android and iOS)


Add your itinerary to GateGuru and it does the rest. The app provides amenity information, maps, weather, tips customized to your airport, TSA security wait estimates, flight alerts and more. Travel stats show how many miles you’ve flown, and where you rank with other users.

This tweet sums up the most basic usefulness of this app:

Viator (Android and iOS)

Whether it’s San Francisco or Bora Bora, everyone wants to travel like a local. Viator offers “insider” deals on tours and activities around the world. It promises to let users “skip the lines” at a discount, and happy reviewers back that claim.

Hipmunk (Android and iOS)


Lots of services help you find and book travel and lodging together. Hipmunk stands apart with alternative options, like Airbnb or Amtrak. With an added twist lets you sort listings by “agony” scores–combinations of price, layovers, and time.

Roadtrippers (Android and iOS)

If the journey is more important to you than the destination, this app takes the road less traveled–but way more fun. Enter your start and end destination, and any destinations you want to hit in between, and let Roadtripper navigate in-app and point out what you missed. Add your discoveries for others to find along the way. It’s 2014; you can do better than the Griswolds.

About the author

Freelance tech, science and culture writer. Find Sam on the Internet: @samleecole.