Planning a group trip? There’s an app for that.
Actually, there are quite a few. They can help you choose dates, plan your travel, book your hotel and even create polls to help bring together the preferences of multiple people. Let these handy travel apps bear the brunt of the hassle when you're planning your next trip with your favourite people.
Travel apps for planning 🧭
An organisational oldie but a goodie
TripIt is a great trip planner app because it’s so simple to use. Just forward your travel confirmation emails to the service and it automatically builds a travel schedule for you and your group. It’ll also tell you exactly when your flight gate opens, when your transport will pick you up, and when you can check into your hotel. All of your reservations are available both on and offline which is handy too.
Great for choosing dates
iOS, Android & online
If you’re sick of the back and forth in group holiday email chains and WhatsApp groups, then Doodle is a great option. It allows you to suggest possible dates within the app, email or iMessage, and then all your mates can take a vote. Running polls is a good way to make a decision fairly without anyone kicking off that they were left out.
Sidestep the chaos of WhatsApp groups & email chains
Like Doodle, but made specifically with group holidays in mind. This app is super useful for creating polls for destinations and budget (and anything else you might need to vote on) rather than just dates. You can also easily gather everyone’s travel information – things like full names, dates of birth and fad diets. Find out more about how packed can help you plan your perfect group holiday.
Travel apps for research 🗺
Best for airfare watching
Probably the biggest flight comparison site out there. Their app helps you find cheap flights from your sofa, with no additional costs or hidden fees. Skyscanner's "everywhere" feature allows you to search destinations by budget and travel timeframe. This is a great way to find destinations you might never have thought of travelling to. You can set up reliable flight alerts and can also compare hotels and car hire options too. Not bad, eh?
Discover exciting things to do from local experts
The Culture Trip app features all the same in-depth travel guides that you'll find on the website. They focus on location-centred stories and must-do tips in over 300 locations worldwide. Plus, their articles are mostly written by local experts who can really give you a flavour for the place you’re going. [jC3] You can also use the My Plans segment to create your own travel plans, and locate restaurants, bars, pubs, and markets in a specific location.
Best for checking reviews and things to do
You can book directly through the app if you want to but what really makes TripAdvisor unique is its customer reviews on airlines, accommodation, food, and activities. You can scroll through the opinions left by real travellers to help you make an informed decision. Also, if you want a laugh, have a look at the photos on the hotel website and compare them to the real-life photos taken by customers. Yeah, we told you. Hilarious.
Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn?
These guys need no introduction. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have used or at least heard of Booking.com. Their app offers a huge number of hotel options and lets you filter by location, dates, the number of guests, whether the hotel has WiFi and many other amenities. All of the hotel reviews on site are verified and often you don’t have to pay ahead of time. Great.
One stop shop for activities and tours
The GetYourGuide app aims to make the holiday activity planning process much easier by having all activities and tours (over 40,000 of them) in one single platform. Wherever you’re going you can find, compare, and book sightseeing tours, attractions, excursions, things to do and fun activities. It’s simple to use and shows clearly the highlights of each tour, and what exactly is included. Once you’ve selected your tour or activity, make the payment and Bob’s your uncle.
Great cars at great prices
Rentalcars.com is the world’s biggest online car rental aggregator and lets you compare deals across tens of thousands of locations. Simply put in your pickup destination, and your pickup and drop off dates and the app compares all the biggest names in car hire. You can manage your bookings on the move and then pick up your car using the in-app voucher. Rentalcars is part of the Booking.com family, so you know it’ll deliver on its promises.
Get from A to B anywhere in the world
Whether you’re after flight, tram, ferry, bus, rideshare or rental car info, Rome2Rio compares and combines thousands of journeys to bring you the estimated price, duration and booking details from over 5000 operators. It’s one of the most popular travel resources for complex trip planning and with good reason.
Travel apps to use while you’re there 🏖
The app for staying connected
Contrary to popular belief this isn’t just an app for sending memes and checking when your ex was last online. It provides instant communication, for free, anywhere in the world. Share live locations with your group and send photos instantly whilst you’re away. If you’re on a stag do, you might want to make sure the evidence is deleted before your flight home…
- 10 people in every WhatsApp group. Are you one of them?
Organise expenses with your friends
This app makes sharing expenses simple. Just fill in the costs (food, shopping, accommodation etc) and the app does the maths for you. Invite your mates to the group so they can log their own expenses and check out what others owe. Anything owed to you is highlighted in green with a (+) sign, and the money that you owe is highlighted in red with a (-). No more handing each other the same fiver back and forth until the end of time.
Planning your route has never been easier
Whilst away, Google Maps will be your best friend. If you’re trying to find the way from your hotel to the hippest bar, you could brave human interaction and ask a local or just follow the expert directions from the app in your pocket. It provides walking, driving, cycling, and public transit directions and also live updates on road conditions, and traffic flow – so you'll never run into unexpected delays. It’s even available offline.
Language like a local
When you’re abroad you’re probably going to need to translate something from a language you don’t understand into a language that you do understand. Grab your phone, head to the app, select the languages in question from the dropdown and then go to town. You can type in what you’re trying to translate, say it into the microphone or, most impressive of all, you can take a photo (of a menu perhaps) and google will translate from the image. Is it 100% accurate? Nah, not really. But it’s good enough to get the gist across.
Location, location, location
The Zenly app proves that location sharing isn’t quite dead. It’s effectively a map that lets you know where exactly your friends and family are at any time. Imagine walking back tipsy from a night out and you suddenly can’t remember which takeaway everyone agreed to meet at. Open the app and tap on a friend’s picture to see exactly where they are. Nifty.
Money made simple
iOS & Android
As the old saying goes, there's no such thing as free money. However, these three mobile banking apps won’t charge you any fees for spending abroad and, unlike most banks, they won’t mark up the exchange rate. Transferring money between the group is simple and you can even set up notifications the second you pay for something or set up warnings if you’re spending too fast.
Electric scooter sharing
Fancy zipping around a new city on an electric scooter? Lime makes this dream a reality in three easy steps. First, open the app’s map to sniff out the nearest available bikes, then scan the code to grab yours and you’re on your way. Plus, there’s no need to find a parking dock – just park on any corner when you’ve arrived at your destination. Great fun on your own but especially with a group.
Addressing the world
This app is handy for those who have a tendency to get lost. What3words essentially points to a very specific location. So, for example, if you find yourself trapped up a mountain somewhere with no signal, you can login to the app and find out your three-word location. Then, one of your group can take that code down and inform the emergency services. It’s a very clever app.
Sleep better, boost confidence and relax
As the name suggests, the point of Calm is to offer users the chance to completely de stress. Open up the app and, if you’re using the free version, pick from seven guided meditation sessions, 10 nature sounds, and 16 music tracks. The premium version opens up a whole host of relaxation content. So, you can finally…just…breathe… Calm can help add a touch of serenity to your holiday.
Fun for all
If anyone watches Ellen DeGeneres, you might have heard of Heads Up but the app for your phone means you can now play with your friends. It’s simple. Pull it up and get your mates together for a game of naming celebrities, singing, and silly accents. All you’ve got to do is guess the word on the card that’s on your head from the clues that your friends are giving you. Add a few drinks and maybe some pizza…an apartment overlooking the ocean and you’ve got the ingredients for one hell of a night.
So there you have it. 20 of the best travel apps that will save you time, money or hassle when it comes to planning your next group holiday. If you're the kind of person who loves planning and organising trips and you think we've missed a great one, please let us know in the comments below or you can fire us a message on WhatsApp or Messenger. We love to hear from fellow trip planning nerds!
If you prefer to avoid hassle completely, get in touch by one of the same methods and one of the packed planners will put together the group trip of a life time for you. You'll be able to share the options we send with your friends and then if you like what you see, everyone pays separately and we handle it 😎