Gone are the days when traditional travel agents ruled the tourism market, and while travel guides are indispensible when you don't have internet access, today's travelers can usually rely heavily on their smartphones for just about everything. Staying up to date on the latest mobile trends is a must for any savvy traveler. Sure, the iTunes store is already oversaturated with apps, but there are some really good ones you should keep an eye on in 2014.
Unless you're embarking on a solo trip around the globe, you're probably going to be searching for flights and hotels with a partner or group of friends. Instead of sitting next to your BFF and searching for deals simultaneously, Flights with Friends allows users to book airfare and accommodations for large groups. It's a lot easier than booking one flight and telling the rest of your party to do the same. Users can chat with each other, sort through options, and vote before making their selection.
Ever booked a hotel room only to discover that you can't actually travel during those dates? Somewhat like a StubHub for hotel rooms, this website (with an app coming soon) allows users to list their rooms on the website at a discounted rate instead of losing out completely on a nonrefundable hotel stay. This is obviously ideal for last-minute travelers looking to score a major deal on a hotel, and for buyers looking to earn some of their money back.
Hailing a taxi during rush hour in New York is troublesome enough, and when you're in an unfamiliar city it's even more of a pain. Hailo is a quick way to hail a cab without actually hailing. Basically, users traveling in major cities like London, Dublin, Toronto, and Tokyo can call a taxi with just two clicks. The app has a built-in GPS so you can track your ride and when you've reached your destination, no need to pay in cash. Users are charged within the app and receive an email receipt.
This clever app has already been acquired by Facebook and I'm guessing its popularity will continue to soar in 2014. The Onavo project has a few separate apps to choose from. For example, the Onavo Extend works to shrink the amount of data used during a trip by routing it through their own servers. Onavo Count keeps tabs on how you are using that data. Instead of receiving a shocking bill post-trip, at least you'll have a good idea of what you owe.
Targeted toward young professionals, this is a one-stop shop for finding a destination's most popular and trendy hotels, bars, and nightclubs. Right now there are six major cities represented: Montreal, Toronto, New York, Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. The app just launched though, so more cities will be added soon. Users can browse through different venues and view menus, prices, recommended attire, and other helpful info to get them through the door.
For anyone who gets homesick, Track My Tour will create a fun way to stay in touch with friends and family. After downloading the app, users can create a map and share it with their loved ones back home. Along the way, users mark up the map with photos of all the different sights and attractions visited. It works as a real-time travel journal, and once you're back at home it sort of evolves into an online scrapbook of all your amazing adventures.
Image: Lonely Planet/Facebook