The best travel app ideas have been turned into reality after someone with the right knowledge or contacts had a particular problem.
Perhaps they nearly ran out of fuel on a travel journey and really wanted to know the locations of the nearest petrol stations. There are mobile apps for that now.
Or maybe they arrived at a new destination without making a hotel reservation. There’s a travel app for that too.
Such apps pop up regularly, and I wonder if there is a group of expert travelers and other app users sitting around brainstorming the latest technology trends and trying to get the right idea in motion.
All of the mobile apps in this list are already out in the market, some are flourishing and some just bubbling along.
Let’s have a look at some really clever, some quirky, travel app ideas and see what they can do.
Ancestor / heritage app
There was a brilliant piece of marketing done on the 200th anniversary of American Independence. In late 1975, British Airways responded to a drop in American visitors to the UK by posting ‘Come home, all is forgiven’ in the New York Times.
Americans and other travelers wanted to find their roots and the UK travel and tourism industry struggled to handle the numbers.
Moving up to the present day, many people still wish to discover their origins, and travel app developers have created some super PC and mobile apps to help them.
All necessary documents and historical notes can be stored on a mobile phone, complete with personal notes, video and photographs of homes and surviving relatives.
App users can search for ancestors and also their life experiences to complete a history of the family. Accuracy is around 98% on some apps, thanks to the performance of them with local registries.
Local transport app
Many people, when on holiday in foreign countries, like to travel by local public transportation. It’s always an experience, but it can be difficult to work out timetables and drop off points.
Mobile friendly tourist apps can provide detailed information in multiple languages, and will help with all forms of public transport in a city.
These apps also include car sharing, bike rental and ‘must see’ tourist sites of interest. Such an app will tell a user where they have been and where they should go.
And if there is any confusion about prices of tickets to a particular destination, a local public transportation app will show the price using a currency converter and allow you to pay online.
Finally, even though it may be a local app, it will be able to show intercity and interstate routes if the traveler wishes to leave the city for a side trip.
Direct or meandering driving app
As most of the world’s tourism happens in Europe, and with some of the best highways and roads in the world, it should come as no shock that most people prefer to drive to their destination.
Depending on the length of the holiday, there are travel apps that allow the driver to pick the most direct route, or the most scenic. Google maps always gives a driver at least three options, and these can be adjusted by the app user.
GPS based maps can give the holiday driver a new twist on a trip, maybe adding a few hours onto an otherwise boring highway drive. Take the high road down, and the low road back, never the same route twice.
Similar to local transportation apps but on a much larger scale, there are several travel apps that help to plan train routes, giving reviews on the train itself, level of comfort, price and stopovers.
With live updates on train delays and arrivals, a user can make time saving journeys and even look at alternate routes to save money.
Of course, alongside these travel apps comes an online booking system to purchase tickets with any special discounts available.
Jet Lag app
Many people have experienced problems while travelling to distant destinations, crossing over several time zones. Sleep is thrown off and some people have symptoms of nausea and disorientation that can last for days or even weeks after a flight.
Mobile app development has allowed these symptoms to be reduced or removed completely, by altering the circadian clock of the users using a special adjusted schedule of sleep and light prior to departure.
No-one likes to miss a few days of a vacation because of fatigue, so these travel apps can be a real lifesaver for those prone to the symptoms.
Fuel stop app
Originally mainly for the US truckers market, fuel stop or petrol station apps are now appearing in Europe and are a welcome sight.
These travel mobile apps are able to give location, current price of fuel, and whether there are any roadside services, such as repair points, shops, washrooms and restaurant chains available for everyone.
With the emergence of electric vehicles and their differing ranges, it is important to know which fuel stations have charging facilities for EVs.
For the first time road trip traveler, these apps are vital to avoid embarrassing situations as well as paying too much. Gas stations close to country borders will typically be more expensive than those 10-20 minutes away in small towns.
There are only two certain things in life, death and taxes, and the travel industry would prefer that their tourists get to the destination safely and without accident.
That’s where travel insurance steps in, and travel app development has produced a fine set of travel apps for tourists.
Not only do these apps allow instant contact between the unlucky punter and the insurance company to make a swift claim, they also give up to the minute access to the emergency services, numbers to call, and hospitals nearby.
There are some great travel app ideas that allow tourists to take advantage of discounts, various deals and special offers in their location.
By signing up to such an app, shoppers will be in heaven on holiday, because everyone likes a good deal on souvenirs to snap up when they are in the mood.
These types of travel apps send push notifications and text messages relating to local shopping trends and bargain prices.
Popular restaurants app
Searching for a specific style of food in the area is easy with these mobile apps. With traveler reviews giving a description of food and service, or reading travel posts online, will give a foodie a great choice.
The more adventurous folks can check out the latest trends and new ideas in local cuisine and share them on the app or other travel forums.
Social media app
Choose any social media platform and there will be travel enthusiasts photographing their way through their perfect vacation.
New destinations, their hotel room, reviews, other travelers, all feature on a social media app for sharing.
Other app users will delight in their vicarious holidays, and family and friends can keep in touch instantly.
City tour guide app
A tour app is a great thing to have for those travelers who wish to discover what lies beneath the surface of a city. From dark tourism to historical sites, a city tour guide will not only give great entertainment but also some fascinating background to the destination.
Travelers can experience hidden gems that regular visitors will not find. Local cuisine tours are especially popular. Tours remove the worry of finding things to do in a new city.
Children's entertainment app
Whoever had this travel app idea must have had kids. Any vacation with children can be disappointing and stressful if there is nothing to do except ‘grown up’ stuff.
Rather than packing a bunch of table top board games and taking a gameboy, some innovative travel company developed a travel app to find kid-friendly things to do in a destination, and others soon followed.
Everything from amusement parks, to play areas, swimming pools, adventure parks, and restaurants that are child centered are listed on these apps. Updated prices for admission are available, as are opening and closing times and how to get there. Take that stress and shove it!
Travel budget app
A travel app idea that monitors a user’s personal spending during the holiday, so as not to run out of money or break the budget. It’s kind of like a travel payment app that takes a certain amount of pressure off.
Many travelers are on a pretty tight budget without a lot of wiggle room, and a mobile app that keeps track of all outgoings comes in very handy.
Users enter their personal budget for the holiday, including fixed prices such as hotels and meals, and the app helps the user to watch their cash flow. A currency converter built in will change whatever the user spent into their home currency.
You don’t want to be eating instant noodles in the final days to ruin your perfect vacation.
Traveling from point A to point B can be as simple or as complicated as one wishes. Luckily travel mobile app development has produced some seriously good itinerary apps to assist travelers with researching and planning their trip.
These innovative travel app ideas are extremely flexible and all information can be stored in an offline mode in case of a weak network signal or lack of wifi.
Your travel destinations can be saved alongside the calculated time and distance between each one. Users will be able to pick their friends’ brains for the best places to visit and the best way to get there.
On top of all this, there are opportunities to write a personal travel blog to share with others.
A necessary component of any road trip plans is the ability to highlight parking areas. Nothing is worse than driving around and around a city looking for parking spaces.
The app ideas were originally made by a parking garage company, who wanted to inform drivers that safe, patrolled parking was a great stress reducer for visitors, and of course to get a competitive edge over their rivals.
Flight and hotel rooms app
Travel app development has grown so quickly in this particular field that there are literally billions of flight prices and hotels available for online bookings. The travel app industry has realized that consumers are happy to go online and do all their planning themselves.
As a result, travelers can book accommodation and even get special discounts from the app providers. Flights are simple to find too, with every piece of information needed on one screen.
There are added extras to these apps, with some offering deals on car rental and tours. Why pay the full price when you can get a discount without haggling?
We could all do with some help when it comes to packing for a trip. How many items can be squeezed into the suitcase? Sit on it and see if it closes.
Not any more. Simply type in your destination and dates, what you are proposing to do, and where you are going to stay, and the app will give you the weather prediction along with a list of suggestions built up around your input.
You can customize the list, but it won’t let you forget anything. I love the option for washing clothes – if there is a washing machine where you are headed, the app will tell you to remove some garments that will be surplus to requirements, lightening your load.
Airport lounge app
This is a cracking idea for a travel app. If you are fed up with sitting on uncomfortable benches in the public waiting areas, with all the accompanying noise around you, download one of these apps and wait in style in a private lounge.
This kind of mobile app is not completely free, but if you have a long layover in a foreign airport, the app might just be a life saver.
They offer a range of airport experiences, including discounts and upgrades, at airport restaurants and wellness facilities, as well as access to those divine private lounges.
Currency conversion app
I like to call this a language translation app for money. I remember having around 11 million Vietnamese Dong in my wallet on holiday, and I couldn’t get my head around the prices. A quick check on my phone showed it was worth 500 USD.
This travel app is also crucial when you are in front of an exchange office, where you can check the real price before you enter. I wouldn’t leave home without it.
As you can see, there are plenty of travel apps to help people from all over the world get to other places. The choice is overwhelming, and sometimes it is just easier to use the app with the highest reviews on Android or iOS.
Travel app development keeps moving forward, and that group of expert travelers are still brainstorming new app ideas.
How about a travel app that allows similarly minded people to meet on holiday, a different kind of social app? Like internet relay chat, but in person? Someone has probably already thought about it and is developing it right now.
We will just have to wait and see.