Aug 12, 2022, Business

Tourism apps ideas – which ones are worth digging into

John Oxley Business Consultant
A light bulb that illuminates
Humankind has always had an urge to travel since the dawn of time, to reach new pastures and places. They traveled for specific purposes, very rarely for enlightenment.
Travel has become a hobby of sorts, with people creating bucket lists of places they would like to see, or simply to escape from normal reality for a while.

The tourism industry was created to service these needs, starting way back in the 1840’s with Thomas Cook, who founded the first travel agency.

Since 2009, developing a travel app has become more and more popular with software companies, and there is an abundance of them on the market now.

In recent years, technology trends have kicked off some top mobile app ideas for smartphone users, and the travel and tourism industry has flourished by adding travel apps to its armoury.

Travel app development is giving the travel industry a huge boost, and app users now enjoy the ability to determine where and when they wish to go on vacation without going to a bricks and mortar travel agency.

Companies involved in the travel industry are thinking up new travel app ideas and turning them into working models to improve customer experience.

Smartphone users prefer a clean UX and ease of use for mobile apps, and travel app development companies have to respond to those demands.

Using web app development, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all highly popular with travellers, behave like mobile apps. But they are actually dynamic websites that allow user interaction.

Sometimes the best travel app ideas are the simplest, and there is no need to re-invent the wheel. They are always available to perform their tasks, whenever the user wishes.

No need to rush to the travel agency in the lunch hour!

The business processes behind travel mobile app development have already been explained in a previous article

But what comes next? Are we running out of ideas? I don’t think so, and here are some corkers for future travel mobile app development for 2022 and beyond.

The Eureka moment

It’s a great feeling when you find a solution to a problem, or are able to give assistance to those who need it, and innovative travel mobile apps are perfect for providing helpful information to a tourist, such as a handy currency converter or a language translation app.

No fuss hotel booking apps

Time is of the essence to most people, and waiting in line or sitting at a travel agent’s desk is just not acceptable anymore.

These travel mobile apps have been developed to helps users find their perfect hotel reservation at the right price, with the added possible bonus of special discounts and coupons.

Making a hotel reservation while sitting at home is a considerable time saver and stress free too.

Some venues have tapped into the selling power of virtual reality, where potential customers can view hotel rooms and amenities on their smartphones to get an idea of what the hotel offers before they make a booking.

Language translation app

One of the problems of travelling is the language gap. Signs, menus and normal interactions with locals are virtually impossible unless users have a version of this travel app.

It’s down to individual preference, but in addition to the standard Google and Microsoft variants, there are some apps, such as Reverso, that provide context as well as translation, a useful extra for more formal interactions in the field of travel and tourism.

Taking a photo of the menu in a small restaurant and then translating it saves a lot of time and awkward moments. Not all food places will have their menus in English.

Audio guide app

Some travellers prefer to do everything themselves, and they run the risk of not completely enjoying a visit to a museum or gallery without using a tour guide.

There are mobile apps now that provide a running commentary at selected venues, and although they are fairly new on the travel app market, the areas supported are growing daily.

Some of the app users in their reviews say that the audio guide is a brilliant travel app idea and they can ‘do the trip’ using a phone map before actually entering the venue.

Car and bike rental app

In some holiday destinations, local public transport is sadly lacking, and the introduction of a car and bike rental app is greatly appreciated.

If a traveller is comfortable with the road rules and driving habits of the local people, it is a great way to explore the outer reaches and delights of any destination.

Getting to a particular location is easy with a rental and GPS, and the length of a visit is not controlled by outside influences. And the GPS app will allow users to avoid using the same route on the way back if preferred for a more circular trip.

Special niche travellers app

Solo travellers and adventurists make up a small percentage of vacationers at the moment, but market research shows this number will increase over the next few years, particularly in the asia pacific region with scuba diving centres dotted around.

Europe and the USA, the largest tourist region in the world, have established centres for trekking, camping and other outdoor activities, such as white water rafting and hot air balloon trips.

There are only a few travel mobile apps that cater to this type of tourism at the moment, but they are growing in popularity as they offer a self service option with tips from other travelers.

I would expect this particular market to expand over the next few years as more will choose the adventure travel route.

Baggage packing app

This is a great app idea that takes all the worry of packing the right gear away from the user.

Simply enter the destination, type of holiday and dates, and the travel app will give you suggestions to pack the most useful things.

The app can be customised by the user to add or remove certain objects, but, although a really useful addition to a smartphone, it doesn’t actually pack for you. Perhaps in the future? Are you listening, tourism industry?

City tour guide app

One of the newest tourism app ideas is a personal guide for a tour. Before this travel app came along, tourists were bound to a group tour, the sort with the tour guide holding up an umbrella for visibility.

Using this mobile app, a tourist can choose a personal tour guide to show the sights of the city. Depending on the preferences, these sights can be historical, cultural or even ‘dark tourism’ tours to visit the underbelly of the city.

The personal guide will also be able to explain local shopping trends and places to get good bargains.

Sea and inland waterway app

As a peaceful, all inclusive vacation, ocean and sea-going cruises are holding their popularity with the more mature vacation group.

Whether it consists of a five city tour of the Baltic, or island hopping in Caribbean, a cruise is a delightful way to relax and soak up the fresh air.

There has also been a quiet increase in inland waterway tourism, taking smaller barges or motorboats along canals and rivers.

Travel apps have been developed to give tourists a wide range of choice of water-based travel, and some of the offerings are simply stunning.

Kids friendly places app

Family vacations have traditionally been of the all-inclusive variety, the whole package in one resort. But there are options now that offer alternate destinations based around how kids friendly they are.

A family vacation is primarily for the children, with the parents simply enjoying a break from normal life. For the kids, it’s an adventure that will make memories.

Travel apps with an emphasis on children’s activities and amusement parks are gaining in popularity and providing a great service for the parents, who will also get to visit interesting attractions.

There are travel forums on any social media platform that give suggestions, tips and reviews.

Local public transportation app

Wandering around an unfamiliar city is no fun, unless a traveller has boundless energy and is inquisitive.

A travel app that helps provide detailed information on local transportation is vital to those travellers who choose not to drive in an unknown city that has different traffic rules and styles of driving.

With transportation apps, people are able to make time saving journeys with departure and arrival times clearly indicated alongside locations of bus stations.

Best of all, users have real time access to delays and traffic jams through text messages and push notifications.

Accessing local public transport using the travel mobile app is easy, and many cities have a bus ticket booking app for advance purchase, either singular or a three day pass to save money.

Often included in these mobile apps is an in app feature of intercity rail queries with train routes and ticket availability.

Most reviews of these types of travel apps suggest that they are the right idea for travel destinations.

Charging stations app

In the modern world of electric vehicles and with everything running on batteries, it is prudent to know where to top up the power.

Much like road trip apps that give precise locations of fuel stops, mechanics and accommodation solutions, the location of charging stations and their operating times is an important factor of an electric vehicle hire, and makes for an innovative mobile app.

Not only electric vehicles, but also smartphones need a boost sometimes during the day. Other than carrying a power bank around, wouldn’t it be nice to know where there are cafes that provide mini charging stations while the user is enjoying a relaxing coffee?

Weather forecast app

Part of a daily morning routine for most is to check the weather forecast on their phones, and it doesn’t change just because they are on holiday.

In fact it becomes much more important for the mobile app to provide information at the location.

Real time access to sudden environmental changes allows people to plan their days around the weather.

Cloudy and overcast tomorrow? Plan a trip to a museum or art gallery, or find an indoor venue that caters for the whole family, such as entertainment hubs.

Flight booking app

It is necessary to include this type of travel app as it is key to overseas travelling. Most of the travel industry leaders incorporate a flight booking feature into their application, but sometimes they are not the best choice for finding the right flight at the right price.

There are specialist travel apps that scour the flight booking metaverse to deliver the best prices, and that is their only job.

A successful business in this field would be partnered with the leading providers, understanding the different airline policies and any impact they might cause.

Sometimes it seems that flight prices go up the more times you check them, but that is not really the case. There are a bunch of fare classes that airlines assign to each flight, and when one of the lowest classes is sold out, the next higher price is initiated automatically.

Flight pricing is very volatile and changes with every second. There is no perfect system for flight booking, but the specialists come close by highlighting upcoming flights to their members to get the best deal and save money.

Couch surfing app

Many travellers love the idea of throwing themselves into the local culture and lifestyle.

With couch surfing apps, it can be done in many different ways, with no or low cost versions.

AirBnB is one of the most popular apps for this purpose, but there are alternatives that are free and give amazing experiences.

One of the first was Couchsurfer, connecting travellers with people who could offer one or several nights accommodation for free.

It grew exponentially and although the company suffered greatly during the pandemic, it still exists and has over 1 million members online.

Travel apps with a more focussed approach are house and pet sitting, combining a love of travel and free accommodation.

Take, for example, a family with two cats who wish to go on holiday for a week. With careful planning, they can use a house sitting app to arrange for a pet sitter to stay in their house for the duration.

There is very little risk of danger or damage to either parties, as prospective sitters have to be registered online with the app, some with police background checks, and are chosen for their compatibility with the lifestyle of the family.

The travel mobile app offers a chance for house sitters to travel and check out different places, while enjoying a relatively stress free vacation for very little cost.

These travel app ideas appeal to travellers who are recently retired, in addition to adventurists.


Travel mobile app development has produced some amazing opportunities for all types of people, those who wish to go solo or those who prefer organised vacations.

There is nothing really new in the travel app ideas market, as most, if not all areas have been discovered and are being used in the travel business.

In fact, someone actually developed a mobile app that shows where western toilets are available in China, the second largest tourist region!

But there is still plenty of room for innovative improvements to the basics, redefining them for a more focussed option.

Developing a travel app is not cheap, but the end result of producing a trending app for travel and tourism will be the greatest reward.

Whenever a startup takes an established travel app and adds additional features, it benefits the target audience, the travel industry and the developers.

It is an exciting time for the travel app industry, and to see what is introduced next. Travel app development is evolving with the times and demands of the public.