As a snowbird, you travel between homes in different regions in the country (or between countries) at least a few times each year.
You probably also take plenty of local “road trips” too.
Did you know there are many great travel apps you can take advantage of when you're on the go?
These mobile apps are perfect for keeping up with what's happening where you are right now and for planning out your annual snowbird migration or next travel adventure.
Great Apps for Traveling Snowbirds
The apps on our list here can help you get where you're going and find great places to stop along the way.
Some can even help you save money while you're away from home!
National Park Service App and State Park Apps
The free NPS App is the official government app for more than 400 national parks. It's available to download on the App Store and Google Play.
Newly created by the NPS staff, the app has interactive maps, self-guided tours of park attractions, accessibility information, park amenities, passport stamp locations, fees, visitor center hours, and more.
It's a work in progress and constantly being updated by rangers. You can also use the app offline by downloading content.
Many states also have state park apps you can download. For example;
- The Outdoor Florida App boasts it will help you “find new places to play” in its state parks
- The Parks Explorer App will help you find terrific state parks to visit in New York State.
With over 1.5 million reviews since its release in June 2021, the Tripadvisor app rates 4.4/5 stars on Google Play and 4.7/5 stars on the App Store.
There are millions of recent traveler reviews available for you to view on the app. You can use the map feature and search and discover traveler-recommended attractions and destinations. There are also travel guides available with expert tips.
Use the Trips planning tool to save money and book your travel plans through the app.
You might consider Tripadvisor Plus too. It's a travel membership option that currently costs $99 and unlocks savings on hotels, flights, rental cars, experiences, and more.
Google Maps App
We'd be surprised if you didn't already use Google Maps to find a travel route (or alternate routes!) to your next destination.
With tens of millions of 4+/5 star reviews, this app is a “must have” for many people for both local trips and longer adventures.
With over 200 countries and territories and hundreds of millions of businesses and destinations in the world mapped, you'll likely be able to use Google Maps anywhere you go.
The real-time GPS navigation and traffic/transit information help you get to your destination as quickly (and safely) as possible.
Google Maps allows you to see street views and even has indoor maps of some destinations. You can also use Google Maps offline for those times when you won't have access to the internet.
If you've come out of an event or a shopping plaza and struggled to find your car, consider saving your parking location in Google Maps.
Just tap the blue dot that shows your current spot in the app, hit “save your parking,” and use the walking directions on the app to get back to your vehicle.
iExit Interstate Exit Guide
Another great app to have on your travels is iExit. This highly-rated app helps you find the best gas stations, food, lodging, and more along the Interstate.
The app determines your location on an Interstate and gives you specific information about the services at upcoming exits.
The app allows you to search for your favorite places, but it also suggests businesses based on reviews from customers. Another bonus? It lets you know how far it is to the next rest area on your route.
Comments from travelers who've reviewed the app include:
“I don't think I've downloaded a more practical app than iExit and Google Maps with navigator.”
“This is an essential must have tool for any interstate travel. It's simple and provides a solution to the “search along route” gap that many GPS navigation systems don't do well.”
AAA (American Automobile Association) Mobile App
Tens of thousands of people (members and non-members) use the AAA Mobile app and its TripTik® Travel Planner for trip planning. In addition to maps, the digital travel guides suggest attractions to see and activities to do at thousands of destinations.
The eTourBooks are available for over 100 destinations.
In addition, the AAA Mobile app will help save you money by helping you find stations with low gas prices, AAA approved auto repair shops, and AAA office locations.
Research AAA approved hotels and restaurants and book hotel and car rentals in the app. And use the app to request roadside assistance if you're a current AAA member.
You can also add a scannable AAA membership card to your Passbook feature and share saved trips across your devices. AAA members also receive discounts at over 164,000 locations.
If you're looking for an easy-to-use app to book discounted stays at hotels, download the Hotels.com App.
You'll get Secret Price offers up to 40% off and app-exclusive offers such as the current offer of saving 10% when you use Apply Pay. The “Deals for Tonight” feature also offers great deals for last-minute bookings.
You can filter features to help you find the perfect hotel to meet your needs and even access your bookings offline.
Plus you'll earn a stamp for every night you stay – even when you've made reservations for someone else. After ten stays, you'll have enough stamps to earn a reward night.
By having the Airbnb App downloaded on your phone, you'll open up more opportunities for rental properties as you travel.
From your phone, you can search for properties and save them for various locations. Then, you can book your desired listing on their secure payment platform and communicate with the host as you travel.
If you look at reviews, some recent complaints are about updates to the app that are problematic. But with millions of downloads, the app still has ratings of 4.8/5 on the App Store and 4.5/5 on Google Play.
Lyft & Uber Apps
With the on-demand apps, you can choose your route and the type of vehicle to travel in (when available).
You can get a fare estimate by entering pick-up and drop-off destinations in the app before you leave home.
Both Lyft and Uber show approximate wait times for rides and have in-app safety features to help protect you and ensure stress-free rides.
Other Apps to Have Ready When You Travel
While numerous apps are helpful as you plan a trip and for your days of travel, other apps help when things don't go as planned.
For example, if your flight gets delayed or your car breaks down, some apps can help you pass the time or deal with the stressful situation you're encountering.
If you enjoy Netflix, download the app and catch a few shows of a favorite series or watch a movie or two until your travel situation resolves.
The free Libby app allows you to access ebooks, digital audiobooks, and other media from your public library. You can stream titles on your cellular device or use Wi-Fi, and you can also download material and use it offline.
Give the UCLA Mindful App a try if mindfulness meditation will help you when you're traveling.
According to the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, “research shows mindfulness can help manage stress-related physical conditions, reduce anxiety and depression, cultivate positive emotions, and help improve overall physical health and well-being.”
Finally, check if your insurance companies from health to home and auto have apps. This way, you'll have easy access to all your insurance policy and coverage information on the go.
For example, if your health insurance company has an app, it may help you find medical services on the road. One from Gia by MVP Health Care is available 24/7 by mobile app.
The Gia App walks you through a health assessment and refers you to the proper provider for medical coverage – either virtually or in person, no matter your location.
Whether you've left the sandy beaches and warm weather of the south to head north, or you're heading south to find vacation homes at popular tourist destinations, travel is a part of the snowbird lifestyle.
Add this list of travel apps to your smartphone and file of resources for snowbirds to make chasing the sun and fun a little bit easier!
What are some “must have” apps you use when traveling? Share in the comments!