By Jonathan Maple
Muze Staff Writer

Barring the standard apps you should already have on your phone or tablet – maps, email and games – here are five apps to make traveling smoother, fun and less costly. All of these apps can be used on Android and IOS devices.

1. Kayak
Kayak, when used in advance of traveling, is a powerful tool for finding great travel deals. The site – www.kayak.com – has a simple interface and searches most of the popular discount travel websites so the user can compare prices and find the best deals. Kayak has maintained its simple elegant interface in its app, and provides the same great features contained on the website. You can now hunt for hotels, rental cars and flights on the go. Users can check out reviews and look at maps of the area while surfing on a smooth and polished interface.

Price: Free

2. Tripit Travel Organizer
Tripit Travel Organizer is the one stop shop of travel itinerary apps. You simply create an account, book your trips and forward all of your confirmation emails to Tripit. Tripit will then compile all the data into a clean and intuitive travel itinerary that can be shared with other users. If you decide to invest in the Tripit Travel Organizer Pro – which cost $3.99 – you will get alerts about changes in flight information, notification if your flight is eligible for refunds and host of VIP privileges with retailers. Whether you are using the free or premium version, Tripit, is a handy app for traveling.

Price: Free or $3.99

3. Yelp
Yelp is a great app to have once you have landed at your destination, or if you are traveling on a road trip. It used the GPS or location information to put together comprehensive list of amenities in your surrounding areas. If you are looking for a restaurant, Yelp will list all the local restaurants by location, and then provide reviews, price ranges and even map it out on an interactive map. Yelp will also provide bars, gas stations, drugstores and even has a “everything” option. This is a wonderful way of exploring new areas, and avoiding going into an unknown area blind.

Price: Free

4. Instagram
Instagram is not an app strictly for traveling, but provides a great value to travelers. You can take pictures and upload them automatically to your social media platform of choice. This lets you document your trip and stay in touch with your friends and family. The app allows you to add Geotags (your GPS location) to your picture, and use basic photo manipulation to enhance your images. This app is great for vacations, and especially road trips.

Price: Free

5. Groupon/Living Social
Groupon and Living Social are online deals apps. They are very similar in nature, but both can be used to find great deals or find something to do. If planning in advance, both apps can be used to find vacation deals – just be sure to read the fine print. Many of the deals listed will be valid for a length of time, but may have blackout dates or exclusions.  You can use these apps while traveling to find great deals on local restaurants (i.e. pay $10 for $25 dollars), discounted entertainment (theater, shows and concerts), and luxury vacation excursions like spa discounts or local city tours. These apps can help make your free time more fun, and help you save money in the process.

Price: Free

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Tags: android, apps, groupon, IOS, Ipad, iphone, kayak, living social, smartphones, tablets, travel, tripit, yelp