Vacations are meant to bring us together, not tear us apart. But tensions can run high when couples explore the world together, especially when it comes to planning, communicating, and navigating in an unfamiliar destination. That's where apps can help. Your phone may not be able to solve all your relationship issues, but these seven travel apps offer the cool-headed objectivity of third-party advice—no therapy required.
Don't argue over whose route is best; instead, let Waze decide. Because here's the thing: Waze is right way more often than either of you. By using real-time crowd-sourced traffic data, and an active network of drivers reporting accidents, police traps, and road hazards, Waze offers efficient and sometimes unusual driving routes, mostly in the U.S. but also in Europe and Central and South America.
Platforms: iOS, Android, Amazon
Never again debate who has the copy of the hotel reservation or the car rental booking. Instead, centralize and share your master itinerary with TripIt. Any time you book a new travel service, simply forward your plans to your TripIt account, and then both you and your partner can track your entire trip on your phones. The paid Pro version allows you to track airfare price drops, keep tabs on better seat availability, and stay up to date on your airfare points.
Cost: Basic version free; TripIt Pro $49/year
Platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Amazon
Poor communication can spell doom for a relationship, but it's a fact of life when you're traveling in a place where you don't speak the language. To minimize misunderstandings, enlist the help of a translation app like Google Translate. Translating on the fly adds a layer of complication to interactions with locals, but it's far easier (and more effective) than miming, and it should dramatically cut down on interactions that end in a haze of confusion. Plus, moving competently through unfamiliar places will reduce tensions and allow you and your partner to enjoy the adventure more.
Platforms: iOS, Android
Imagine a world in which you don't have to disagree with your significant other about directions. Then make it a reality by downloading a non-Wi-Fi-dependent city map so that, even when you don't have data on your phone, you can have access to smart maps and dynamic directions. Apps like Citymaps2go and HERE Maps mean you won't find yourself lost or in a lengthy and pointless debate about which one of you thought it was a good idea to take that last left turn.
Cost: Citymaps2go basic version free; Citymaps2go Pro $6.99 for iOs and $5.99 for Android.
Platforms: Citymaps2go iOS (free and Pro), Android (free and Pro); HERE Maps iOS and Android
RELATED: 10 Best Apps for Road Trips
Video and Messaging Apps
Being away from your partner can be far worse than weathering the bumps of traveling together. And staying in touch can be a challenge, especially if your phone plan doesn't offer decent rates for your destination. The cheap and easy way to stay connected when you're away from home is via a Wi-Fi based text or calling app. Wi-Fi video calling on Skype is free, as is Wi-Fi-based messaging via WhatsApp. Facetime is another popular option if both people have iOS devices. In both cases, both you and your partner will need the app to use it for free.
Platforms: Skype: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Amazon; Facetime: iOS; WhatsApp: iOs, Android, Blackberry
For most couples, getting stuck somewhere in transit comes with a lot of baggage. The wrench in your travel works means extra expenses, rebooking hassles, and missed commitments at your destination. Rebound faster by keeping a last-minute hotel booking app like HotelTonight at the ready. Next time you find yourself waiting out a delay or stranded after missing a connecting flight, you'll be ready to act fast and save yourself and your partner the discomfort of sleeping at the airport.
Platforms: iOS, Android
Remove one more stressor on your trip by outsourcing currency calculations (at least until you've got the hang of it), not to your partner but to your phone. The XE Currency app is hugely popular (it has been downloaded more than 40 million times) and offers live exchange rates. It also stores the last updated rate so you can get a currency estimate even if you don't have Internet access.
Cost: Free or $1.99 to $2.79 for Pro
Platforms: iOs (Free and Pro), Android (Free and Pro)
More from SmarterTravel:
- Moral Dilemmas: Should You Do These Things While Traveling?
- How to Have a Hassle-Free Experience at the Airport
- 10 Signs You're a Horrible Traveler
Christine Sarkis loves traveling with her husband, and regularly uses all of these apps. Follow her on Twitter @ChristineSarkis and Instagram @postcartography for more advice about making every vacation the best vacation.