Take the amount of pre-planning and logistical necessities of taking a trip — and multiply those by a thousand when you're traveling as a family.
Thankfully, technology has come to the rescue with family travel apps that take a lot of the hassle and guesswork out of hitting the road with kids.
From potty locators to offline guides, here are four of the best.
Sit or Squat
If you’ve ever been traveling by car and had to buy coffee or gum just to use a store’s bathroom — or even worse, you had to pull over to the side of a road to let someone in the family answer nature’s call — you’ll love this free app.
Sponsored by Charmin, it uses your phone’s GPS to locate the closest public restrooms. It also tells you whether a bathroom is sanitary, based on ratings and reviews from other users. Clean locations have a green “Sit” rating. Less desirable facilities have a red “Squat” rating. Parents and kids alike will be grateful!
When taking a family vacation, there are tons of little details that matter a lot, like the address of your hotel, the boarding time and airline terminal for your flight, or the confirmation number for your car rental.
The Tripit app streamlines all your travel details into one organized itinerary. You just forward your confirmation emails — from your hotel, airline or car rental company — and Tripit instantly converts them into a single chronological document.
The Tripit app even works without wifi, a bonus for those times when an Internet connection is unavailable. The basic version of Tripit is free, but for $49 a year, the Pro version tracks all your reward points and sends you delay notifications, among other features.
If a Disney vacation is in your family’s future, you’ll definitely want to download the free My Disney Experience app ahead of time. It’s like having a Disney pro with your family at all times, so you don’t waste time and effort in the park.
For example, the app can give you wait times for shows and attractions (no more guessing about when something will start). It will also tell you exactly where and when you can meet Mickey, Minnie and other characters.
You can even make ride reservations or check the menus at Disney restaurants before your family sets off in search of fun or food.
Speaking of food, your family might prefer a certain restaurant chain. Or perhaps you prefer to stay in a specific hotel when you’re traveling.
Triposo works by pulling useful info from sources like Wikipedia, Wikitravel and elsewhere, and bundling everything into a handy offline guide.
Download the data pack for your destination before leaving home, and you’ll have everything from activities, maps and directions to hotels and restaurant info compiled and ready for reference.
When you’re traveling out of the U.S., Triposo provides foreign language phrases, currency conversion, and country information for the location you’re visiting.