Girl on airplane using phone

7 Essential Apps for Your Next Family Vacation (2024)

Planning a trip can be exciting. In fact, researchers have found that most people derive most of their vacation happiness not from the trip itself, but their anticipation of the journey. 

Yet planning can also be stressful, with all the options and decisions and up-front payments. We found eight travel apps that will help you arrange, organize and enjoy your family vacation. They’ll assist with booking accommodations, mapping out itineraries, and even cherishing your memories for years to come. 


Packing can be a pain. PackPoint  takes the guesswork (and forgetfulness) out of packing by letting you create a comprehensive packing list for your entire family. It will automatically suggest a customizable checklist based on the weather at your vacation spot, the length of your trip, and outings you have planned. Everything from toiletries to international travel items like power adapters and vaccination certificates will pop up. It will even remind you to bring an umbrella if the forecast calls for rain. Check off items as you pack, giving you peace of mind that you’re not leaving anything important behind. 


GOWhee bills itself as the app made for parents, by parents. Use the “around me” function to find nearby sites that kids would enjoy, based on crowdsourced opinions. There are more than 30 filters to narrow down your search—including whether a restaurant has a kids’ menu or a hotel has on-site childcare. This app is highly inclusive, with filters related to special needs, such as wheelchair accessibility and sensory-sensitivity. It even provides details about medical providers, babysitters, meet-ups with other GOWhee user parents in your location. The recommendations are placed in chronological order and include photos, offering authentic reviews about their experiences, whether positive or negative. 


Hoptale is a travel journal, scrapbook, and blog all rolled into one app. By using the metadata from your travel photos, such as the date and location that the picture was taken, it organizes it as a keepsake. You can also customize things like a blog, by tracking maps of the places you visited, as well as your itinerary, and adding commentary. With minimal effort on your end, and in a matter of 10 minutes or less, you’ll have a digital scrapbook to remember your family vacation. This is helpful when you want a travel souvenir to look back on or when you want to share your trip with friends and loved ones. Plus, it can also be used as a trip-planning tool by using the explore feed to discover other photos and user-generated itineraries. 


Why settle for the crowds and noise of the regular airport waiting area? LoungeBuddy is THE app for finding pay-as-you-go access to private airport lounges, which often offer free snacks, wifi, and more. It makes the airport experience far more enjoyable, especially if you’re traveling with kids. And it’s useful even if you get lounge access with one of your premium credit cards, since it can cover airports that aren’t included in your existing benefits.


This comprehensive travel app can organize all your travel details—flight reservations, tours, hotel bookings, car rentals, and even restaurant reservations—in one place, no matter what platform you booked on. Simply forward your confirmation booking emails to TripIt. Then, it automatically creates a custom itinerary in the app so you don’t have to organize the information yourself, and auto-syncs with your calendar apps. The app features airport maps, keeps track of all your reward programs, and notifies you of airfare prices dropping after booking. Subscribers can get notified of flight delays, cancellations, and gate changes in real-time, sometimes even before the airlines reach out. TripIt Pro also lets you know if a better airline seat becomes available, 


The Transportation Security Administration’s MyTSA App provides an abundance of useful info about airport security. The searchable “Can I Bring?” database explains what’s permitted (or not) in checked and carry-on baggage. For families traveling with young children or infants, it provides children-specific info like if you can bring breast milk, formula, or medications. It can also notify you about delays and the current weather condition at airports, as well as how busy it will be based on historical data. 


Designed by two women who were frustrated by the lack of lactation and breastfeeding spaces in public areas and bathrooms, Mamava lists thousands of the best places to pump or nurse. Just type in your location and find the nearest one near you, with reviews and intel on amenities like changing tables, power outlets, or a sink. In addition to the communal areas they share on the app, Mamava has thousands of their own self-contained lactation pods. These are available country-wide and you can unlock them easily with the app via Bluetooth. Mamava pods have a table and bench and electrical outlets for breast pumps moms will need, and are big enough to accommodate a mother, her baby, and other children. The app will even tell you if the pod is already in use, saving you time and energy. 

Carrie Ann Back is a Native American travel writer and full-time globetrotter.