Want an easy way to keep track of details, choose activities, or share photos on your next family trip? All that and more is just an app away with these cool tools, which turn your smartphone into the ultimate travel agent. 

family road trip
Credit: Mostovyi Sergii Igorevich/Shutterstock


TripIt: This app automatically combines details plucked from your confirmation e-mails to create a single vacation itinerary that's accessible from any device. It also allows you to share travel plans via e-mail or social media, and to securely store data from IDs and passports. Free; iOS and Android

Packing Pro: Create customized packing and to-do lists for every family member (including pets!). Set alerts, mark off completed tasks, and share up-to-date information among devices. Extensive sample lists and a bevy of special features make this a go-to planner for any trip. Super-organized types, watch out: It's addictive! $3; iOS

USA Rest Stops: A great tool for planning ahead, this app lets you search nationwide by state and highway number to find the rest areas (including amenities) that are on your route. Free; iOS and Android


Localscope: You'll get instant access to a host of search engines and social-media sites with reviews, ratings, descriptions, directions, and links for nearby attractions and amenities—all in one click. Save results to your contacts, share links and locations, set reminders, and more. $3; iOS

Viator Tours & Activities: Viator lets you find and arrange organized tours in popular hot spots with a few quick clicks. Filter search results by location, tour type, or hotel pickup options; see reviews, schedules, and prices, and book instantly. Free; iOS and Android

Oh, Ranger! Parkfinder: Use this database of parks and public lands to zero in on places to play anywhere in the country. Choose your favorite activities or facilities (swimming, playground, wildlife watching, etc.), and search by location for details. Free; iOS and Android 


360 Panorama: Take panoramas to a whole new level with this fun photo tool, which automatically snaps and stitches together shots as you turn, creating a dynamic 360-degree image. Add a comment and share it via e-mail or social media. $2; iOS

Postagram: This service lets you send custom postcards right from your smartphone. Simply snap a photo, type a personal message, and choose a recipient from your contacts. Postagram does the rest: printing and mailing a real paper card. Free to download, $1 per card to U.S. addresses, $2 international; iOS and Android

Book Creator: Easily combine photos, videos, and sound clips with word balloons, text, and illustrations to create shareable e-books of your trip. Upload finished books to the cloud, where friends and family can view them. $5; iPad and Android

Family Fun