9 Must-Download Travel Apps for Your Trip to San Francisco

Make the most of your visit with these savvy digital tools.

With frequent Google Glass sightings, countless billboards for cloud-based solutions and the nation’s biggest startup scene, San Francisco is synonymous with tech. There’s no better place than this high-tech city to download hot travel apps. From practical mobile tools that ease jetlag, to local options that help you discover hidden gems, we’ve gathered download-worthy apps that put the city at your fingertips and ensure you’ll have an easy and unforgettable trip.

 

 

Best way to painlessly switch time zones: JetLag Genie
 
  • Use it to: Help your body adjust to time change with daily action plans before, during and after your flight, which are customized to your itinerary and sleeping patterns.
  • Fun feature: Notifies you when to sit in the dark or seek sun, since exposure to (or lack of) sunlight at the right times helps mitigate the effects of jet lag.  
  • Cost: $2.99
  • Compatible with: iOS 4.2 or later
  • Available: App Store

 

Best city guide to attractions, dining, shops and more: Where® Traveler City Guide
  • Use it to: Plan an itinerary for your visit or get info on-demand while you’re in the city. With more than 75 years of delivering expert travel advice in more than 100 destinations worldwide, Where® puts local knowledge at your fingertips.
  • Fun feature: “Nearby” lets you find museums, restaurants and more within walking distance, complete with hours, contact info and even Google Maps integration.
  • Cost: Free
  • Compatible with: iOS 6.1 or later
  • Available: App Store

 

Best airport buddy (with insider intel): GateGuru
  • Use it to: Navigate SFO (or 200+ other airports) like a pro with guides to airport layouts, amenities, weather and even insider tips (like the 411 on SFO’s yoga room). Rated one of the best five travel apps by CNN, this app is tuned into your trip, listing only info that’s pertinent to your day-of travel itinerary, and keeping you informed about gate changes, delays and more.
  • Fun feature: “Rental Car” leverages a partnership with Avis to offer you deeply discounted (up to 35 percent off) rental cars just two taps away.
  • Cost: Free
  • Compatible with: iOS 6.0 or later, Android 2.2 and up
  • Available: App Store, Google Play

 

Best way to make SF hills work for you: San Francisco Stairways
  • Use it to: Explore hilly SF on foot, enjoying 49 of its noteworthy staircases. Perfect for architecture and walking enthusiasts, the app gives you photos, details and directions for must-travel walkways.
  • Fun feature: “Filter” lets you narrow options to interest-driven categories, like “impressive views,” “great gardens” or “in an open space,” to customize your trip.
  • Cost: $.99
  • Compatible with: iOS 4.3 or later
  • Available: App Store

 

Best on-demand car services (for a crazy-good price): Uber or Lyft
  • Use them to: Call a car in minutes, anywhere in the city. No reservations, no wait—it’s like having a private driver in your pocket. Uber offers luxurious black cars (including SUVs for groups), while Lyft is part of the “sharing economy” trend with its flight of drivers who pick you up in their personal cars—identified by the brand’s telltale giant pink mustache.
  • Fun feature: Both Uber and Lyft offer payment (tip automatically included) within the app, so there’s no hassle running a card or worrying if you have enough cash.
  • Cost: Free
  • Compatible with: (Uber) iOS 6.0 or later, Android 4.0.3 (Lyft) iOS 6.0 or later, Android
  • Available: App Store, Google Play

 

Best way to understand what you’re ordering in Chinatown: Word Lens
  • Use it to: Translate signs and menus from six different languages into English, instantly, using only your phone’s built-in camera. There’s no network connection needed, and you can use either the video feature or the keyboard to type in the language for a real-time translation.
  • Fun feature: This easy-to-use app is so good at what it does that it’s just been purchased by Google—so snatch it up this summer while the technology is still available in app format for free.
  • Cost: Free (for a limited time)
  • Compatible with: iOS 6.1 or later, Android 2.3.3 or later
  • Available: App Store, Google Play

 

Best way to enjoy the California sun: Sunscreen
  • Use it to: Enjoy the warm California sun, without getting an unfortunate (and painful) sunburn. This app will alert you when it’s time to reapply, based on where and when (time of day and season) you are outside. 
  • Fun feature: While reminding you to take care of your skin, this app can also send reminders for appointments, anniversaries, birthdays and more.
  • Cost: Free
  • Compatible with: iOS 5.0 or later, Android 2.3 or higher
  • Available: App Store, Google Play

 

Best way to ignore cable car noise: Sleep Pillow
  • Use it to: Get your zzz’s in the bustling city. This white noise app offers 70 natural sounds (like rain on tent, inside fireplace and train ride), which can be mixed to create more than 300,000 combinations to help lull you to sleep. The sleep timer and fade-in alarm features will get you up in time.
  • Fun fact: Recommended by healthtap.com doctors.
  • Cost: Free
  • Compatible with: iOS 5.0 or later
  • Available: App Store

 

Best way to jump on the latest tech trend: Wikitude
  • Use it to: Interact with SF in modern, exciting ways. To use this powerful augmented reality app, simply point your phone’s camera at nearby attractions or businesses to get a full rundown on history.
  • Fun feature: Beyond just a travel resource, this app can bring media and products to life—videos or multimedia extras are often hidden in magazines, billboards, packages and more.
  • Cost: Free
  • Compatible with: iOS 7.0 or later
  • Available: App Store

 

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