Best iPhone Apps for Traveling with Kids

A lot of iPhone travel apps can help parents make informed choices about where they are going, what to do on vacation, and how to get there. With so many new products on the market every day, though, it’s difficult to sift through so many apps to find the real gems. As a parent, avid traveler and app developer, I’ve put together my shortlist of nine must-have family travel apps.

Family Matters
Family Matters offers hundreds of questions and activities to keep kids entertained on the go. Whether you’re standing in line at Disney World, waiting for the movie to start at a theater, or stuck in traffic – waiting just got a little more fun.

TripDoc
TripDoc helps organize all the places on your travel itinerary. Create one map on your smart phone that shows every place you want to visit on your family vacation, from playgrounds to restaurants and activities. Get walking or driving directions from wherever you are to where you want to go next. Keep notes about each place – including confirmation numbers, recommendations, what you loved and more – and then share it all with your friends via email.

SitOrSquat
Just say no to accidents! SitOrSquat is an app dedicated to finding the closest place to go potty. It even tells you if the bathroom is worthy of sitting or squatting (or standing).

Sunday Drive
You too can be a road trip guru. Sunday Drive takes mapping to a new level by connecting points of interest and providing driving directions. Use this app to find great routes – for a Sunday or any other day.

Travel Bingo
Travel Bingo keeps kids entertained on long road trips or just on the way home from school. To achieve “Bingo” find signs, vehicles, livestock, and other roadside items. Race against the clock to beat your previous best time or compete with a travel mate playing on a separate iPhone or iPad.

PicPocketBooks
A whole library of made for the iPhone is available from PicPocketBooks. These children’s books stay true to the published versions, all with great pictures and audio.

My Little Suitcase
Using My Little Suitcase, kids can pack for their family vacation and choose where to go! Developed by parents, the app was designed to encourage free choice and independent thinking so children can participate in the trip planning process.

Mom Maps
My own app, Mom Maps, personalizes your mapping experience and adds another layer of context with reviews and ratings from a diverse community of parents and family travel experts (with more than 100 locations from Travel Mamas and over 5,000 reviews total…and counting)! It’s like getting the inside scoop from friends in the know on what makes the cut when it comes to kid-friendly attractions during your travels. Got a favorite vacation spot or roadside attraction? Add your own opinions to the mix! 

Moms With Apps
Want more apps? Check out Moms With Apps for a full library of apps by parents for parents. Now available via an app through the iPhone App Store.

What is your favorite family travel app? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Jill Seman is a San Francisco Bay mom, the creator of Mom Maps and one of the cofounders of Moms with Apps. She has over 15 years of engineering and management experience with media processing companies like Nvidia, S3, Cirrus Logic and Chips and Technologies.

Comments

  1. Thank you for all of the great iPhone family travel app tips, Jill! I already have Mom Maps on my phone (of course!) but I am going to go download a bunch of these others now. I especially love the idea of Family Matters to come up with talking points when stuck waiting somewhere with the kids!

  2. Fabulous list!!

    Tales2Go is also another family favorite! It’s story time, any time on your iPhone or ipad!

    Check them out at http://www.tales2go.com/

    Cheers, Elizabeth Thorp and the Poshbrood team

  3. These are all great apps. I love my TV Everywhere app also that I have with my provider/employer DISH Network. I can let the kids go on my iPad or iPhone and watch live TV from anywhere we are at. They can access all our subscription channels or our DVR recordings. They love it for when we are in the car for hours and they just want to relax and have quiet time. I love it because it keeps them quiet for hours.

  4. Another app that is simple and helps kids with monster fears, or likes to play and catch monsters, is Go Away Monster 3000. Designed by kids between 4 and 8. Parents control when a monster can be found, this app becomes part of your bed time routine and your kids can make a room monster free. During the day, your kids will run around looking for monster in places you never knew they existed.

    Website http://www.goawaymonster.com

    or on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/go-away-monster-3000/id381349793?mt=8

  5. Amanda O'Brien says:

    We have a family vacation every year were we travel just a few hours to Orlando, Fl with our 6 year old and he has a hard time being in the car, lots of energy. So this year when we went I had some activities to help him, like car bingo and I spy, but he quickly gets tired of playing those games. So I had downloaded a fun little game that I thought he would enjoy. It’s like a bubble popper game but with fun ninjas and crazy sushi. The game is called Evil Sushi Squish and they have a free version but recently (right before our trip) they came out with a full version on Android and iPhone. Once my son started to play he didn’t put it down till we got to Orlando, Fl. We also found out that they have a web site that has printable games and color sheets, the web site is Evil Sushi Squish!, defiantly a life saver on this trip.

  6. Tim in Phuket says:

    Thanks for the list but I live in Asia and many of them don’t work – we were looking forward to the sit or squat one – keep up the good reviews :-)

  7. I always prefer Travel Bingo for my junior. Also use some amazing educational apps which helps my junior to learn with fun.

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