More than 15 million travelers visit Miami a year; many carrying smartphones, tablets and other tech gadgets to access all types of key information. It's indisputable that technology has become an essential part of our daily lives in an app-dominated world.
Touting a multitude of benefits, mobile apps promise to make traveling easier, faster, paperless and hassle-free. Here are our top-10 picks for the must-have apps to download to make navigating Miami a breeze.
MIA Airport Official 2.0
Never get lost at the Miami airport again.
The official app of the Miami International Airport, MIA Airport Official provides users with everything from flight information to airport maps with beacon technology, parking and weather updates as well as restaurant and shopping directories in English and Spanish.
A cool "Around Me" feature directs users to the closest shopping or dining option to their exact location with turn-by-turn directions. MIA Airport Official 2.0 is available for iPhone and Android phones. Make sure to have Bluetooth, location services and Wi-Fi enabled for the app to work.
How did we travel before mobile boarding passes? It seems like decades ago when checking in meant seeing an airline representative for a printed boarding pass. Now, airline apps offer paper-free options including mobile check-in, electronic boarding passes, frequent flier status tracking, terminal maps and other day-of-flight perks.
With over 300 daily departures, American Airlines (AA) is the airline giant at MIA. The airport is also the airline's major domestic hub and Latin American and Caribbean gateway. The odds are in your favor that you'll travel to Miami on an AA flight, making it one of the most useful apps to download. Delta Airlines and United Airlines also provide many nonstop flights to MIA and offer top-rated apps in the app store.
Mobile Passport Control
It isn't quite like skipping the line but Mobile Passport Control (MPC) from U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the first authorized app to boast of speeding up the process of international travelers entering into the U.S.
If you are a U.S. citizen or a Canadian, the app will let you submit passport biographical details and the customs declaration form to reduce the wait time with a customs official. The faster you zip through the line, the faster you can start enjoying the sights.
Similar to Automated Passport Control, the free app does not require pre-approval and does not collect any new information on travelers. The app is available from the Google Play store and Apple App store.
Since the opening of the Miami Intermodal Center's (MIC) Miami Airport Station in 2015, travelers in and out of the airport seamlessly connect with Tri-Rail, the area's commuter rail system. The MIC is also a hub for local buses, Greyhound, Amtrak and car rental companies. Visitors can catch the train after a quick ride on the free people mover known as "Metromover."
Beyond the airport routes, Tri-Rail offers 18 stations linking Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach along the Interstate 95 corridor. The Tri-Rail app capabilities include trip planning, fares and schedules, and resources to get you to popular South Florida destinations like malls and attractions.
This app by the Miami Parking Authority allows payment for parking using a credit card. It's Florida’s most popular parking app. In Miami alone, over 75 percent of residents and visitors use it.
Simply register for a free account, enter the zone number and set the time (up to two hours in some areas). The app has a built-in handy timer that sends text messages to alert you when the meter is expiring and allows you to extend the time to avoid parking tickets.
PayByPhone is available in Miami in addition to Coral Gables and South Miami. Staying in Miami Beach? The city does not use PayByPhone, so download either the ParkMe or ParkMobile apps.
While Miami is not a very public transportation-friendly place, local governments have made great strides with the rollout of the Miami Trolley. The free trolley is a much-needed alternative to county buses. Its success has caused many residents to ditch their cars in favor of the trolley.
Download the app in Google Play for an easy way to plan rides around town or for the cool real-time trolley tracker. Take it to and from Downtown Miami and Brickell or Wynwood and the Design District. Other top stops include Little Havana, Downtown Coral Gables and PortMiami. The air-conditioned trolleys operate between 6:30 am to 11 pm every day, except Sunday and holidays.
7 News Weather
Who wants to plan a beach day and have it thunderstorm? No one. Yes there are plenty of reputable weather apps out there, think the Weather Channel, Weather Underground and the National Weather Service to name a few. But when it comes to the local crowd, the 7 News Weather app is the way to go. Find it on Google Play or the Apple Store.
The app not only provides forecasts, current conditions, an excellent weather radar, storm tracking and other weather information for South Florida, but is also tops with boaters too. Enjoy tracking hourly, daily and extended weather, and watches and warnings for up to six different locations.
Miami Beach Information
Just like its name, this app by the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority showcases businesses, restaurants, landmarks and events around the Miami Beach area.
Launched in 2016, "Miami Beach Information" is ideal for travelers on the move throughout the beach looking for a one-stop resource with the city's amenities and happenings. There are 7,000 listings of hotels, concerts, shows, deals, transportation and countless other businesses from architects to restaurants. The app is also equipped with door-to-door directions to get you from point A to point B.
After a bitter fight with the taxi establishment, Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services are legal to operate throughout Greater Miami. Uber even has its own advertised zone outside the airport terminal and boasts a fleet of more than 10,000 cars.
In a city like Miami with limited options for public transportation, Uber and Lyft offer yet another reliable, affordable way to get around. Similar to other cities where ride-sharing services operate, UberPOOL is a popular feature for Miami riders.
Habla Español? No. We'll help with some handy Spanish to speak with the locals in Miami's Little Havana, Sweetwater or Doral neighborhoods. Or fala português if needing to communicate with that witty Brazilian traveler who wants to share travel stories.
Better yet, Translate Professional is a free app with phrases in 40 languages including French, German and Italian, in addition to Spanish and Portuguese, and it doesn't need an internet connection. Download it from the Apple Store or Google Play for happy travels.