Travel apps can be very useful when traveling around the world. They can give you inspiration and help with navigation, organizing, planning, safety and much more.
In our modern world, I will even go as far as saying that travel apps are essential to get the most out of our trips. With the right apps, you’ll be able to save money and time as well as getting better experiences while traveling.
I have been traveling around the world since 2013 and have tried and used various apps throughout the years. In this article, I will be sharing my favorite travel apps for iOS and Android.
Getting around destinations
Wondering how to get from one place to another, or even via another destination? Rome2Rio has the answer for almost any route possible. This clever search engine even allows you to see which transportation ways that are available between destinations.
Moreover, one can often see who is performing the service as well and click through directly to their website.
With Google Maps on your phone, you’ll never get lost again. Nowadays there is also the opportunity to download most maps offline, which means that you don’t have to have an internet connection.
It’s very easy to use Google Maps to get around cities, or even use public transportation as well as driving between places. It’s your personal GPS that will ensure that you’ll find your way, no matter where in the world you’re traveling.
Uber is a ride-hailing app that is somewhat similar to a taxi service. The main difference is that the price is displayed before the journey and you can see more information about the driver.
Additionally, payments are handled directly by Uber, which means that you don’t have to worry about being scammed by the driver. Unfortunately, taxi drivers around the world have gained a reputation for taking advantage of tourists.
With Uber, you don’t have to worry about this and it’s very easy to book a driver and pinpoint the exact location within the app. Prices are also typically lower than regular taxis, so you’ll also be saving money while traveling.
If you’re traveling abroad, chances are high that you’ll use a different currency than what you’re used to. Prices will be displayed in the local currency, and you’ll probably only have a rough idea of how much the local currency is worth compared to your own.
XE Currency app is the most trusted currency converter app and an essential tool that every traveler should use. It’s easy to use and allows you to compare several currencies at the same time.
You may be using this already. A really great app and website that allows guests to leave reviews on restaurants, attractions, hotels and more. This way you avoid bad restaurants and rogue operators and hotels with poor service and standard.
However, I would not say that one should rely completely on TripAdvisor because it is incredibly fun and exciting to find your own pearls. With that said, TripAdvisor is still one of the best travel apps.
Tipping is frowned upon in Japan for example, but in the U.S it’s even expected for most payments. How much to give, if anything will vary from country to country.
GlobeTips has suggestions for over 249 countries, which means that you can be sure to follow local customs almost everywhere in the world. Unfortunately, it’s only available for iPhone and iPad users.
This is one of the essential travel apps that every American should download and use. Thanks to Metric Conversions, you’ll never have to worry again about getting confused about meters, Celsius, Kilometers or other metrics that are used outside the U.S.
The same goes for travelers that are going to the United States since you can switch the formula and display from European Metrics to U.S Metrics. This app got you covered for conversions of volume, weight, length, temperature and more.
WhatsApp is a popular messaging app that allows you to send messages and make calls over Wi-Fi and internet connection, instead of the sim card. This also means that you can stay connected with friends and family at home, without expensive calls or text messages abroad.
For travelers, it’s also an easy way of contacting local people instead of getting a local sim card. You can even do video chats, send images, and files.
If you need Wi-Fi while traveling and want to avoid expensive roaming costs abroad, this app got you covered. WiFi Map displays free Wi-Fi hotspots around the world with passwords and user comments.
It also has some other interesting features, such as scanning the network before connecting to an unknown Wi-Fi. The pro version also offers a VPN connection.
Flights & Accommodation
Skyscanner is the best flight search engine and one of my favorite travel apps. Finding cheap flights have never been easier, and with Skyscanner, you can even compare several dates on a monthly basis.
Furthermore, if you’re not sure where you want to go, you can select your origin-destination and choose everywhere to see where you can fly to.
Hotels.com is one of the best hotel booking sites out there, and my go-to place when booking hotel rooms. Their app is easy to use and you can search and book hotels directly from your phone or tablet.
On Airbnb, you can find everything from apartments and rooms to treehouses and mobile homes. Most often, you can find cheaper accommodation via Airbnb compared to standard hotels.
Hotel Tonight is another great app for travelers that allows you to save money on accommodation. The app takes advantage of empty rooms at hotels around the world, and users will be able to get very good last-minute deals.
Most of the time, the best prices will be from 1-7 days before your booking date, but sometimes the app has other special offers too. Hotel Tonight also has a loyalty program, known as HT Perks where loyal customers will get even cheaper rates or other benefits.
Organizing and Planning your trip
Packing is stressful for many, which often leads to overpacking. With PackPoint, you got a personal helper and reminder on your phone on what to bring in your suitcase. You can also share your packing list with friends.
It has some neat features that will give packing tips depending on your planned activities and the length of the trip. You can also choose if you’ll wash your clothes during your travels and if you’ll be wearing the same clothes multiple times.
Traveling abroad often means that you’ll have several documents and itineraries to keep track of. With TripIt, you can store all important documents and booking confirmations in one place.
The app also allows you to share your travel plans with others. TripIt is your personal trip organizer that you can always carry with you, and even access when you’re offline.
Trailwallet was created by travelers for travelers to help keep track of your budget, and ensure that you don’t spend too much money while traveling.
The app makes it easy to track your expenses and it has a great interface, which makes it convenient to use. Trailwallet is currently only for iPhone (IOS), but another good option for Android users could be Spending Tracker.
Meeting locals is a great way of getting the most out of your visit. Locals often know their way around the places and can show you around. At the same time, you’ll be able to make friends all over the world and easily plan meetups before your trip.
It also lists events and makes it easy to connect to others who are using the app.
TheFork is an app that helps you to book a table at restaurants. It’s currently available in more than 4000 cities with the largest selections in Europe. The concept is similar to OpenTable in the U.S.
TheFork offers discounts on many restaurants, which means that you can save a lot of money and at the same time find nice restaurants while traveling. They also have a reward program where you collect so-called “YUMS” when you book restaurants via the app.
TripWhistle is unfortunately only available for iPhones, but it’s a great safety app that allows you to map your location and send your GPS coordinates. You’ll also find emergency numbers in most countries around the world.
Smart Traveler is a free app from the US Department of State for U.S travelers. It displays important travel information such as vaccines, visa regulations, and other safety advice about countries worldwide.
VPN services for safe and accessible internet
Staying safe when you’re connecting to free Wi-Fi networks is essential in order to protect your devices and privacy. It makes it a lot harder for hackers to get inside your phone, and it won’t leave you exposed when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Furthermore, a VPN is necessary for countries where the local government is restricting access to some websites and apps. One such example is China, where Facebook, Instagram, and many other Western websites are banned.
ExpressVPN is another VPN service, much like Nord VPN. Which one to choose is more of personal preference depending on your needs and what price you’re comfortable to pay. Personally, I prefer Nord VPN since I find it more to give more value for the money.
Google Translate is perhaps the most advanced translating app out there, and it has several neat features that will help you to communicate with others who don’t speak the same language as yourself.
It works both offline and online, and you can also download language packs and use the camera function to translate texts on the go. It’s very useful if you have instructions in an unknown language, such as washing instructions or nutrition labels.
Furthermore, Google Translate also allows voice translations, which enables you to speak your language and the other person to speak theirs. It’s not perfect though, but it’s definitely a good start if you’re having trouble with communication abroad.
Speaking of local phrases, Duolingo is an app to remember if you like to travel. It’s a free app that is available for both iPhone and Android phones. It’s a great way for beginners to learn foreign languages at their own pace.
Most of the major languages in the world are available in the app, which means that you’ll be able to say hello or thank you in the local language in most destinations around the world.
Learning a few local languages has never been easier than today. Memrise is another language app that allows you to watch video clips of native speakers. This will help you to pronounce the words and phrases correctly.
Best Travel Apps for Vegan travelers
Finding vegan restaurants can be a hassle in some destinations, especially if you don’t know the local language. However, Happy Cow takes care of all that and it’s truly one of the best apps for finding vegan food abroad.
It’s kind of like Tripadvisor, but for vegan and vegetarian restaurants only. It has an extensive database of restaurants and many active users who frequently post reviews and photos from all over the world.
V Cards: Vegan Abroad
Traveling as a vegan can sometimes be frustrating, especially if the locals barely speak English or doesn’t understand the concept of being vegan. Luckily, the V Card: Vegan Abroad helps to explain various vegan and vegetarian phrases in various languages around the world.
Unfortunately, it’s only available for Apple users, and there is currently no version for Android phones.
Ease your airport and flight experience
Lounge Buddy makes it possible to book and browse airport lounges around the world in just a few minutes. It also shows which are available at the airport and more information about the lounges and their fees.
Priority Pass has a wide range of lounges worldwide that you can access via their membership program or selected credit cards. If you don’t have a credit card with a priority pass included, you can also pay an annual fee to gain access to over 1300 lounges.
The app is easy to use and allows you to search for lounges by name or airport codes. It will display information such as opening hours, what’s included as well as photos from the lounges. Additionally, the Priority Pass also has lots of discounts on dining and retail.
If you’re worried about getting jetlagged, this app got you covered. Timeshifter is based on neuroscience research about circadian rhythms and sleep, which helps you to avoid jet lag, even before your flight has departed.
It’s basically a personal guide that will give suggestions of when you need to sleep or stay awake. If you have a long-haul flight coming soon, make sure to download Timeshifter as soon as possible.
It’s free for the first time, and then cost $10 the second time, or $24.99 for a full year.
How can travel apps make your trips better?
Older generations and travelers who explored the world before Wi-Fi was available everywhere often romanticize their memories and trips. Traveling without technology definitely has a charm to it, don’t get me wrong, but using travel apps while traveling can also make for more memorable experiences and time better spent.
Gone are the days where you have to read old maps to find your way around the world. Even language barriers are less of a problem today thanks to language apps that allow us to translate speech and writing on the go.
Restaurant reviews and hotel reviews are also helpful to avoid disappointments while traveling. Before the days of travel apps, you could potentially end up spending your money on restaurants with disgusting food or hotels with lousy service and outdated rooms.
I truly believe that technology is great when used to help others and make things more convenient. For example, before Google Maps was available, you could easily get lost. These days, you can still get lost, but if you want to find your way back, it’s just a click away.
Finding attractions and navigate the public transportation systems in the world are also much easier these days. You just need a smartphone to take advantage of these apps.
Essential travel apps that I use frequently
What travel apps do I personally use when I travel? I have most of the mentioned apps installed on my phone, but some are more frequently used than others. It also depends on where I’m traveling to and if there are any specific travel apps that are especially useful for that particular destination.
Generally speaking though, my favorite travel apps that I use often are Google Maps, TripAdvisor, Nord VPN, Uber, DuoLingo, Google Translate, and XE currency. These are definitely some of the most essential apps that every traveler should download and use.
What’s your favorite travel app? Leave a comment below!