Last Update: 22/5/23 | May 22, 2023
These days, everyone travels with a smartphone. Beyond the ability to snap endless selfies and keep in touch with family back home, they provide us with an endless stream of tools and apps to help us plan our trips and deal with any distractions we encounter on the road.
Unfortunately, while there's no shortage of travel apps, most of them are pretty bad.
To help you avoid downloading (and maybe even paying for) apps that aren't worth your time, I've compiled a list of my favorite travel apps. This app will save you time, money and help you get the most out of your trip. It's an app I think every traveler should have on their phone before leaving the house.
1. Get Your Guide
GetYourGuide is an online marketplace for all kinds of tours and excursions. From whale watching and food tours to hiking trips and vineyard visits, they have a wide variety of activities in destinations around the world. You can compare prices, read reviews, and learn about each activity before booking using their app (or their website).
Whether you're in the planning stages and looking for things to complement your upcoming travel plans or you're already in a new country and want something to do later on, GetYourGuide can help. I've used it a lot and always have fun!
I've flown hundreds of budget flights with long layovers and terrible connections, so dirty seats, expensive Wi-Fi, and bad food are a regular part of my life. The only places that offer leeway are lounges — but travelers usually need to have status or pay for access to enjoy them.
LoungeBuddy takes the pain out of the process. After entering your credit card, airline status and lounge membership, the app tells you which lounges you can access at any airport. It makes even the longest layovers tolerable so you can relax and enjoy your trip. And if you don't have status, you can order lounge access directly through the app. Easy to use, and free to download.
3. Dormitory World
If you're a budget traveler, chances are you'll be staying in hostels for the duration of your trip. That hostelworld app is the biggest and best place to find hostels around the world. You can view photos, read reviews, and compare amenities and facilities so you know exactly what you're booking. There is also a map so you can see the location of the hostels relative to each other as well as the destination's main attractions.
You can also use the app to see who else is staying at the hostel. You can join group chats for hostels and connect with travelers to make plans before you arrive. In short, this is a must download app for backpackers and solo travelers alike. This app is free to download.
Skyscanner is my go-to website for finding cheap flights (they also offer hotels and car rentals). their mobile application searches millions of flights from thousands of sources and then gives you the best available options. There are also tons of filters you can use to sort by price, duration, number of stops, airlines and more, ensuring you find the best flights for your needs.
However, the best feature of this app is the ability to search for flights to anywhere. You simply enter the departure airport and the date you want to travel, and it will show you all the potential options — from cheapest to most expensive — so you can explore ideas without having to go through each option manually.
If you want to save money on flights, this app is a must. This app is also free.
TripIt help organize your travel plans. All you have to do is forward your hotel, restaurant, flight and car rental confirmation emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and it automatically transfers all the information to your master itinerary so you can easily see all your upcoming plans. If you upgrade to the pro version, the company will find you alternative routes when your flight is cancelled, as well as send automatic notifications from the airline about flight delays, cancellations and more.
The basic version is free while the pro version is $49 USD per year.
6. XE Currency Converter
this app is a must for every tourist. You can store and manage multiple currencies to make price checking easy and fast. It also works offline so even if you don't have data or Wi-Fi, you can still get a rough estimate while shopping and browsing.
If you need to stay on a budget (and don't want to be ripped off), download this app. Free.
7. Google Translate
Another no frills app, google translator allows you to easily enter text in your native language and then convert it to your destination language (or vice versa). You can also download languages offline, letting you access without data or Wi-Fi.
The app can also read aloud your text so you can hear how it's pronounced correctly, and you can also use the camera to take a photo of the translatable text as well (which is useful if you need to read ingredients while shopping, for example). This app is free.
8. Happy Cow
While traveling on a budget is an amazing and liberating experience, being underfunded often means backpackers aren't keeping to their best diet. From fast food to lousy hostel breakfasts to indulging at happy hour, eating healthy on the road can be tricky. Luckily, there are free apps that can help you find places to eat that have healthier food options. Happy Cow designed to highlight vegan and vegetarian diets around the world. And since restaurants with vegetarian food are usually (though not always) healthier, it's an easy way to make healthy food choices as you explore. You can read reviews, view menus and compare prices to find a restaurant within your budget.
If you're traveling around the US or Canada, this app can save you a ton of money. GasBuddy shows you where the cheapest gas is near your location, so you never pay more than you have to. The app also has a trip calculator so you can estimate how much your road trip will cost. There's also a gas price map so you can see how much it's going to cost, region by region.
The app is free but for $9.99 USD per month, you can upgrade to premium, which saves you 20 cents per gallon (up to 50 gallons) and provides 24/7 roadside assistance.
While it's important not to spend your entire trip on your phone or social media, there are times when using your smartphone can easily improve the quality of your trip, keep you safe, and save you money. By downloading the above apps, your journey will be much smoother, giving you more time, energy and money to invest in your next adventure.
Book Your Trip: Logistics Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find cheap flights using Skyscanner. This is my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the world so you always know there's no stone unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, go for it Booking.com because it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guest houses and hotels.
Don't Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you from illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It's comprehensive protection in case something goes wrong. I never travel without it as I've had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Want Free Travel?
A travel credit card lets you earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodations — all at no extra cost. Check out my guide to choosing the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to work with when you're on the go. I list everything that I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can't go wrong with them on your travels.