During my travels, my smartphone has literally been my saviour in so many ways. From finding somewhere to stay, eat, drink and top things to do – the travel apps on my smartphone have made life so much easier. Everyone travels with a smartphone these days and there are more and more sophisticated travel apps coming out all the time.
It is, of course, doable to travel without a smartphone. Part of me still likes looking at a paper map and making lists in my journal but on the other hand, travel apps are incredibly resourceful, logistical and they come with the most up to date information available.
Read on to find out about all of the travel apps used and loved by me which will help make your next adventure go as smoothly as possible.
Skyscanner When searching for a flight, Skyscanner will always be my first pit stop. It is one of the best travel apps as it searches millions of flights across almost 1,200 sources to ensure you are getting the best deal for your money.
The Skyscanner app also has the best search filters to ensure that you can always find what you’re looking for whether it’s the cheapest flight or maybe the easiest route. What’s also great about this app is that you can set your destination to ‘anywhere’ and your departure to a specific date or a whole month!
Momondo This is another flight search engine which I sometimes use to cross-reference with Skyscanner. Depending on your destination you can sometimes find cheap flights and good deals.
Expedia Again, this is another good flight search engine. What I like about Expedia is that you can use it to search for accommodation too. Sometimes when booking both together you can get a great deal.
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Booking.com This is the first place I check when looking for accommodation. I love Booking.com as the search filters, descriptions and reviews are continuously updated. Booking.com used to be primarily a hotel booking site but they have now widened their range to include lots of different types of accommodation. Their customer service is great and if there is ever a dispute with a booking, they will always act on your behalf.
Airbnb This app has become popular worldwide as a marketplace to rent out your home/holiday home. You can often find unique places to stay which can sometimes mean a special, local experience not provided by other accommodation apps.
However, at the same time, be respectful of local laws surrounding Airbnb. In some countries/cities around the world, it is illegal to stay
Hostelworld.com If you are looking for a hostel to stay in, then Hostelworld is the best place to look. You will find hostels from all over the globe with honest, genuine reviews from previous visitors. What I like about this app is that you can also try to find a hostel to fit your vibe; chilled, party mode etc.
HotelTonight The concept behind this app is really cool and it is no surprise that It is hugely popular among travellers. This app allows users to make same-day hotel reservations as early as 9 am. Any rooms not sold by a hotel go on sale at a hugely discounted price. This practice is becoming more and more popular so it’s no surprise that hotels from all over the world have signed up. HotelTonight also provides 24/7 customer service and honest reviews from previous hotel guests.
I’m not one for leaving my reservations to the last minute so I wasn’t sure if this app was for me. But then recently, we wanted to extend our stay and we were able to do so through the HotelTonight app for a fraction of the cost. I have also used it to book a last-minute staycation due to forgetting an anniversary (oops!) We got a luxury 2-night hotel stay for €90 which would usually cost €310!
PackPoint This app helps you to organise your packing list in a really clear and concise way. The more information you input into the app such as how long you’ll be away, the climate, your activities and minor details such as access to a washing machine the more detailed your list will be. Packpoint will then provide you with a list of packing essentials which you can amend and save.
What’s also great about this app is that it provides other useful information you may need to know such as travel vaccinations and if your passport needs renewing.
TripIt This is one of my all-time favourite travel apps. It organises all of your travel itineraries and documents before you even arrive at your destination. All you need to do is configure the app so that all of your reservations are directly sent to it. TripIt will then allow you to view all of that information; flight information, accommodation details, activities that you’ve booked, map directions and so on all in one easy place.
What makes this one of the best travel apps is that you can also share all of this information with loved ones and/or with the person meeting you at your destination.
Triposo This app is kind of like an online guide book. It features lots of activities, restaurants and events in thousands of destinations around the world. The best thing about this app is that you can download all of the information to use offline once you reach your destination.
Lokely I only recently found out about this app and I already love it. It’s not available everywhere just yet but hopefully, it will be soon. Lokely allows you to access locals’ recommendations of places to eat, drink and things to do. Locals of any destination are always going to be the best source of information so this app is great for that.
TripAdvisor I always like to check out Trip Advisor when planning a trip. It is one of the most well-known sites for reviews and opinions. You are nearly guaranteed to find the place you are looking for on there. However, what I will say is, take what is written with a pinch of salt (which means don’t believe everything you’re told).
Everyone’s expectations are different so when trawling through Trip Advisor, please remember that. You won’t find a single place with all 5-star reviews so don’t let what is written cloud your judgement too much. Check what reviewers have previously written about other places – if they’re constantly negative then don’t trust their opinion and vice versa.
Related Post: My Favourite Travel Essentials
Finding Your Way Around
Google Maps This is most likely an obvious one but nevertheless, it goes without saying that Google Apps is one of the best travel apps. It’s a great app for finding your way around. It continues to evolve and improve and you can now use it in offline mode, locate nearby restaurants and shops, find public transport and of course, find the quickest route to your destination.
RometoRio I love this app – it’s fun but also super informative too. RometoRio searches any city, town, landmark, attraction or address across the globe with thousands of multi-modal routes to easily get you from A to B. It compares all of your options so that you can choose the best option for you.
Uber This app works in a lot of major cities around the world. You can get to and from the airport, rideshare and rate your driver. It’s convenient and often cheaper than standard taxi fares. Unfortunately, it’s not been approved in Ireland and a couple of other countries.
Lyft This app isn’t that common outside of the United States but I thought i’d mention it in case it’s your next destination. I used it sometimes when in the States – just make sure to check Uber first as they often try to compete with each other in terms of pricing.
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XE Currency Conversion This is the one and only currency exchange app you should have on your phone. I use it ALL the time to make sure that I’m not being ripped off or overcharged. Exchange rates are updated regularly so you’ll always get the most up to date info before exchanging currency.
Unit Converter As the name suggests, this is a unit conversion app. I love this app as not only does it convert currency, it also converts measurement units too. This is definitely one of the best travel apps to download before a trip abroad (especially if you plan on shopping!). You can convert length, weight, clothes and shoe sizes easily. For example, on a recent trip to the States, this came in handy when buying new trainers and I had no idea what my size was.
Until the world finally agrees to a universal measurement system, then apps like this one are incredibly useful to have on your phone.
Your Banking App Before you set off travelling, always download your own personal banking app onto your phone. Every country is different in terms of what you can and can’t do but banking apps, in general, have been getting so much better in recent years. Also, most banks now require you to inform them about a week before your departure so that they can authorise any overseas transactions.
Travel Photo Editing
A Color Story I absolutely adore this photo editing app. It has 300+ filters, 100+ effects and 20 tools to make your photos stand out from the crowd!
Sidenote: I was actually following one of the creators Elsie Larson on Instagram for a long time before I even realised that she was one of the co-founders. She and her husband have recently adopted their second child from China and honestly, the cuteness level is through the roof! Go check them out on Instagram!
Back to the app! There are free and paid features but full access costs just $24.99. A lot of high profile celebs like the Jonas Bro’s have created their own set of filters and honestly, it’s just a lot of fun to use (and this comes from someone who isn’t the biggest fan of photo editing!)
VSCO This is another of my favourite photo editing tools. VSCO is sleek and modern in design and it has a whole range of tools to elevate your photos and videos. You can add some really cool effects to your photos and there are a lot of really useful tutorials online on how to get the best out of the app too.
TouchRetouch This is the perfect photo editing app if you want to remove unwanted items in your travel photos. Have you ever been to a popular tourist spot and tried to take a photo without some sort of obstruction; from cars, people, or ugly signs. It’s difficult, to say the least! That’s where this app comes into play – it allows you to edit out things that you don’t want in your photos with a click of a button!
SayHi Translate I always try to learn a few phrases of the local language before a trip and I always recommend others to do the same. However, there are times when this just isn’t enough and this is where SayHi Translate comes in.
This app allows you to say what you want in your native tongue, the app then transcribes it (really quickly) in over 90 languages and dialects. It *almost* feels like a real conversation. You can also choose the speed and voice variant.
Whatsapp There are so many ways of keeping in touch with family and friends nowadays but with over 1.5 billion monthly users, Whatsapp is realistically the best option. You are almost guaranteed that the person you need to contact has downloaded Whatsapp on their phone.
I often find when travelling that the default way of communicating with hosts, tour guides and drivers is through Whatsapp. It’s free when using Wi-Fi or your
Skype Skype has been around a long time now and it is still used by millions of people around the world. I always have it downloaded on my phone when travelling with a couple of euros credit. Skype was the first communication app I ever used to keep in touch when living abroad and I still love it to this day. It’s incredibly cheap whether you’re calling a mobile/landline and the connection is usually good. It’s always good to have a back-up in terms of communication just in case another network is down.
Other Useful Travel Apps
WiFi Anywhere Nowadays, there is nothing worse than not being able to connect to WiFi when abroad. It has become an essential aspect of travelling in some ways which is where this app comes in handy. WiFi Anywhere will help you to locate a spot where WiFi is available – this can be particularly helpful if you get lost or….check your social media.
FlightAware The FlightAware app allows you to keep track of your flight online, see a live map of the flight moving and check on delays, cancellations, and gate changes.
Trail Wallet This is the best travel app to keep track of your expenses when travelling! It really does take the headache out of trying to keep track of what you’re spending. Set a budget, upload your spending easily and the app will then at the end of the month advise you if you are over and under.
Tipster Guide Tipping can be one of those things that can be hard to figure out when travelling. In some countries like America, it’s widely appreciated whereas in Japan it’s deeply frowned upon. So how are you supposed to know? Well, by using this app of course! TipsterGuide will advise you how and what to tip in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.
I’m always on the lookout for new travel apps – what are your favourites?
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