There are so many incredible apps for travellers these days which are making travel easier and more affordable than ever.
Using apps when you travel can make your trip more convenient, help you save money and ensure you have a better experience than without! However, it is a bit of a jungle out there in the travel app world, so we’re here to help you identify the most useful apps for travelling.
In this post, we’re sharing 22 of our favourite travel apps that we simply couldn’t travel without! We have broken the apps down into different sections - apps for planning, booking, communication, transport & navigation, apps for when you’re there and finally entertainment. The best part is, most of these apps are totally free to download and use.
Make sure you download all of these apps when you start planning your next getaway!
Travel apps for planning
Hopper helps decide when the best time to book flights is. It is an app that predicts the best time to score the cheapest fares, which could save you some serious coin. It has a price monitoring feature allowing you to receive notification alerts if a price drops. Hopper also allows you to compare the prices of flights with what is included with the ticket, making decisions much easier!
TripIt is an incredible itinerary planning app that is essential for all of those organised travellers out there! TripIt helps you build out your travel plans by searching through your inbox for confirmation emails and pulling out the most essential information and organising it within the app for you. This is great if you like to feel like you’re under control with your itinerary or need some help getting your plans together in one place.
Kayak is a robust all-in-one travel search site. You can make any bookings directly through the app, however, what it does is aggregate all of your options for flights, trains, buses, hotels, rental cars and more in one place. This allows you to easily compare and plan out all the nitty gritty details of your itinerary and snag the best prices. Kayak will direct you to the best website to book from.
Travel Apps for booking accommodation, transportation & activities
Airbnb is the number 1 accommodation booking platform for local stays that aren’t hotels. You probably already know and love Airbnb! Airbnb is helping to open the world to more unique experiences that cannot be offered by staying at a hotel. Other benefits of booking through Airbnb include usually having access to more amenities such as laundry and kitchen, a host with great local knowledge and access to weekly and monthly discounts. Plus you can now book other activities through Airbnb such as tours, classes, workshops and other experiences with more of a local touch.
Booking.com is a mammoth site for booking accommodation. It has a huge database of accommodations to choose from in every corner of the world. You can use their amazing search and filter features to find exactly what you are looking for at the best price, star rating and guest reviews score instead of sifting through hundreds of listings. There are so many reviews on booking.com which are easy to decipher the positives and negatives of each property which is another excellent feature of the app.
You can also usually access great free cancellation policies, making trip planning less stressful and expensive. Another benefit of having the mobile app for booking.com is you may receive better discounts on mobile on top of their excellent genius discounts for members. You can also book airport taxis through the app for excellent prices, car rentals, flights, attractions and more.
Hostelworld is the place to go to find and book hostels all over the world. This is perfect for backpackers to get the best idea of which hostel to stay in. They have competitive prices and you can usually secure your bed with a small deposit. It is a great way to read honest reviews of different hostels from fellow backpackers. We recommend finding the hostel you want to stay in on Hostelworld and then checking booking.com to see if you can find it for a better rate!
Klook is a super convenient app for booking taxis, airport transfers, tours and other activities. It helps to connect travellers with local providers of these services in a seamless way. This app is most widely used in Asia but is available globally. All you do is book your transfer or activity, pay and you will be connected with a local tour guide or driver who will contact you directly to arrange further details. This also helps you to ensure that you are getting the best rate and takes away the stress of negotiating or haggling for a better deal.
When it comes to booking flights, Skyscanner is king! Skyscanner helps you map out different routes to any location, no matter how complicated, offering you the best, and cheapest flight options. You can see an overview of a month to see what days the flights are cheapest and set up price alerts so you know when to book. Skyscanner has amazing filters, allowing you to search for multi-destination trips, and flexible dates and even allows you to be inspired by searching for “everywhere”.
You can book some flights directly through Skyscanner or they will direct you to the Airline’s booking platform or another booking sight. Sky scanner will clearly show which option is the cheapest as well as any routes that require self-transfer.
Skyscanner fills us with inspiration and excitement by helping travel dreams and flight plans come to life.
Travel Apps for Communication
WhatsApp is starting to become an essential travel app. You can use it to send texts, voice memos, images, and videos and do voice and video calling via the internet, helping you avoid expensive roaming fees. It is linked to your phone number and is easy and free to set up.
WhatsApp makes it super easy to stay in touch with loved ones back home and also new friends that you meet! Plus many businesses that cater for the tourism industry such as Airbnb hosts, transportation services and local service providers such as restaurants etc all use WhatApp to manage client bookings and communication instead of email. There are also loads of travel-related WhatsApp groups for different locations and different interests such as local events or solo travellers to help people connect.
If you haven’t got WhatsApp yet, pull yourself out of the dark ages and download it now!
If you’re wanting to call home or make other international calls but don’t always have access to an internet connection, then make sure you download and sign up for Rebtel. This app connects through old-school phone lines to provide you with dirt-cheap international calling rates without going through the hassle of getting a local sim card or forking out for steep roaming fees.
11. Google Translate
If you are travelling to a foreign-speaking country, do yourself a favour and install Google Translate before you. You can translate more than 100 languages which you can access many of offline.
They have many tools to help you translate more things with ease including using the camera (which is amazing for menus you cannot decipher!) and even a handwriting tool.
Navigation & Transportation
12. Google maps
Google Maps is without a doubt THE number one travel app in the world (in my humble opinion.). This is an essential travel app for when you are on the ground at your destination. It does so many things, including:
- Helping you navigate from A to B whether you are walking, cycling, driving or taking public transport (it usually shows you all public transport schedules). This is a no-brainer for travel as no one wants to get lost when in a new place, especially if you hate asking strangers for directions!
- Helps you find what you need that is near you. I love this for finding things like supermarkets, a specific type of restaurant or a petrol station.
- Helps you save places you want to go as stars so you can easily see where they are.
- It gives you essential information about businesses which is usually pretty accurate, including operation hours, photos, and other helpful information including reviews.
- Helps you decide where to go for all sorts of businesses and services including restaurants, accommodation, tour providers, massage parlous, and anything else! There are a vast amount of reviews published for businesses on Google making this an amazing place to get honest information.
You can also download maps for certain places so you can access everything offline if you don’t have a local sim card.
Uber is a must-have app for all travellers! More and more places around the world now have Uber (or a local equivalent ride-sharing app) which makes getting from A to B super easy (as long as you have internet!). Plus you get access to local prices for transport instead of having to haggle with a driver who is trying to overcharge you (we’re all familiar with that old trick!).
Depending on where you are in the world, there will be different ride-sharing apps to use. Uber is the most famous one globally but isn’t available everywhere. Other popular ride-sharing apps include Lyft, Ola and Grab. Using these apps you can book taxis but you can also book more depending on where you are. Some places offer scooter or tuk-tuk rides and delivery services for food or other packages. This is convenience at its finest.
Before leaving for your destination just google ‘best ride-sharing app in …’ to find out which apps to download.
14. Airline Apps
As soon as you book your flight download the airline's app and enter your booking. Most airlines have their own apps now and it makes check-in a breeze. You can also use these apps to easily amend bookings, add on extras and receive live updates about your flight. These apps make the entire airport experience must smoother, just make sure you have your charger!
Rome2Rio is the premier route planning app. It helps to consolidate all your options for getting from one place to the next, no matter how complex. It will give you different options for driving, flying, trains, buses and taxis along with how long it will take and the approximate cost and a link to the provider to book. This is really handy for giving you a great overview of what your options are for getting around.
Citymapper is the ultimate transport app. And as the name suggests, this app is most useful for public transport in large cities such as New York and London. Citymapper will help you find the best route to get to your destination and get you step-by-step instructions on how to get to the nearest station as well as live updates on when your train or bus is coming. Plus it also shows you live where you are and how many stops away you are from where you need to get off. This is a lifesaver for catching public transport in a new place that you are unfamiliar with.
Travel apps for when you’re there
Wise in an online bank which makes spending money overseas very easy and affordable. All you do it upload money onto the app via bank transfer or credit card and convert it instantly to almost any currency, locking in that exchange rate. You can then easily withdraw local currency at an ATM or pay for things with your Wise Mastercard debit card, avoiding conversion fees. You can withdraw a certain amount from ATMs each month for free (the amount depends on what country you live in). Their rates are excellent and all their other exchange fees are so low they’re almost negligible. Setting up an account is easy and costs very little. This is by far the best way to spend money overseas!
Xe is a free and easy-to-use currency conversion app. I use this multiple times a day when travelling so I can see instantly how much something costs in my local currency. You can select several currencies you want to monitor and then easily see live rates and charts. This is the easiest way to get your head around the cost of things when using a currency you aren’t familiar with.
Yelp and Zomato are similar apps that help you find restaurant recommendations in a location. Yelp is all based on user reviews and helps you get an understanding of where the best place to eat is nearby. You will be able to see user-uploaded photos, menus and other key information. Yelp also allows you to make restaurant reservations through the app with is handy. Yelp is popular in the states.
Zomato is a similar app for finding and booking restaurants or even getting food delivered. It is more widely used in countries outside of the US.
Do you love to find the best hikes in the location you’re staying in? Many hikes are found due to local recommendations in new places, however, you can find the best hikes yourself with AllTrails. This app uses your current location to give you recommendations for the best hikes nearby. It includes key information such as images, maps, reviews, length and level of difficulty. This is for adventurers and nature lovers!
Travel App for Entertainment
I do not know what I would do without my Spotify premium account when travelling! While this isn’t a travel app, it is definitely a must-have for travellers. You can use it to organise your favourite tunes into playlists and listen to them on long flights, buses or trains, or even on hikes and exploring cities. You may even like to create new playlists for new places so that you can go back later and be transported back to your trip.
My favourite thing to do is download podcast episodes I want to listen to before getting on a long plane, train or bus ride. It helps to pass the time while I receive interesting or entertaining information.
With the premium version, you can download songs, playlists and podcasts for offline listening. It is the best!
Netflix is another incredible entertainment app to have while travelling. It is available in most countries so you can use your subscription no matter where you are (unlike some other streaming services). This is a great way to pass time on long trips when you download movies or series in advance. Or just to wind down at the end of a long day exploring. Netflix is especially good for solo travellers or introverts who love to have some downtime every day.
If you are in a country which doesn't have the best selection on Netflix, you can always get a VPN and choose which country’s Netflix library you’d like to access. ExpressVPN is a great option.
What are your favourite travel apps?