These apps are full of cheap deals, efficient transportation, top accommodations, and other helpful info to make your trip smoothly unforgettable.
Gone are the days of gigantic unfolding maps and hailing taxis curbside. In today’s travel world, there’s an app for everything, putting convenience and ease right in your pocket. Over the course of our travels, we found that a variety of travel apps became something like a handy travel companion—pointing out the best places to go and prices that made us happy. Here is a list of 11 apps we keep coming back to over and over. You can think of these apps like tools for your travel toolbox, and they just might make all the difference.
WhatsApp is such a versatile app that people in some countries use it as their main platform for texting. When you leave the country, and your cell zone, you won’t be able to text everybody at the drop of hat. Unless you download WhatsApp, that is. WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging application that operates on Wi-Fi or your browsing plan, so there's no cost to chat with family and friends while you’re abroad. It’s silly to pay 50 cents to send a picture of the glowing Vatican when you can send unlimited videos, pictures, and audio files for free on WhatsApp. You can even make phone calls as long as the receiver has WhatsApp too!
4. XE Currency
Ever had that travel moment where you think you’ve scored a deal from haggling at a market only to realize that you actually lost the bargain because you messed up the currency? You’ll be surprised at how often you’ll use XE Currency while you’re traveling. XE Currency constantly updates itself with the latest currency rates and even works accurately when you’re offline. You can set the app to display a handful of different currencies, at the same time, making it really convenient for country hopping. With XE you’ll know exactly what you’re spending when you’re going to town on Vietnam’s incredible street food or looking for souvenirs in Marrakesh.
Kayak is a super easy way to compare hotel and flight prices. Something about the design of Kayak’s app makes it an easy way to search for the best deals and you cna use their “+/- 3 days” feature to see when the cheapest day to fly is. We are always satisfied when we use Kayak because it displays the information we need quickly and efficiently and is great for spontaneous trip planning. . What’s even better is that Kayak combines the listings from dozens of travel sites...so instead of spending tedious time site hopping for the best price, you can relax and experience Barcelona, or wherever you may be, a little longer.
4. Google Translate
Stuck in the middle of bustling Beijing with out a single sign in English? That’s a feeling every traveler has gotten a taste of, including us...multiple times. Google Translate simply makes your travel experience run a little more smoothly in the event of language barriers. The Google Translate app allows you to translate 103 languages while online, and 52 languages when you have no service at all. Even cooler: this app uses a camera to immediately translate a picture of text into one of 29 languages. (Just watch where you point that thing!)
We use Airbnb for the majority of our accommodations. You just can’t beat the deals for homey spaces, in amazing locations with tons of unique design. Simply put, Airbnb is the platform that allows locals of a particular destination to rent out their home to travelers. This kind of accommodation can be a fascinating and authentic sneak peek into a culture you’re curious about, and often times it’s cheaper than a hotel. Part of the app also works offline, so the moment you land in a new place, you can still easily pull up your reservation and get important details!
Skyscanner has been quite the sidekick for our travels. This app helps you determine the best time to book tickets and the cheapest price on a variety of airlines, or your favorite. You can’t buy tickets on this app, but it points you in a reliable direction to find the best deal.
When you’re in a new place, sometimes it can be a wild adventure just to get from Point A to Point B. While the wrong turns and unanticipated hiccups may be your favorite part of travel, sometimes you just have to get there! Rome2Rio is a travel app that will get you anywhere with minimal effort. Just enter a landmark or address, and the app will list all travel options to get there—car, plane, bus, train, or ferry—and the cost of fares.
Yelp may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to handy travel apps, but we found ourselves using it repeatedly. When arriving in a new city, Yelp helps to familiarize you with the surrounding restaurants, activities, and sights. If you want to eat, and eat well, Yelp will clue you in on the hot spots and not-so-hot spots. When you arrive in Dublin, where outstanding restaurants dot every corner, this app will help you decide where to start.
Sitting on the bus with a handful of locals will lend you a kind of insight into the culture that you can’t otherwise match. Moovit is the ultimate public transportation app. If you’re looking to get around a city—Moovit is in 60 countries, 1000 cities—on the cheap, then Moovit is an absolute must for you. All you have to do is type in the address, follow the map to a stop, and hop on the bus or train with the right number. The app will alert you when you’re two stops away, and when it’s time to get off!
For the directionally challenged, Maps.Me is the perfect solution to keep you from getting lost. Maps.Me puts a map of the world right at your disposal, even when you’re offline. You can zoom-in or out without a glitch, and enjoy the clear detail of the map as you try to get your bearings. You can also put pins of places you want to go and places you've been to. It is fun to be lost in the fairytale towns of Portugal, but when you’re ready to be found again, you can count on this app.
This transportation app has turned into a sort of classic for travelers. You’ll find Uber in nearly every prominent city, and it’s a safe bet when you don’t feel like going out on a limb in a foreign place. When all else fails, take an Uber.