It’s a new year and a new decade! And whether you are planning a road trip across the US, backpacking through Southeast Asia, or hitchhiking around Europe, there are tons of useful apps that will help you maximize every aspect of your trip.
So take a look at our exhaustive list of all kinds of travel apps.
All will help you out when it comes to finding out where to eat, where to stay, managing your trips, meeting up with people, et cetera et cetera.
There are too many apps out there to make a truly exhaustive list. However, we’ve managed to put together one based on experience and usefulness that hopefully covers anything you may need during your wandering.
Shortcut to the Best Travel Apps
- Google Maps
- Blabla Car
- Donkey Republic
- Bird/Lime Scooters
- Fog of World
- The Fork
- Happy Cow
- Cash App
- XE Currency Converter
- Google Translate
- Trip Lingo
- Hotel Tonight
- Airbnb Experience
- Facebook Messenger
- Flight Aware
- Gaia GPS
- Plant Snap
- Trip It
- Road Trippers
- Visit a City
Now that you have seen the list, let’s take a deeper look into it in this part of the guide.
Introduction about Apps
This list: This list features a big pile of the best travel apps out there.
We use them personally, and we recommend them 100%. We will try to keep this post for the coolest travel apps always updated. (Last updated October 2020.)
Popularity: Most likely any app is used in different parts of the world. Even the world-famous WhatsApp is well known over the Western world like Europe, Australia, and the US, but in South East Asia they use a different app called LINE, for instance. So bare this in mind.
For some destinations, you may want to download an extra app so you can use the restaurant’s scene in Paris or the museums in London. Keep an eye open!
Paid vs Free: Some travel apps or actually in general apps are free while others are paid. We think it is worth it to pay a few $ on an app when it has proved itself useful.
In-App purchase: There is a third way how apps make their money. It is with so-called “in-app purchases”.
This means while you have the application open, you can buy additional app features. This is very common for games, for instance.
On the other hand, you can deactivate in-app purchases in your settings. This way you are safe and you will never buy anything accidentally.
Android vs iOs: There is basically two types of Smartphone, the iPhones with iOs and all the others are Android.
Now, both systems have their very own app-shop. It happens that you can download a specific app in one store, but not the other. This is because the developers have to program two completely separated apps.
List of the Best Travel Apps
Just keep scrolling and you will find out more about the best travel apps you might need in your next trip. We also added videos to the applications, sharing how they work.
No matter where you are traveling, you’ll definitely be needing some maps and transportation apps to help you get around.
Here are some of the best.
By far the most useful and universal way of getting around all over the world is through Google Maps.
Google’s maps are reliable, detailed, and give you excellent dining out suggestions and landmarks for sightseeing. You can also use Google Maps for transportation around whatever city you’re visiting.
You can toggle between bus, train, walking and driving route options when you’re trying to get from A to B. The “explore nearby” option is great for discovering cool cafes and shops, and they have weekly updated suggestions for where to eat and drink nearby.
Also, you can download a map or a route for accurate offline use if you’re data-deficient.
Note: Just be careful relying too much on Google Maps if you’re driving in certain countries. I’ve found it a bit unreliable for driving directions in places like Turkey, for instance. Sometimes local map apps can be more helpful.
Moovit is a great app specifically built for public transportation within cities.
Offered in over 3,000 cities around the world, Moovit makes it super easy to get from A to B within a city. It gives you multiple transportation options, wait times for buses, ferries, trains, and even Uber and scooters.
It shows accurate travel times, it’s great for locating bus stops in an unfamiliar city, and it has a map feature that shows you a big-picture view of your urban transport options.
Note: Unfortunately, there are no offline maps with Moovit. So you’ll either need data or plan your trip ahead of time with Wifi.
If you’re traveling around Europe or the US/Canada, then Uber is a reliable and easy option for getting around.
Although a bit more expensive than public transport, Uber is still very easy to use and doesn’t require as much effort or even knowing the language. A good option for a late-night rides back to your hostel if you’ve wandered too far and had a bit too much to drink.
Note: In some countries Uber and Grab work better than others. Uber in Spain is not as useful. In destinations like Chiang Mai Uber and Grab are fantastic.
BlaBla Car is a good app for those of us trying to travel medium to long distances for very cheap.
It’s a ride-sharing app that lets you input a possible destination and see who’s driving there. A good option for hitchhikers who may need a break from thumbing or drivers who want to find some people in order to share gas costs.
Note: One drawback of Blabla Car is that it can be a bit unreliable. You’re never 100 percent sure whether you’ll find anyone going where you are at the spur of the moment, so best not to rely too much on this app.
Another great app for people renting a car or road tripping is Waze.
Although Google Maps works perfectly well, Waze is especially good when it comes to living traffic updates and finding cheap gas along your route.
Note: Waze also offers a carpool app that could come in handy for getting to the airport or train station.
Donkey Republic is a bike-sharing app that I’ve had a lot of fun with around Europe.
Offered in bike-heavy cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, these orange bikes are easy to spot, affordable and usually in really good condition.
With the app, you can see on the map where the available bikes are located, then just walk up, use your phone to scan the barcode to unlock it by paying with a credit card, and peddle away for as long as you want. When you’re finished, just drop the bike near a drop point.
Note: The only problem here is that you’ll need data/wifi to unlock the bike.
Scooters are everywhere in LA. So much so that it’s pretty annoying!
And while scooter traffic and scooter litter (piles of scooters on street corners) definitely need to be managed as part of this new fad, Lime Scooters it’s certainly a convenient and fun way to get around in a city.
Just be careful about riding them. It would be best to take them for a spin somewhere less congested if it’s your first time riding one.
Note: Like Donkey Republic, you scan the barcode on the scooter to unlock it and pay by the hour. Unlike the Donkey Republic, you can jettison the scooter wherever you want, which can lead to the aforementioned scooter litter.
Fog of World (map your way)
Let’s start with the most awesome travel app ever – sorry, we really love this application!
Fog of World is a super cool app that lets you track your travel routes as a kind of game. You remove the fog on your map as you physically travel the world. It features excellently detailed maps, badges and game-like features that encourage more and more travel.
It’s kind of like Pokemon Go, but for backpackers.
Note: The only problem with this one is it costs around 15 dollars, but for those of you with a bit of disposable income and a kick in the butt that’ll get you traveling more, this app could be for you.
Where again was that beautiful and delicious restaurant we went to in Menorca?
With Fog of World, you can tell your friends exactly where you’ve been, and where some places are located on a map. Stop guessing, no “Maybe here”, or even worse you do not remember at all – with Fog Of World, you can check simply and quickly where you have been. The app is tracking your route, so afterward you can see exactly where you have been.
Cool feature: The App counts the km² you traveled and shows you what percentage you have seen from mother earth. Also, the application gives you some badges for discovering new things – well, ok…
Although this marketing stuff is just for fun, the initial idea of tracking your travel route is a great tool for flashpackers.
Food apps are great for discovering places to eat wherever you are. A lot of them can be location-specific though, so it can be useful to check out apps for whichever city you happen to be in.
That said though, here are some apps that are useful all over the place.
Foursquare is one of the best apps for finding food and bar options in cities around the world. It’s like a more detailed version of Google Maps’ “explore nearby” option.
You can join communities of foodies who share similar tastes, you can make lists of places you’ve been and want to go, and the tips and suggestions are very helpful.
In-app links to directions are also quite helpful for getting to that dive bar or hole-in-the-wall, a cash-only restaurant that you discovered.
The Fork is a great app for finding restaurants and making reservations around Europe, although the app is expanding, and now offers service in Australia and Brazil.
The Fork is perfect for foodies looking for local suggestions around Europe. A cool feature is the Chef Suggestion option, which gives you trusted reviews from the people who know food best.
Note: The app also has discount options for selected restaurants.
Available in over 180 countries, Happy Cow is an app that helps vegans find the best vegan options wherever they are.
You can save places to view offline if you’re data-deficient, share spots that offer vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free options, and use the interactive map that allows you to see what’s nearby.
Note: The app isn’t free, unfortunately, but its $2 purchase price certainly won’t break the bank.
Previously called Urbanspoon in the USA, Australia, and Canada. Zomato is available in tons of counties, including more obscure locations for the more adventurous, like Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Turkey, Lebanon, and Chile.
You can search for restaurants, view menus and reviews, and even order food online for delivery in India, UAE or Lebanon.
It’s a truly international food app that is available in places where a lot of food apps aren’t.
Whether you need to split up a bar tab with your buddies, exchange currency or make an international transfer, there’s an app for that.
Here are a few of the best apps when it comes to handling your money while you travel.
The Cash App is a great way to send and receive money while you travel. You can send money to your friends for free, and it offers discounts at different stores and restaurants. You are also able to buy and sell Bitcoin, as well as play the stock market a bit if you’re so inclined. The cash app is a trusted and secure app.
Note: The only problem is that it only works in the US and the UK.
Transferwise is a great app for sending and receiving money in different currencies around the world.
They do charge a fee, but it’s usually much lower than going transferring directly between banks. It’s a great option if you’re low cash in local currency and need to transfer your dollars or euros into Thai baht or Turkish lira, and helps you avoid super high charges from ATMs.
The app is very easy to use and the converted money will usually be available in a few hours. The only rub here though is that not all currencies are covered.
For example, you can convert dollars to the Turkish lira, but you can convert lira back to dollars.
Splitwise is a great app to keep track of who owes who on group trips.
I used it on a trip across Scandinavia a few years back, and it was perfect for seeing who paid for what and made it super easy to balance out the costs of the trip between the four of us. It supports over 100 currencies, and if you all live in the same country you can pay each other directly through the app.
Note: Unfortunately, it doesn’t support international transfers, but it is still a great app for the more monetarily egalitarian group travelers.
XE Currency Converter
This app is great for finding out the exchange rates in whatever country you’re traveling in.
XE Currency Converter allows international travelers to convert money and send it across borders quickly and easily. The exchange rates are usually very competitive, and the app is easy to use.
You can also choose to get alerts about exchange rate changes, so you can keep track of when the right time to exchange your currency is so that you’re maximizing your money.
It’s always a good idea to learn a bit of the language spoken in whatever country you’re traveling in, so here are a few of the best apps when it comes to learning a language beforehand or communicating while you’re abroad.
Tried and true, Google Translate gives you the ability to translate into just about every language. You can speak into it or type a word you need, as well as take photos of a menu option or road sign and get an instant translation.
You can add an offline dictionary that you can access sans-data for translation in a pinch in places with limited cell service.
Note: One downfall with Google Translate is that is doesn’t work well with full sentences; the grammar will be clunky and it doesn’t do well with colloquialisms and phrases.
Duolingo offers an easy and addictive way to learn a language on your phone. It has a great interface, with step-by-step learning goals that are practical and super useful for learning everyday phrases, vocabulary, and grammar in over 30 languages.
The in-app goals and hot-streak feature give you some added motivation to keep a daily learning streak going which will help keep you engaged and consistent in your language learning.
Note: The other great thing? It’s free!
Babbel has developed a great app that features short, effective lessons, practice with reading, writing and speaking, and excellent speech-recognition that helps you more effectively practice your pronunciation.
While you don’t have as many language options to choose from as Duolingo, with only 13 languages offered, the courses they do offer are more in-depth and extensive than Duolingo.
You can start off with a free trial, but after that, you’ll have to pay for a subscription.
This app is perfect for the traveler who may just be passing through a country or city for a bit and needs some essential phrases to help her get by.
TripLingo offers useful phrases and slang in over 100 countries, over 2,000 phrases in 13 languages, and an instant voice translator in over 42 languages.
It has flashcards and quizzes to help you retain phrases you come upon in your travels, and even a tip calculator and currency converter! It’s a super useful app that will help you out a lot wherever you find yourself during your travels.
Want to find the cheapest places to stay during your travels?
Here are a few apps that offer great deals, easy ways to compare hostels and hotels, and user-friendly interfaces that make finding one fast and easy.
Hostelworld is a great app that compares cheap hostels all over the world.
You can easily filter your searches by price and location, and see where each hostel is on a map so you can make sure it’s in a convenient location. The reviews are usually pretty accurate and reliable, and they even offer travel guides for destinations all over the world.
Note: Another nice thing about Hostelworld is that you can just pay a small deposit to reserve a room or bed if your travel plans are uncertain.
A great option for comparing prices of both hotels and hostels, Booking.com is another great app that lets you filter your search preferences and shows you an option on its in-app map so that you can easily compare your options and see where they are.
Booking.com gives you lots of variety when it comes to the types of accommodation options available as well, and you get free cancellations in most rooms that you book.
Airbnb is a great app for really experiencing the local vibe of a place.
There are lots of super cool apartments for daily or weekly rent, and you can save some money by booking a room in a shared apartment, which has the extra benefit of maybe meeting some cool people and experiencing more what a city has to offer with local tips and insights.
Airbnb hosts also sometimes offer guidebooks that guests can access when they book a room, with suggestions of places to go and restaurants to eat at and stuff like that, which is a pretty useful feature.
Hotel tonight offers great deals on last-minute bookings by finding empty rooms that are available on short notice. But it’s also great for more long term bookings.
It has simple categories that make searching for a hostel or hotel easy and has lots of filtering options that help narrow your search.
Note: Hotel Tonight also has a perks program that’ll give you discounts the more you book through their app, which can definitely add up if you’re a frequent traveler.
6. Meeting People
Traveling alone? Traveling with some friends but still want to get out and meet some people?
There are a lot of apps out there that’ll help you meet people, whether you’re looking for group events like bar crawls or sightseeing tours, want to hook up, or just want to find someone with similar interests to experience the city with.
Couchsurfing kills two birds with one stone. You’ll get a free place to stay and probably meet cool, open-minded people to hang out with.
Set up a profile, make it interesting, and then see what options you have on the in-app map. You can check out your prospective host’s profile and see if they seem like a good match, see their availability, and then send them a message to get the ball rolling.
I’ve used this app to great effect over the years, and have met lots of cool people and saved money at the same time.
The Meetup app is a great way to find local groups filled with people who are interested in similar things.
There are lots of different categories, like hiking, photography, food/drink, new in town, and sightseeing, to name just a few. For those of you who want to meet people in a new city, but don’t want the sexual tension of a Tinder or Bumble, the Meetup app is a good option.
Speaking of sexual tension, Tinder. Although your humble writer has been out of the dating game for years now, he is still aware of the benefits and drawbacks of using this app to meet people in a new city.
Swipe away, friends.
Bumble is a bit tamer than Tinder. It features options for dates, friendships, and networking, so you have more than just the casual hook-ups offered on Tinder.
Also, the dating portion of the app is always initiated by the women. If you match with someone, it’s the woman that gets to make the first move, which can definitely eliminate some of the creepiness associated with testosterone-driven dating sites.
A fairly new addition to Airbnb, Airbnb experience allows you to check out different events and get-togethers happening in the city you’re visiting.
It’s a cool way to get out of your comfort zone a bit, and because it’s connected to Airbnb, you can be sure that it’s safe and verified.
No matter where you are, here are some invaluable messaging apps that will help you keep in touch with family, friends, and coworkers.
Whatsapp offers secure messaging, audio calls and video calls all over the world. It’s a great app that gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your data is secure.
It also helps cut down on phone bills and is a great option to make calls or chat with your friends no matter where you happen to be.
Note: Whatsapp is generally not used as much in the United States or Southeast Asia, but is popular just about anywhere else.
Speaking of Southeast Asia, Line is a super popular messaging app in countries like Thailand and Malaysia.
It has lots of different emojis and stickers, which is pretty entertaining for someone only used to your standard iMessage or Whatsapp emojis. So if you’re traveling around Southeast Asia it could be helpful to check out Line.
Another tried and true app that helps you keep in touch with people no matter where you are. Skype’s video quality is better than Whatsapp’s, facetime’s or facebook’s, and the messaging and voice calls are also reliable and easy to use.
Skype is a great addition to your app collection whether you’re traveling or not.
A great way to keep in touch with your Facebook friends no matter where you are, Facebook’s messenger app connects you with all your friends and allows you to share photos and memes simply and easily.
Just don’t care too much about your data sovereignty.
Finding affordable flights is a huge part of traveling on a budget. A good flight-finding app can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars.
Additionally, it’s always smart to use flight alerts and look at certain days where flights may be cheaper. Airline prices can vary drastically due to airport taxes in different countries, so it’s good to be aware of this as well.
Skyscanner is a great app for comparing prices across airlines and booking agencies.
For travelers with a bit more flexibility, choose the “whole month” option in the search bar and look at a calendar that’ll show you the various prices each day. This allows you to choose the dates that’ll be the cheapest by fiddling with departure and return dates.
Or if you’re super flexible, click on the “cheapest month” in the search bar and find the absolute lowest prices anywhere in the world.
Much like Skyscanner, Kayak allows you to compare flight prices between hundreds of airlines and travel companies.
Unlike Skyscanner, Kayak also lets you compare rental cars and hotels, and you can bundle them all easily and effectively which makes it a great one-stop choice for planning your next trip.
Kayak also offers deals and discounts through the app and allows you to organize everything in one place.
Note: The price alert notification is a nice way to keep up to date about any price changes so you can make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
FlightAware is a great app for tracking flights in real-time, which will definitely come in handy if you have some skin-of-your-teeth connecting flights or want to have to pick your friend up at the airport.
Note: The radar map is just generally interesting to look at if you want to get some perspective on the sheer numbers of flight traffic around the world.
For travelers who love the outdoors, there are some pretty cool apps that’ll help you out when it comes to finding hiking trails, checking out the topography of your surroundings, and identifying plant life.
And while these kinds of apps may seem a bit contradictory to the whole point of getting out into nature, they still allow you to plan a hike or check out the terrain before you stuff your phone into your bag and forget it for a while.
Gaia GPS started as a backpacking app but has now expanded to include things like day hiking, camping, hunting mountain biking, and backcountry skiing and mountaineering.
It allows you to view topography, save routes for offline use, and use its discover tab to find nearby hiking trails.
Note: Hardcore hikers can pay 20 bucks for the premium subscription and have access to a whole mess of cool features.
PlantSnap is a cool little free app that allows you to identify all kinds of plant life.
And while it’s maybe better to put your phone away and just enjoy nature, it can also be fun to occasionally take it out and see what type of mushroom that is.
The app also has a community feature that lets you connect with other tree heads and share your photos with people from all over the world.
AllTrails is a bit more user-friendly than Gaia GPS, with over 100,000 trail maps all over the world. It works through crowdsourcing, so photos, routes, and reviews are all submitted by other users.
This makes it possible to find some more out-of-the-way, obscure trails that you may not be aware of otherwise.
10. Planning your trip
While a lot of us really enjoy spur-of-the-moment, spontaneous adventures where we end up somewhere we couldn’t ever have expected, it can also pay to plan ahead.
Here are a couple of trip-planning apps that are great for just that.
Tripit helps streamline all your reservations—hotels, car rentals, bus tickets, flights, or any other plans you make—into one easy to access itinerary. It’s a great tool to help keep you organized and avoid forgetting anything last minute.
Definitely great for those of us who are constantly forgetting which email has the barcode scanner that is your bus ticket as you scramble to get to the station before you miss it.
For those of you planning a road trip in the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, Roadtrippers is a must-have app that allows you to plan an epic road trip.
Plan a route and check out campsites, cool diners, roadside attractions, national parks and lots of other awesome spots along the way.
Note: The app is free, but if you upgrade to pro you can plan up to 150 possible waypoints as opposed to 7 with the free version.
Visit a City
Visit a City gives you access to over 1,000 travel guides in cities all over the world. The great thing about this app is that it can be used offline, so you don’t have to worry about data.
The guides featured in the app include all the must-see attractions in whatever city you’re in, as well as pre-made itineraries.
Summary awesome Travel Apps
There are many awesome travel apps out there, making the travel life easier. We will try to keep this article updated.
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