Last updated: 5/22/23 | May 22, 2023
These days, everyone travels with a smartphone. In addition to being able to take endless selfies and stay in touch with family back home, it gives us an endless array of tools and apps to help us plan our trips and deal with any roadblocks we encounter on the road.
Unfortunately, while there is no shortage of travel apps, most of them are terrible.
To help you avoid downloading (and maybe even paying for) apps that aren’t worth your time, I’ve put together a list of my favorite travel apps. These apps will save you time and money and help you get the most out of your travels. I think they are the apps that every traveler should have on their phone before they leave home.
GetYourGuide is an online marketplace for all kinds of tours and excursions. From whale watching and food tours to hiking excursions and vineyard visits, they have a huge variety of activities in destinations all over the world. You can compare prices, read reviews, and learn about each activity before you book using their app (or website).
Whether you’re in the planning stages and looking for things to fill in your upcoming itinerary or you’re already in a new country and want something to do later that day, GetYourGuide can help. I’ve used it a lot and always have a great time!
2. Lounge Body
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 any respite are the lounges – but travelers usually need to gain status or pay for access to enjoy them.
Loungebody takes the pain out of the procedure. After entering your credit card, airline status, and lounge memberships, the app tells you which lounges you can access at any given airport. It makes even the longest layover bearable so you can relax and enjoy your travels. And if you don’t have a case, you can book lounge access directly through the app. It is easy to use and free to download.
If you’re a budget traveler, chances are you’ll stay in a hostel during your trip. The Hostelworld app is the biggest and best place to find hostels around the world. You can look at 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 where the lodges are located in relation to each other as well as the main attractions of the destination.
You can also use the app to see who else is staying at the hostel. You can join a hostel group chat and connect with travelers to make plans before you arrive. In short, it is a must-download app for backpackers and solo travelers. The app is free to download.
Skyscanner is my go-to website for finding cheap flights (they offer hotels and car rentals, too). Their mobile app searches millions of flights from thousands of sources and then gives you the best options available. There are also plenty of filters you can use to sort by price, duration, number of stops, airlines, and more, ensuring you find the best flight for your needs.
However, the best feature of the app is the ability to search for flights to Everywhere. Just enter your departure airport and the dates you want to travel to, and all possible options will appear – from the cheapest to the most expensive – so you can browse through ideas without having to check each one manually.
If you want to save money on flights, this app is a must. The app is also free.
TripIt helps organize your travel itineraries. All you have to do is forward your hotel, restaurant, flight and rental car confirmation emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and it automatically transfers all the information to the main itinerary so you can easily view all your upcoming plans. If you upgrade to the Pro version, the company will find alternate routes for when your flights are cancelled, as well as send you automatic notifications from airlines about flight delays, cancellations, and more.
The basic version is free while the pro version is $49 per year.
6. XE Currency Converter
This app is essential for every traveler. You can save and organize multiple currencies to make checking rates simple and fast. It works offline too, so even if you don’t have data or Wi-Fi, you can still get a rough estimate of the price as you shop and explore.
If you have to stay on a budget (and don’t want to be ripped off), download this app. It’s free.
7. Google Translate
Another no-frills app, Google Translate lets you easily enter text in your native language and then convert it into your destination language (or vice versa). You can also download languages offline, allowing you to access them without data or Wi-Fi.
The app can also read your text so you can hear how to pronounce it correctly, and you can even use your camera to take pictures of text that can be translated as well (which is useful if you need to read ingredients while shopping, for example). The app is free.
While traveling on a budget is a wonderful and liberating experience, a lack of money often means backpackers don’t maintain the best diet. From fast food to lackluster breakfasts at hostels to overeating at happy hour, eating healthy on the road can be challenging. Fortunately, there is a free app that can help you find places to eat that have healthy food options. HappyCow is designed to highlight vegan and vegetarian foods around the world. And since vegan restaurants are usually (though not always) healthier, this is an easy way to learn about healthy food options as you explore. You can read reviews, check menus, and compare prices to find restaurants within your budget.
If you are taking a road trip around the USA or Canada, this app can save you a lot of money. GasBuddy shows you where the cheapest fuel is near your location, so you’ll never pay more. The app also has a trip calculator so you can estimate how much your road trip will cost. There is also a gas price map so you can see the prices, district by district.
The app is free but for $9.99 a month you can upgrade to the premium version, which saves you 20 cents a 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 money. By downloading the apps above, you’ll be able to have a smoother journey, giving you more time, energy, and money to invest in your next adventure.
Book your flight: logistics tips and tricks
Book your flight
Find a cheap flight with Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the world so you’ll always know that no stone is left unturned.
Reserve your accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it constantly shows the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you from illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It is comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip 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 to travel for free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodations – all without any additional spending. Check out my guide to choosing the right card, current favorites to get started, and see the latest best deals.
Ready to book your flight?
Check out my resources page for the best companies to use when traveling. I list everything I use when I travel. It’s the best in class and you can’t go wrong with it on your trip.