In today’s modern world, travel is easier than ever! Gone are the days of Victorian explorers sailing for weeks on end to reach new lands. Today all manner of adventures across the world are just a few clicks away. As such, modern-day explorers have acquired a new tool that has become a vital part of travel, phones, and more importantly, the apps they include.
Not only are they a communication tool, but they’re also our travel agents, guides, maps, and photo albums. There are thousands of apps to choose from which make the very best out of our travels! It can be tricky picking the right ones, so here’s a list of the essential travel apps that you can’t do without!
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Google Maps (Maps / Transport / Information)
A pretty obvious choice, but important nonetheless. For years, Google Maps has led the way as the most extensive and, most importantly, reliable map out there. The app’s high point is the real-time directions which are based on your preferred route or modes of transport.
Not only that, but the app displays accurate information on all kinds of locations from restaurants and hotels to attractions and stations. That includes opening times, addresses, contact info and reviews, every detail you’d possibly need!
The app also has another vital role as a public transport guide. In many countries, Google Maps can provide accurate public transport routes and schedules, showing you each stop and the exact times they run each day! Google Maps has to be the best of the travel apps!
Maps.Me (Map / Transport)
Do you really need another map? Yes, as Maps.Me has a very important difference, it works completely offline! Google Maps only works with an internet connection, while Maps.Me just requires a phone signal (which everyone has). Like its competitor, Maps.Me also marks out specific categories such as hotels, attractions, stations, supermarkets, ATMs and many more!
Though it may not be as detailed, the app still provides accurate directions and locations without internet everywhere. It can even show you the way along secluded mountain trails! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve relied on the app and how incredible its been through all my travels.
Rome2Rio (Transport / Tickets)
If you want to find all the ways to get from A to B, Rome2Rio is the only app you’ll ever need! They provide details for every form of available transport including flights, buses, trains, ferries, or a combination of them all. The app shows the exact routes, length of time and price of each trip.
More importantly, they show which companies offer these routes and provide links to their websites so you can book your tickets in advance.
Hostel World (Accommodation)
In today’s modern age, finding a place to stay can be done in a matter of minutes. There are many travel apps out there that fit that exact purpose, though for backpackers one is beloved above all else, Hostel World. The cut-price lodgings have been the lifeblood of budget travellers for decades, and this app helps you find them.
The interface is incredibly easy to use and gives you the details of every hostel available in the area. You could travel the whole world for as little as possible just with this app!.
Air BnB (Accommodation)
In recent years, Air BnB’s have become much more popular, and there’s little wonder why! They offer a greater variety of accommodation, from simple hostels to your very own villa. The apps extensive selection gives you the opportunity to find a unique private stay for a bargain price.
The app details every AirBnB in the area and also allow you to find a place which suits your need. They also offer month-long stays as well as different activities and experiences you can be a part of in the area.
It might seem silly having a third app of this nature, but having an all-rounder like Booking.com is important! Some areas won’t have many hostels or Air BnBs. Booking.com on the other hand gives a much wider selection and a greater number of places.
The versatile app also offers car rentals as well as taxi services so worth having it as a back-up!
Volunteering: The Key to Budget Travelling
For any long term traveller, the goal is to stay on the road for as long as possible. One major factor in that is being able to find ways to save a considerable amount of money while doing it.
The first step to travel is buying the ticket! Skyscanner is the clear forerunner for finding flights, as they collect prices and routes from hundreds of different airlines all in one place.
The app also has features which allow you to explore different options, such as showing the prices at different dates and finding the cheapest times to travel.
My personal favourite feature is the ability to explore options on where to travel! What if you don’t know where to go next? Easy, Skyscanner shows you all the flights available from any location in the world!
The app can also be used to find accommodation as well as hiring cars. Another of the apps you can’t travel without.
iCloud / OneDrive (Online Storage)
Picture this, one day you’re unlucky enough to have your camera and laptop stolen, or worse, you lose your phone. For the most part, the only thing you care about is the photos and the memories you lost, so it’s wise to back them up!
Storing files in the cloud is the modern safety net that everyone needs! Some companies offer a limited amount of space for free, though after a while you’ll need a little extra. It doesn’t even cost that much! For example, iCloud offers 50GB of space for just £0.79 a month. Pretty decent for a bit extra security.
It could take years before getting to grips with each country’s conversion rate, let alone a few days! It’s important to know exactly how much something is worth, so having a converter is essential!
There are plenty of converters out there that basically do the same job. My personal favourite is the Currency app, which displays many different currencies at once!
Google Translate (Language)
Yet again, Google’s got you covered! Communication becomes a real problem when travelling, so you’ll need a helping hand! Google translate does the job incredibly with hundreds of languages at your fingertips!
The app’s features allow you to translate conversations between two people, can detect different languages you won’t recognise yourself, and can read allowed anything on screen! The most important feature is being able to download languages so you can use the app offline. It’s another one of those travel apps you definitely need!
Nobody expects you to speak a language fluently after just a couple of weeks, but its useful to pick up a few phrases along the way. Without a doubt, Duolingo is one of the best apps out for learning new languages!
They have structured lessons and interactive methods of teaching which keep you motivated. You could literally learn a whole new language with this app alone, I did!
Staying in Hostels: Pros & Cons
Hostels are the lifeblood of backpackers and budget travellers. Practically every country in the world has a supply of low budget accommodation to provide guests with a cheap and convenient place to spend the night.
Trip Advisor (Accommodation / Tours)
Trip Advisor is another recognisable brand that is used even outside of travelling. The app is a good all-rounder as it has several features which allow you to book several types of tours, accommodations, restaurants, and even flights.
Most importantly, the app is the ultimate source of reviews which covers the entire spectrum of the travel industry.
Always good to have a backup! Klook is the new up and comer which has gained popularity as a place to find the best tours! They have a vast selection of activities and day-trips on offer from all across the world.
Again this app is an all-rounder as they can also be used to find accommodations, restaurants, car rentals and everything in-between.
Ahh good old Uber taking us home after a heavy night out on the town. Today the app operates in the majority of the world! With the app, you’ll have an easy way of arranging some short-distance transportation.
More importantly, you can secure exactly how much it will cost without any risk of getting ripped off. Not to mention the added level of safety you’ll have travelling in an unfamiliar country!
All Trails (Map)
Trekking along the trails which lead through God’s green earth is an important part of many peoples travels, but it’s difficult to get accurate information about them. That’s where All Trails comes in!
They provide accurate trail maps and information on the gradients, distance and estimated time it will take to walk the trail. This is the type of information that’s missing from most travel apps.
What COVID Means for Travel
COVID has brought the adventures of many travellers to a screeching halt. Flights are limited to extreme cases, borders are closed and much of the industry has shut down for good.
A Welsh university drop-out on a mission to travel the world for as little money as possible. My adventures have taken me through over 30 countries across Europe, Asia and Oceania, and the list keeps on growing! From classic backpacking to working and volunteering, I have found all sorts of ways to maintain a life on the road.