- Best travel apps for making friends
- Best travel apps for planning
- Best travel apps for getting around
- Best travel apps for eating out
- Best travel apps for free time
Travelling off the grid with just nature for company is pretty awesome…but let’s be honest, having some technology whilst on the road can be SERIOUSLY useful. Whether you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere in a Bolivian town, or searching for a beach cafe in the Philippines, these apps are super useful for any situation. Don’t go travelling without them! Read on for 15 of the best travel apps that every traveller needs.
TLDR: In this guide we break down the best travel apps for iPhone and Android, from flight booking apps to tools that help you discover the best local gems anywhere in the world.
Best travel apps for making friends
Making friends while travelling is any backpacker’s bread and butter. But sometimes, you need a little helping hand to get you chatting at the Hostel bar. We’ve pulled together some of the best travel apps for making friends, whether before, during or after your trip. After all, a trip is as good as the people you share it with.
OK, we’re biased – but our app is seriously useful when you’re on the road – you can instantly browse thousands of hostels by price and rating, view endless customer reviews, and find info about the destination you’re due to go to. Social-wise, this app is a master of making you friends. From the moment you book, you can see whos going when you are, chat to other travellers in your destination and even plan local Linkups with people in the area. It may be shameless self promo, but for the best travel apps for making friends, choose Hostelworld.
Tourlina is a women-only app (sorry boys), to help female travellers find other girl travel buddies. It’s based on research showing that women prefer a female travel partner over a male partner. You can discover travel buddies who are travelling in the same place as you at the same time, and even if you have similar interests – it’s great if you don’t feel totally comfortable travelling solo and want someone to share all your awesome experiences with! They check every single new user and only verified users can chat, so you’re definitely in safe hands.
This is a great one if you’re travelling for a few months somewhere and want to nail a language (or at least know how to say more than ‘hello’). Set it up a few months before you go – you’ll thank yourself when it’s 2am and you’re at a dodgy airport trying to tell your taxi driver where to go. It’s also useful if you want to haggle – you’re much more likely to nab a bargain if you speak the language, and any experiences you have with locals will be totally enhanced.
Best travel apps for planning
Organising travel may be some peoples dream activity, but for the rest of us, all that itinerary planning can take the joy out of packing your backpack and seeing the world. These are the best travel apps for planning, organisation and itineraries that’ll make your next trip smooooth sailing.
Hands down one of the best travel apps for iPhone or Android. You probably know it well, but if not, just know that it’s a GODSEND. Skyscanner is essential for finding the cheapest possible flights, including the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ if you’re super flexible about your travel dates. If you have the freedom to be super spontaneous (we aren’t jealous at all), choose ‘everywhere’ and it will tell you cheap flight prices to destinations all over the word – the sky’s (literally) the limit! That makes this vacation app, the best travel app for flights and is a must for your smartphone travel folder.
We LOVE this. PackPoint organises your packing list based on how long you’re travelling for, what the weather is going to be like, and activities – you simply select all the activities you’ll be doing, from swimming to camping to hiking. Then select from their list of recommended items (you can select even how many of each item you want!). Share with your travel buddy so they can pack the same things – super handy for those of us who ALWAYS forget something.
Boring but a good’un. This app allows you to convert any currency, plus you can view live exchange rates. Perfect for when you’re trying to work out how much that Alpaca jumper that you will DEFINITELY wear forever is in £/$/€ (before you invariably buy it anyway).
Circle allows you to send money SUPER easily like a text, wherever your friends are in the world – perfect to avoid those awkward arguments over who owes what. You can send over any amount quickly and efficiently, meaning no more chasing people for cash (so annoying, right?!). AND the app even gives you a fiver if you set one of your friends up with it – free money?! Yes please!
Best travel apps to get around
While getting lost in a new city is all part of the fun, sometimes you need to get from A to B without the hassle. These are the best travel apps for getting around and staying map-savvy in any city.
Maps.Me gives you maps OFFLINE – the dream for every traveller who wants to minimise international data usage costs which can really rack up (plus who wants to waste precious beer money on data?!). They are free and super detailed, providing maps for thousands of countries and cities all over the world – now you have no excuse not to explore. This is one of the best travel apps to have on arrival in an unfamiliar country, especially if you need to go in search of a local sim card or track down the hostel you booked for the night without relying on overpriced taxis lying in wait outside the airport.
Citymapper tells you the quickest possible way to get to where you want to go using all public transport modes – because let’s face it, we don’t always want to traipse half an hour to brunch on a hangover induced by last night’s hostel pub crawl. They have info for 40 countries, from Barcelona to Sydney to Copenhagen, and are constantly growing. Asking strangers for directions is LONG gone with this app.
Best travel apps for eating out
What’s a good trip without eating every new cuisine in sight?! Food is fuel, and to travel properly you’re gonna need A LOT of it. Travel apps to tackle hunger should locate the best restaurants, cafes and eateries anywhere in the world. Fancy a curry? There’s a BYOB restaurant round the corner. Pad thai craving? See that street food stall on the high street? Before your stomach starts rumbling, here are the best travel apps for eating out. Mmmmmmmm.
Previously Urbanspoon (FYI, to avoid confusion), Zomato lets you find restaurants using photos, reviews and ratings, so if you’re looking for a cheap eat, you’ll DEFINITELY find one here. Choose by cuisine, price, and even book a table in certain restaurants, and draw a map to only view restaurants in one area if you are simply just too #hangry to travel further than a few minutes. It’s available in 10,000 cities across India, the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Portugal, the list goes on…! Long gone are the days of sharing a loaf of bread for dinner (hey, traveller budgets aren’t always kind ;)).
If you’re veggie or vegan, this is THE app for you. It covers 180 countries and you can filter by location for specific veggie and/or vegan cafes and health food stores, and search for reviews. No more hours of walking around while you try to find food to satisfy everyone in the group (those pesky omnivores!).
Obsessed with coffee like us? Beanhunter helps you find amazing coffee in 180 cities, including the UK, Aus, NZ, Canada, Germany, Thailand and more – no more run-of-the-mill caffeine hits here. You can view cafe listings, pictures and reviews, and share your own experiences. If you’re a coffee addict, you need to get this app pronto.
Best Travel Apps to Use During Your Free Time
Sure, when you picture yourself travelling it may be lying on a beach or scaling a mountain. But the truth is, any backpacking trip involves a hell of a lot of down time. These apps are sure to keep you occupied during free time, when you’re on the road, or when you’re in the air.
Yes, much of your time travelling will give you amazing, life changing experiences…but sometimes, these can include 12 hours on a bus – or even worse, a spell of illness. Netflix is your SAVIOUR here. Many hostels have wi-fi (and some modern buses have it), meaning you can just switch off, get absorbed into Narcos and arrive at your destination fresh as a daisy (don’t hold us to that…).
We’ve all been there. You remembered everything EXCEPT sun cream, but it’s just so nice basking in the sun – until you’re bright red and have to spend the rest of the trip as a lobster dripping in sweat whilst you cover yourself head to toe. This app avoids any pesky lobster-related nightmares – it works out how long you can be in the sun before burning, using your destination, the time of day, your skin type, and whether or not you’re wearing SPF. Happy tanning!
If you’re a trekking fanatic and sharing your adventures with friends (or your worried mum) is high on your agenda when travelling, you need Ramblr. Ramblr allows you to use videos, maps and stats whether you’re hiking or biking – you can track your route on the map, and note down speed, duration, etc. You can even create stories to compile a video of your journey, so all your friends can see your adventures using the built-in GPS system – offline maps is also supported if you find yourself with no signal up in those mountains.
Featured image courtesy of Christian Escobar at @ic.theworld. All app images courtesy of Apple.
What are some of the best travel apps you’ve downloaded and fallen in love with? Let us know in the comments!