Alright, maybe essential is an overstatement. But at a minimum, these are 10 apps that have helped me tremendously and that I return to frequently.
If you are not already acquainted with Hostel World, you need to be. This the best platform for finding cheap, but amazing accommodation. I use the app to help me navigate to my hostel on check in day or find the next place to stay. The downside? It needs wifi or data to work. Check out my guide for booking the best possible hostel for every comfort level.
This platform allows you to search the fastest and cheapest ways to get anywhere. Keep in mind slow travel, such as train travel, is usually the most eco-friendly. Not sure if a plane, train, bus, or rental car is the best option? This app compares all of them and links you to the place you need to go once you decide to book a trip. Like the Hostelworld app, it’s best for browsing ahead of time. It also doesn’t work without wifi or data.
If you are traveling in Europe, this is one of my top recommendations. FlixBus is a cheap way to get around and is more sustainable than a personal vehicle or plane. The app is especially helpful because you can store your ticket and information right there without data. It also allows you to track where your bus is if you are waiting at the station, which has saved me when I’ve been stuck worrying if I missed my bus or if my bus was just very late.
If you have already read How to Travel for Cheap you already know this is one of my favorite travel search engines. I use the app mostly to browse ideas rather than book a flight, but it’s certainly possible to do so.
Alright, this app saved me. I usually do not have data on my phone when I travel so finding my way around a brand new and foreign city could be challenging. This app works offline. If you download the city map ahead of time, you can search and route without data or wifi.
6. XE Currency
I use this app all the time when traveling. You chose which currency you need and it will automatically update the price depending on what dollar amount you enter. This helps when I’m new in a country and still adjusting to the conversion. It works offline and helps me know if I’m paying a fair price for something.
7. Get Your Guide
Here is one that I use more for browsing. This app helps me find fun day trips or excursions. One good thing about the app is that it will store your voucher for anything you book so you can always have the information that you need easily.
8. All Trails
One of the best cheap and sustainable ways to explore is by hiking. This app is excellent for finding trails. You can read recent reviews so you have a good idea of what to expect and filter by difficulty level and trail length. If you pay for a monthly membership, you can access the maps on the app offline which can be very handy if you are worried about getting lost.
I think it is important to be acquainted to the language in the country you explore. While no one expects to become fluent from a language app, it is good just to learn the basics such as hello and thank you. I’m sure most readers are already familiar with Duolingo, but something I do when I travel is pay for the ad-free, pro version which lets me access the lessons offline. Perfect for a long bus ride.
10. Google Translate
Google Translate is probably not news to you. However, what may be news is the fact that you can download languages in advance and they will work to translate offline. This has helped me countless times.
Bonus: Hopper and Google Maps
Hopper helps you find the lowest price deals by monitoring deals from your local airport. It offers plenty of customization too so you can travel how you like (ie: duration, layover, etc). Google Maps is another great map app like Maps.me that works offline. You can also create a handy itinerary and share the plan with friends. These recommendations come from Brit in Arizona. You can see more of her recommended apps here.
Now that you’ve prepared your phone for travel, make sure to prepare your body too by reading these tips. Little steps of preparation can go a long way!
Do you have a travel app you love?
I’d love to add other recommended apps to the list and help other travelers.