There are a lot of travel apps out there in 2019, offering everything from hotel bookings, travel planning and budgeting, flight finders, and more. Some are little more than useless (I’m looking at you basically all airline apps) and some, while great apps, I just don’t see myself using. Here’s the ones that I’ve tested out and actually have used in planning a trip, getting around, and keeping safe.
If you are visiting a big city, the Citymapper app is a godsend. I find it is often more accurate and easier to follow than google maps and it is better at picking up delays. I use it constantly at home in London too; I’m extremely bad at directions and almost have a talent for getting lost!
The best part of the app is that you can download journeys to view offline. The worst is that only a selection of cities are featured, although this seems to be constantly growing. Although I probably don’t need to mention Google Maps, it is always a good idea to have this app on your phone for any trip as well.
Not one you need for solo trips but if you are travelling with anyone else, I’d highly recommend Splitwise as a great app for keeping track of expenses. You know the situation on a trip where it just ends up being easier to take turns paying but it quickly becomes confusing or unfair as to who paid what? Not with this, just create a group, enter the expense and what is owed by whom and it will work out who overpaid, and who dodged the dinner bills. Matt and I use this all the time, from booking to meals and activities on the trip; we even use it at home instead of a joint account!
Google Translate is not perfect, but it can definitely help you out in language barrier situations. Sometimes it can even be a fun way to communicate in a hard to learn language – one of my favourite memories from Da Nang, Vietnam was Matt and I having an entire conversation with a Buddhist monk using our phones!
The app also allows you to use your camera to instantly translate signs, menus, etc.
When’s the best time to book a flight? Is there a secret to getting the best price?
I was skeptical at first, but Hopper did seem to work in finding the best prices and the best times to book a flight. You enter in the trip and the dates (or approximates) you are thinking of going and it tells you whether you should wait until prices drop or buy now while they are at their cheapest. You can also get alerts when a flight price drops. The app searching through airlines a bit like Skyscanner does.
It also hunts for hotel prices which I’m only starting to use, so let’s see if I can get some deals for my next trip!
Some currencies are easy to convert from one to the other in your head. I’m used to converting prices from GBP to euro and dollar, but how much is 30,000 Vietnamese dong worth? 1,000 Czech Koruna? The XE currency app looks as conversion rates in real time and allows you to see the rates between several currencies at once, useful for knowing what you are buying is really costing you and to track whether it’s a good time to buy your holiday spending money. I always recommend travelling with some type of currency converter on your phone.
The LuckyTrip app is perfect for the spontaneous traveller. You put in your budget per person and it shows you a destination with flights, a hotel, and an activity within that price for the dates you choose or search for the cheapest dates. It searches the like of Skyscanner, Booking.com and more to find your trip. You can even customise the type of trip (adventure, romantic, beach, etc.) or choose the Everything option.
Get Your Guide app
The Get Your Guide app is great for booking tours, skip the line tickets, and day trips all over the world, and you’ll need the app on your phone for your confirmations if you can’t print them out. I’ve used this for booking things ahead of time and having my tickets easily at hand or if I’ve been somewhere and fancied a last minute day trip.
While thinking about what I need while travelling solo, an app like this one came to mind, something I could easily share my location on a regular basis. A friend recommended this app, which she used while travelling solo around Southeast Asia to keep her family updated where she was and that she was safe.
Another good travel app for safety, TripWhistle contains local emergency numbers and the ability to make calls to the right emergency services and send your location. You just never know when you might need it.
Because sometimes there’s not room for all the books you want to read on holiday! Download a few extras onto your phone or tablet.
App versions of the best travel websites
You’ve probably noticed a few big names missing from this list, and that’s because I so often end up using the website version of these great sites, however, it’s always worth having the phone version as well, you never know when you might want to check them on the go:
- Airbnb – A frequent choice for my accommodation when I travel. The app version is great for keeping up with messages and if you are one of those people that books the next night’s stay while on the go.
- Tripadvisor – A classic app on any travel enthusiast’s phone. The app is especially useful for finding nearby restaurants with good reviews or new activities while you’re on the go.
- Booking.com – If I’m not staying in an Airbnb, it is likely I’ve booked through Booking.com. Always useful to have the app to book things last minute or to check on your reservations.
- Hotel Tonight – If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know I like to book in advance. But after I nearly got stuck in Belfast at midnight a few weeks ago, I realised how important it is to have a backup, plus, a lot of travellers book day to day. This website and app is great for finding good deals at the last minute.
- Skyscanner – I can’t remember the last time I booked a flight without at least checking on Skyscanner.
What apps have you found most useful for travel?