Travel Tips: Best Travel Apps
Putting together your international itinerary is only the first step. Next comes the fun part, actually going on your trip! Over the years I’ve discovered some apps that make life on the road much easier. I want to share my favorites with you and I hope you’ll find them as useful as I do. Let’s get to it!
For booking, checking in, and tracking flights,these will keep you on track!
- Airline Apps – I always have the apps installed for whichever airline I’m flying and sign in before I head to the airport. This allows me to stay updated and check-in, if that’s an option.
- Skyscanner – the app doesn’t allow nearly the functionality of the full website, but it’s great for running a quick flight search on the go! Flight Aware – I love this one because it shows you any flight’s current progress. This means if a flight is delayed, you’ll know. If you’re picking up someone from the airport, you can track them in real time!
- Flight Aware – I love this one because it shows you any flight’s current progress. This means if a flight is delayed, you’ll know. If you’re picking up someone from the airport, you can track them in real time!
Accommodations + Camping Apps
- Booking.com – this is my favorite site for accommodations because it has all the options for different types of accommodations and a ton of ways to filter. Most of my reservations are made through this group and the app lets me keep everything handy when I’m traveling. You can also book on the fly, if you need!
- Hostelworld.com – this is my second favorite site for accommodations. It allows all the same sort of functionality as the Booking.com app, which makes it super convenient.
- Hotel Groups – Best Western is the rewards credit card I have (that’s my “splurge” for a night or two), but any of the major hotel chains usually have apps. If you’re a rewards user like myself, having the app on my phone is super helpful in seeing my reservations and booking one, if I need!
- RV Parky – this is my favorite app for camping in the US. You can search by location and it will show you campgrounds, plus rest stops and parking lots that allow overnight stays.
- KOA – for camping within the US, I really like this one too. It’s KOA specific, but all their campgrounds I’ve stayed in have been clean and comfortable. On our inaugural road trip with the camper van, we decided to keep driving past our planned stop and this helped us find a place to stay when we were ready to be done driving.
- ECC Camping + Caravan – this one is great for camping in Europe! It offers the same information as the ones I mentioned for the US, which makes finding a place to stop for the night in foreign country super easy!
- Uber – while I’m not really a fan of Uber, this one works in any city that allows them to operate. I’ll usually opt for a local taxi in most places, but it can come in handy.
- Turo – this is basically Airbnb for cars! You can rent a car from an individual instead of a rental company. This one is new to me, but the research I’ve done, the prices are better than I’ve found for the same places and dates through a traditional rental agency.
- Trainline – I haven’t used this one much yet, but it seems to have pretty great prices on the majority of train tickets in Europe that I’ve searched.
- Destination Specific Metro – most of the major cities (in Europe at least) have an app for their public transportation systems. This usually includes a map and any closures or delays. Some, like Berlin, let you purchase your tickets through the app, which means you don’t have to keep track of a tiny paper ticket!
Maps & Navigation
- Google Maps – this app is basically always open in my phone! Before a trip, I’ll go through and add specific attractions, restaurants, accommodations, etc. to my saved places, which makes any of them super easy to find even when I’m out and about for the day without data! Don’t worry, I’m going to show you more about this in a future post…
- Here WeGo Maps – I like this one because it lets you download the full map for offline use in an area. It does show your location via GPS.
- Waze – for navigation, this is my favorite. I love that it tells me where the cops are (I have a bit of a lead foot…), and I can choose the navigators voice! 90’s Boy Band is my default…
- Google Translate – there are a few different ways to use it and it’s super helpful if you need it, but I don’t love that you have to use data to make it happen on the go.
- Word Lens – I’m not sure if you can still get this one or if it’s been wrapped up in Google Translate, but it’s amazing! You can use your camera to hover over foreign text (only supports fairly common languages) and it will show you the words back in your native tongue. This has been SO helpful when I’m way out in the countryside somewhere and very few speak any English. I’ve used on everything from menus to washing machines!
- Memrise – I like these language apps for learning some basics before I go. The lessons are great for walking you through and presenting the information in multiple ways.
- 50 Languages – this one is great for using offline, especially for basic vocabulary. There are lessons you can use for conversation, but also flash card style that you can use to communicate or look up a word as you go.
- Rick Steves Audio Europe – Rick Steves is one of my travel heroes! I love that he has audio guides and self-guided walking tours for certain places around Europe. It’s kind of like being there with him. 🙂
- Spotify – I’m a music lover and don’t know what I would do without my Spotify app. I download my favorite playlists so I always have tunes at the ready! I figure this one is a given, but thought I’d throw it in anyway. 🙂
- E-Reader (take your pick!) – I love my Kindle for travelling (nothing beats an analog book though). I can carry a pile of books all in one little novel size device. Our local library system even allows me to check out books and put them on my Kindle!
Many cities/countries have apps for their transportation systems, tourist boards etc. I usually just search in my app store for the places I’m going and see what comes up!
What are your favorite travel apps? I’m always looking for ways to make live easier on the go, so I’d love to hear from you!