Mobile technology has become increasingly relevant to the world of travel, with the use of apps playing a major part in how wanderlusters now plan their trips. I have compiled a list of 10 travel apps I find to have amazing utility for Roamans seeking convenience on a budget. And the best part is they are all free! Be sure to try these apps on your 2017 travels:
I am in love with this travel app! This is an easy way to centralize your travel plans without having to clutter your bags with printed itineraries, brochures and maps. The app pulls flight and hotel reservation details from the user’s Gmail account and creates one composed itinerary. It also provides maps and advice on how to get around your destination, as well as extensive lists of things to do and places to eat, which are all rated from 1-5 stars with accompanying reviews. There are also ‘need to know’ tips and suggested day plans with pre-made itineraries for sightseeing. The best feature of this app by far is its offline capability. The app allows you to create a trip while online and download the details for the chosen destination. All the relevant information will then still be accessible to you in app while offline. This is an amazing plus for travellers since a constant source of Wi-Fi is so rare when we are out and about exploring. I strongly recommend this one!
This app is for a community of travellers who, believe it or not, help each other out by offering their fellow Couchsurfers a place to stay… for free! Members of this community can search for hosts wherever they plan to travel and request to be accommodated if the host has an available couch or bed. Now, I know many people will be skeptical about this concept and of course it is not for everyone, but I have Couchsurfed in Germany, Greece and France and they were all positive experiences. The app allows you to check reviews of people who have hosted others and been hosted, so you can get a better idea of what to expect of the person, and it is a little more reassuring when you see that they have been recommended by other Couchsurfers. Couchsurfing has also implemented an optional verification feature which makes it easier to vet people, ensuring they are who they say they are. This travel app comes in handy for saving money while travelling and creates an amazing opportunity for culture exchange since you would be experiencing life with the locals. It is however more suited to solo travellers and small groups of friends travelling together.
Looking for unique places to stay without breaking the bank? Airbnb is definitely the app for the job. This travel app provides access to a cheaper alternative to hotels, allowing for short-term rental of a local’s home at a much lower cost. This offers a chance to experience the authentic culture of your destination, as hotels tend to keep you out of touch with how locals live. The app also provides useful features such as listing reviews, maps of the listing’s location in the area, and a profile for each listing which shows available amenities and other relevant details. If you are looking for that ‘home away from home’ vibe while you travel, definitely try Airbnb when booking your accommodations.
Booking is another very useful travel app that consolidates travel reservations with useful travel tips. You can book hotels, motels and apartments, with access to travel guides and secret deals for thousands of locations all in the same app. I’ve gotten several awesome deals by using Booking and definitely recommend using it for your next trip.
Think Google Maps with more offline utility. I was over the moon when I discovered this app. The eternal struggle that is lack of Wi-Fi, which haunts all travellers, has been trumped by the awesomeness of this app. Users are able to download maps of entire countries while online, and then enjoy detailed, turn by turn navigation with time approximations for travel by foot, car and bicycle while offline. How awesome is that?!
Not everyone can be a polyglot, so that’s where Google Translate comes in. This app allows for translation of words and phrases between 103 languages! You can also download language files while online for later offline translation (another app that soothes my ‘no Wi-Fi’ woes, yaaaay!). A special feature of the app also allows for visual translation through your phone’s camera. Just access the camera through the app, point to whatever written words you want translated and you’re all set. This will definitely be useful for my adventurous Roamans who love to go off the beaten path where you might not always have a concierge who speaks your language.
This app curates a list of the best deals for flights, hotels and car rentals. It is especially great for finding cheap flights since it frequently updates itself to account for any changes in ticket prices. I particularly love the Price Alert feature on this app, which gives you the option of receiving notifications when prices change for particular routes you have searched for. Definitely give this app a try to receive up to date deals and save on your trips.
A currency conversion app is an essential tool in every traveller’s arsenal. This app actually provides you with the most current exchange rates, as it monitors the market in real time and refreshes to update any changes in the rates every minute. It can also perform multiple conversions simultaneously and allows you to create rate alerts so the app can notify you of any changes in your preferred currency pairs. You can additionally store current exchange rates for any currency of your choice within the app to use for later offline calculations.
So by now you would have picked up on a recurring struggle I face quite often while travelling, being unable to find Wi-Fi (the free kind that is). This app is a definite game changer. It comprises the largest Wi-Fi community in the world, providing access to over 100 million Wi-Fi hotspots in over 100 countries. I know you are probably waiting to hear the catch. No catch actually; the app is made possible because members of this Wi-Fi community share information on public hotspot locations as well as Wi-Fi passwords. Users are able to select listed networks in their area to view their map locations and passwords which are posted by contributors of the community. Of course, as this is a social community where members are helping each other out, ensure you do your part to add any Wi-Fi hotspots you have discovered and provide passwords where you can. As a special feature, you can download Wi-Fi listings for your chosen country while online, then access them while offline so you can always find a way to stay connected. Free Wi-Fi for everybody!
Guides by Lonely Planet
This app is another all-in-one type, much like Google trips. Unlike Google trips however, it lacks individual reviews by those who have experienced the recommended activities and it does not allow for a centralized itinerary. Guides, however, provides detailed offline maps, a currency converter, travel tips for your destination and budget guides provided by Lonely Planet’s on-the-ground experts. This app is super budget friendly and even has a ‘Free Stuff’ category for some of its destinations. So if you are always looking for the most affordable way to experience different destinations, give this one a try.