Essential Travel Apps
Since smartphones became a thing apps have been making travel easier as you can do virtually everything from your phone. This a list of the apps we use on a regular basis while traveling. The list might seem a bit long
Offline Google maps
Offline Google maps is my go to in countries where you can download the maps offline (some countries do not support this feature). I love google maps because it has GPS as well as turn by turn directions in most cases. It also allows me to type in any destinations as well as generic things like “restaurants” and it will show nearby results with review ratings offline. Generally, I will type in a bunch of destinations I want to see and save them to a list then I can see them easily the map while we are wandering (see screen shot).
Follow these 6 steps to download an offline map:
- Open Google maps;
- type in the country you want to download the offline map of in the search bar
- click the menu tab (it looks like three lines in the top left corner)
- click “offline maps”
- Click “select your own map”
- Choose the area you want to download by moving the box
MapsMe is a close second to GoogleMaps, It works completely offline and will tell you exactly where you are via GPS. You can drop and pin and save locations, I do this for where I am staying so I always know how to get home or to save locations. Even better it will give you full turn by turn driving directions if you have decided to rent a car. It does know some points of interest but this feature really isn’t that great yet.
Being in a country that you do not speak the language can be a fun experience. it’s almost like one big game of charades but sometimes the language barrier becomes an issue. This is where an offline translator comes in handy. Google Translate is my go to, download the app and which ever languages you need to translate into and vola! You are good to go. Google translate can even speak out loud, listen to someone, and read text in some languages. These translations are often not perfect but you will be able to get the just of it.
I personally use all currency converter because it works offline. I like that is simple and straight forward, you choose two currencies to enter the amount and it will convert for you. It is super easy to switch between currencies on the fly. The only this is I find this app is usually slightly under in terms of the exchange rate. We use it just as a ball park. I usually actually calculate the exchange rate manually from my bank statement. Ex. We took out 500 € and our bank statement shows $750 CAD thus the true exchange rate is 1.5. The app shows 1.45, close but not exact.
This should come standard on any phone. Once I know what the true exchange rate is, I generally use the calculator instead of the currency app because I like to actually know what I am paying for something (I might be a little too particular about this type of thing).
Skyscanner is a phenomenal app. You can actually use it for flights, hotels, and car rentals but I find it does the best job with flights. It generally shows the best prices along with momondo. I love the everywhere feature if you are not sure where you want to go but just want a cheap flight.
Like skyscanner, you can search for flights and hotels but it does a better job with flights. Momondo also has an everywhere feature and shows you the cheapest days to fly to your destination. I love looking at the price estimates to get a better idea of when to fly.
Kayak is one of those apps that attempts to do hotels, flights and car rentals but I find they do the best job at the latter. They generally have some great deals for the big brand car rental companies. They often do not show the smaller companies.
I use Rental Cars as a supplement to Kayak because you will find smaller companies on this app which can mean lower prices but also crappier cars. I only use this app if I can’t find the price I am looking for on Kayak.
While I don’t have a specific app if I know I am going to need a taxi in a country that is known to rip tourists off I will always download one or two of these apps. They allow me to call a cab right to wherever I am and never worry about them trying to rip me off. They always start the meter and we pay what the locals pay. Note: Data or WIFI is needed at the pickup point
I personally love using Uber in other countries because you don’t get ripped off and it is generally the cheapest private transport available. You won’t find uber in every country and in some, they won’t go certain places due to violence from taxi cab drivers. If you can use it great, if not try a taxi app.
Accommodations (See full post for more info)
This has become my new go to app to start my searching to just get a handle on which apps I should be looking at for the best prices. I do however hate the filtering on this app so I just use it as a starting point or to price compare.
The go to in Western Countries, they have the most selection and generally the best prices (not always). What you see is what you pay.
My favourite of all the booking apps and site and is the go to in Asia for the best selection and price. What you see is what you pay.
Go to in more medium to expensive cities. I love that your 10th night is free. Watch out for hidden fees at the checkout. What you see is always less than what you pay.
The go to when we want to stay somewhere nicer for a discount or the city has expensive accommodations. Watch out for hidden fees at the checkout. What you see is always less than what you pay.
My go to while traveling, video chat, call or text anyone, anywhere in the world who has WhatsApp of wifi or data for free. Get the app even for at home.
Save all your cards in one place, because you don’t want to be carrying around things like loyalty cards while you are traveling. You will be surprised how often this can come in handy.
Download your bank’s app. It will be handy to check balances and make sure nothing suspicious is happening to your account while you are away.
Social Media Apps
Keep your friends and family in the loop while you are away. Use which ever platforms you like!
Usually, when you travel you tend to walk more than you might at home. This is an awesome app the government of Canada has created that actually give you scene points to walk (or Aeroplan miles if you prefer) use my code kathleen0495 to get 100 points just for signing up! See if you can walk your way to a free movie!
Do you use any of these apps? Will you be downloading any of them for your next trip? Let us know in the comments below!