There are quite a few lists out there of best travel apps, but most of these are for people going on a quick holiday. If you’re going on a longer trip, you may want to load up your smartphone with some additional tools.
The following apps are especially useful if you’re going backpacking, if you’re travelling through multiple countries, or won’t have mobile data everywhere (as many of these apps can be used even when offline).
MAPS.me is an awesome maps app that lets you download map data for a country or region so you can use it even when you have no data connection. This app was a serious life-saver when I was trying to find my way through the infinite windy alleyways of the medina in Fez, Morocco — not to mention many other places!
While Google Maps now also include a downloading function, I like the MAPS.me functionality better. It also lets you more easily star specific locations for later reference.
Are you traveling together? Then Splitwise is just amazing for splitting your bills.
I use Splitwise all the time when I’m traveling with a group or even when I’m traveling with my girlfriend. You can easily add expenses to the list, specify who it should be split with, and keep track of who’s paid.
The best feature is that you can automatically settle all your bills at the end of your trip. It looks at what everyone owes each other and then provides the simplest way for everyone to settle their bills.
3. XE Currency
The best way to avoid getting overcharged abroad (or just making costly mistakes) is to have the latest exchange rates with you all the time. XE Currency doesn’t need to be connected to the internet to work.
Hostelworld is the biggest hostel booking site, so if you’re a budget traveller chances are you’ll be using this app a lot. Once you’re already logged into your account, booking your next place to stay takes just a minute. (Psst, I also have some tips for finding the best hostels.)
Momondo is my other favorite flight search engine, and like Skyscanner it’s fully independent so it includes as many carriers as possible. Get the most out of Momondo and Skyscanner by reading my tips and tricks for finding the cheapest flights.
Pocket lets you save any webpage for later reading. Just hit the share icon and select the Pocket icon, and you’ll be able to pull up this article or blog post from the Pocket app later. This is absolutely brilliant for stocking up on reading material before a long flight or bus journey. Pocket now also lets you save videos for later viewing!
What better time to learn a language than while you’re fully immersed in that language on a trip? Duolingo makes language learning fun by adding game-like scoring and progression systems. It’s free and it’s excellent for learning the basics.
Unlock the Flirting pack and you can even learn such useful phrases as “I’m not drunk, I’m just intoxicated by you.” Hello there sexy locals.
This is seriously the most amazing app for finding out transportation connections, even in the most remote places. Type in where you are and where you’re going and you get a list of bus, train, flight, and self-drive options.
10. Trail Wallet
This app makes it easier to track your daily travel budget and expenses. Supports 200+ local currencies, daily budget targets, spending categories, and much more.
Prey helps you secure your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. It lets you track multiple devices in case it gets stolen or lost, and uses GPS and camera pictures to help you recover a lost device. You can even wipe your devices remotely.
12. Google Drive
Speaking of data security, be sure to back up your shit. Seriously, I’m sick of hearing travellers tell me sob stories about how they lost all their photos. Make sure your phone is set up to sync with either Apple iCloud or with Google Drive (or with a competing service such as Dropbox or Microsoft’s Onedrive). Google Drive gives you 15 GB for free. I personally use the $2 a month plan for 100 GB of cloud storage, which gets synced across all my devices.
Skype video calls are a fantastic way to keep up with your friends or family back home. But it’s also a great way to make cheap international calls! I’ve found this extremely useful in cases where I had to call the support desk of my bank or insurer while abroad. Just put a little credit in your Skype account and you can call numbers in your home country at local tariffs.
14. VOLO – Your Travel Journal
It’s fun to keep some kind of journal during your trip. While you could easily use the built-in notepad apps, it’s more fun to use a dedicated travel journal app. With VOLO, you can create a kind of scrapbook, including pictures and text, and can even co-author your journey with your fellow travel buddies.
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