These days, our phones are like Swiss Army Knives: they can do just about anything you want them to! When it comes to travel, we can load up our phones with some awesome travel apps to make our trip easier and more enjoyable.
And the best thing is that most of them are absolutely free!
Here, I’ve listed the travel apps that I keep in my top 9.
Most people, whether they’re travelling or not, will already have this app on their phone.
It is hugely convenient for keeping in touch with contacts both at home and on the road. It also has a great video call feature, so your family won’t miss your face too much!
One of the great things about WhatsApp is that you don’t need to change your phone number every time you change countries and get a new SIM card.
This means that your family and friends don’t need to keep track of all your new numbers if you find yourself having to change it regularly.
Just make sure that your new travel friends have the right phone number if they want to contact you on WhatsApp.
I have used this travel app consistently through all my years of travelling the world.
Hostelworld is fantastic for finding cheap places to stay all around the globe, whether you’re looking for a dorm bed or a private room.
You can sort results by price and use other filters to make it super easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Check out photos of the property and reviews from other backpackers to help you make your decision on where to rest your head for the night.
I always use Skyscanner when I want to book a flight.
This travel app is easy to use and shows you the cheapest direct flights, followed by a list of all flights available, which you can sort by price, destination, take off time and landing time.
There is also a fantastic ‘Explore’ feature, which lets you set your destination to ‘Everywhere’ and shows you a list of destinations reachable from your location.
I thoroughly enjoy looking at this feature every once in a while and dreaming up new adventures.
Once you have found a flight you like, Skyscanner will direct you to the appropriate website to complete the booking.
Note: Skyscanner doesn’t just do flights! Find hotels and car hire through the app too.
The Google Translate app can be an absolute lifesaver if you find yourself in need of help when you’re abroad.
If you’re trying to communicate with someone but the language barrier is getting in the way, this app can help.
Ask them to speak into the app and it will translate their speech for you, or they can type or even hand-write their words onto your phone.
The camera function has been my personal favourite so far, as I used it many times to translate Chinese text when I was living in Hong Kong.
Simply take a photograph of the text and highlight the portion you would like translated.
You can also download translation files to use offline.
Since discovering this app I’ve used it both at home and on my travels whenever I need to drive somewhere.
Waze is similar to the ‘Directions’ feature on Google Maps, but it will update your driving route in real time to avoid traffic as much as possible.
There is a large community of users, so people can add information to the app as they see it.
For example, if someone spots a hazard on the road, they can add this to the app so that other drivers are aware of it when they are approaching that area.
You will see speed camera symbols in the relevant spots on the map and alerts of police nearby.
Fuel prices for each service station are recorded and you can update these if you notice they have changed.
The app also shows your current speed in comparison to the speed limit (although I have not always found the speed limits to be completely correct so do not rely on this).
Note: If you want to add some information to the app for other drivers, do not do this while driving! If Waze detects that you are in a moving vehicle and attempting to type, it will ask you to declare that you are a passenger before allowing you to continue.
This travel app is different to others on the list in that it is specific to Australia and New Zealand. Please skip to the next item if this one is of no use to you. 🙂
Since travelling to New Zealand and buying a camper van, the Campermate travel app has been completely invaluable to me on a daily basis.
There is a wealth of information that lets you find somewhere to sleep, public toilets and showers, drinking water, WiFi, grocery stores, ATMs, fuel stations, activities and things to do and so, so much more.
A lot of the items are colour coded based on price, too, so it’s really easy to find what you need.
Maps.me is an offline map app, which lets you plan routes by car, foot, bicycle or public transport.
It differs to Google Maps in that it includes hiking trails and shows you what the elevation will be on a planned hiking route.
The maps show details of local points of interest that may not be included on other maps.
Even when you’re using this travel app without any data service or WiFi, it will still know exactly where you are on the route by using your phone’s GPS signal.
This comes in extremely handy if you get lost while hiking in the wilderness!
This travel app makes it so easy to find a comfortable place to stay, usually for a much better price than if you book a hotel!
You can stay in a private room in someone’s home, or rent an entire living space from them for a while.
The app makes it easy to request reservations, send messages and make payments.
Also, staying with a local is a great way to find out what’s best to see and do in your chosen destination.
You can also find experiences, adventures and restaurants through Airbnb too!
Finally, if a hotel is what you need, Booking.com is the way to go.
Their app helps you keep track of your bookings easily and lets you know if there are any deals nearby.
The more bookings you make with Booking.com, the more ‘Genius Levels’ you will unlock, resulting in more savings for you.
And it’s not just about hotels! You can book car rentals, airport taxis, join a travel community and read travel articles on the app too.
Travel apps continue to make our lives on the road so much easier compared to just a few short years ago.
These are just a small collection of the many, many free travel apps that are available on the market, but hopefully they are enough to get you started.
Are there any great travel apps that I’ve missed? I’d love to learn about some new ones! Leave me a comment if there are any more that you think I should check out. 🙂
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