I love travel tech and anything that makes my travels easier or more enjoyable. So I’m always on the lookout for the best travel apps.
I download every one I read about and always test it out on my next adventure. I’ve come up with a list of 14 of the best travel apps that you shouldn’t travel without. These are the apps that have stood the test to time and still take up precious space on my phone.
This may or may not be for some, depending on how you travel. This app allows you to search through airport lounges across the world and lets you book into them straight from the app. I have to admit I love a bit of quiet time in an airport lounge and the complimentary booze certainly helps too!
Not only that though, it tells you exactly what to expect within the lounge including amenities and it has reviews as well. That way you know exactly what you’re getting for your money. It should be said however that this app has changed somewhat recently after it was taken over by American Express. In order to use the app for booking lounges you must now pay with an American Express.
This app ‘gamifys’ learning a language. You lose lives as you get answers wrong while collect points by completing the bite-size modules. Duolingo does state that an independent study showed that 34 hours learning a language on Duolingo was equal to a semester in university. Studies suggest it is extremely effective then… The amazing thing about it is that it’s completely free.
The bite-size chunks make it easy to learn exactly what you want or need to for an upcoming trip. It’s also so easy to do while you’re on the go without the need to sit down for hours on end and read from a book. Like most games and apps these days there are paid upgrades to Duolingo Plus too. These remove adverts amongst other things including quicker health regeneration. It definitely makes the cut for my best travel apps list!
We’ve all heard of Google Translate and probably use the website fairly frequently. However, I didn’t know until a couple of years ago that the app has a camera translate function on it. Most languages come included within the app but for some you can download the language to use offline. Basically, you use your phone’s camera to go over text in a foreign language then Google Translate displays it in English for you. It worked amazingly well when I was in Moscow, Russia and I’ve used it on many other trips too. It’s definitely handy for restaurant menus.
When you’re in a foreign country it can be difficult to work out how much things cost. The one that always gets me is the trip from an airport to the city centre. Should it really be 50€? Is this guy an official taxi or will he rip me off? Well, using any of these ’taxi’ apps helps you work out exactly what you should be paying. You also don’t have to hand over any money as it’s all done through the app. The driver knows exactly where you’re going so communication isn’t an issue either.
Some countries might not use one of the apps so that’s why I’ve given a few. When I was in Chiang Mai Grab came in so handy for getting around. I use Uber quite a lot in Europe as you know exactly what you’re getting.
Citymapper is one of the best travel apps for transport out there. It is only live in 39 cities at the time of writing but it features many of the main ones across the globe. It helps you navigate your way around these cities taking into account all of the transport methods available. For example, in London it shows you the best way to get from A to B with timings, any service issues and costs are thrown in too. It does show walking, cycling and taxi options as well.
Jacks Flight Club
This is a website/app that I’ve touched on in my Ultimate Guide to Cheap Travels eBook. Basically, Jack is great! The Flight Club has a free and a membership that costs you each year. They send out a couple of emails a week with great flight offers or miss-prices that you won’t want to miss. The paid for subscription option sends out up to a few emails a day. It helped pick out Qatar Airways flights for me to Bangkok (you can read my Thailand posts here) at a great price.
The app brings you all of the above straight to your phone. I’ve found the notifications from the app come through slightly quicker than the email. So you’ll be able to beat the rush and bag those cheap flights before most. I’ve got the paid for membership and I’d definitely recommend it.
Everyone knows about TripAdvisor so I won’t bore you too much here. The app works really well when you’re struggling to find somewhere to eat or something to do. Simply download it and use it as you navigate around a new city. You can also download some information before your trip if you know you won’t have data or wi-fi. Obviously, it has thousands of reviews too so you’ll know which places to avoid.
If you’re visiting a country that restricts internet access then you need a VPN (‘Virtual Private Network’). A VPN allows you to ‘trick’ websites and apps into thinking you’re logging in from a different location. This could allow you to access social media in a foreign country whilst you pretend you’re in the UK. Or it could allow you to sit in the UK and watch the US version of Netflix.
NordVPN comes out as one of the best VPNs out there. It allows access to the VPN from six different devices simultaneously with high speeds. It’s also extremely secure with a 24/7 live chat service. The service does come with a cost however. Looking at the website at the time of writing there appears to be an offer of a 3-year plan for £82.40. This equates to roughly £2.29 a month.
This is a great little app for keeping all of your travel plans in one place. You can give it access to your email address (or not) and it’ll scan through your emails for travel plans. It’ll then import them into your app and keep everything together. You can also email the app to include your travel plans into a trip. It’s really handy if you’ve got a variety of trains, planes, activities, etc. all planned.
There is a TripIt Pro version too. This keeps you posted with real-time delays to your plans, it can keep track if there’s a better airplane seat you might want and it has airport maps amongst other things. The subscription service is around £38.99 a year and you can purchase it within the app itself. I’ve been using the free version for a couple of years and I love it.
I’ve discussed Airbnb before and there’s a good chance you know exactly what it is. You can browse properties for rent on the go by downloading the app. It’s really handy if you want to understand rough prices in an area compared to hotels. You can also get some amazing places all to yourself for a bargain price if you have a good look. It’s always nice having your own base with a kitchen when you’re on a trip.
I swear by Revolut. I absolutely love it! It’s a MasterCard that you can use abroad anywhere (yes that is my Euro spend over the last few years!). The exchange rates they use are much better than you’ll get at the Post Office and you can have multiple currencies on the one card. What’s better is that you control everything via the Revolut app. You get instant notifications whenever you spend on the card plus you can disable the card on the app if you lose it. I’ve used it all over Europe, the USA and Asia. It works a treat.
You can read my Revolut review here.
1 Second Everyday is an app you might’ve seen before. It encourages you to record one second of your life everyday. The best method is to use videos but you can also use live photos too. The app can then collate your one second everyday into a nice montage of your week, month, year, holiday, whatever. It’s such a simple idea but the results are really cool. I’ve seen a lot of articles about 1SE and how they did it everyday for a year and how much they remember being in that moment. I often forget to do it but when I put my videos together it’s really interesting to have a look back over the year.
I first started using Trello on my Thailand trip in November 2018. Trello is an organisation / journaling app. You create boards within the app where you can add pictures, checklists or text. You can then organise them in any way you want whilst also having the option of collaborating with others within your cards. I used it to keep track of what I was doing each day plus saving various pictures to jog my memory. Evernote is another app which probably has more features but most people have heard of Evernote!
This app is a must have if you’re looking to try and take some aerial shots with your drone. It summarises all of the important factors like wind, weather, sun light, cloud cover with an overall ‘good to fly’ or ‘not good to fly’ rating. If you’ve paid good money for your drone the last thing you want to do is fly it in gusty conditions. The app is free but you can only see the next 24 hours of flying conditions. The paid subscription shows you a weeks worth and costs around £20.49 ($ / €) for the year. The app also shows no fly zones too so it’s the ultimate drone flying app.