Are you going travelling and need to set up your phone with the best travel apps before you go?
Creating your next itinerary or booking your travel plans whilst you’re on the road can be challenging when you’re dealing with obstacles such as long travel days, nowhere to charge devices and island-style power cuts. So you need to to use the best phone apps you can to make life easier.
So here are the Top 20 Travel Apps that every traveller should have to make travelling awesome. (OK there’s 21 but they’re all brilliant and will all help in some way to make your travelling life easier).
TOP 20 TRAVEL APPS
Trail Wallet is a travel app that tracks your expenses and helps you manage your finances on the road, so you can focus on the important things – like having fun. It was created by travel bloggers and it’s now used by over 150,000 travellers.
It’s intuitive, user friendly and customisable, so you can set it up as you want it to look.
You setup your daily budget, your home currency and the currency of the country you’re travelling to and then you just record each expense using the ‘add amount’ option, every time you spend. It’s then recalculates the balance of your trip budget, so you can see how much you have left.
A summary shows your total amount spent for that day and your running total for the month.
It’s such an easy way to keep track of your daily spends and stops the anxiety attack every time you log onto your online banking.
You can also view previous month’s spending data, so you can see where you’ve spent the most or the least.
You can use as many different currencies as you like, which is so useful if you’re travelling through multiple countries, and Trail Wallet updates the exchange rate whenever you’re connected to the internet.
Trail Wallet is only available for iPhone and iPad users at the moment. For Android users, try the Toshl app.
The King of Mapping, everyone has heard of Google Maps, its one of the best phone apps and nearly all phones come pre-loaded with this travel app. I actually don’t think I could live without this app when I travel, in fact I even use it a lot when I’m not travelling.
It’s got so many practical and useful features, the one I love is the feature that gives you an estimated walk time for each route, so you can see how long it’ll take to walk somewhere new. I have often used it to see how long it’ll take to get to new temp jobs, when I’m working in different destinations.
I also love the integration with other apps too. This was SO useful when I was in Thailand using the Grab taxi app and Grab didn’t understand the Thai locations I was entering.
So I opened Google Maps, found my location and destination route on the map and selected ‘Directions’. Then you’re given driving, walking and public transport options and Google Maps displays Grab prices at the bottom of the screen – including an option to open the Grab app. Genius tip! (Especially when Grab or Uber isn’t playing ball 🙁
Maps.ME is a travel app that you can use offline. You download the map of the town or city you’re going to next onto your phone, then you can access it offline anytime you need it.
It’s a lifesaver when you arrive in a new country and don’t have a local sim card with data or any WiFi around.
You can also search millions of objects including, Campsites, Hotels, Train stations, Car Rentals, Cafes, Restaurants, ATM’s, Doctors or Pharmacists – all whilst offline.
Available on iTunes and Android.
CityMapper is one of the best phone apps that helps you navigate all the public transit systems in the bigger cities. Global city coverage includes; New York, LA, Boston, Chicago, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong, Paris, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Moscow, Mexico City plus many more.
It gives you all transit options available, real-time departures, transit maps, line status and disruption alerts. It also has Uber and Lyft integration plus live bike share info.
You can compare all your transit options, get real-time service alerts, find alternative routes and it’ll even tell you the best section to sit in, how many stops it is and the correct station exit to use.
CityMapper been voted the best travel app for New York, has won many awards and has thousands of 5-star user reviews for it’s usability and incredibly detailed and accurate route planning.
For Android users, find CityMapper here.
One of the best phone apps all round. If you’re familiar with Google, you’ll know Google Drive is their signature cloud storage facility and everyone with a Google account can have 15GB of storage for free.
This phone app is essential for keeping copies of important travel documents easily available such as; passport copies, bank details, addresses, backup of your phone numbers and any medical documents. Storing them in The Cloud is much more efficient than carrying paperwork around with you, when you travel.
The King of flight searching. Skyscanner is truly one of the best travel apps of all time, letting you search for the cheapest flights, hotels and car rental from thousands of suppliers, with no booking fees – ever.
I especially love the ‘Search prices for whole month’ and ‘Fly to anywhere’ features when searching for flights.
Android and iTunes.
The King of accommodation booking. The Booking.com app is another travel app I couldn’t live without. It searches thousands of accommodations around the world and you can filter by price, area, review rating, location from city centre, or even filter by it’s swimming pool offerings – these things are important sometimes, am I right?
Download on Android or iTunes here.
With the Airbnb app, you can literally book accommodation in unique homes, anywhere in the world. With the Airbnb app, go anywhere and book anywhere. It’s on the slightly larger side for a travel app but with the amazing gallery pictures, you can really see what your accommodation looks like before you get there.
Download on Android or iTunes here.
For honest, no BS reviews on hotels, tours and restaurants the TripAdvisor app is one of the most useful travel apps you’ll use. Many booking sites have a review section for reviews now, but Trip Advisor seems to still hold the crown for the most detailed reviews.
And sometimes the most entertaining too.
Android or iTunes.
TripIt is an intuitive travel app that detects when you’ve booked a flight or made an accommodation booking, pulls a copy of the booking through from your email and stores them all in one itinerary – in your TripIt account. You can even access your itinerary offline.
Available on iTunes and Android.
Ithaka is a travel app that you can actually chat to, to plan your trip in Thailand, Bali or Turkey. The ultimate travel guides, they are the first chat-based travel planning company in the world. They work together to help you plan your entire trip from your initial travel planning thoughts, through to the last day of your trip.
When I first used Ithaka it was a much simpler looking Q&A chat interface but it was such a lifesaver. We had arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok and had no idea which was the best way to get into the city (without getting ripped off). Ithaka responded immediately and advised us to get the Skytrain to save on taxis and even directed us to where it was in the huge airport. LOVE it.
Android or iTunes.
It does what it says, it converts currency. I think XE Currency is the one of the best phone apps for currency exchange because of its easy user interface and its mobile currency calculator, so you can easily calculate anything you buy and see the price in your own currency.
You can load a few of your most used currencies and get live exchange rates, which will update as often as you set them up to. Available on iTunes and Android.
Grab or Uber
The taxi travel apps. Grab and Uber – we all know at least one of these guys. Personally I find Grab is used more in Asia and Uber more in places like the USA, Australia and the UK. I love both of these travel apps, they integrate with Google Maps and CityMapper to make life easier and are almost always the cheaper option when needing a taxi from any airport.
Sleepyti.me is one of the best phone apps I own because its a bedtime calculator that helps me work out my sleep cycles when I’m travelling. I’m a lousy sleeper and this app tells me what time to go to sleep or wake up, so I can get in enough sleep cycles.
Research has shown that we sleep in cycles and waking up in the middle of a deep sleep cycle can leave us feeling groggy and tired.
You can also tell it what time you need to wake up by and it’ll calculate several potential bedtimes, dependant on how many cycles you can fit in.
Perfect for waking up early on travel days or catching some Z’s before a red-eye flight.
Download iTunes app here and Android here.
Forget bank transfers, the Transferwise app is a great app for transferring money internationally between accounts. If you’ve never heard of Transferwise, check out my post here explaining how it works and why Transferwise is amazing.
Once you’ve tried Transferwise you won’t go back, so you may as well get the app now.
Download the app on Android or iTunes.
For tracking all flights, anywhere around the world FlightRadar24 is your guy. Turn your phone into a live flight tracker and track flights in real-time across the globe with this app. This is also a good one to set-up for family members who might want to check your flight got in safe whenever you travel.
Download the app for Android here or iTunes store.
Mobile Passport (US)
This great travel app is one for US & Canadian citizens only. Mobile Passport app is CBP approved (US Customs and Border Protection) and lets U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors expedite their arrival process into the United States. The app does not require pre-approval and is free to use.
Download on Google Play or iTunes store.
iTunes & Apple Music
Get the iTunes app to organise your music library and then get Apple Music. With Apple Music you can stream anything on all your devices ad-free, download albums or music videos and even play them offline when there’s no WiFi.
Check out this travel playlist on Apple Music – perfect for those long journeys.
Amazon Kindle App for smartphone
The Amazon Kindle app is one the best phone apps and is especially amazing for people who don’t have a Kindle. For reading on planes, trains or long bus rides, airport delays, the list is endless.
Android or iTunes.
There are heaps of great Podcast apps out there, a few good ones are Pocket Casts, iCatcher, Google Podcasts or Soundcloud. Although Soundcloud is mostly music, it does still have lots of podcast choices – plus it’s free.
If you’re like me when you’re browsing the web reading, you’ll have 14 tabs open with articles or blogs you intend to read, but never get round to reading. And then they end up lost forever in your endless bookmarks list.
Pocket is amazing for saving things to read for later, I use it all the time now. Save directly from your browser or your apps, just tap the Pocket icon (there’s a Chrome extension for this too) and it’ll save the article or blog post for you to read later. And you can even go back and read them when you’re offline.