I know, I know, you’re supposed to cut yourself off from technology and become a free spirit when you travel the world. We should be growing dreadlocks and spending our time singing around campfires in the woods not using apps!
We set off with quite a bit of tech in tow, against many people’s advice we took two Android phones, an 11″ MacBook Air, Kindles, an iPod Shuffle and a DLSR. We don’t regret any of it, everything has been used daily and certain apps for travelling have been invaluable along the way.
Apps for travelling
If you’re thinking about travelling the world, or even if you’re due a vacation soon, make sure you check out these 10 must have apps before you go!
1) Day One
I’ve put this one first as I use it the most. It’s a journal app available on the App Store, it’s not free but for £8 its by far the most user friendly way to document your amazing travel experiences. It has a back up feature so no need to worry about losing your laptop and the interface is really slick and easy to use. We use it daily for blogging.
2) Google Maps
An obvious choice I know but I can’t imagine life without it. It must be the most useful app ever?
Not only do we use it for route planning but we often cache an area so we can use it offline later on. You can do this by typing ‘OK maps’ in the search bar when hovering over the area of interest. Caching a city before arrival in this way is invaluable to getting around with no internet.
Another feature I like is the ability to star places of interest. Before arriving I’ll star each point I plan on visiting, after I leave a location I’ll star all the attractions I visited for future reference. Check out my America map:
3) Groupon or Viator
These two are very similar bit id recommend getting them both as sometime one will have an offer another doesn’t. Always worth checking before you pay full price for anything! There’s always cheap vouchers for meals in the bigger cities.
The ability to use the app to download a whole cities travel guide is very handy. You can then refer to it whilst offline as you explore. Looking for a good restaurant? Just check the guides most recommended, all rated by other users, which is always best I find.
5) Google Keep
Not many people use this one, it’s gone under the radar a bit. However, it’s a must for me when on the road! It basically allows you to quickly write notes, to do lists, voice memos etc. All of which sync to the cloud and are accessible on other devices. The sharing facility is great too, I can write a to do list, share it with Nick and he can add to it from his phone.
I don’t think many people go straight to an airlines website these days to book their flight. Instead their first stop is usually a comparison website. I’ve tried all the major players in this area but always come back to SkyScanner. It just works, and works well! I love how you can see flight prices for the whole month with ease, this is particularly useful for us as we don’t have set dates we need to travel so big savings can be leaving on a different date.
We use hotels.com every single night (unless we’re camping). So it’s a good job their app is up to spec! Once logged in you can check all your bookings and find last minute deals based on your GPS location.
Actually booking rooms can be done with just a few taps and 2 minutes of your time, no need to put card details in every time. Best of all though, you get a notification the night before a stay telling you you’re check in time and one before you leave with your check out time. Very useful.
8) Google Translate
Because unfortunately I’m never going to be able to speak or read Japanese or Chinese no matter how hard I try. You can take pictures of words, tap on the bits you want translated and Google does the rest, with high accuracy. You wouldn’t expect any less from Google, don’t bother with the million other translation apps out there.
9) XE currency exchange
Again, there are loads of currency exchange apps out there. I’ve tried quite a few but this one wins for me. It’s simple interface is unbeatable and a nifty widget you can put on a home screen makes getting used to a countries currency a breeze.
Despite being free, this app is amazing for anyone wanting to learn a language. And surely doing so whilst traveling is the perfect time. There are dozens of languages to pick from and lessons are broken down into manageable chunks with easy to follow use of pictures and speech.
It’s intended that you login daily and the app helps you do this with a notification to remind you to do your lesson. It’s like being back at school!
I hope you find these apps useful on your travels and don’t forget 9 out of 10 of them are free so there’s no excuse not to give them a go! If you have any other suggestions we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.