10 Must-Have Travel Apps for 2019
I’ve written in the past about my obsession with travel gadgets, about my favorite iPad apps for travel bloggers, and even about Australian travel apps, but it dawned on me recently that I hadn’t written about the must-have travel apps I never leave home without.
As both a blogger and a long-term resident of the interwebs, my phone is never far from me when I’m on the road. I like to stay connected with a mobile plan at all times, as relying on WiFi is no way to live.
While these are my ten favorite travel apps, I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!
10. Gate Guru (iOS/Android)
Airports are a necessary evil for both long-term and short-term travel and not all airports are created equal.
For every Changi or Incheon, there are a dozen Guangzhou, Addis Ababa, or Manila Airports to endure.
Whether you’re stressed about finding your connecting flight, need to find a lounge in which to while away a few hours, or are just in dire need of a good meal or a shower – GateGuru is a fantastic resource.
My particular favorite feature is the amenity list, which highlights the various restaurants and shops you’ll find within the airport.
While not every airport is covered in loving details (my hometown of Armidale gets no love), it’s an invaluable tool when you’re looking at a long layover.
Bonus: Lounge Buddy (iOS/Android)
If you are looking at a long layover, Lounge Buddy is a must have.
Not only does it allow you to scout out the lounges at your airport ahead of time, it even lets you make advance bookings so that you can just slump into an armchair, eat the finger food, and mooch WiFi on your next lengthy layover.
I could rattle off a whole list of useful booking apps, but that would make for a bit of a boring list.
Suffice to say, there are a lot of flight and accommodation search apps out there that are vying for their slice of the pie.
For me, I never leave home without the treble of Skyscanner, Booking.com, and Airbnb. With these three apps installed, I’m pretty much able to book anything I need on the fly.
There are plenty of other options out there and you’ll sometimes need to look at regional options like C-Trip for China, but these are the best of the lot.
8. Swarm (iOS/Android)
The bastard stepson of Foursquare, Swarm is essentially just a check-in app that allows you to earn points for check-ins, gain mayorships, and get silly badges.
Why do I use it?
It’s a fantastic way to keep a running record of the places you went to on your trip!
I’ve been Swarming since 2010 and it’s super handy when I’m wanting to write about a trip from a year or two ago or make a hotel recommendation to a friend.
Partnered as it is with Foursquare, it can also be a great way to get tips on local restaurants, attractions, and hotels.
Already on Swarm?
Shoot me a friend request! You can do this by following Aussie on the Road on Twitter.
7. Enlight (iOS)
If you’re like me, you love to snap photos while you’re traveling and share them with your friends and family back home.
I could state the obvious and recommend that you download Instagram, but I feel like everyone on earth is already well-aware of it.
Instead, I’m going to recommend my favorite photo editing app: Enlight. It’s what I use to turn my snaps into something Insta-worthy and the best of more than a dozen photo editing apps I’ve tried in the past 5-6 years.
Unfortunately for Android users, this gem isn’t available on the Google store. You can find apps similar to Enlight with a little digging.
6. 1 Second Everyday (iOS/Android)
This is a new one that has become a real favorite.
Any schmuck can snap photos and take a video while they’re on the road, but this 1 Second Everyday does the heavy lifting of stitching your photos and videos together into a really charming highlight reel from your trip.
Why bore your poor family with a slideshow from your trip when you can wow them with the entire vacation in a matter of seconds?
5. XE Currency Converter (iOS/Android)
When you’re on the road for a long time, it can be difficult to juggle all of the competing currencies in your head.
In the last twelve months, Adventures Around Asia and I have had to juggle Chinese yuan, Japanese yen, Australian dollars, US dollars, Kenyan shillings, Vietnamese dong, Thai baht, and Tanzanian shillings. It’s maddening!
Thankfully, the XE.com Currency Converter is a lightweight and free app that allows you to do all of your currency conversion on the fly. No more wondering if you’re getting ripped off or not!
4. Maps.me (iOS/Android)
Google Maps and Apple Maps may be king, but I’ll always be a big fan of maps.me.
Why? Because you don’t need 3G or WiFi to use it!
Simply jump on WiFi in your hostel or hotel room, download the map for your city, region, or country, and you’re off to the races!
This is a godsend when you’re on a short trip and don’t want to rely on paper maps or buying a local SIM card. It’s all I used during my trip to Taiwan in 2016 and I never once got lost.
Of course, if you have access to a huge data only plan, you can use the more feature-rich Google Maps without any drama.
3. Uber (iOS/Android)
Ride-sharing apps such as Uber have become invaluable when you’re on the road and don’t necessarily want to handle local public transport.
While Uber works in most countries, some countries have localized versions such as Grab (in SE Asia) or Didi (in China), so be sure to do your research to see what app works best where you are headed.
Like Uber and its Uber Eats partner, many of these apps also double as food delivery services. You can book a ride and then order yourself a meal, all in your own language and from your phone.
2. Google Translate (iOS/Android)
Unless you’re a polyglot or somebody who just loves to study languages, chances are you’ve refined your frantic mime game over the years.
While I’ve managed to pick up paltry smatterings of Mandarin, Korean, and Swahili in my travels, I’ll never be able to hold up my end of the conversation with a local.
Google Translate is a great resource for those situations where interpretive dance just isn’t getting your point across.
The relatively recent additions of offline translation and being able to use your camera to translate text are fantastic resources, and I never leave home without Google Translate.
1. WhatsApp (iOS/Android)/Skype (iOS/Android)
Communication, when you’re on the road, is key to avoiding travel depression.
Whether it’s video-chatting with my adorable nephew, calling my Mum to see how things are at home, or placing a quick call to my bank to chase up a missing payment, staying connected in a digital age has never been easier.
In addition to the obvious Facebook Messenger, I’ve also got WhatsApp, WeChat, and Skype in case I need to reach out and touch someone.
Figuratively, of course.
What are your favorite travel apps? Is there an app you never leave home without?
Or do you eschew the digital world when you’re on the road?