10 Must-Have Travel Apps
I’ve written in the past about my obsession with travel gadgets, about my favourite iPad apps for travel bloggers, and even about Australian travel apps, but it dawned on my 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 World Wide Web, my phone is never far from me when I’m on the road.
While these are my ten favourite travel apps, I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!
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 favourite 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.
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.
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?
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7. Enlight (iOS)
If you’re like me, you love to snap photos while you’re travelling 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 favourite 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.
This is a new one that has become a real favourite.
Any schmuck can snap photos and take 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.
Check out an example from our current Africa trip below.
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?
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 six months, Adventures Around Asia and I have had to juggle Chinese yuan, Japanese yen, Australian dollars, US dollars, Kenyan shillings, 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!
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.
If you’re a scatter-brained and disorganised traveller like I am, you’re probably terrible at keeping track of all of your bookings.
Sure, I have a ‘Travel’ folder in my Gmail, but it’s a pain in the ass to track down my booking confirmations, flight details, and tour reservations when I need them.
Sam not only keeps track of all of this and sends helpful reminders, it also integrates with popular booking apps such as Google, Uber, and popular car rental brands.
It’s like a travel to-do list and it’s something I sorely needed in my life.
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.
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 favourite travel apps? Is there an app you never leave home without?
Or do you eschew the digital world when you’re on the road?
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