21 Apps All Travellers Need to Download This Year

Jun 4, 2019

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The days of paper maps and hotel phone reservations are (mostly) gone, and you’re probably already using your smartphone to help make all of your travel experiences easier.

A quick swipe or tap can help you book a last-minute hotel, flight or vacation rental; find an airport lounge; map your way around a new city; keep your itinerary organized; speak the local language; get familiar with the currency; find a toilet, hospital or coffee shop on; pack a perfect suitcase; and even make new friends. These apps may not be new news, but every savvy traveller should have these useful apps downloaded before leaving home.

1. Google Maps

(Screenshot via Google Play Store)
(Screenshot via Google Play Store)

Finding your way around a new city can be daunting, and Google Maps can help you find the best way to get from A to B. The app will guide you through bus and metro options, walking routes or which motorways to take for your road trip (with real-time traffic updates). You can also star and save specific attractions, restaurants or even where you’ve parked the car. One of the apps most useful features is that map areas are available for download to use offline.

Download for free: Android or iOS

2. TripIt

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

TripIt makes organizing your travels easy. The app uses your confirmation emails to list out your trip into sections — flights, accommodation, ferries, train trips, car rentals and more — all in chronological order. The app is especially useful if your trip is long or complex. Various travellers can view or edit the trip, making it easier for those in a group to monitor and organize their holidays. The premium version of the app, TripIt Pro, monitors your flights, reminds you to check in, has seat and point trackers and more.

Download for free: Android or iOS (TripIt Pro costs £38.99 per year).

3. XE Currency Converter

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Converting money or spending in another currency can be overwhelming, especially upon arrival when you haven’t yet familiarized yourself with the new currency. The XE app will convert your pounds (or euros, or whatever change you have rattling around in your wallet) to more than 150 other currencies, ensuring you’ll understand the correct rate when changing or spending money in a foreign country. You can also set rate alerts, see historical rates or updated rates when offline, and even monitor up to 10 currencies at once.

Download for free: Android or iOS

4. Airbnb

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

With over 6 million rentals, the Airbnb app gives you some serious selection when choosing accommodation. It also allows guests to communicate with hosts, rate properties and access reservations for useful information such as the rental home address or map of the local area.

Download for free: Android or iOS

5. TripAdvisor

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

If you can’t decide where to go for dinner while on vacation, use TripAdvisor. The app lets users read over 7 million reviews of different attractions such as restaurants, hotels, tours and more. Star and review your favorites, and see them all outlined on a map. It’s also possible to compare pricing and make bookings with the app, too.

Download for free: Android or iOS

6. PackPoint

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Packing is often the most stressful part of a holiday — but not if you use PackPoint. Start by inputting your gender, destination and length of trip. Then, narrow it down further by selecting your style of trip (think: business, fitness, beach or traveling with kids). After taking weather into consideration, the app creates a curated packing list just for you, which you can modify and adapt to your needs. A premium version allows for even more customization as well as syncing with other apps like Evernote.

Download for free: Android or iOS (Premium version starts at £2.99).

7. Kayak

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

The Kayak app searches and compares pricing against hundreds of sites, and is a great tool for finding and booking great deals on airfare and lodging. Price forecasts and alerts help you find the best time to book a ticket and alert you when the price drops. Once you have a trip in place, the app provides flight status updates, as well as airport terminal maps, security wait times, gate changes and baggage arrival times.

Download for free: Android or iOS

8. Google Translate

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Not speaking the local language can create unnecessary stress during a trip — especially if you’re hungry, tired or jet-lagged. Google Translate comes to the rescue with text translation available in 103 different languages (59 offline). Features like instant camera translation, photo translation and handwriting (drawing characters) are also available in some languages, making it easy to figure out what’s happening when waiters are speaking to you, or you can’t understand a menu or sign, whether it’s in characters or letters.

Download for free: Android or iOS

9. HotelTonight

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Recently acquired by Airbnb, last-minute booking app HotelTonight encourages users to book hotels the day of their trip — or up to seven nights in advance. Perfect for spontaneous travellers, the app can also be a lifesaver if your pre-booked accommodation falls fall through or doesn’t meet your expectations. The hotels, which often boast last-minute discounts, are siloed into categories such as luxe, hip, solid, charming or basic.

Download for free: Android or iOS

10. Beanhunter

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

In desperate need of a caffeine break during your holiday? Beanhunter will help you find coffee shops around you worldwide. The app uses your location and maps all the coffee shops in the vicinity. Click on any of the cafes to read reviews, see photos and get logistical info like address or phone number.

Download for free: Android or iOS

11. Flush

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Speaking of desperate, public toilets can be hard to come by in certain countries — especially around Europe. The Flush app gives users access to over 190,000 bathrooms and will help you find the one nearest you — even when you’re offline. You can also rate (or report) toilets to help others, as well as read reviews yourself. The app also specifies if you need to pay a fee or use a key to access the loo.

Download for free: Android or iOS

12. Uber

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

While most cities have taxis available, using a ride-hailing app like Uber will ensure you can get safely from A to B without language barriers or the possibility of getting cheated in a new currency — especially when you’re in an unfamiliar place. With an easy-to-use interface, simply order a ride from your location and make sure the driver’s plates and name match your ordered ride before entering the vehicle. Although Uber is available in many countries, ride-hailing apps such as Cabify, Gett, Lyft or Grab are great alternatives.

Download for free: Android or iOS

13. AroundMe

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

When it comes to traveling, it’s likely you already have in mind what tourist attractions you’d like to visit and which Michelin starred-restaurant you’d like to book. But sometimes, it’s the little things — like supermarkets, gas stations, banks, hospitals, chemists or ATMs — that aren’t already on your radar when visiting a new place. AroundMe will find whatever it is you need as close as possible to your location and include useful info for each spot including address and opening hours.

Download for free: Android or iOS

14. SeatGuru

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Having the right seat can make all the difference for your flight. Since many airlines charge extra for seat selection, choosing wisely is important. SeatGuru’s seat maps, which pop up after you enter your airline and flight date, can help you determine if you’ll end up in a seat without a window, near the bathrooms or one with limited recline. This way, you can pick the best seat possible on your flight.

Download for free: Android or iOS

15. LoungeBuddy

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Book over 2,000 lounges at more than 800 airports around the world using LoungeBuddy. When you search by airport, the app provides useful details on available lounges, like if they offer food, showers and nap rooms, as well as hours of access, photos and reviews. You can also see how it’s possible to enter and pay for each lounge — as well as add your elite status, memberships or credit cards into your account which may give you access to some lounges free of charge.

Download for free: iOS

16. Kabbee

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Traveling to and from London means you’ll need to get to the airport and back. And with five different airports in the British capital, getting there is always a toss up — do you take the tube, an express train, Uber or a bus? Keep it simple and take a Kabbee — an app that lets you order a London minicab. Kabbee, which orders from over 50 fleets, swears they’re 28% cheaper than Uber and you have the option to pay via cash or card.

Download for free: Android or iOS

17. ConvertPad

(Screenshot via Google Play Store)
(Screenshot via Google Play Store)

ConvertPad will take any measurement and convert it, ensuring your suitcase won’t ever be too big or your child’s height won’t be a problem to ride that rollercoaster at Disney. The app also converts over 160 currencies and is available in a variety of languages. While it’s only available for Android, it can be helpful to have any measurement app when traveling outside of the UK.

Download for free: Android

18. Prey Anti-Theft

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Prey Anti-Theft helps you to find and lock your phone if it’s been stolen or lost. While it’s extremely useful if your device is stolen, it can also come in handy if you happen to leave your phone in a taxi or simply misplace it. With features like a security alarm, the ability to take photos of whoever is holding your phone and a special report you can give to police if your device is stolen, Prey can be a lifesaver. The basic plan allows you to track up to three devices.

Download for free: Android or iOS, premium plans start range from £4 to £8.

19. Tricount

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Tricount is ideal for a group of friends or family members traveling together. The app connects shared expenses and bills for you and your travel mates throughout the trip, working out who owes whom what in a final total at the end. Tricount is available to use with various currencies, meaning you can do your calculations in euros, pounds, dollars and beyond.

Download for free: Android or iOS

20. Expensify

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Business travellers shouldn’t be without Expensify, which calculates, organizes and saves business expenses. Simply snap a photo of your receipt and Expensify will automatically transcribe all the needed details for you, as well as categorizing and coding each charge.

Download for free: Android or iOS, premium plans start around £4 per month.

21. Meetup

(Screenshot via iTunes)
(Screenshot via iTunes)

Use the Meetup app to do what you love and make new friends in a new city at the same time. Once you have the app, use it to join groups in specific cities related to pretty much anything: photography, language, yoga, sports, books, cooking, pets and more. Within each group, you can sign up to participate in your group’s events. Sometimes, you’ll have to pay for the meetup (eg: a boxing class in a studio led by a trained instructor) or they’ll be free (a guitar jam session in the park). Either way, it’s the perfect way to blend together your travels and your hobbies.

Download for free: Android or iOS

This article includes additional reporting by Liam Spencer and Kathleen Porter Kristiansen.

Featured photo by Maskot / Getty Images.

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