Alright ladies and gents, we’re here to talk to you about must have travel apps. More specifically the must have travel apps that you will ACTUALLY USE! What an amazing concept. There are tons of blogs out there that give you lists and lists of apps for you to trial and download. Well, we’re here to save you the pain of trial and error.
While we were backpacking in Asia for 8 months, the below apps are ones we used everyday if not every other day. They served their purpose and were beyond helpful. Take a gander and download away!
Apps To Help You Get Around:
- Grab (Apple / Android)
- Grab is HUGE in Asia. It’s another ride sharing app, like Uber or Lyft. It’ll save you the hassle of getting ripped off by a tuk-tuk or taxi. Plus, it’s simple and incredibly easy-to-use and you have the option to pay with cash or card. If Grab isn’t an option where you are traveling, we recommend downloading your preferred ride sharing app.
- Maps.Me (Apple / Android)
- Maps.Me was a lifesaver! Maps.Me is an app that lets you download the countries map when your online, so once you’re offline, you can guide yourself throughout the country with ease. We really consider this a must have app when traveling.
Apps To Book Accommodations:
- Booking.com (Apple / Android)
- This is a great app that will help you find private rooms at a low cost. We had more luck with Booking.com than we did with Agoda or AirBnB in finding private rooms. Plus, when you book enough rooms with Booking.com you start earning 10% off each stay. Another little lovely perk that will work for people traveling with two or more people is the $20 off a room deal. After every room you book with Booking.com, they will email you a referral link. Once you get that link,send it onto your traveling companion or friend. The next time you need a room, have your travel companion book it through the link and Booking.com will automatically send you BOTH $20. SAVINGS!
- Hostelworld.com (Apple / Android)
- When you’re in an area where hotels or private rooms are a little out of your price range or you want to meet some fellow travelers, Hostelworld.com is a great option. They have amazing reviews for you to check out and also great filters so you are looking at exactly what you want in a room. From the review and filters, you can get an good idea of what the atmosphere of the hostel will be and where it is located. Whether it be a party hostel with a pool in the city centre or a quiet hostel with nooks for reading in the countryside, Hostelworld.com is sure to set you up with a shared room you’ll enjoy.
Apps To Help You Navigate Language and Currency:
- Google Translate (Apple / Android)
- If you are traveling to a place where you know English isn’t their first language, give this a download. You select the language you want, and while in WIFI download. Once you’re out and about on the street, maybe haggling or buying food in a market, whip the app out and type what your wanting to say. Turn your phone around and Google will translate what you are wanting to say into the language you chose. Trust us, it’s a big hit with locals! They laugh and laugh and laugh which makes your shopping experience that much better. We can’t tell you how many times this app came in handy. Really a great one!
- Currency Exchange (Apple / Android)
- Stay on top of the exchange rates with this app. Every time you open the app, you are updated on todays currency exchange rate. This comes in handy in making you aware of any potential scams when exchanging money in countries.
Apps To Help You When Banking Goes Wrong:
- Skype (Apple / Android)
- “Skype, for banking you say?” Yes. Let us tell you all about it. Your bank should have a 1-800 number for you to call. Here enters Skype. You can make FREE 1-800 calls on Skype when connected to wifi. Don’t worry about using your SIM card data when you have this free go-to option. Skype comes in clutch for those times your debit or credit card isn’t working. Skype your bank and talk to someone that can help you immediately. Your problems are solved and off you go to enjoy your day.
- Your Personal Banking App
- This is a must for us. You need to check it periodically throughout your trip to keep track of your finances to make sure 1) someone hasn’t stolen money from you or 2) your tracking within your travel budget.
App For Picture or File Storage:
- Google Drive (Apple / Android)
- This is where we stored our passport copies, vaccination records, driver license and international driver license, passport size pictures for visa’s, etc. Anything we could think to make copies of, we did. We didn’t want to be out of luck if we lost something so we made copies of everything and Google Drive is where we stored it. Also, we used Google Drive as a backup for our pictures as well.
- Google Photos (Apple / Android)
- Unless you feel like carrying around external hard drives with you, Google Photos is your best bet. Picture backup is key when traveling. How devastated would you be if your phone was stolen or your phone slipped into water? Poof, bye, bye photos. At the end of every day, connect your phone to WIFI and let the Google Photos app back up your pictures. It may be annoying at times, waiting for you picture to upload but trust us, it’s worth it!
Apps To Help You Communicate:
- WhatsApp (Apple / Android)
- Free texting app. That is all. Plus, this app ensures you and your friends or family get the texts you send. There were times, iMessage would say a text was “sent” but it actually never got through to us or to the person we were trying to reach. WhatsApp is a great way to keep in touch with families and friends abroad and to also ensure you’re never sending messages while roaming.
- Polarsteps (Apple / Android)
- Now, this is the only app we did not use on our trip but wish we did. The ONLY reason we didn’t use this app was because we found out about it with only a few weeks left on our trip. However, once we heard it, we didn’t stop hearing about it. This app is great not only for you but your friends and family. The app automatically keeps track of your route and places you’ve visited and the best part your friends and family can follow you along. At the end of your trip, you can order a photo album of the photos you posted to the app. Sounds pretty amazing if you ask us.
Apps For When You’re In Transit Or Relaxing:
- Netflix (Apple / Android)
- Netflix allows certain shows and movies to be downloaded while you online. Have a dreaded 15 hour bus ride ahead of you? No worries, download a few movies and it’ll make the trip significantly less painful. We can’t tell you how many movie we were able to catch up on during long haul transits.
- Kindle (Apple / Android)
- Download your latest book and have it on your phone for those days at the beach or long flights. It helps pass by the time and allows you to catch up on all the books you’ve been wanting to read while traveling.
Now, we all know Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat is a given. But hopefully the above list gave you some ideas on a few new ones to download. Happy Traveling!
Questions or comments? As always, let us know in the comment section. Or just leave us a positive note!
– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)