You don’t have to be a genius to travel – especially now that technology is getting smarter and better every year. With amazing new automated tools and artificial intelligence on the horizon, travel apps can now make our trips better, faster, and cheaper than ever before.
But don’t just take our word for it – we asked some expert and experienced travelers about their favorite and most used apps. They gave us some very insightful answers along with a few new ideas. While some apps are well established, people are finding new and better ways to use them for travel planning. At the same time, some new apps have just been released which promise to give us some great deals and save us a bundle of money. (And here at Budget Your Trip, saving bundles of money is something we really pay attention to!)
So here it is – a list of some of the newest and most useful smartphone apps for travel, along with some tips on how to get the most value from them.
Moovit is all about public transportation – how to use it, where it goes, when the next bus or train comes, how to get somewhere in a hurry, and more. It covers nearly 90 countries and 44 languages, so you know it’s got you covered!
Julien of Cultures Traveled uses the app all the time, and says, “when traveling, I prefer to use public transportation because it’s less expensive and puts me in touch with the local community. But figuring out the neighborhoods in a new area can be a daunting task.
“Moovit makes it a bit easier. It’s an essential travel app for navigating the bus, train, or subway system in a new place. I love that it includes how long it will take to walk to the stop and that you can filter by the least number of transfers or the least amount of walking, depending on how you’re feeling. You can also search by your desired departure or arrival time, which makes planning easy.
If you choose to start live directions once you’re on board your chosen mode of public transportation, Moovit will follow the route and notify you when your stop is next. It makes it a fairly failproof way of making sure you arrive at your destination.”
Sights and Activities
The RoadTrippers app (website) is perfect for those long car rides because it shows you interesting things nearby where ever you go. You’ll never be bored on a trip again. This is great for anyone with a short attention span, which is pretty much anyone after being in the car for hours!
Margie, from DQ Family Travel, says, “Roadtrippers is my favorite app to use to plan a vacation. I rarely stay in one place an entire trip, so I use this app to find day trips or things to do near my intended city. When I do go on a road trip, I plug in the destinations I want to visit and Roadtrippers maps my route. In addition, it gives me options for possible side trips
This app is like having a customized audio guide for the entire world. When you walk near something interesting, the app chimes in and tells you more about it. Whether it’s history, shopping, restaurants, or local music, the app curates the best information from a variety of sources to give you any information you need for your surroundings.
Nicole from A Trip With A View says, “If you are visiting a new city and you are unsure of where to go or what to do, then this app is perfect for you. Field Trip is your personal guide to cool and unique things all around you. Once you download the app and put in your destination, Field Trip will run in the background of your phone and pop up a card when you get near a place of interest. If you have your phone connected to a Bluetooth device, it will even read the information to you. Just select the type of things that interest you such as art and museums, food, drinks, and fun, cool and unique, history, architecture, and lifestyle. Field Trip does the rest! Try it in your own home town first and find hidden gems you never knew were in your own backyard.”
Spotted by Locals
This app is a collection of favorite places and activities that are all submitted by the local residents of that city. so, you as a traveler get to experience the best local places in the city!
Smita Bhattacharya gave us her personal experience with the app: “I remember landing at Munich for a work trip, and after my meeting was over, completely clueless about what I was going to do next. The suggestions on TripAdvisor and Viator were alternately overwhelming and uninspiring. I didn’t have a local SIM, so sitting at a café and using their Wi-Fi, I discovered Spotted by Locals, a lifesaver. I downloaded it immediately, not expecting much, but being subsequently blown away.
“It aggregates personalized recommendations from local residents in 71 cities who are called Spotters. Once downloaded, it is 100% usable offline. You can save your favorites on it and add your spots as well. I loved their recommendations in Munich and London and found many of my beloved haunts through them. The app has recommendations on cafes, restaurants, theatres, streets, chill hangouts and even cemeteries (!) with personal anecdotes on why it is loved. After all, isn’t that what are all looking for when we travel—experiencing a city like a local? This app ticks that very important box.”
Get it at SpottedByLocals.com.
Street Art Rome
This app is specific to Rome, but when in Rome, check it out! As an in-depth guide to all of the street art in and around the city, this app can add another layer of cultural interest to this world-class destination.
Google My Maps
A bit different from the Google Maps app, Google My Maps is an app that lets you create your own maps with places that mean something specifically to you. This is a great app for travelers because you can both plan your upcoming itinerary and mark the places that you have visited, whether they are actual businesses or just a nice viewpoint in a park.
Mar writes at Once In A Lifetime Journey, and says, “I use Google My Maps for pretty much every trip planning. What I love about it is the ability to create layers which I use for planning each day. I then color code the days so I know which sites I planned to visit each day.
“I also use it when I don’t go into the level of planning each day in detail but still want to have a long list of things to do and places to visit at a destination and then open the app when I am there and see what is around me. In that case, I use different icons to indicate if each point on the map is a restaurant, bar, hotel or place to visit. After I have been to a place, I sometimes add comments to each place on the map about the experience. I then add these maps to my posts so it makes it easier for those reading them to replicate the itinerary.
“The only downside is that it is not made for traveling from point A to B so when I am at the location, I check what I had planned for the day, put it in the regular Google Maps and create the driving itinerary for the day in the order that makes sense and is most efficient. ” You can see Mar’s map about Singapore here.
The app is free, and is available on the App Store or Google Play.
Our Itinerary by Travefy
This is an easy to use app and website created by Travefy. Although they create itinerary software for travel agents, this app is free for travelers. Once you set up your trip on their website, use their mobile app to keep track of your plans and share your activities with friends and family.
Christen, from Travel Wander Grow, says this is the app that she uses the most. “What’s great about this app/website combo is the extremely user-friendly interface. You can add or remove days to your trip easily, and more activities or other events around just the same. The app links to major flight and hotel databases, which allows it to auto-populate this information, making trip planning that much easier.
“One of the things I love most about this app is its social platform, which allows you to collaborate with other travelers to exchange ideas for your coming trip. I use this feature often with friends and family to vote on trip activities.
“I most recently used this app to plan a two-week trip to Colombia and Peru. I was able to keep track of all the complexities of multiple flights, tours, hotels, and logistics very easily. As the app tracks all my location details and connects easily with Google maps, I never got lost or turned around. I was also able to just send the whole itinerary to my Mom directly via the sharing functionality (so she wouldn’t worry about me). If you are looking to make trip planning a breeze, this app will not disappoint.”
When you need to communicate instantly with someone, Google Translate is a perfect option. You can simply talk into your phone, have the app translate the speech to text to the foreign language, and then either have the app read aloud the translation or let the other person read the text.
“When it comes to travel apps, Google Translate is one of the more obvious downloads. But that doesn’t make it any less useful. I’ve been
She goes on to say, “Google Translate currently supports more than 100 languages. Small files can be downloaded directly to your device for full offline capability. The app applies machine learning, so it’s constantly updating linguistically. In my experience, it’s pretty reliable for accurate translations, especially the basic phrases
“The most obvious way to use the app is like Google Translate on
Drops is a paid app that promises to help you learn a new language, a little bit at a time. According to research, the best way to learn a new language is to reinforce a little bit at a time each day. That’s exactly what Drops does, as it reminds you to come back
Julie from DiveIn.com describes Drops as an “easy to use and fun app that will turn language learning into a real audio-visual game with colorful illustrations. It covers over 30 languages including Arabic, Icelandic and Mandarin. App offers daily lessons that will enhance your next trip and prepare you with some basic knowledge. This app is free to use but it has a daily time limit. Drops combines colorful illustrations and fast-paced games to enhance vocabulary learning in 5 minutes per day limit. Lessons will walk you through over 1700 words covering food, drinks, numbers and hotel terms. Clear illustrations – white, set against colored backdrops are app`s prime feature and it sets a really nice not too harsh for eyes environment. Exercises give away an illusion of a game with all the swiping across, matching picture to the word, unscrambling letters etc. grammar usage and conjugations are not much (if at all) covered through this app, but the emphasis is on nouns, much like all the other language learning apps. Probably the coolest feature of the app is that it has no reading and no typing, just pictures and words. There are however several downturns with the app. Yearly subscription is 48$, quite a lot of money considering it allows you only 5 minutes per day learning. That is quite a lot of money for a slow learning process.”
Get it on their website.
Another very popular app to help you learn new languages, Duolingo is free (with an optional paid plan). It makes learning a language sort of like a game, which is good because it keeps you focused and engaged.
Alan from More Passport Stamps says, “It is one of my favourite travel apps, and definitely the most used. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, the nature of travelling means immersion into one community (language) is rarely possible for long, and secondly because learning some of the local language where I am travelling is very important to me. In my experience, the majority of folks around the globe really appreciate it when you have a bash at their language, even if you do get some words wrong sometimes! It can often be a great icebreaker for me, even when they speak English anyway. Duolingo is useful in any country where the first language isn’t the same as yours, and is vital in countries where little to none of your mother tongue is spoken. Using the application most days will gradually improve your languages and exercise your brain whilst opening you up to more conversations around the world.”
Get it at Duolingo.com.
One of the best apps for hikers, AllTrails has maps for pretty much everywhere. Nina from
If you’ve collected the dozens of loyalty frequent flyer cards that every company gives out, then you’re not alone. Stocard aims to solve this problem by allowing you to store all of your accounts into one easy-to-use app.
Mayuri, who writes at To Someplace New, uses it all the time. “One of the
“Set up your individual accounts and then add them to Stocard. It has the member card number and the barcode for you to scan at applicable stores and hotels, or even online. This app also displays new offers and updated points. With
This app is free, check out the links from their website.
“For easier post-travel sharing and coffee table stories, the app offers to create and ship a personalized photo album with routes included. (This reason right here is exactly why I chose to start using the app in the first place). The newest of updates for both IOS and Android have made it much more efficient on the battery of your phone which is a huge advantage!”
You can get it here on their website.
What should you do when you have time to kill on a flight or a bus trip? Reading a book is great, but have you tried audio books?
“For me, perhaps the most annoying part of traveling is the long bus journeys. Especially those that last for 12 or more hours through the middle of the day and you can’t even sleep!” says Bradley Williams of Dream Big, Travel Far. “Well, my favorite app to use to help kill time during these journeys is Audible, an app that allows you to download audiobooks and listen to them whenever and wherever. They have thousands of titles to choose from, ranging across all kinds of book genres. My
“I find this so much easier to digest than reading, and find it’s a great way to zone out when on bus journies or when hiking. Instead, if I tried to read the same book whilst on a bus, I’d likely end up being sick!”
Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won’t let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.