When you are constantly on the move, the internet is your number 1 resource for all things travel. Modern day technology plays a key role when globetrotting, and many of us are dependant on a good internet connection to plan our trips. I use a variety of applications to help find cheap flights, accommodation and practice languages.
In no particular order, here are my 14 essential travel apps.
1) Google Flights
The king of search engines is great for finding and comparing flights, showing you the cheapest dates to travel. It will often recommend travelling a few days earlier or later to save money, and show you the best route.
2) Skyscanner & Momondo
Skyscanner and Momondo are quite similar and I use them both equally. They compare flights from all over the world. All you need to do is enter your departure and arrival destination, your intended travel dates and the rest is done for you. Find budget friendly flights in order of price, airline or the quickest journey.
I use these search engines as a way to research flight prices. Once I see a certain airline has a particular fare, I will go to their website and book directly through them, not through a partner website. Skyscanner and Momondo will usually take you directly to the airlines website, but sometimes to third party sites which can unfortunately sometimes (not always) be unreliable. Either way, the booking process is super easy and quick. Be aware that some budget airlines charge extra for checked in baggage.
This search engine is super easy to use. The best way to find your required accommodation is to compare by price, location and peoples reviews. There are many perks of using booking.com often. After using the site for a number of bookings you will become a ‘Genius’. Many accommodations offer a 5 to 10 percent discount as well as bonuses like early check ins and late check outs! I book most of my accommodation here as you can’t go past the Genius bonuses!
Hostelbookers is extremely useful to show you the most popular hostels and nearby budget accommodation. Once you have entered the dates of where you want to stay, you can view the accommodation in order of price, ratings, location and more. Primarily I search for the best ratings with a reasonable price. Anything with over 80% is generally a good property. For me a central location and affordable price per night is very important. Also, it’s imperative that you are staying in a safe environment so it is beneficial to read peoples reviews first so you know exactly what to expect before arriving. Hostelbookers doesn’t charge any fees. 10% of your payment is due when you make your booking, which goes directly to the property. Most hostels allow free cancellation up to 48 hours before check-in. Their blog also has some great backpacking tips and funny stories from the things you encounter along the way.
5) Air B & B
This website is the perfect source to rent a locals holiday unit. As their logo says, Rent from people in over 34,000 cities and 192 countries. When travelling with 2 or more people, sharing an apartment or unit can be more affordable than staying in a hostel. This website found my friends and I some beautiful apartments in Croatia offering a big kitchen to cook our own dinner, a lounge, private bedrooms and bathrooms and a balcony with stunning views for an unbeatable price. Any backpacker can agree it’s great to have a few nights to unwind with your own personal space and more importantly, a nice hot shower with no queues.
What’s better than free accommodation and new local friends?? Couchsurfing is a free way to connect with locals and stay on their couch a few nights.
Learn a language on your phone! Duolingo starts with the basics and gradually teaches you to construct sentences. This is for those wanting to learn more than the standard hello, please and thank-you, and I owe Duolingo for helping me improve my Spanish and Portuguese when I was living abroad, along with its daily reminders to practice. Its teaching system is simple and clever.
8) Google Translate
I wouldn’t rely on google for translating an entire conversation, but if there is a sign you don’t understand then you can simply take a photo and google will find its language and translate for you!
9) WhatsApp Messenger
Keep in touch with your family and friends back home with a free call through the internet. Whatsapp is a great free way to send messages, chat to your friends and share photos and videos all in a matter of seconds.
10) XE Currency Converter
Converting your home currency can be tiresome when you find yourself doing it in your head for every purchase. If you’re in Europe for example, using Croatian Kunas, Swiss Francs, English Pounds and Hungarian Forints makes it easy to lose track of what you are spending! Having a currency converter on your phone is super easy to use and your bank account will thank you for it.
Foreign music is a key part to creating memories overseas, and when you hear particular songs when you’ve returned home, you will be transported back to those summer nights in Brazil and the music festivals in Europe. Shazam works without internet, so you can Shazam a song and it will appear later when you connect to Wi-Fi. I am forever thankful for it finding me some amazing music that constantly reminds me of those crazy nights abroad whether it be classic Croatian tunes or the music from a Spanish guys iPod speakers at a local fiesta.
Most of us use instagram to follow and like, but I have found it also plays a key role in finding hidden gems. Using #hashtags to search for your next destination can help you find beautiful places that are off the beaten track. Look for photos posted by locals. There is a whole travel community on instagram that are more than happy to help and give you information on the best place to eat or drink, as well as the most secluded beaches and stunning treks.
If you need some visual inspiration, look no further than pinterest. Search for any country, city, or anything you desire and you will be sure to find beautiful new places you may have never considered visiting. Save them all in your personal feed and, Voilà, the world is yours!
14) GoPro App
Not everyone has a GoPro, but this is a key travel app if you happen to own the camera. I take so many photos with the app. I can aim a photo with my GoPro, hide my phone behind my back whilst pressing the button and you wouldn’t know I’ve taken it by myself. Or, I can ask a stranger to simply hold my GoPro and I can line up the shot and take the photo myself.