Traveling in this day and age is made so much easier with smartphones and travel apps. Even without a computer, I’ve been able to book flights, review hostels, read up on places and stay in touch with friends and family. Here is a list of 10 apps that have become essential in my day-to-day life.
- CityMaps2Go (Cost – Free) – Offline city maps. I have a terrible sense of direction, but thanks to CityMaps2Go, I’m never lost. A great little app that provides free offline city maps as well as locations of sights, restaurants, shops, bars and attractions. It does not drain battery life as fast as Google maps and I’ve used it in every city I’ve been to with no problems.
- Lonely Planet City Guides (Cost – Free to download app, $1.99/guide) – There are many travel guides out there, but I like Lonely Planet because their guides usually go into detail on all the neighborhoods and things to do in a city, instead of just sticking to the touristy areas. Because I’m traveling light and don’t have the space to buy the books, it’s been useful to be able to download city guides on to my phone and read up on a new place while on the plane or in transit. Thanks to Lonely Planet, I was also able to find some great hiking and other outdoor activities in cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore that most tourists only go to for food and shopping.
- Bump (Cost – Free) – A really convenient app for sharing photos and videos with new friends from hostels. Say you want some pictures that another backpacker took of something you both did together. Email/dropbox/USB drives are all possible ways of sharing but take time. With Bump, you simply bump your smartphones together to connect the devices and can immediately share each other’s photos and videos! It’s as simple as that!
- Photosynth (Cost – Free) – Sometimes the scenery in front of you can’t fit into a regular picture…In these instances I use Photosynth to take panoramic pictures that can capture a 360 degree view of my surroundings. The 3D pictures look great when viewing them within the app, though sometimes don’t look as great when viewing them as a regular photo. I still love this app, but if anyone has recommendations on other panoramic camera apps, let me know!
- Dropbox (Cost – Free) – Dropbox gives you access to online storage space. Upload pictures/videos/documents into the cloud, share them with friends if you’d like, and access them from any computer in the world. As a traveler, photos are my most precious souvenirs and I’d hate if I somehow lost them by losing or damaging my phone. So this is a great app to keep my photos/videos safe and easily accessible from any computer. Also useful for sharing photos between travelers.
- CouchSurfing (Cost – Free) – Find hosts, meet locals, learn more about whatever city you are in from the people that live there. I only first really used this in Singapore, but it helped me meet the nicest Singaporeans who showed me all the best places to go to. It’s really a great community of people and I plan to use this a lot more going forward.
- Hostelworld (Cost – Free) – Find and book hostels, read reviews, look up directions on how to get there etc. I use this app all the time and I have to say, I’ve stayed in some amazing hostels in every destination. Another common one backpackers use to book hostels is Hostelbookers.
- Skyscanner (Cost – Free) – Find cheap flights to wherever you want to go. I’ve found some of the best fares on this app. Other good ones I’ve used are Momondo and Hipmunk.
- XE Currency (Cost – Free) – It gets confusing keeping track of different currencies and their exchange rates. If you’re tired of all the mental calculations when paying bills or withdrawing money – just download this app. It does all the work for you and has a very easy-to-use interface.
- Skype (Cost – Free) – Finally, to stay in touch with family and friends, I use Skype for calls. Sometimes, it works like a gem…other times, the connection’s terrible. When the latter occurs, I also use Whatsapp and Viber.
So there you have it. My favorite travel apps. And of course, I love WordPress’ mobile app, which allows me to post my thoughts and shenanigans on the go 🙂