A list of travel apps that are helpful could go on and on and on. I am in awe of the travelers who went all over the globe before the times of Saint Steve Jobs and Android operating systems. Travel is hard. Apps make it easier. Of course you need Snapchat to connect with your friends back home and Instagram and Facebook to give them a little tinge of jealousy. And you probably want Words with Friends and Audible to keep you entertained during night buses. Someone in the hostel yesterday actually said, “what’s Candy Crush.” I’m super impressed by the extended period of time he’s been able to live under a rock.
But when it comes to traveling, there are so many apps out there that will make your life easier, and this week I share with you my 5 most used (with alternatives to achieve a similar result).
Is there an app to charge my phone? Because I’ll buy it.
Starting the list off with the sexy topic of currency rates is Currency Converter. I first got it because it came on a phone, but it is immensely useful. When you connect to the internet it refreshes the latest conversion rates and you can go from any currency to any other. Sorry Canadians, don’t look at this one for a while.
Alternate: Use your calculator and make sure you’ve downloaded the latest rates. But also, don’t do this. It’s just a pain. Get Currency Converter.
Grab Taxi (in Asia) (alternate: Uber, Lyft, etc.)
Taxis. Amirite? One thing that is the same in every country in the world is that taxis are a PITA and have such significant opportunity to rip you off. It’s not your fault. What do you know about the rates and distances and routes and ugh, so annoying. That’s where Grab Taxi comes in. In most countries in Asia, you select where you are, where you’re going and you can choose how you want to get there – from a metered taxi to scooter to car, etc. AND it will tell you how much it will cost. AND the driver has it on the whole time so you know they aren’t driving you in circles.
Alternate: Since Grab Taxi is only available in certain countries, it’s worth asking around for what’s best where you’re traveling. Most of the world has Uber. Lyft is the bomb dot com in the US. Europe has BlaBlaCar. Ask around. It’s worth it.
Google Translate (alternate: Duo Lingo)
Languages are hard. The end. So I’m going to talk about these two together. Depending on if you’re in it for the short game or long game, you may want to use Google Translate and/or Duo Lingo. Google Translate uses all of Google’s magic to make your life easier. It even will let you take a picture of a sign and translate it!!!!!!!!! Duo Lingo, on the other hand, is a fun, gamified way to learn a language. I’m using it to keep my Spanish sharp and as I start to learn French. Plus their logo is an owl, so I love them. The only bummer about it is that you can only play when you have an internet connection.
Skyscanner (alternate: Momondo)
Skyscanner flourishes by my friend Glo‘s accurate description that “traveling is only expensive when it’s as convenient as possible.” While Skyscanner will of course help you look for the itinerary you have in mind, it is at its most powerful when you’re flexible. You can be totally flexible and look when (in the year) and where (in the world) it is best to fly from anywhere in your country. You can find out the cheapest route between two counties (which is how I decided to end my Australia tour in Melbourne and start New Zealand in Christchurch – thank you very much $60 international flight!). [note: the website is as awesome as the app]
Alternate: Momondo. While I don’t have a ton of experience with it, I know a lot of travelers use and love it.
Hostelworld (alternate: Couchsurfing)
What would a list of travel apps be without Hostelworld? I have been continuously traveling just shy of 10 months and have used HW almost exclusively for lining up accommodation (with the exception of being on a boat in the middle of the ocean and in the countries that didn’t have hostels). Hostels are, in my opinion and Journalist on the Run’s opinion, the best way to travel and Hostelworld is the best way to find them. They even give you a nice little gift on your birthday. Pro-tip: I only book the first night or two when I arrive so I can decide if I like the place. Request: fill out reviews because I depend on you.
Alternate: Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing will not find you hostels, but will find you a cheap [free] place to stay where you can connect with like-minded people of a community spread all over the world.
Now get off your phone and get exploring! What apps do you use when you travel?