Do you remember when, not long ago, the only way you could discover a city before visiting it was buying a guide or talking to someone who has already been there? What about having to select up to 36 pieces of memory to take home from your trip, because that was the maximum capacity of your film camera? You surely still can do all of these things, but only if you want to. Today is possible to do almost anything travel related just with your cell phone.
I think that smartphones are one of the coolest inventions of our time. And I’m gonna be honest here: I wouldn’t know how to live without mine right now. Who else is with me and can’t stand a day without
Pokémon Go their cell phone here?
The ~magic~ behind the smartphones are the apps, little programs that turn your device into a powerful machine. There are thousands of cool and useful apps to help you before and during your trip and make your experience even better. You surely will use some pretty standard ones to take and share pictures, listen to music, talk to your friends, make some notes and backup your documents (and if you still don’t do that, start right now).
But I’m here to talk about My 10 Favorite Travel Apps. The best thing about planning and enjoying your trip with the help of an app is that you’ll always have all the info you need inside your hand – literally. 🙂 Plus, all these apps are 100% free!
There are endless ways to search and buy flight tickets, and Hopper is one of my favorite ones. To start with, it is pretty and easy to use, and user experience makes total difference when it comes to apps.
One of Hopper’s coolest features is that it shows price seasonality, making it easier to browse tickets if you know where you’re heading to but still doesn’t know the exact dates. Once you’ve selected the dates, the app shows how low the price can get, suggesting if you should buy the ticket or keep waiting. You can be notified when the ticket price changes and then buy it inside the app, too.
I love this one!! There are so many different things you can do inside Kayak: search for flight tickets, create notifications and even rent a car. But my favorite and most used feature is the travel planner, a dream came true to
crazy people planning addicted like me.
First you need to create a new trip which will be like a folder inside the app. Then, every time you make a new reservation just forward it to Kayak by email and an event is automatically created inside that trip. If you want, you can add events manually or share your trips with your friends, making them contributors or just jealous.
I think Airbnb is the best option there is in terms of accommodation. The idea here is to live your destination like a local, staying in an actual local’s house, apartment or even castle (seriously!). If you enjoy the kind of intimate experience you can’t get at a hotel, you’re gonna love it too!
Find your perfect spot using different filters like location on the map, price range and room type (entire home, private room). Inside each space you find pictures, rules and amenities of the house, besides previous user’s feedbacks and host contact.
I should mention that one of my favorite hobbies consists in creating wishlists with all the amazing places I find on Airbnb. Daydreaming about my next trip? All the time.
New to Airbnb? Sign up here and get a bonus on your first stay.
The first time I ever slept into a hostel was in 2016. I know, right? I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was awesome! Different from Airbnb, the idea here is to socialize with other travelers, and although I’m not much of a miss congeniality myself I must say everything went great. Also, staying in a hostel is usually much cheaper than a hotel and even Airbnb with you’re traveling by yourself.
At Hostelworld you can check guests feedbacks and the city ranking according to other users. At each hostel page you see pictures, location and general info.
Checking every place on TripAdvisor before traveling is an old habit you probably share if you’re into travel planning. I use it all the time! And try to always review the places as well.
TripAdvisor helps you findind the best restaurants and attractions in every city, besides having a good map you can download and use offline, and now is possible to book your hotel stays as well.
Foursquare used to be an app where you could make reviews and check-ins. Now you check in at Swarm (which I use just to collect useless online coins) and make reviews at Foursquare. It’s a great way to find places to eat, using the filters to choose the type of food or restaurant specialty. And it’s also always nice to check real pictures of the menu.
If you’re always getting lost while you travel – like I am – a great tip is to enter the restaurant page, click the map icon and open the directions into your favorite map app.
By the way, my favorite map app is Google Maps. There might be something better out there, but I like how simples it is. I use Maps literally everyday when I travel, because I’m that kind of person who enters a store for just a second and already forget where I was heading to.
Tip: download the offline map of the city you’re gonna use the map when you have wifi. Just click on Menu, Offline Areas, Add and Download.
Before traveling to a country is common courtesy to study some of its language. This way you can interact with the local people and enjoy your time even better. I highly recommend Duolingo to help you with this task! It is super user friendly and also very vocabulary-focused, making it ideal to use before your trip.
Using Google Translator to translate a whole essay is a huge mistake, but using it to look for specific words and phrases can be very useful and helpful during a trip or conversation.
Remember to download your selected language beforehand, this way you’ll still be able to use it during a no wifi emergency – like not knowing the ice cream flavours in front of you.
Transportation has lots of amazing apps, but Uber is the one I use the most. Most of my experiences were great and when they weren’t, costumer service always made up for it.
Don’t forget to check if Uber is already available in the city you’re heading to. And be nice. Say good-night, talk about the traffic, this kind of thing. And if the driver offer you candy, it’s OK to make a small stock.
Sign up for Uber using this link and get a bonus on your first ride.
Any other cool travel app you use all the time that is not on the list? Leave it at the comments box below!
Cover image credit: Jan Böke
This post is part of BEDA: blog everyday in August. Check more posts with the tag here.