Useful Apps for Travelers

Useful Apps for Travelers

The basic applications that you might need on your trip are: calculator, alarm clock, weather app, and compass. Luckily most smartphones come with most of these, if not all, installed. But, depending on your journey, you might find yourself in need of additional apps. A public transpiration app or a translator can save your trip, or at least, it can improve it. When traveling to a county for the first time you can also download a restaurants or sightseeing guide.

Internet is required for most travel apps and your mobile data bill can get rather high, so you must keep that in mind. Ideally it is to find a Wi-Fi hot spot. In Europe, for example, you can find hot spots usually at McDonalds or KFC, as well as in different restaurants and bars.

Now I’ll share with you some of the apps I found to be very useful in my travels. They all work on iOS as well as other platforms (Windows, Android or BlackBerry).  This is not a thorough list and I recommend that you check the Store on your iPhone or the Google Play Store for Android (the “Travel” section) for the latest apps and versions.

Like most things in life planning ahead pays off. Before you get to your destination you must book a flight and reserve a hotel room. Here is our list of useful apps for travelers.

Expedia (free app)

You can either use their website,, or download their app on your device. You will find it to be very useful, providing you with information about hotels, flights, leasing cars and much more. I suggest you use the mobile app, for you may find unique offers and discounts on last minute booking.

Skyscanner (free app)

This is a very useful app for trips with a strict budget. You can view a bunch of European airlines and their offers in order to find the lowest priced flight connecting any two airports.

Kayak (free app), FlightTrack (paid app)

It lets you track the progress of your flight in order to see if it will be on time or not. With this program your friends and family at home can see your plane’s advancement online.

Almost every airline has their very own app, where you can book flights, check in, or view their flights status.

Once you booked your flight and reserved a hotel room, you can start thinking about your activities.

One of the first things you may want to consider is local transportation. MetrO (free app) is a program that allows you to plan your route in many cities from all around Europe. Although it comes without maps I found it to be very useful. There are a number of different map apps such as London Tube, Berlin subway route network, Paris Métro, Metro de Madrid Official, Metro Barcelona, Brussels Metro Map and various others.

Citymapper (free app)

It is by far my favorite travel app. They advertise it as “the ultimate transit app” and they are not wrong. You can use it in Europe as well as in America.  It utilizes real time data for all transport modes (subway, bus, cab, train, tram, ferry, cycle or walk) and has some key features like: status info, notifications, next bus, live subway disruptions, time tables, metro maps, weather, etc. It even lets you see how many calories you have burned.  It is fast, reliable and on many occasions a life saver.

Rick Steves Audio Europe (free app)

This app contains a large number of audio tours for Europe’s top attractions, as well as radio interviews. You can simply download the playlist that is most interesting to you and play it offline.

TripAdvisor (free app)

Never leave home without it. Instantly lets you see user ratings for different restaurants, hotels, sights, museums or landmarks. You can also use Yelp but keep in mind that it is not as utilized in Europe as it is in the US and that most reviews come from tourists.

Currency, XE Currency, Oanda Currency Convertor (free apps)

It lets you know the exact exchange rate for the current day.

Measures (paid app)

It can convert different types of measurements to the metric system and vice-versa.  It is useful for buying clothes, shoes or even to figure out the speed of your rental car.

Google Translate (free app)

Very simple to use, it can translate foreign languages into English. Useful for when you don’t speak the local tongue. This app also has a computerized voice that will pronounce the translated phrase for you.

Lonely Planet Audio Phrasebooks (paid app)

It is a digital phrase book that will let you hear the correct pronunciation of a sentence or phrase. If locals are having trouble understanding you then I strongly recommend it.

Word Lens (paid app)

This app lets you use your phone’s camera to translate a sign. Simply point the camera at the sign and it will translate it. Be aware that it is only available for the fallowing languages: German, Italian, Spanish and French.

Gogobot (free app)

It helps you find interesting activities during your trip. It has tips and recommendations for a wide bunch of things to do. From more family friendly activities to sports, eating or visiting, Gogobot has it all.

Tripomatic (free app)

This is a very good app for planning your trip in advance. You can set up routes, schedule what to see or do, and at what time. The application is synced with, so you can use your laptop or tablet too. It is not ideal for when you are already on the road because it does not save your schedules offline.

It is good to try and stay in touch with the folks at home. You can talk to them, text them, send them photos or videos using different apps on your smartphone.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (free apps)

These days almost everyone that owns a smartphone has installed one of the apps mentioned above, if not all of them. They are great for posting pictures and experiences from your trip and chatting with your family of friends. Imagine you enjoying a cup of coffee at Le Moulin de la Galette on Rue Lepic in Paris, while, at the same time talking and sharing pictures with your brother in Seattle.

Skype, Fring (free apps)

It enables you to make free calls, or video calls to anybody with a computer or with a smartphone. For a nominal fee you can call phone numbers too.

What’s App, Viber, Textfree, Text Plus (free apps)

Just like Skype or Fring but for text messaging. You can also use your phone camera to take pictures and send them to your loved ones in real time.

Dropbox (free app)

Many times you will find yourself needing to delete pictures or videos because of your hard drive or the low storage capacity of your memory sticks/cards. Dropbox allows you to store your information online and then retrieve it at any time using a smartphone or a PC.

NPR News, ESPN, The New York Times (free apps)

These apps help you keep in touch with the news at home while you are taking a trip. Almost every newspaper, magazine or news show has such an app, so be sure to download your favorite before you embark on your journey.

SnapShot Postcard (paid app)

This app lets you turn any of the photos you took with your mobile’s camera into a genuine postcard that you can print and send to whomever you want.

Image source: Photo 1