The Best Travel Apps – A Starter’s Kit
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In this article, I’ll share with you all the Best Travel Apps that I believe are essential to possess on your phone while traveling abroad. These apps are all free of charge, and they will make your journey much easier.

If you’re not much into mobile, discover how I traveled the world from 2015 to 2017 without phone and why you should do the same!

To begin, I’d strongly recommend to create a folder for each country you’re visiting, and download the relevant apps to this country such as:

  • Metro, Train, Bus maps
  • Ride-sharing app
  • Touristic Information
  • An app to translate or learn a few words of the local language
Metro in Japan
You’d definitely enjoy the metro map in your pocket while traveling in Japan!

Communication Apps

Technology advancement now allows travelers to keep in touch daily with their loved ones on the other side of the world. These are the best travel apps related to communication I’d suggest you to download. Of course, you might be already familiar with a few of them. Have you heard about WhatsApp before?

  • WhatsApp (or Telegram/Viber depending on your preference and the country). Telegram is popular in Russia, WeChat in China, KakaoTalk in South Korea… Each country has their specificity!
  • Messenger
  • Gmail (or the app of your email provider)
  • Skype
  • Meetup (great to meet locals!)
  • Google Translate (much-needed to communicate in public transport or to get some help)
  • Duolingo (a good app to learn a few words of the local language)

Get Around

Unlike the Communication apps, this section will be mostly be different from a country to another. For instance Uber doesn’t operate in many countries, although it is still the main Ridesharing app.

These are the Best Travel Apps related to getting from a point A to a point B.

Best Transportation Apps

  • BusRadar
  • Rome2Rio
  • Omio

Best Ridesharing Apps (can be quite different from one country to another)

  • Uber
  • Grab (mainly in Southeast Asia)
  • BlaBlaCar (popular in Europe for longer distances)

Best Map Apps

  • Google Maps (you need to download the maps before to use it offline and spare some precious data)
  • Maps.me (you need to download the maps before using it, also great for hiking)

Best Road Trip Apps

  • Cheapest Gas Station Finder (such as Gas Buddy in the US)
  • Park4Night (a great app for RV to find spots to overnight, I use it to find free places to park and to have ideas where to pitch the tent)
  • Waze (bonus: it will tell you about the speed cameras)

If you want to know more about road trips, I put up an article with the 10 Best Road Trip Apps to travel in Europe!

The Best Travel Apps - A Starter's Kit 1

Paid Accommodation

When it comes to accommodation, thousands and thousands of apps do exist. My go-to app is definitely Booking.com, as throughout my travels I often found the cheapest price on this app. This is where I usually start my research to spend the night. It works well at the last minute (and, yes, I always book at the last minute, even with two kids in tow!), while AirBnb is best used at least a week in advance.

While traveling in Asia, I noticed that the prices were usually cheaper on Agoda.

Must-Have

  • Booking.com
  • AirBnb

Recommended

  • Agoda (great in Asia)
  • HostelWorld (only for hostels)
  • Priceline.com
  • Hotels.com
  • Hoteltonight.com (enjoy great last-minute deals in touristic and developed countries)
  • Kayak

Money

Money is a key component of your trip and you don’t want to waste any of it. I like to have my bank in my pocket, as it allows me not to paid any bank fees and to always get a great currency rate!

Anytime I arrive in a country with an unknown currency, the Xe.com app saved me quite a few times from overspending!

And while we talk about overspending, download a Money Managing app to keep track of your expenses and make sure you are respecting your daily budget!

These are the Best Travel Apps related to Money:

  • Xe.com (currency converter)
  • A Money Managing App
  • The App of your Bank(s)
  • Revolut/N26 (great neobanks)
The Best Travel Apps - A Starter's Kit 2

Organize Your Trip

Organizing a journey abroad can be a daunting task, so why not using these apps to make your plan smoother?

These are the Best Travel Apps regarding organization, and miscellaneous apps that don’t seem to fit any other category better than this one.

Must-Have

  • PackPoint (never forget another item thanks to this packing app!)
  • TripIt (Travel Planner)
  • TripAdvisor (always good to know what to visit at your destination)
  • Trip.com

Recommended

  • Polarsteps (Automatic Travel Tracker)
  • Wikipedia (I love to read about the country’s history before visiting, am I the only one?)
  • izi.Travel (Free Audio Guide in major cities)
  • Use a VPN (more secure and allow to bypass censorship)

Alternative Accommodation

If you’re keen to spend the night elsewhere than in a hotel, these are the most useful apps for you to have.

  • CouchSurfing
  • Trusted Housesitters
  • BeWelcome
  • TrustRoots
  • Workaway.info
  • Warmshowers.org (for cyclists)

Discover the best alternatives to Couchsurfing!

Couchsurfing Alternatives

In conclusion, this starter’s kit is composed of the Best Travel Apps that I’d recommend to have before starting a journey. Depending of your destination and your travel style, I’m sure plenty of apps could be added to be this list.

What do you think of this list? Are they really the Best Travel Apps? Are there any apps that you would like to add to this list?

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Maxime

A young father following his dream of travelling the world, now joined by HiuYing, his wife, and Darian, their first son.
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