Twelve Great Travel Apps To Pack in Your Phone 

From planning your trip to making life easy in a strange land, having the right travel apps in your phone can have a big impact on your holiday experience.

Here are a dozen that help make me an appy traveller.

GoEuro 

Comparing flights between cities is easy online. Comparing rail, bus and air transport options between two European destinations can be completely overwhelming. Which is where GoEuro comes in.

The GoEuro app works with more than 450 train, bus and flight partners in Europe to help you find the best way to get from A to B, whether you’re travelling between major cities or small villages.

With around 46,000 daily routes between more than 33,000 European destinations GoEuro lets you filter by price, time, duration and how many changes you’re prepared to do.

GoEuro Travel App works on buses, trains and flights in Europe

The free app has been around for a while but the Berlin based company has recently introduced a new feature that allows users to create a personal profile to store their payment and booking data to make things easier when they want to lock in their trip.

Flights may be the first thing that many people think of when travelling but trains and buses let you see more of that European countryside and cut back on the amount of holiday time wasted sitting around in airports. GoEuro can help you see both the time and money you could save if you stay closer to the ground.

TripCase

The first thing I do when I get a confirmation email for a flight I’ve booked is forward it to Trips@Tripcase.com knowing I will then have those details at my fingertips in my app rather than having to trawl through emails when I need to remember the details.

I love the way the app keeps me up to date with my flight status, sending me reminders that the trip is about to begin and telling me what the weather is going to be like, or giving me the heads up when there’s a flight delay or a gate change. I once had an alert on my phone from TripCase about a delay even before the information came through from the airline themselves.

The app will also share your travel updates with friends or family when you’re on the road if you want to keep them in the digital loop. Perfect for avoiding any long waits at the airport if they’re waiting to greet you and your delayed plane.

Top travel apps for planning and enjoying a trip

 

A VPN for safe Wi-Fi use

Unfortunately there are some dodgy characters out there who want to sneak around in your private data. Not only can hopping onto a hotel, airport or any other free Wi-Fi  leave you open to hackers, sometimes you could even be accidentally joining a fake Wi-Fi hotspot that’s been set up with a network name that looks familiar and like something you can trust.

VPNs create encrypted ‘tunnels’ that protect your browsing and Internet activity, and also stop the network you’re using tampering with your traffic by injecting ads into your browsing.

Keep in mind when you’re choosing a VPN provider that if they’re free they’re most likely making money in other ways, such as selling user browser habits to third parties, putting in ads or selling your bandwidth.

When I decided it was time for a VPN I read a lot of online reviews and ended up settling on Tunnel Bear. Not only is it easy to use, it has cute bears that go burying and then pop up in tunnels when you turn them on. One of those little things that makes me smile.

Tunnel Bear VPN can help protect your internet activity

But a word of warning: VPNs are illegal in some countries including China, Iraq, Turkey and the UAE.

So if you’re travelling through Abu Dhabi or Dubai remember using a VPN there could lead to a minimum fine of AED500,000 (A$180,000) and a maximum fine of AED2,000,000 (A$717,000) with possible jail time.

As always when travelling do your research, find out what is and isn’t allowed at your destination, and respect their rules.

Booking.com 

The Booking.com website is one of the best around for finding hotel and apartment deals around the world, and by popping their app in your phone you can have all of your bookings on hand, can make new bookings on the go and also find the best hotel deals closest to wherever you may be at the time.

The Booking.com app offers instant confirmation, paperless check-in and offline maps, and you can search by city, hotel name or landmark and filter by price, review, or even whether they’re pet friendly or have free WiFi.

Oanda Currency Converter 

When I travelled around Europe last century, back when websites existed but smart phones did not, I used to go to the Oanda website before every trip and print out one of their Currency Cheat Sheets for everyone I was travelling with.

They were so handy when you weren’t the fastest at doing currency conversions in your head, not to mention when you couldn’t remember what the exchange rate was in the first place.

These days the Oanda Currency Converter app is with me at all times. Super simple in design you just choose your two currencies and pop in the amount you want converted so you can figure out if you’re onto a bargain or about to break the bank.

The app has the daily rate for more than 190 currencies and lets you add on the typical ATM and credit card rates so you can factor that into your decision. You can also use it offline if you’re happy to use the rate the app remembered last as your guide.

Google Translate 

Oh how this app has helped solve a few language problems on my travels. You can find the translation for what you want by typing, speaking into your phone or hovering your phone’s camera over some text.

Google Translate works on 103 languages for typing and 29 languages for visual translation, with Chinese the latest language you can transform by hovering over the characters.

You can also translate 52 languages when you’re offline by downloading in advance, and the amount of space a language will take up in your phone has shrunk from 250MB to 25MB so you don’t have to worry about how much memory you have left.

Point It Book 

Long before Google Translate came along I used to carry a special little book with me to foreign lands.

The Point It Book is described as a “traveller’s language kit” but it actually gets around the whole language thing by removing the need for words.

Instead it’s full of pictures of things that you then, you guessed it, point at. It’s organised into sections with food, shopping, accommodation, transport and so on and that little book is also available as the Point It app.

Point it Book App

Perfect for when you’re offline or dealing with other factors such as noise or unusual dialects that a translation app may have trouble with.

Earworms

Because it’s always nice to learn at least a few basic words and phrases before spending time in a foreign land, Earworms has earned a place on my list.

Earworms usually refers to a bit of music or a song that gets stuck in your head, but in this case it’s a language lesson over sticky bits of music to help them stay in your head.

I’m not what you would call the best at learning languages, and I found Earworms helped me lock some basic phrases into my brain which I could then use on my travels.

Toilet Finder 

When you have to go, you have to go. And sometimes walking for blocks and hoping for the best can start to lead to panic stations.

Which is why Toilet Finder can provide some sweet relief. It can tell you where the nearest public toilets are around you, which ones are free to the public, those with handicapped toilets, and even their star rating from other users.

WiFi Mapper 

This app doesn’t just tell you where the nearest free Wi-Fi is to help save your data plan, it also lets you know which ones have proven to have a stronger signal than others, and uses feedback from Foursquare to let you know more about the place itself.

WiFi Mapper has symbols so you can see at a glance if it’s a cafe, restaurant, bar, shopping centre or more, and by reading other reviews you can get a feel for which spot you’re better off spending your time in while you get your Wi-Fi hit.

AccuWeather 

From what the weather is like right now, to the next few hours, to the next 15 days, the AccuWeather app can help you plan when you should be enjoying the great outdoors and when you’d be better of heading to a museum or gallery.

As well as the actual temperature the app shares the feels like temp, with humidity levels, wind speed, and more.

It also shares the phases of the moon for those who like to know when to watch for the full moon rising.

Instagram

As well as the fun of sharing your travels and following those of your friends, I love the way clicking on the location I’m in lets me see how other travellers are enjoying the same city, town, or part of the world.

Before I go somewhere I also like to start following that country or city’s Instagram account to help get excited about where I’m going, and also get ideas about things to do, places to go, and sometimes also pick up a tip or two on what to eat and drink.

Fellow travel lovers on Instagram can find me at @TheAmandaWoods. Say hi, I love connecting and hearing what other travel lovers are up to, and I don’t play that annoying follow / unfollow game. Oh no.

Pokemon Go

Seriously. I just shared a blog post about why I think Pokemon Go makes travel even more fun and why I went from being a total Pokemon cynic to a believer.

Pokemon Go PokeStop in Burgundy, France

Between Pokestops sharing interesting tidbits about the things around you to being encouraged to walk a little further to hatch an egg, I’m glad I decided to see what the fuss was all about.

So how about you? What travel app would you miss the most if we were all forced to give up our smart phones?

This post has been brought to you by the GoEuro app.

Love travelling with your iPhone? You may like to find out how to wipe your private phone data from a rental car, and if you fancy some money saving travel tips check out my piece on how the simple travel tip that can save money on flights.

About the Author

As a journalist who loves to travel and is fond of a chat I'm oh so happy when I'm sharing travel tales and tips through my blog and on my weekly travel segment on Sydney Radio 2UE. When I'm not travelling or writing about it I can be found out and about with friends, curled up at home with a good book or watching an addictive tv show promising I'll stop after one more episode. Amanda on Google +

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  1. Spencer says:

    I’d be lost in a European restaurant without Google Translate! The MENU! The MENU!

  2. I am sitting at work downloading most of these now! GoEuro is coming in handy as I plan a European tip! Thank you!

    • Yay! That’s great news that you’re heading back to europe and have a few new apps to make the travels smoother. Enjoy! ✈️❤️✈️

  3. Nice post. There’s a couple here I haven’t heard of before. Earworms looks pretty useful.

    Have you tried any of the social based ones like Travello?

  4. Haha, I giggled at the last one 😀 Personally I have (besides Pokemon obviously) Booking.com, Google Translate, and Snapchat installed. I use YoWindow for weather, it’s pretty cool. And I have to say, when it comes to all these cool apps, don’t forget to bring a portable charger with you!

    • Ha! My taxi driver in new city excitedly told me that the area I’m in was good for Pokemon when I arrived last night. Which means I definitely need that battery pack with me! I used to carry one anyway but these days I need it every day 🙂

  5. Scott Taylor says:

    That’s a great list! Still found some new apps I didn’t use yet. A couple of my other favorites are:
    – HERE Maps (Same as Google Maps BUT it shows speed limits making it a tad more useful when I am driving in a different country. Downloading offline maps is also less cumbersome than in Google maps)
    – AdventureAlly Travel Tools (Combines a few useful features like Currency Exchange, Tipping Guide, Document Vault and it even lets you create maps of countries you visited).
    – Startracker (A great little tool to explore the night sky if you happen to get to a place without all the light pollution like here in New York).

    Happy traveling!

  6. leigh423 says:

    Great list – I just downloaded the currency converter, thanks! My favorite travel app is Hopper – I’ve gotten some incredible flight deals from their alerts. Just last night at dinner, I got an alert that a fare I’m watching dropped from $250 to $100.

    • Oh I love it when that happens! Flight alerts are great for knowing when you have to jump or make a decision on a flight. I’m currently watching a big one from London to Sydney and hoping same will happen. Though maybe not down to $100 😉

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