It used to be, back in the day, before you headed out to see the world you had to stock up on heavy travel guides to find out the what’s what and who’s who of your destination. Thankfully, that time has passed and we have many a glorious app to choose from to help us find out way around. There are so many options in fact that it can actually be daunting to decide which ones to download. (Your phone only has so much memory!) I’ll try to make your life a bit easier by letting you know what my tried and true apps are and some advice on how to get the most out of them!
Let’s start with take off. I know Skyscanner is widely known and widely used, but it’s easy to see why. I used to be very loyal to Kayak but Skyscanner has roped me in with more airline choices! Most of the cheapest flights that you’ll find come from smaller airlines which Skyscanner utilizes as well. I find all my cheapest flights through it and it doesn’t charge a using fee! After choosing your flight, Skyscanner takes you directly to the airline’s website and you book from there. The app is free and super easy to use. Test it out next time you need to book a flight and I can almost guarantee you won’t find a better deal!
Where to Stay
Now, this won’t be for everyone, but if you aren’t opposed to staying in a hostel then there is no better place to look than the Hostel World app. Also free, this app was created by (who else?) HostelWorld.com and is comprised of all the thousands of hostels located around the globe. Each posting has photos, prices, reviews and so much more so you can be ready to make your choice once you arrive. If you’re nervous about that you can always book your stay through the app as well before you even touch down. The possibilities are endless with this one.
What to Do
Trover is one of my newer discoveries and I’m so glad I’ve found it! It’s already helped me find some cool places around my own neighborhood in Hong Kong! Trover is basically instagram/yelp for travelers. If you are a visual person, like me, then you will love this app! Simply type in your destination and hundreds of photos pop up from other travelers who have visited the area. When you click a photo that sparks your interest you can read about the experience and the GPS location pops up. It’s also visual vacation if you can’t get away at the moment!
I’m convinced that Waygo is the best kept secret of travel apps. How have I not heard people raving about this miracle app?! Here’s how it works: you choose your language that you need translated, hold the sensor over a bit of the language, and then it translates it for you – quick as a flash! Now, this isn’t for reading a book in another language but it’s fantastic for road signs, grocery stores, restaurants, terminals etcs. It’s free to download but you only get 10 free translations for free a day then you have to pay. I haven’t had to go over yet but I almost think it’d be worth it anyway. Five stars for this one!
Money, Money, Moneyyy
Learning new money is one of my least favorite things about traveling. I hate not knowing what a fair price should look like and fumbling in front of locals as I try to figure out how much the coin with the dragon on it is worth. Step in My Currency Converter. MCC is free, of course, and allows for easy currency conversion between dozens and dozens of different currency. It has an easy switch mode so you can jump from one form of money to the other and has a clean and easy to use display. There are many, many money apps to choose from but this is my favorite by far.
Keeping in Touch
Now this one is two fold. When it comes to staying in touch from overseas it can get very expensive very fast. Thankfully there are some beautiful options that allow you to text and call for free. The two that I use are Viber and WhatsApp. (I also use Facetime, but didn’t include that since it’s already built into the iphone.) Everyone has their preference between the two. Mine is actually Viber, but I use both because WhatsApp seems to actually be the more popular of the two. Both are free and do the exact same thing, I just happen to like Viber’s layout a bit more. Both are grand and give you no excuse not to give your grandma a call on her birthday.
There you go! I hope this will give you a head start on prepping for your next adventure! As always, any questions or suggestions of other apps I should try are always welcome in the comments below! And remember, the world isn’t in your maps and books (or apps) it’s out there! Go find it!