Half the fun in traveling is preparing and plotting your trip. There are a lot of apps that can assist you in this process — but above and beyond that there are a lot of tools that can make your trip more enjoyable once you’re on the road too.
We personally find it hard to imagine traveling these days without Google maps, Skype, and most important of all Google translate.
We’ve had a good look at a plethora of travel apps to bring you the top 6 you need to have for the coming year. No matter where you’re going, when you’re going, or if you’re using iOS or Android, get downloading – you won’t regret it.
- Rome2Rio: If you’ve ever googled how to get from city X to city Z you know just how valuable Rome2Rio can be. Their app takes all of the helpful functionality of their website and packs it into an easy to use mobile app. So, what exactly do you get by installing it? From the horse’s mouth: Rome2rio searches a purpose built, unique repository of train, bus, plane, taxi, ferry, walking and driving routes. Our repository is constantly expanding as we add new data from sources around the world. In terms of routing, this is a must have.
- Skyscanner or Momondo: Sometimes finding cheap flights is a matter of timing as much as anything else. Having Skyscanner or Momondo at the ready can greatly increase your odds of finding that steal on airfare. Skyscanner is a great aggregator of flight information searching high and low all over the web to find you the best rates. On the flipside Momondo can be thought of more in terms of a personal travel assistant — allowing you to seamlessly search and book hotels along with your flights. We personally love the map search function on this app, as it allows you to see where properties are located before you choose them. Both are worthy of adding to your list.
- AirBnB: At this point is likely that just about everyone has heard of Airbnb, and it’s little wonder because this startup has grown from a tiny company to a titan of the “sharing” economy valued at over $30 billion.Airbnb is simple, it allows people to list rooms, apartments or entire home for rent, kind of like a hotel just far more personal. Go to any city in the world and search on Airbnb, odds are you’ll find a good number of places for rent. Airbnb has a well-established feedback system so you can get some idea what you’re in for ahead of time. It’s a great alternative to hostels or chain hotels — if you haven’t already jumped on this bandwagon is well past time that you did.
- Maps me: One of the most useful apps for traveling is obviously google maps, but what happens if you don’t have a connection? Well, don’t panic there are plenty of offline mapping options. Maps.me is a great tool for hardcore map lovers. This map excels in the detail department and is was our favorite because I felt like it was created exactly for what we were using it for: walking around a city. Maps.Me also includes all well-known attractions a tourist might want to glance at, down to individual statues. Plus you’ll find useful spots like pharmacies mapped, as well as the all important public transit stops. If all else fails, you can always try the old fashioned approach of, gasp, talking to people and asking for directions.
- XE currency app: When you travel internationally it’s good to have a currency app in your back pocket. Even if you’re great at mental math it’s a valuable tool to have on hand. Even if you consider the conversion of the dollar to the euro (pretty close to 1 to 1 these days) in larger amounts the difference can add up. Doing a quick check on your app can be super useful. XE is simple, easy to use, and allows you to check a handful of currencies at one time. I never leave home without it.
- VPN apps: In an increasingly insecure digital world downloading a VPN app makes a lot of sense too. VPN-s are not only useful when you want to watch BBC abroad, but essential to protect your privacy when connecting to public wifi. All the top providers have mobile apps, both for iOS and Android, depending on your needs and budget you can choose from plenty of options. One big problem with VPNs is that they tend to disconnect from time-to-time or run slowly. In both cases these apps seemed to perform above average.
So, there you have it, 6 essential apps for traveling in 2017. We believe all of these provide a great value and can dramatically improve your next trip. Did we miss one you love? Let us know in the comments section.