I remember travelling back in the day, before smartphones got big. I’d print out maps, maybe even buy one and pour over it planning routes for days. I’d budget on paper and when I got lost, I’d have to ask local after local until I found my destination.
Today, travel is a bit more relaxed, as I’m always able to be in control. A myriad of apps help with the planning stages of travel, with budgeting, route planning via offline maps, and they provide useful sightseeing, local food and entertainment tips.
There are a ton of apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone out there. Of course I don’t use them all, but after being on the road for a long time, I have figured out my favourite travel apps that are always within reach on my iPhone.
Especially when booking long, intercontinental flights, Kayak is by far my favorite booking engine. Apart from having the most competitive prices and aggregating the best deals from various online booking websites, it is also highly customizable. I can choose how many layovers I want, how long those layovers should be, how much I’m willing to pay, at what times of day the flight should depart and arrive and what airports should be included in the search. Basically, it lets you exclude what you don’t want and customize to such a degree that you only get results that really match what you are looking for. You can also set a price alert and get alerts when the price of your chosen flight rises or falls.
A bit of a drawback is, that Kayak doesn’t include low cost carriers such as Easyjet or Airasia and when choosing those shorter distance flights, you might want to consider directly booking with the budget airlines instead.
City Maps 2Go
City Maps 2Go is by far the most useful app that I basically use every single day when being on the road. This map lets you download country, state/province/ and city maps from all over the world while you have wifi or data, and once they are downloaded, you can use them offline to your hearts content. The maps are very detailed, reliable and the little dot showing where you are even shows you the direction you are facing (a huge bonus). You can mark the location of your car, hotel or any other place by simply dropping a pin and easily find your way back. If you are interested in a city guide, you can download that as well.
Trail Wallet is the app where you keep track of your travel budget, add your expenses and figure out where you can save money. You can devide your expenses into different categories from accommodation to food and transport and even bribes as well as add your own. You can add trips, different currencies and set a budget for each leg of the journey. These feature are especially useful for travellers visiting multiple countries and plan on covering a lot of ground. The app presents the data in a nice, clean and simple way so you’ll always have control over your travel expenses and won’t get lost in a forest of numbers.
Price: Free for 25 Entries, the upgrade to unlimited is $3.99
Available for: iPhone
How many times have you stood before an ATM in a foreign country, only to realize that you have no idea what the exchange rate is? Before I got XE Currency, this used to happen all the time and let’s be honest, randomly guessing is never a good idea in these situations. The XE Currency app lets you check real time exchange rates and it is another app that is useful in a lot of situations. I use it for checking the cost of meals before ordering when I just got to a country and am not that well versed in the local currency yet, for checking if the currency exchange counter at the airport actually gives me a decent rate or if I should wait until the next place or just when I’m wondering how my home currency is doing.
Trover is a very neat and not very well known location app geared towards travelers who love photography. No matter where you are in the world, the app shows you photos taken around you, sorted from nearest to farthest. This gives you the opportunity to explore the destinations around you. Moreover, if you are interested in a certain location you can search it and the results give you a little bit of travel inspiration. Bored one day? Check Trover to find new and exciting sights that you might have never thought of or found on your own. And the best thing: a map shows you exactly where the picture was taken. This app is very community oriented, as well as interactive and a lot of users also provide descriptions of the place or how they took the photo.
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