Today's travelers are more equipped than ever with a plethora of apps at their disposal. Smartphones have changed the way we travel, and help make our trips better, smoother and more enjoyable.
My phone is filled with travel apps I use to plan my itineraries, track my flights and loyalty programs, find my way around, and generally, make my life easier so I can do what I love – travel more! I keep them all organized in folders based on the below topics so they're easier to access when I need them.
Here are my go-to travel apps for all travel-related needs.
Finding, Tracking, and Booking Flights
Do you have trouble deciding how far in advance you should buy a ticket? Well, Hopper to the rescue! They can predict prices up to a year in advance, and they claim to do it with 95% accuracy — that's pretty impressive. Hopper's been right every time I've checked, and it's saved me thousands on flights.
You can search for flights or hotels and see the days of the week the price is the cheapest. Right off the bat, you’ll get a prediction of whether you should buy your ticket right away or wait for the price to drop.
They’re also great at letting you know when the prices are likely to start climbing. You can add the trip to the watchlist and be notified of changes, or you can freeze the price you see with a $30 fee – you’ll have 7 days to complete the purchase, and if the price goes up during this time, they’ll cover the difference (up to $200). Hopper rocks, and makes your life so much easier!
I love the Skyscanner app. It’s great for finding flights, but also for inspiration on destinations when you’re not sure where you want to go. You can even find destinations by month and price.
My favorite feature is the “flight roulette” option where you can choose “Everywhere” from your home city and see what all the options are. I use it often when I want to find the cheapest flight by departure point, arrival point, or travel month.
You can now even store your passport and loyalty card(s) information in the Skyscanner Travel Wallet (encrypted) so you have a digital copy with you in case you need it.
Momondo is another great app for finding cheap flights. There have been times when I bought a flight through here that I couldn't find anywhere else for the same price. I usually check just in case, you never know and it usually pays off!
Momondo also has an “Anywhere” option if you’re looking for ideas on where to go. You can even filter by temperature or activity to find your ideal destination. One of my favorite features of the Momondo app is the ability to build your own ticket and not get stuck with flight combinations that might not work for you. I usually prefer to get two one-way tickets and have more flexibility on departure airport, time and layover.
FlightAware Flight Tracker
The largest flight tracking website in the world, FlightAware is very useful and free to use. In addition to tracking the status and pertinent information of your flights and setting alerts, the app has a ton of features like airport status information and traffic.
I love that it's possible to see the flight route, which comes in handy when I book my fights and need to figure out which side of the plane to sit. I love my window seats and want to be able to get the city view when landing so I can take awesome pictures! I'm all about strategic planning – got an awesome view of Toronto, Venice, and many other amazing cities this way!
AirHelp – Flight Compensation
Ever experienced a flight delay, overbooking, or interruption on a flight? AirHelp can help you fight for your air passenger rights. They're a great intermediary between you and the airline. There's no fee to file a claim, and you can check your eligibility for flights that are up to 3 years old.
They fight on your behalf with the airline and go to court if necessary. They take a cut of what you get back, but you can be reimbursed $700 per flight so it's worth the fee!
I use Hotels.com the most because I get 1 free night for every 10 booked, which is great for long-term travel! For my 2-month trip to Australia, I racked up a week's worth of free hotel nights that I used on my next Europe trip!
Loyalty pays off and that kind of value is hard to match. I appreciate the option to pay at the hotel so I can book ahead of time and get the best deals without paying for months worth of hotels on the spot. Hotels.com also has a wide variety of properties, including hostels, so you have a lot to choose from.
In addition to tracking rewards and booking hotels, the app is also useful for redeeming your rewards. Since Nov. 27, 2019, it costs $5 USD to redeem rewards, but it's free to do so on the app!
I often use Airbnb if I'm traveling with a friend or in a group since it is much more convenient and cheaper. It's also my go-to when I want the local experience, I miss home, need a break from hotels, or when I want to cook my own food to save money.
You can book unique Airbnb experiences as well that are all led by locals and usually not available anywhere else.
If you're a first-timer, get $47 USD credit for your next trip!
Planning Your Trip
Rome2Rio: Travel Planner
Rome2Rio is amazing. They find all the transportation options between A and B, including airlines, local buses, trains, and more. It not only works for cities and towns, but also for landmarks, attractions, and addresses. It's brilliant.
I use it often to plan transportation in areas like Eastern European and need to find local companies in the region. Never be stuck again – you'll always find a way with Rome2Rio. You can even store your ticket information on the app.
TripIt helps you create a master itinerary of everything you've booked for your trip so you always have all the information at your fingertips. Give the app access to your email or forward your reservations to start creating.
It automatically detects all your confirmation emails for flights, hotels, attractions, etc and adds the details to the app for you. Your itinerary is available offline so you know your schedule for the day.
Roadtrippers – Trip Planner
If you love road trips, you'll love this app. Easily plan a road trip and see how long it'll take, how many KMs the route is, and approximately how much gas will cost you. With the free version, you can save 5 trips in total, each with a maximum of 7 waypoints/stops. If you need more, you'll need to upgrade.
You can also explore road trip ideas and get inspired if you don't know where to go next.
The app has great travel guides to help you plan your trip to most places in Canada, the US, Australia, and New Zealand.
PackPoint Travel Packing List
Never get overwhelmed with packing again! PackPoint lets you add your destination, length of trip (up to 30 days), and the activities you plan on partaking in like swimming, biking, hiking, taking photos, etc. The app then generates a list of things to pack for your trip that's based on what you plan on doing and the weather forecasted at your destination during your dates. You can easily discard items you don't need and add your own.
The premium version of the app lets you connect your account to TripIt so you can auto-generate lists to go with your upcoming trips. With premium, you can also integrate it with Evernote or make your own packing templates.
Guides by Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet guides are amazing, I have a full shelf of them. Unfortunately, they're not great for carrying around on long-term trips, especially if you're going to a few countries. That's why this mobile app is very handy.
Get tips on getting around a city, insights into each neighborhood, daily cost breakdown, and currency conversion. You also have access to phrases in the 19 local languages to help you get by.
You can also buy the Lonely Planet guides right in the app as a digital download, or order the paper copy and it'll be delivered right to your door.
Price: FREE; In-App Purchase: Starts at $4.99 USD/month for unlimited access to the app. You can buy the Lonely Planet guides or city tours in the app at various prices.
Download: iOS | Google Play
Triposo is a smart travel app and another great “mobile tour guide”. Personalize your trip and save travel guides, your favorite hotels, sights, and activities as well as get directions, GPS coordinates, and weather.
Everything works offline, so you never have to stress about getting WIFI to access your saved information.
Welcome – AI Itineraries
This is a fun app, and a different take on creating itineraries. The app uses artificial intelligence to create an itinerary in realtime based on tips from your friends and network. It provides cool tips of hidden gems along the way.
You can also import your lists of tips from emails, documents, and websites. The coolest part of the app is that it's location-aware and it updates your itinerary during the day based on location and changes in weather, traffic, etc.
Viator – Tours & Activities
I discovered Viator a couple of years ago, and I've been using it for all my trips since!
It's great for finding tours in destinations all over the world, whether you're looking to book a day trip or a cool activity like a helicopter tour or cooking class. You may even find a tour that you didn't even know you were looking for! They're owned by TripAdvisor, so naturally, you can also find reviews before you book.
AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run
Calling all outdoor enthusiasts – this one is for you. AllTrails offers thousands of curated trains all over the world. Find trails near a city or country you're planning on seeing or through a national park you're visiting. The app will help you discover and explore cool trails to do at home as well.
The Pro version provides directions right to the trailhead, offline maps, real-time overlays, and much more. You can even print your own map from the desktop version to have as a backup in case your phone dies.
Do you have hundreds of loyalty cards? No? Just me? Ok. AwardWallet is a free service that supports almost 700 loyalty programs including hotel loyalty programs, credit cards, and car rental programs. It's a great way to manage all your programs and point balances, and also carry all the cards with you digitally.
Load all your cards before you go and never be left in a lurch. You can even take photos of each card and store it on the app so you can scan it manually when you need it. My wallet has gotten significantly smaller since I started using AwardWallet two years ago.
Aside from carrying your cards digitally, it's a great way to manage your loyalty programs since you get notifications a couple of months before your points expire. It's saved me from losing a lot of points!
Enhancing Your Airport Experience
Priority Pass gives you access to 1,300+ airport lounges around the world, and it's worth every penny. I now go to the airport early just to have time for the lounge. It's helped me find balance in my digital nomad career.
It's worth the annual membership fee, but also offered as a perk by some travel credit cards! I have saved so much money by eating (cooked warm meals) at the lounge before flights or during layovers instead of shelling out money on overpriced food at airports.
The app is great at finding where the Priority Lounges are in terminals, when they're open and what amenities they offer.
If you don't have Priority Pass and want to buy a pass to an airport lounge, you can do so on the LoungeBuddy app. You can buy a pass up to two months in advance, or the day of. Easily find all the lounges in an airport and find the ideal one for you.
Lounges are great in general, but especially during long layovers where you can eat awesome food, have a glass of wine, read a paper or use the WIFI and work. It's a handy iPhone app to have around.
FLIO is an awesome airport buddy. You can synchronize your account with your calendar or TripIt and track your flights. If you've been using TripIt for a while, you even get cool stats about how many flights you've taken, and how many KMs you've traveled.
Get real-time alerts about flight delays, gate changes or baggage belts and always stay informed. I've relied on this app so much lately since I had a few scares with not receiving updated and timely information from an airline during changes or delays.
Do you ever walk around aimlessly in airports trying to find a power outlet or ATM? Well, the Geo Tracking feature on FLIO serves those up for you, along with nearby restaurants, shops, airport maps and the quickest route into the city.
App in the Air
Very similar to FLIO and other apps, so I don't recommend this app if it overlaps a lot with the other ones on this list that you already use. It also charges for the information you already get for free with FLIO.
However, I do love that they create an animation video at the end of each year with all the flights you've taken. It's cool to see all your vacations recapped this way! It connects with TripIt as well so you don't have to do much work to get your video done.
During Your Flight
Developed by scientists and based on neuroscience, Timeshifter is awesome for managing your jetlag! I don't leave home without it anymore.
Just add your flights in and you'll get a customized plan for how to manage your sleep and activities so you can get at your destination fresh and ready to go!
It prompts you to take little actions at specific times, like going outside for sunlight, taking a nap, avoiding caffeine, or going to sleep. You can even have your program start before your trip so you can begin adjusting to a. new schedule a few days prior.
I started using calm when I used to wake up a lot during the night due to having so much on my mind. I love it because it has guided meditation programs that are less than 10 minutes that you can listen to before going to bed. They each have a theme, like learning to breathe, relaxing, etc. If you fall asleep during one, the app simply turns off on its own. There are also longer programs you can do, some paid and some free.
You don't need a kindle to enjoy books on the go! Buy kindle books on Amazon and you'll automatically see them in the app. Read, highlight, or bookmark just as you would on a kindle. Long boring flights will never be the same again!
I've been getting really into audiobooks lately, especially since I can listen while I'm on the go and doing mundane tasks, preparing food or staring outside the plane window. There are so many books to choose from on Audible, and your subscription gets you one free credit a month. You can even speed it up so you can get through books faster.
Travel Smart – Canada
I use Travel Smart when I'm traveling to a new destination I don't know much about or one that's deemed “unsafe” in the media. I check to. see any travel advisories from the Canadian government. You can easily add all the countries you're traveling to and keep tabs on news before or during your trip. Also get information on natural disasters, emergency services, entry/exit requirements, and more.
Like Travel Smart, SmartTraveler is an app created by the US Department of State to advise travelers of information they need for their travel destinations. Get information on embassies and consulates, visa requirements, local laws and more. If there's a travel advisory issued, you'll get notified.
There are apps like SmartTraveler and Travel Smart from most governments around the world – I can't list them all here but they exist if you need them.
This is a great app for granular safety measurements in cities around the world, right down to the neighborhood. This is a unique app, and it measures seven categories: women's safety, health and medical, physical harm, LGBTQ+ safety, theft, political freedom, and overall safety. I check it every time I am going to a new country or booking a hotel, just to get an idea of what to expect.
TripWhistle Global SOS – International Emergency Phone Numbers for Travelers Abroad
I got stuck on a trip where I had an emergency and needed to call someone and didn't even know where to start. Since then, I always have this app on me, just in case. TripWhistle has the local emergency numbers in every country, and it tracks your location so you know exactly where you are if you need to communicate that to someone. It's one of those apps you hope you never need, but happy to have if you ever do. Unfortunately, it only works on iPhones.
Google Maps needs no introduction but it is the one app I use the most when I travel. Download an offline map of the city you are visiting for access to directions and nearby attractions all the time. I also star everything and essentially use it as my bucket list.
Maps.Me is a great back-up for Google Maps. Maps.Me is a great offline map app, but also works on the desktop. It offers offline GPS data, directions by car or foot, offline search and more. I'm not crazy about the interface but it's a great resource and it's gotten me out of a lot of jams over the years.
Waze Navigation & Live Traffic
I use Waze a lot when I'm driving for the shortcuts it provides, but I use it the most in Europe. It has the ability to get user input when it comes to speed traps and cops on your route so you can be on the lookout. It's not legal in every country, so it only shows up where available but it's handy when you're driving in a new place. Waze requires your GPS location at all times, so it's a big drain on your battery, have your charger close by!
Citymapper is a great commuter app but also very useful when you're trying to navigate your way through one of the 39 big cities currently on the app. The app detects your location and tells you the nearest bus stops, streetcar stops, bike routes, train stations, and ferry terminals. The app even notifies you when your stop is coming up!
I use UBER a lot more abroad than when I'm in Canada. It's so handy, and most of the time, it's much cheaper to use. If you have a local SIM card (which I always recommend), then it's even more convenient. It's also safer since you don't have to use cash. If you're new to Uber, use code IOANAS17UE to get $10 credit towards a ride.
Lyft is another rideshare option if you're traveling around the United States and in parts of Canada. A lot of Uber drivers are also with Lyft so they complement each other. Lyft is usually cheaper than a taxi (and Uber), especially in cities like Toronto! It never hurts to have more options. If you're new to Lyft, use code IOANASTOICA to get $20 credit toward rides.
Solis WiFi by Skyroam
Skyroam is amazing and something you should always have in your back pocket while traveling, quite literally. Skyroam is a global WiFi hot spot that works in over 130 countries! You get unlimited WiFi on up to 5 devices, for a flat rate of $9 for 24 hours. It's incredibly convenient, and a time saver! The app lets you manage your connection and devices with ease.
Using a virtual private network (VPN) is great for protecting your privacy while online. I've been using Express VPN for a year and I love it. It's a great way to protect my data from strange and unsecured servers at hostels, hotels, restaurants, and cafes. The app is so easy to use. Just pick a country to see the available servers, connect and that's it! A little “VPN” title will display at the top of your phone and you're good to go.
This also comes in handy when you're trying to watch videos or movies that are restricted by location. Connecting to a VPN server allows you to bypass the restrictions and watch things otherwise unavailable to you.
Fongo – Talk & Text Freely
This one is mostly for Canadians and travelers to Canada, but it's an essential app if you are either. The app lets you sign up in minutes for a free Canadian phone number you can use to make unlimited calls or send unlimited texts across Canada. You can get credits and call or text worldwide as well. In addition, if you're abroad, you can call back to Canada for free using WIFI. It's pretty amazing!
I recently started using Flexiroam as a back-up for local data when I'm traveling. All you have to do is attach the Flexiroam X sticker on top of your SIM card, and easily purchase data roaming packages on the go as you need them. They're available by region, country, or amount of data and can be used for up to a year, depending on the package.
It works in 150+ countries and you can even buy pay-as-you-go plans. Get started with 100MB free.
You can find an interest group for anything on Meetup. It's great for networking events but also for expanding your interest and for finding people that have the same hobbies. Find meetups to attend while you're traveling so you can mingle with locals and make new friends.
Skype needs no introduction. It's my back-up plan when I'm traveling and I always have at least $5 credit on my account before I leave a trip, in case of emergencies. I can use it to call landlines anywhere in the world and it's saved my butt many times. I only have to load about $10-15 a year.
What's App Messenger
If you don't have WhatsApp installed on your phone, you need to do it now. I'll wait.
WhatsApp is a secure messaging service that you can use in over 180 countries (that's almost all of them!) to message or call people from your phone over WiFi. You can even keep your number if you change SIM cards. Just make sure to install it before you leave, to avoid paying for the confirmation text while abroad.
XE Currency Exchange
I love this app for calculating currency exchanges while on the road. I tend to underestimate how much something costs, especially in countries like Iceland, and this app keeps me on in the know and on budget.
Another lifesaver! The first time I used it was in an authentic restaurant in Zagreb, Croatia, where the menu was in Croatian and I couldn't read a word of it. I used the Picture translate feature to figure out what I can order, and since then I've used it on every trip! There's also a voice translate feature that's helpful. Download the languages you need ahead of time so you can use them offline.
TripLingo is a great travel companion when you don't know the local language! Simply choose the country you are going to and download the audio files. You'll then have access to thousands of phrases you can use in various scenarios, like getting around, dining, shopping, nightlife, flirting, basic conversation and more. You can play the phrases in two modes: slow and normal. You can even translate your voice with a live translator!
Need to learn a new language before your vacation? Duolingo to the rescue. Choose your language and get started with an introduction. The lessons are bite-sized and evolve in difficulty and variety as you progress. They also offer a combination of visual, verbal and auditory lessons to train your brain from all levels. I've been using it to learn Spanish for my upcoming trip and I love it so far!
Rick Steves Audio Europe
A very robust app full of audio guides for Europe. All organized by region, you can access tours of cities, interviews with authors, walking tours of museums and major attractions, information on various cultural aspects, and much more. Just take your headphones, and you're all set!
Flush – Toilet Finder & Map
When you gotta go, you gotta go! And sometimes, it's really hard to figure out where you actually can. This app is amazing – it has a database of almost 200,000 public washrooms! You don't even need a WIFI connection to find them. You'll even get information on which washroom has disabled access, which one has a fee, which one needs a key, and directions on getting there.
TripAdvisor needs no introduction, but the app is great for when you need information on-the-go. Check reviews, find things to do nearby, book tours and activities or find a hotel. It's pretty handy. You can also leave reviews in the moment while they're still fresh.
Yelp – Food & Services Around Me
Yelp is huge in many parts of the world and offers millions of reviews of local businesses. The app is great for discovering restaurants, reading local reviews, and ordering food or takeout. When I'm traveling, I also use it to find highly-rated businesses nearby, especially if I'm looking to get my nails or hair done, find a local shopping center, or make a reservation somewhere.
Previously known as Urbanspoon, Zomato is pretty big in over 10,000 cities around the world. It's very similar to Yelp, and it's a good back-up since Zomato is popular in some places where Yelp isn't. You can only find restaurants, cafes, and bars on the app, not all services like on Yelp, but it's useful when you're traveling and looking for a good place nearby for lunch or dinner.
OpenRice is the Yelp of Asia. The app has a database of more than 2 million restaurants across Asia, so be sure to have it on your phone before you travel there. You can even make reservations and earn Asia Miles for them.
Managing Your Health While Traveling
Ok, so this is not a travel app and you obviously need a Fitbit fitness tracker to be able to make use of it. However, I love my Fitbit when I travel and I use it so much abroad to track my health. I track how well or how I sleep, how active I am throughout the day, and my resting heart rate. It's a great way to track my health while I'm away.
The Five-Minute Journal
I love my hardcover Five-Minute Journal, but I can't take it with me on trips because it's so heavy. I got the app instead and I love it. The premise of the journal and the app is to start your day with gratitude by writing down the 3 things you are grateful for and 3 good things you hope will happen that day. At the end of the day, you add the 3 amazing things that happened that day.
You can even add photos to go along with your daily entries. It's a great way to keep track of your daily milestones. It's amazing the things you become present to when you have to find 3 things to be grateful for.
Price: $4.99 USD
Download: iOS | Google Play
Managing Your Trip Budget
Trail Wallet is an iPhone app you can use to keep track of your expenses while you're traveling. It's easy to get carried away and blow your budget while on a trip, and this app was created by travelers for travelers to do exactly that. The first 25 expenses are free, and then you have to pay.
I love this app because you can track whether you paid cash, credit or debit, and add expenses by trip and by month. I use it often since I'm traveling long-term and always changing currencies.
Ever wonder how much you need to tip while on vacation? This app will take the guessing game out of it! With tip guides for over 240 countries and regions, you'll never have to assume ever again. You can even scan your bill and divide the tip by the number of people in your group. It's my new favorite app.
This app is perfect if you are traveling in a group! It's actually perfect for tracking any shared expenses, whether it's local, roommate costs, etc., but I use it mostly for group trips. Easily track who paid for what, who owes who how much, and who's up to date with payment. You can enter amounts while offline and pay right in the app (mostly in the US and India).
Freshbooks – Cloud Accounting
I would recommend Freshbooks mostly for bloggers and entrepreneurs. This is my go-to account app when I'm on the go. I can create invoices, track payments, and add expenses on the ago, complete with screenshots of the bill for reference, and generally organize everything by category. When I'm ready to do my taxes, I simply send the expense report to my accountant and he does the rest. Easy peasy!
I can't live without Spotify when I travel. I use it in my hotels, on buses, planes and while I'm roaming around to listen to my playlists. On the free plan, you can listen to songs that are downloaded to your phone, or over WiFi. You can't shuffle songs unless you upgrade to the premium service.
Shazam is another app I can't live without while traveling. I love it because I always hear amazing songs while on the road that I wouldn't otherwise have access to. This way, I Shazam them and save them to a playlist that gets synced to Spotify and BAM! Or, should I say, SHAZAM!
Awesome Travel Photos
Random, I know. But hear me out. Sun Surveyor is an amazing mobile app to help you figure out where the sun and/or the moon will be while you're traveling. I use it a lot to figure out where I should catch the sunrise or sunset from, where I can spot the milky way (for photography), and much more. There's a free version and a paid version.
Take your travel (and Instagram!) photos to the next level by editing them in Lightroom. The desktop version if paid, but the mobile app is free! Edit your photos on the go and post perfect Instagram photos during your vacation. You can even use the Lightroom app camera to shoot in raw, like on a DSLR, so the pictures retain more detail and you can edit them better.
Who doesn't want awesome vacation photos? Sometimes it's hard to take photos from specific angles while traveling, especially if there are people around. TouchRetouch is my favorite retouching app. It's so simple, you just have to use your finger and select the items you want erased, and bam! The app's algorithm is pretty amazing. You can remove telephone poles from scenic locations, garbage cans from bike paths, or whatever else causes an eyesore in your photo. It takes seconds.
I've had this app for a couple of years but have only started using it recently, and it's pretty awesome. You can add a new trip and enable the tracker in the background (only uses 4% more battery for the day) and the app tracks your steps and synchronizes when you're back online. You can add stops, photos, and other important milestones.
You'll have access to travel statistics as well, which is always cool to see. My favorite part though is that at the end of the trip, you can turn everything into a cool photo book!
Hope you've enjoyed this list and you've found it helpful. Do you have a favorite travel app? Tell me in the comments!