Travel apps make life easier.
Your phone can mean the difference between an awful trip and an amazing one. The apps you take with you while traveling can make or break your vacation or business trip. Download a map program offline to help you get around. Find a place to stay last minute or when your plans change (sometimes an unexpected detour is the best part of a trip). There are apps out there to help you translate a foreign language, apps to help you find vegan restaurants, and even apps to get you to the nearest public toilet. Your phone is an amazing travel resource, and these apps help you get the most out of it! Here are 40 of the best travel apps to download in 2020, presented alphabetically:
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these apps, nor am I affiliated with any of them or their companies. I cannot be held responsible for the apps’ content or changes to their usability.
AirBnb’s free app lets you rent everything from campsites to entire mansions, all on your phone. You can stay for one night or multiple weeks depending on what your travel needs are. Search by location, home type, amenities, and more. You can even make wish lists of your favorite listings and share them with friends or family who may be traveling with you. One of the best parts of AirBnb is staying with a local host, who can give you tips on what to do, where to eat, and what to see.
The AllTrails app is a must for any hiking or camping trip. With over 100,000 trails you are sure to find one perfect for your next outdoor adventure. You can search by location, difficulty level, elevation, and more. The app uses GPS to show you exactly where you are on a particular trail, so you always know what to expect (and don’t get lost in the middle of nowhere). The app can also record things like your pace, distance, elevation, and max speed.
App in the Air is like a personal concierge for all of your travel needs. Plan itineraries, book flights, and track everything about your trips with it’s beautiful minimalist layout. It can sync with your Apple or Samsung watch to make checking in and accessing information even easier. There is even a feature to subscribe your family or friends to updates, so they can see where you are and where you’re headed.
Calm isn’t exactly a “travel” app in the strict sense of the word, but it can be very helpful if you are anxious about flying or any aspect of travel. Use it to meditate or sleep during a long flight, or to relax if you get overwhelmed anywhere along the way. It is a great app to destress at any part of your trip.
Citymapper is a transit app that compares all of your options including walking, driving, taking a train or bus, as well as trollies and water taxis. It boasts turn by turn navigation and integration with popular transit apps like Uber, Lyft, and a number of scooter rental companies. You can download city information and use it offline as well, which is great for when you don’t have a data plan during international travel.
Couchsurfing has become very popular among younger travelers looking to save on overnight accommodations. Use the app to get connected to hosts around the world who offer rooms, beds, and yes, couches to travelers. You can search by location, age and gender of the host, length of stay, and more. Discover what it’s like to live with a local for a little while.
Join locals around the world for a meal with the EatWith app. Hand selected hosts create dining experiences and cooking classes for visitors. You can also use the app to plan private events. So enjoy a delicious cheese course on a Parisian balcony, or fresh tapas in Barcelona. There are hosts around the world waiting to feed you!
GasBuddy can help you save money every time you fuel up by showing all of the gas prices for stations in your chosen location. It is a must for any road trip. I actually use it at home during hurricane season to find out which stations are still up and running, and which have run out of gas. You can actually save money using the GasBuddy card, so you may want this app on your phone year round.
I use Google Maps on a daily basis, whether I’m at home or traveling. I literally don’t leave home without it. It’s not only a map service that provides you with turn by turn navigation for walking, driving, using the subway, hiring an Uber, etc. It’s also a great way to find local restaurants, museums, things to do and see, and cultural sites. It’s fully integrated with Google so you can get more info on whatever it is you’re looking for.
Google Translate is INCREDIBLE. Honestly, people don’t talk about the on-the-fly camera mode enough. Just hold up your phone camera to get a live translation. Hold it up to a menu and voilà! A new feature called “tap to translate” works in any app. For example, if you are chatting in Whatsapp, you can tap any message and translate it right there in the app. You can speak, write, or type and get translations into hundreds of languages, instantly. There is an offline mode which I recommend if you are traveling abroad, to limit your data use.
Hopper uses price predictions to help you to book flights and hotels at discounted rates. The app will tell you when you should buy at a great price, or if you should wait for the price to drop. Apparently the predictions are pretty good, and you will usually save over just buying tickets at any time. Set up price alerts for any upcoming trips and wait for the right time to buy.
The Hostelworld website and app connect travelers to hostels around the globe. They cover over 36,000 properties in 178 countries. There are over 13 million verified guest reviews so that you can pick the right hostel for you. You can book a private room or something cheaper in a shared suite. If you book more than 7 days in advance you can cancel any reservation for free. Hostelworld offers 24/7 customer service in case you run into any problems.
Find a last minute hotel with Hotel Tonight. While I don’t recommend waiting until the last minute to plan sleeping arrangements, sometimes your travels take you somewhere unexpected (or you drink a little too much at a holiday party and want to sleep it off). Sometimes you can find insanely cheap deals on hotel rooms the same day.
Hotels.com is exactly what it sounds like: book hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts easily with this app. Search by location and filter with number of stars, prices, reviews, amenities and more. You can join their Rewards program to earn free nights after enough Hotels.com approved stays. This is great for frequent travelers, and the nights add up surprisingly quickly! You can bundle things like car rentals and flight packages right there in the app or on the site as well.
Kayak has great features that keep me coming back to this travel app. You can search for flights, hotels, and car rentals with fixed or flexible dates. If you can be flexible, the app will show you a calendar of the cheapest dates to fly so that you can plan accordingly. Kayak will also notify you if prices change, and you can set up price alerts to watch for your upcoming flights. My favorite part of the app is the Kayak Explore feature, where you put in your home airport and see what people are paying to fly all over the world. You can specify the dates or just check out where people are going year-round. It’s a cool way to see what you can afford and where your next vacation might take you.
If you have a long layover, or arrived at the airport too early, try out an airport lounge with LoungeBuddy. If you’re like me, you don’t have access to any of the fancy credit card or first class lounges. With this app, you can purchase a pass to use a lounge for a few hours, without the fuss of having some special card. Prices start at $25 and usually include free wi-fi, a comfy place to sit, and sometimes even complimentary drinks.
Meetup is another app you can use year round, not just when travelling. If you want to meet locals during your trip, search for events where you’ll be staying and take part of local culture. There are also tons of language Meetups, so you can try your hand at a few key phrases before heading to the foreign country of your choice.
The US Customs department released the Mobile Passport app to help US citizens and Canadian visitors get through customs more quicky. You can submit your passport and declaration form with the app, and some places even offer special (faster) lines for people with the app. Whenever I travel out of the country this app is a lifesaver.
The Packpoint app is a packing list that helps you choose what to pack for the weather, location, and duration of your stay. You get a customized packing list specifically for your trip, that you can share with fellow travelers.
Rome2Rio is a great transit app, especially for overseas travel. It will show you all methods of transport – including planes, trains, buses, and ferries – so that you can plan the best route. You can even book the necessary tickets right from the app. This app is perfect if you want to make an off-the-beaten path detour or add a stop along your travels.
I don’t own an RV, but if I did, this app would be perfect. It maps out and gives details on RV parks and campgrounds for your next road trip in the US, Canada, or Mexico. The app is completely free and has over 40,000 entries to choose from. You can also view gas stations, rest areas, and other helpful roadtrip needs.
Also known as the Jetlag App, Timeshifter helps eliminate your jetlag with personalized advice based on the science of circadian rhythms. Some of the things it can recommend are avoiding caffeine for a certain period, waking up at a different time, or changing the brightness of your phone or laptop.
Staying on budget can be super difficult on trips. Trail Wallet can help you stay on track with it’s super easy interface and robust features. See your spending visually, make tags for different purchases to access them quickly, and even download a CSV file of all your trip expenses when you get home.
The TripIt app can hold all of your travel info in one place, including itineraries and flight, hotel and car rental information. You simply forward any confirmation emails from bookings to the app and it automatically creates an itinerary including all of the relevant information. You can access everything offline, which is perfect for places without access to wi-fi. There’s also airport maps, navigation, and safety information for the neighborhoods you’ll be visiting.
TripAdvisor helps you plan and book your vacation by helping you find hotels, flights, and activities from right inside the app. Check out a map of where you will be traveling to find and save restaurants, attractions, and tours. Access over 830 million reviews from around the world. You can even access mobile tickets for tours and activities purchased in the app, for easy access without needing a printer. There’s also a forum to ask questions and see answers from other travelers and helpful locals.
Triplingo helps you communicate with ease using the interactive phrasebook and instant voice translator. There is a culture and etiquette guidebook which helps you look like a seasoned traveler. You’ll also be able to make international calls over wi-fi, find a tip calculator, and study flash cards all in one app.
TripWhistle is a great safety app, especially for solo travelers. There are 196 countries in the world with more than 70 different emergency numbers. Having the right number can help you get the help you need quickly. The app can help you quickly provide critical information to emergency respondents with in-app access to your street address and GPS coordinates. You can also use the app to share your location with friends and family.
There are a number of ride sharing apps out there, Uber and Lyft being the most popular. Apps will be available for use depending on the country and region you are in, so check for availability before you leave home. Some other ride-sharing apps are Grab, Cabify, Taxify, Careem, and Gett.
WhatsApp is a secure messaging and voice and video calling service that is popular worldwide. When I was traveling in Europe, every local I met asked if I had WhatsApp. My partner is from Brazil and his family only uses WhatsApp for both messages and phone calls. It also has a great groups feature to make group chats a breeze.