A good traveler needs to be well equipped with only the best travel apps.
From the time you start thinking about your next destination to the moment your feet hit the ground back home, having the right travel apps can be extremely influential in your overall experience.
Personally, I don’t like clutter on my home screen so I tend to keep apps at a minimum, but the apps listed in this post have definitely earned their spot on my phone.
Better yet, they are all free! Make your travel experience smoother and a lot less stressful– check out the best free travel apps I’ve listed below and download them if you haven’t already.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more for any services you sign up for, but the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep the content coming to you. Thanks!
Best Travel Apps For Itinerary Planning
One free app ‒ millions of cheap flights and hotels.
With the Momondo app, your smartphone or tablet becomes your personal travel assistant, giving you the ability to find and book cheap flights and hotels anywhere in the world, at any time.
Struck by wanderlust, but don’t know where to go? They have an “Anywhere Search”, that allows you to see tons of destination with the cheapest flights. It’ll even allow you to filter by budget, temperature, and activities you wish to do.
With beautiful and easy to follow visuals, Momondo makes the travel planning process fun and exciting.
In a nutshell, TripIt is a very convenient mobile trip planner. Tri It shows all your trip details at a glance: flights, hotels, car, map, directions.
No more digging through your emails looking for confirmation numbers and addresses, no more pesky excel sheets!
You can sync your travel plans with your online or mobile calendar, share itineraries with your fellow travelers, and post your travel plans on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter).
There’s a pro version with a bit more features, but the free version does just fine for most. If you travel a lot and have a lot of bookings you need to organize, this is the best app to have.
3. Culture Trip
Culture Trip’s travel app provides local information and recommendations no matter where you’re traveling. The app’s intelligent search will filter your results based on the locations and attractions you really want to see.
Moreover, they provide you with awesome out-of-the-box recommendations such as the best coffee shops, flea markets, and secret local spots to check out! Culture Trip is one of my personal favorites when it comes to looking for local or off-the-beaten-path experiences.
Discover the world’s coolest insider tours and activities with Viator. It’s hard not to come across a Viator tour when you’re traveling and looking for that guided experience.
For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, they’re a TripAdvisor company, so naturally, you’ll get exclusive access to thousands of destinations in the palm of your hand, as well as access to a ton of user reviews and photos.
From incredibly popular Skip The Line passes at tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Empire State building, to private VIP experiences at iconic locations like the Sistine Chapel, the Viator app helps with planning so you can get the most out of your vacation.
If you enjoy going on tours and want a place to store all your tour passes, this is the app for you.
Think of Goldstar as Groupon for just events. Goldstar is an event discovery app with the most half-price tickets to live entertainment in the world.
Whenever I want to look for weekend plans, I open up Goldstar. I always find that there are so many plays, productions, concerts, and other live events I never even knew existed!
With Goldstar, you’ll experience more and spend less on the hottest concert, theater, nightlife, comedy, sports & other events in your city.
They sometimes even have comped tickets that end up being nearly free! There might be a very small service fee, but still completely worth the nominal fee.
6. XE Currency
XE Currency is the only app you need when it comes to knowing how your home currency converts to the local currency.
It’s great in cases where you plan on country-hopping on the same trip (sometimes, keeping track of multiple currencies is just too confusing).
While it’s not the prettiest app, XE Currency is one of the more robust currency converter apps available for both iOS and Android. It’s constantly being updated, offering live exchange rates and even allows you to access the most recent rates offline.
You can also use the app on your Android Wear or Apple Watch device, which is super convenient when you’re in a rush trying to convert currency while shopping.
Sometimes when you’re out exploring, you just need to find a bathroom. Quickly locate a bathroom near you, whether you’re on the road, stuck in a crowded metropolitan area, or at the beach!
The Flush app has 200,000 bathrooms in its database located all over the world, with user reviews and filters for specific features like handicap accessibility and changing tables.
The app will also let you know if a certain bathroom requires a fee or requires a key. Super handy for those emergency moments while traveling!
Best Travel Apps For Flights
8. Airline Apps (Southwest, United, etc.)
This sounds obvious, yes, but for those of you who still check-in online through a web browser, you might be missing out. Having these apps are proving more and more useful for situations before your travel and during your travel!
You’re able to easily check-in, keep tabs on flight status, and even take advantage of in-flight perks. For example, the United Airlines app allows you to stream a bunch of new movies and TV shows right on your phone or tablet during your flight.
And not only can you use your phone to easily scan a boarding pass, but most airline apps will send updates on your checked bags, changes in gates, and any delays in boarding.
Whether you fly Delta, American, United or any other airline, always start with downloading the app of the carrier you’re flying with. From there, link your frequent flyer number and enter in your info.
Don’t forget to turn on those push notifications so you can stay up to date on flight information—the app can’t help you if it can’t reach you!
This one is in the advanced travel hacker’s arsenal of apps. They specialize in finding what it calls “hidden city flights,” which translates to you booking a ticket to a final destination you have no intention of ever going, simply because it connects through the city you actually want to visit.
Just hop off the plane, skip the connecting flight, and enjoy your savings. The app claims to be so good at exploiting industry secrets to find the cheapest flights, that United Airlines sued them for it.
This is one for the planners who are looking to save money on their flights. If you’re really looking to get the cheapest possible price for a plane ticket, you need to download Hopper.
There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a flight you’d booked go down in price a few weeks later. Like Kayak and Skyscanner, Hopper will show you the cheapest dates to fly, but Hopper will also tell you when to buy your tickets via push notifications.
The company claims it can save you up to 40% on your next flight by analyzing and tracking billions of flights.
Best Travel Apps For Booking Hotels / Accommodations
Hands down, Booking.com is my go-to accommodation reservation resource. The “no prepayment needed, pay later” option is why I love it. For the majority of their hotels, they also offer free cancellations up to a few days before your stay.
Having both of these features during the planning process (especially when you’re still up in the air about a trip) is so valuable.
The app makes it so much easier to pull up details whenever you need them–no more frantically searching through emails for confirmation numbers, hotel details, and such.
Plus, they usually have “mobile-only” deals and discounts that can only be found through the app!
Most recently, Vrbo has been my go-to app for booking vacation rentals when traveling with larger groups. While Airbnb is a great alternative, I find that Airbnb is better for shorter trips with less travelers.
Vrbo specializes in vacation homes, including beach houses, cabins, and long-term rentals rather than apartments and condos. That means you’ll get way more space, perfect for when you need to accommodate multiple families, a bachelorette party, a corporate retreat, and more!
I’ve also noticed that Vrbo rentals tend to be cheaper than Airbnb, as there aren’t as many fees. That’s always a plus!
Who hasn’t stayed at an Airbnb? The app is super useful to have when you want a bit more space than your typical hotel. The app allows you to browse and book accommodations, and access your trips, messages, and house rules for your stay quickly and easily.
Again, it goes back to convenience and having information right at your fingertips–no more struggling to find those check-in instructions once you’ve arrived!
For those that don’t know, Airbnb offers home rentals for phenomenal prices compared to traditional hotels, as well as an entirely more authentic experience. You can rent out entire apartments/houses or stay with a local in their home.
The app also offers a feature called Airbnb Experiences, which offers curated experiences led by local guides that you can partake in during your stay.
14. Hotel Tonight
If you love hotels at a discount and you tend to be a last-minute planner, this one’s for you. Or maybe your Airbnb plans fell through, or your flight got significantly delayed until the next morning.
Hotel Tonight is a reliable accommodation booking service that thrives on last-minute deals. The app curates unsold rooms across a range of price points (organized into categories like “Basic,” “Hip,” and “Luxe”) and sells them at a better rate than you’d get if you’d made a reservation months ago.
Hotel Tonight even has its own rewards program, and you can book earlier than ‘last minute’, which makes this a useful choice for the average trip planner as well. You also get 24/7 customer service from the Hotel Tonight team, in case something goes awry.
I’ve found that Hotel Tonight offers more deals in larger cities like Las Vegas and New York.
Chances are if you’re going to travel abroad for a long time, you’re going to come across some hostels. Though not as big in the US, hostels are widely used throughout the world, as is this app.
As of late, there is free cancellation! Booking deposits are refundable for Free Cancellation and Standard Flexible bookings if you cancel at least 24 hours prior to check-in time. Also, they no longer require a deposit to book.
Hostelworld includes hotels and B&Bs as well as hostels; other apps like Agoda do this too, but don’t tend to have as many listings.
Best Travel Apps For Transportation
16. Uber, Lyft, MyTaxi
If public transportation is too confusing, too slow, or what have you, go with a rideshare/taxi service. I’ve listed them together as usually not all three are available in a destination. Typically, there’s one or the other though.
These app options are usually cheaper and more efficient than hailing a regular taxi.
If you do want to take advantage of a city’s public transport system, there’s an app to make that process easier! The app gives you all the options to get around a city, from car-sharing to buses to train options.
Citymapper is aimed at local commuters, so you know you’re getting the most reliable travel advice within a city.
Moovit provides riders with a one-stop-shop journey experience to help them get from point A to B in the easiest and most efficient way.
Get train and bus times, maps, and real-time arrival information with ease so that you can plan your trip with confidence. In fact, a lot of users find that it’s much more reliable than Google Maps and it gets the job done in a more user-friendly manner.
The Best Travel Apps For Everything Else
Before you head to a new country, try and learn some of the local language. A basic understanding of signs and phrases will make your life easier and your time there a bit more rewarding.
Duolingo helps people learn new languages by gamifying the experience. The app is extremely easy to use and breaks vocabulary up into small, convenient sections.
20. Google Translate
A must-have, especially if you head to a destination with no knowledge of the local language.
The app provides translations for over 100 different, which are now more conversational thanks to machine learning. The app has come a long way, allowing you to listen to translations out loud as well as translate your dictations and your own handwriting on the screen.
You can also translate via your smartphone’s camera, which is super neat! For example, you can point your camera at a sign and Google will translate its meaning for you.
You can also access the service offline when you download the dictionary, which is super convenient when abroad without an internet connection.
WhatsApp has more than a billion users, and though it’s less common in the US, it’s used heavily worldwide.
Having the app installed before heading on your trip can be useful in case you make new friends abroad and need a way to communicate with them. If you can’t make international calls to contact people back home, you can use WhatsApp to do this for free.
22. Nike Training Club
For exercise fiends who want to stay fit on their travels (or at least offset some of the weight gain from all the good food you’ll be enjoying), Nike Training Club is just what you need.
The app gives you the opportunity to select workouts ranging from 15-45 minutes, and you can choose between low, medium and high-intensity levels. Best of all, they have workouts that don’t require any equipment.
Traveling with friends and need to split the bill? Then Splitwise is a must.
You and your friends just input what you paid for communally, and it’ll tally up who owes whom how much and divides your expenses based on the details of the transaction. In the end, you end up making just one final payment, as opposed to paying all ten people separately.
The math that’s done by Splitwise is a real time-saver and saves the need for a trip accountant. Splitwise integrates with Venmo and Paypal, so you can pay and get paid easily with just a couple of clicks.
Need to budget or keep track of everything you’re spending on a trip? Tripcoin is a very easy-to-use app to use that will track all of your expenses against a particular trip.
You can do a lot within the app, such as tie each expense to a specific category, enter a location, and define a date and time.
You can also include notes and a screenshot of your purchase or receipt to keep better track of every purchase you make. There is also a real-time currency converter or you can set custom currency exchange rates if needed.
When you fly a lot, you’ll start to truly realize how much airports suck. Especially if you have long and boring layovers alone! Some of the only places that offer any hope are the airport lounges. But how do you find them, and more importantly, how do you know if they’re worth your money?
LoungeBuddy takes the pain out of the lounge research process. The app tells you which lounges you can access (assuming you have some memberships already) at any given airport.
And if you currently don’t have any lounge memberships, the app still lets you know about any free lounges or ones you can purchase a day pass for.
And that just about wraps up this list! Got any travel apps that you can’t live without? Add a comment below!
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