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!
Table of Contents
Best Travel Apps For Itinerary Planning + Essential Info
1. ATM Fee Saver
This one is GENIUS. We all need to pull out money at some point while on our travels, and the ATM Fee Saver app just makes it that much easier. Or rather, cheaper!
ATM Fee Saver’s whole goal is to help you find fee-free ATMs & low-fee ATMs for your cash withdrawal abroad.
As we are all familiar with, one of the inevitable challenges during travel is the imposition of fees when using ATMs, which can add up and dent the overall travel budget.
This app is designed to take the hassle out of the search for ATMs that won’t charge excessive fees. Its user-friendly interface allows travelers to quickly locate fee-free ATMs (or those with low withdrawal fees) in the vicinity. The convenience of this app becomes especially apparent in unfamiliar locations where finding the right ATM can be time-consuming and potentially expensive!
In a nutshell, TripIt is a very convenient mobile trip planner. TripIt 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
Whoever’s on the Culture Trip payroll, I love you.
Culture Trip continuously gives awesome recommendations that have helped me travel on a much deeper level (past the touristy fluff) — which is why I’ve been using them as a go-to source of inspiration since 2016.
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 the Empire State Building, to private VIP experiences at iconic locations like the Sistine Chapel and elephant tours in Chiang Mai, the Viator site/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 (so you don’t have to scour through your flurry of emails), this is the app for you.
This is my go-to excursions and activities app for all things Asia travel!
Klook is renowned for its vast array of excursions and activities across Asia, making it a go-to app for travelers seeking diverse and unique experiences. Whether you’re interested in cultural tours, outdoor adventures, theme park tickets, or entertainment options, Klook offers a comprehensive selection, catering to a wide range of interests.
To give you a sense of how I’ve used it: I’ve booked Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and DisneySea tickets through this app — both times, it’s saved me money compared to buying tickets at the gate.
One of the standout features of Klook is its commitment to providing cost-effective options for travelers. The app often offers exclusive discounts and deals on excursions, allowing users to save money while still enjoying high-quality experiences. These savings can significantly contribute to staying within budget while exploring and discovering new destinations.
Don’t know whether an activity is “worth it”? They have lots of user reviews and ratings, so you can benefit from the experiences of others, gaining insights into the quality of excursions and the value for money they offer.
Just like Viator, Klook’s app lets you store all your bookings in one place so you don’t need to scramble to find your tickets when your tour guide approaches you during the check-in process. No one likes being flustered on vacation!
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.
I love it when a service can save you both time and money. Airalo saves me the energy and time needed to stop by a cell phone store / SIM card store when I land at an international destination.
Meet Airalo, your smartphone’s travel sidekick. Think of it as a global connectivity wizard, making sure your phone stays seamlessly connected across borders.
Airalo is the world’s first eSIM store that solves the pain of high roaming bills by giving you access to eSIMs (digital SIM cards). With eSIMs from Airalo, download and install a digital data pack from 200+ countries/regions and be connected anywhere in the world the second you land.
Because Airalo is an eSIM data service, you’ll basically be able to unlock data everywhere you go — with just a few taps on your smartphone.
What do I love most about this service? The simple and painless activation process. No more puzzling over complex network setups. Airalo simplifies the process with an easy activation mechanism. When I say easy, it’s really EASY!
Learn about how Airalo works: How To Use Airalo eSIM In Thailand (And Asia)
DEAL ALERT: For a limited time, use the above link + the promo code DEC10 for an additional 10% off your Airalo eSIM purchase. This code is valid for any Airalo service in ANY country!
8. XE Currency
XE Currency is the only app you need when it comes to knowing how your home currency converts to the local currency. I’ve been in Thailand for 3 weeks now as I write this, and I’ve pulled it up at least 10 times each day!
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
10. 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 available on your phone is proving more and more useful for situations before your travel and during your travel!
You’re able to easily check-in, keep tabs on REAL TIME 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 live 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 by 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!
Skiplagged is a game-changing travel app 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.
Hopper is one for planners who are looking to save every penny possible 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. I use both their app and web browser. They are the #1 place I check whenever I need to find a hotel.
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.
16. 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.
Calling all backpackers and budget travelers!
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 (by people of all ages!), as is the Hostelworld website and app.
As of late, there is free cancellation! Something that had prevented me from booking through Hostelworld for years.
That’s right, the finicky traveler’s worst nightmare of non-refundable accommodations is OVER. 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 accommodation booking sites/apps like Agoda do this too, but don’t tend to have as many listings as Hostelworld does.
Best Travel Apps For Transportation
18. Uber, Lyft, MyTaxi, FREE NOW, Grab, Bolt
If public transportation is too confusing, too slow, or what have you, go with a rideshare/taxi service. I’ve listed a bunch of them together as usually not all of them are available in a destination. Typically, there’s at least one option though!
These app options are usually cheaper and more efficient than hailing a regular taxi.
- Global Presence: Uber operates in numerous countries and cities worldwide, making it a widely available ride-hailing option in major urban centers across North America, Europe, Asia, and other regions.
- Popular in: USA, Canada, European countries, Australia, India, Southeast Asia, South America, and more.
- Mainly in the USA and Canada: Lyft is a prominent ride-sharing service in the United States and Canada, with a significant presence in major cities in these countries.
- Limited International Presence: While Lyft primarily focuses on North America, it has started expanding into international markets but may not be as widely available as Uber.
MyTaxi (now FREE NOW):
- Europe: MyTaxi, which has been rebranded as FREE NOW, is a prominent ride-hailing service in various European cities.
- Focus on European Markets: It is well-established in countries like Germany, Spain, Portugal, and others.
- Southeast Asia: Grab is a major player in the Southeast Asian ride-hailing market, with a strong presence in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
- Expanding Services: Grab has expanded beyond ride-hailing to offer various services, including food delivery and financial services.
- Europe and Africa: Bolt operates in several European countries, providing a viable alternative to other ride-hailing services.
- Growing Presence in Africa: Bolt has expanded its services in African countries, contributing to its global footprint.
Rome2Rio excels in providing diverse transportation options for a given route.
As soon as I discovered Rome2Rio, I was hooked. I have been religiously using Rome2Rio since 2016 when I was planning my 3-month backpacking trip across Europe. And to this day, I still find it to be so useful!
For one of my recent journeys in South Each Asia, I had to decide how to get my partner and I to Hua Hin from Bangkok. The site would not only outline traditional choices like buses or trains but also potentially suggest combinations of modes of transportation, such as a train followed by a local bus.
One of Rome2Rio’s strengths lies in its ability to compare different transportation methods — AND give you a price estimate for each. It does a great job at painting the whole picture — illustrating the time, cost, and convenience differences between taking a train, bus, or other available options.
The platform typically offers realistic time estimates, considering factors like waiting times, layovers, and potential delays. This feature is crucial for accurate planning, ensuring you have a reliable expectation of when you’ll arrive in your destination!
Omio stands out as an excellent travel app and website for booking trains across Europe due to its ability to seamlessly navigate the complexities of multi-country rail networks.
Oftentimes, what you’ll find is that the Italian trains work one way while the French railways work a completely different way. Omio will basically help you combine the experience into one user interface so you don’t have to jump from website to website, translating languages, each, and every time you hop onto a different site.
What makes Omio a go-to platform is its extensive network coverage. The app integrates a wide array of European rail providers, ensuring that users have access to a comprehensive database of routes and schedules. From high-speed trains to scenic routes through picturesque landscapes, Omio allows users to explore a bunch of different travel options and find the most suitable train connections for their itineraries.
But more importantly, Omio’s user-friendly interface simplifies the booking process, making it accessible for both seasoned travelers and those new to European rail systems. The platform provides clear and transparent information on train options, travel times, and ticket prices. It’s truly super easy to use!
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 public transportation 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 languages. 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.
24. Google Translate
Google Translate is 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.
Bonus: Another really popular one in Asia is LINE. You can even use LINE to pay for things at stores in certain countries too.
26. Nike Training Club / Peloton App
For the exercise-obsessed 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), the Nike Training Club OR the Peloton App is just what you need.
These 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.
The Peloton App has been my newer go-to fitness app, because they offer stretching classes that you can even do on a hotel bed — it’s my favorite way to wind down after a long day of walking and exploring.
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.
30. Priority Pass
For airline lounge access! Because who doesn’t like faster/better WiFi, free food and drinks, nap rooms, and showers?
I carry my Priority Pass membership card with me whenever I travel just in case I pop into an airport early or have a long layover in between flights. I can’t tell you how much more pleasant my time at airports has been since taking advantage of my lounge access.
I have had a Priority Pass membership since 2018, and I don’t think I’ll ever give it up! I love being able to gorge on lounge food/drink, shower, nap, and relax in peace before my flight.
To find out whether an airport has a lounge I can enter as part of my membership, I use the PP app.
But is the Priority Pass membership even worth it? I personally think PP is worth it if:
- There is a lounge at your home airport — which means you can visit whenever you fly out of your home airport. For example, my home airport is SFO. There are currently more than 6 lounge/dining credit options depending on the terminal I fly out of.
- You travel internationally a lot — the lounge options within the USA have gotten kind of lame, but are plenty amazing in other countries! Many of them have made-to-order entrees, buffets, showers, nap rooms, and full bars.
Pro Tip: If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve (among a few other credit cards on the market), this membership is complimentary and you’re able to bring up to 2 guests into the lounges for free!
If you’re a hiking enthusiast who loves to explore new trails but often finds yourself in unfamiliar territory, AllTrails is your ultimate companion. This app is a game-changer for adventurers who may not be well-acquainted with the local terrain.
Even in your home city, AllTrails proves invaluable, offering a treasure trove of information about trailheads, parking facilities, and current trail conditions. I certainly use it at home whenever I feel like embarking on a weekend hike!
It’s like having a knowledgeable local guide in your pocket, ensuring that every hike is not only enjoyable but also well-prepared.
What I love most about this app is the fact that there are hike reviews! This user-generated content offers insights into the real experiences of those who’ve walked the path before you, helping you make informed decisions about your next adventure. If a trail is muddy or bug-ridden, you can easily find out by reading recent comments.
The AllTrails+ membership is a premium offering that takes your hiking experience to the next level. With AllTrails+, you gain access to features like offline maps, allowing you to navigate trails without worrying about losing connectivity. This is especially handy when you find yourself in remote areas with spotty reception!
32. Go City
Looking for a way to experience all that a big city destination has to offer while sticking to your budget? Go City is going to help you do just that.
Go City is basically an all-inclusive sightseeing card that allows tourists to access some of the best attractions that a city has to offer.
Travelers often find themselves wanting to see multiple attractions and activities, but don’t want to spend a fortune on each individual entry ticket. One amusement park ticket here, an observation deck ticket there, and a food tour to top it all off — with all these admission fees, things really start to add up!
Now imagine if you had to pay for an entire family to do all these things… bye-bye money!
The Go City Pass offers a great solution for those looking for a more affordable way to explore all the sights and sounds of a new destination. In most cities, they have two options:
- The All-Inclusive Pass is for people who want to do and see it all
- The Explorer Pass is for people who like to take their time and want to spread out their handpicked activities over multiple days
DEAL ALERT: For a limited time, use the above link + the promo code AFFGOALL for an additional 5% off your Go City pass. This code is valid for any Go City pass in any destination!
Taking a long-distance road trip? The Roadtrippers app will help you find interesting places and sights to see along your driving route. It’s the perfect sidekick for people who are adventurous and have no plan at all when road-tripping.
You’re guaranteed to find a few quirky, kitschy, and off-the-beaten-path activities through this app!
GAME-CHANGING GADGETS FOR SMARTER AIRPORT TRAVEL
These are some of my favorite airport/airplane travel products that free my hands up and make traveling so much more convenient. Say goodbye to the days of fumbling around or not having enough hands for things.
- Add-a-Bag Hook and Hanger Strap | Have a purse, briefcase, tote bag, or bag of souvenirs that’s causing you inconvenience by needing to be carried? Get this bag hook and attach it to your luggage so you only need one hand to tow everything with you.
- riemot Luggage Travel Cup Holder | This foldable drink caddy holds 2 cups, perfect for your pre-flight coffees and fountain drinks. There’s also room to hold books, iPads, phones, tickets and documents.
- Traveling Hat Clip | Have you ever brought a wide-brimmed hat on vacation and found it to be the most annoying thing to travel with? A hat clip for your bag or backpack completely removes the struggle of needing to carry your hat in hand!
- Flight Flap Phone & Tablet Holder | Attaches to airline seat backs so you can watch movies hands-free. Also great for standing your phone up on tables too!
- Clipa2 – The Instant Bag Hanger Collection | Hang your bag or purse literally anywhere (on your luggage, on restaurant tables, hotel rooms, etc).
- Priority Pass – I have had a Priority Pass membership since 2018, and I don’t think I’ll ever give it up! I love being able to gorge on lounge food/drink, shower, nap, and relax in peace before my flight. If you’re wondering if this pass is worth it, it is! (Especially if you travel internationally — the lounge options have gotten kind of poopie domestically, but are still amazing in other countries!)
And that just about wraps up my list of useful travel apps! Got any travel apps that you can’t live without? Add a comment below!
Looking for more travel planning tips? Read More:
- 12 Advanced Ways To Save Money When You Think You Are Too Poor To Travel
- 13 Powerful Money-Saving Tips For Finding Cheap Flights
- How to Save Money to Travel The World for 3 Months
- 10 Things You’ll Need to Prepare Before Your Trip
- 42 Brilliant Ways To Travel Europe On A Budget
- The Ultimate Minimalist Travel Packing List + Packing Tips!
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