5 (Free) Apps I Can't Travel Without
Thanks to modern technology there's no shortage of hand dandy apps out there that can make your next trip a whole lot more organized, fun, and just generally easier.
I have a folder of apps on my phone labeled "travel." I've tried a lot of different ones to see what might fit my needs, and I've only ended up keeping five. Sometimes I'll temporarily download the app for a certain airline or city, but these are the ones I've kept for every trip in the last two years.
This is a relatively new addition to my travel folder. I wasn't sure I would really have any use for this collection of city guides, but once I played around with the app and discovered all of its different features, I was hooked.
Lonely Planet is constantly adding new cities to this app, but they already have a pretty wide selection for you to choose from. I like to use it as a starting point for ideas of what to do and see, and also as a way to find something interesting to see in a city if I discover I have some down time.
I love that you can save places, get directions, and even read articles about the history and culture of where you're visiting. The curated collections like "10 Free Things To Do In Reykajvik" definitely came in handy as well.
If there's a particular route that I need, then I'll usually download it on Google Maps. I don't have any issues with Google Maps, but I've recently been using Here We Go and have found that it tends to work a little better for me and my needs.
First of all, the downloading process for Here We Go is a lot faster, and there's no time limit as to how long your maps stay downloaded. You just type in the area / country that you want downloaded offline and it saves it in the downloaded maps section. It's also easy to turn the app to offline mode.
Here We Go also has a great "Nearby" feature that I've used to find attractions, places to eat, and gas several times. While prepping for Iceland I used this feature to drop pins on things I was interested in checking out. The directions are simple and straightforward and seem to be timed out a little better than Google Maps, meaning you won't get the notification that you need to turn right....as you pass the turn.
The Airbnb app is always on my phone for a few reasons.
It's a great way to check up on your upcoming reservation and to keep in touch with your host. Even though you'll often have their phone number, it's good to have a backup messaging system. Having the app is also handy if you need to change anything about your stay or check up on the house rules.
I also will pull up the app on my phone all the time just to check out what the options and prices are like in different parts of the world. And now, with all the cool "Experiences" that Airbnb offers around the world, you can see what sort of adventures you can have all over the world. I've definitely been frequenting the app lately since I'm trying to plan out some destinations for next year.
If I'm going to be somewhere for more than a day, I almost always prefer to use an Airbnb over a hotel. I've had great experiences so far and don't have any horror stories, and it's now become the first place I check for accommodations when I'm going somewhere.
If you've never used Airbnb or just want to check it out, you can get a discount on your first stay with this link!
Recently, when I was in Iceland, I forgot to bring a notebook or journal to keep track of my thoughts in. Being able to jot down your initial impressions of a place or moment tends to be a lot more honest for me than thinking back on things later. It helps me keep my travel timelines straight, and not having a journal was a little bit debilitating since I couldn't just vent my thoughts out on paper.
To compensate I used this app. It works offline (and syncs when you have internet access) so I could just pull it out anywhere and write a line or two about what I was doing and what I thought about it. You can add a couple pictures and even rate the place that you're talking about, so it's a handy little way for you to keep a real-time record of your adventures.
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This is a pretty recent addition to my travel app collection, and it might end up being the might useful.
Even though I love travel, I hate traveling. The transitions between airports, long layovers or bus and train rides are not my favorite way to spend a day, but this app will help relieve a little of that stress by letting you book a hotel room for just the day or a few hours.
It's a great way to recover from a Red Eye during a long layover (been there, done that and it's awful), or to have a place to store your stuff safely while you go check out the city for a few hours. Either way, it's a lifesaver if you're the type of person who always takes the cheapest flights (like me) that are always late at night or first thing in the morning.
I'm always looking for new apps and gear to try out, so if you have any favorites I'd love to know!
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