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How do you do your research when you want to travel? Do you look at the social media feeds of travel influencers? Do you read travel guidebooks and maps? Or do you look at blogs with travel content that matches the destination you're looking for?
Regardless of what method(s) you use, I think we can all agree that modern technology has made it so that we can use our handy smartphones to do it all now.
With modern technology, you can discover many more destinations from local travelers and influencers with minimal effort. And there's lots of apps that are accessible with just a few clicks of a button!
That being said, the abundance of convenience that comes with modern technology is not without flaws.
With the app store as filled as it already is, you can find a travel app for basically every aspect of travel—sometimes way too much than you can handle. That's why I've reviewed most of the popular travel apps, so you won't have to sift through all of the reviews!
As a fellow budget traveler, I've used most of these apps. And if I haven't done so yet, I'm planning on trying them soon and have done all the research possible.
Don't skip out on all the valuable info I have for you in this in-depth guide to the top travel apps available right now...
Why Travel Apps?
First, let me answer this ever-so-important question. Why the heck would you even want to download travel apps?
Well, these travel apps are here to help you have a better experience traveling, or planning for traveling. What used to be done through the phone or on notebooks can now all be done online and accessed through your phone.
Why wouldn't you want to use travel apps?
But which travel apps are the ones you should be downloading? It, of course, depends on what kind of information you need. If you're looking for more of a list of top travel planners, we've also made a helpful guide on that.
If you're starting to plan a trip and trying to figure out when you might find the best fares, Hopper is a great starting point. We gave it 3 out of 5 stars, but it's an excellent app to use while trying to figure out how much your airfare or hotel nights might cost.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend booking through them, but they have a lot of information as a research jumping-off point. So my recommendation is use it as one of your many tools, but not your final booking tool.
16. Google Flights
A fantastic alternative if you're not interested in Hopper? Google Flights. This may sound weird, but a lot of people skip out on Google Flights.
My recommendation is to use it as a pre-planning tool. I often search up flight options once I know a certain destination and general timeframe. It's great at showing you whether you should fly out a week earlier or later based on prices. Or it'll tell you that it's cheaper to fly out on a Wednesday vs. a Monday.
Again, I wouldn't book through Google Flights, but I'd definitely use it as an information comparing tool.
Remember you can also set up alerts on Google Flights about changes in prices on specific routes and timeframes.
15. Easy Currency Converter
If you're an avid international traveler or someone who frequently deals with multiple currencies, you need a reliable tool to keep track of fluctuating exchange rates. This is where the Easy Currency Converter app comes into play.
A godsend for any global explorer, this application available on the App Store offers real-time exchange rates for over 180 currencies, ensuring you always have the most accurate information at your fingertips.
Speaking from personal experience, this app stands out for its user-friendly interface and easy-to-use features. I used this app all over Asia and continue to enjoy using it for all of my travels to this day!
Whether you need to quickly check how much your home currency equates to in a foreign land or if you're planning your travel budget, the Easy Currency Converter offers seamless navigation and straightforward results, making it a breeze to use.
Personally, this is my favorite travel app once you're on the ground somewhere. Available in countries all over the world, and still working on adding more, Citymapper is a comprehensive app that helps you navigate public transportation in a new city. Or even a more familiar city if you choose.
All you need to do is input in your starting and ending destinations. It'll give you the various ways you can get there, using the metro, bus, on foot, or a combination of all 3. The app will also tell you important information like how long it'll take and how much it'll cost.
Citymapper has a great feature that'll warn you of any closures or delays on your route. By pressing "GO," it'll navigate you as you go and can even guide you through voice alone if you'd prefer not be walking with your phone in your hand the whole time!
If you download one app for your travels, let it be Citymapper!
I think many travelers will agree that while traveling is a blast, packing is not.
Writing out lists, laying everything out, and then somehow making it all fit is less than an exciting task, at least for most.
This is where PackPoint comes in handy. Input information about where you'll be going, for how long, and what kind of activities you're hoping to do, and PackPoint will generate a packing list for you.
PackPoint even takes into account the predicted weather! It takes a lot of the hassle out of packing, and we've even done an in-depth PackPoint review so that you'll be 100% sure before you download the app.
Although I find it a little outdated in its tech, we gave TripIt 4.1 out of 5 stars because it comes with handy vacation planning tools.
TripIt helps keep your vacation itinerary organized, and you can easily add anything you've booked into it. The app will also help you get places on time and keep all your necessary reservation materials in one spot!
As long as you're willing to pay, TripIt is worth it. Premium subscribers ($49 a year) have access to real-time alerts about their flights and anything else that may impact their trip.
11. App in the Air
If you're a frequent flier or just someone who likes to be keyed into all things related to your flights, App in the Air is a must-have mobile app.
App in the Air allows you to track your past flight statistics, sync future flights with TripIt, and even get airport tips from fellow travelers. It's super cool to be able to see how many miles you've flown and located the best food in an airplane terminal all in one app.
To get the most out of the app, you'd want to pay for the premium version, but the free version is still super helpful and valuable! We've done a full App in the Air review for you in another blog.
Here's an app that needs no introduction: TripAdvisor.
There's a reason TripAdvisor is so well known, and it's because of its reliability and ease of use! Once you know where you want to travel, you can use TripAdvisor to search for well-rated things to do, see, and eat to help you start planning your trip.
You can even make bookings through the app or the website for some things. When you're done with your travels, you can leave your own reviews to help out fellow travelers!
Whether you want to keep tabs on a family member or friend's flight, research historical trends for your flight, or track your own flight, FlightAware is the app to use.
FlightAware will alert you to any delays or cancellations in real-time, so you can track any upcoming flights you have. This feature is beneficial if you have a layover! You can also track an incoming flight so you can perfectly time your arrival at the airport to pick someone up!
Don't wait at the airport longer than you have to. We all know that's a real bummer.
Even though communication while traveling is easier than it was, you still won't want to pay an excessive amount to phone your friends and family back home!
That's where WhatsApp comes in to save the day. I know that this isn't generally considered a "travel app", but I'm here to argue it's definitely an app you need while you travel.
You can text and make calls, voice or video, over WiFi or data for free with anyone else who uses the app. Even if you change SIM cards, you can still keep your original number.
Not all travel involves long-haul flights or air travel at all! Sometimes you want to road trip around, and RoadTrippers is the app for that.
You can use it to map your route to plan your current or future road trips, and the app will even give you location recommendations and gas cost estimates! You can also share your route with friends and family so they can quickly know where you're headed. Read our 4.3/5 star review of RoadTrippers if you want more details!
We all know of AirBnB's success, and if you're hoping to stay in your own space while traveling, it;s an excellent resource for finding a home away from home for your travels.
Considering that AirBnB operates in over 200 countries, you're bound to find a place that fits your tastes! The user-friendly interface on both desktop and mobile, help you easily search your options. Use the filters, and you'll be able to pick between private rooms or entire places, number of rooms, as well as certain rules like pet friendly options.
If you want more homey, and often more luxurious stay, than hostels or cheap hotels, try browsing Airbnb!
If AirBnBs are slightly above your price point, or if you'd rather stay somewhere you can meet fellow travelers while you're on your adventure, Hostelworld is my go-to app.
You'll find hundreds of hostels at various price points so no matter your budget, there's an option for you. Want a bit more privacy at affordable prices? Opt to stay in a private room if you still want the hostel vibes.
You can also find these hostels filled with different cool features to make your trip beyond memorable. You can use their website or app to search and make reservations, and they're both very user-friendly!
Suppose you're looking for a social app to help you plan your travels. In that case, Minube is an app worth considering. Minube brings together recommendations of what to do, what to eat, where to go, and recommended places to stay while you visit.
These recommendations come from reviews and ratings from fellow travelers, so you know you're getting the information right from the source. You can use Minube to give your inspiration and to start pulling ideas for your perfect itinerary.
You can read our Minube review to get a fully rounded picture of the app.
3. Culture Trip
Whether you're looking to start planning your next trip or looking for some inspiration, Culture Trip may be the one for you.
Culture Trip is an easy-to-use app that allows you to find hotels and experiences all over the world. You'll find unique and fun experiences, complete with ratings and reviews, for many cities, and you can either purchase them or add them to a wishlist for later planning!
You can also find local guides for over 450 locations so you can get some in-depth knowledge before taking off on your trip. Take a read through our Culture Trip review for all the info you need on it.
If you're keen on having local experiences while traveling, Withlocals will help you visit any city like a local. Using this app, you can connect with locals who can give you their perspective and insight into the city you're visiting.
You can also arrange unique experiences with them to get an "authentic" experience, taking you around the city to find the best-hidden gems. You can even sign up to be a local yourself if you'd like! Check out our Withlocals review for more information.
You didn't think I'd make a top travel guide apps list and not include our own, did you?
Pilot is our brand new travel app that combines all of the most essential features of the travel apps mentioned above all on one app.
Gone are the days when you have hundreds of browser tabs researching for your next trip. Gone are the days when you had to switch between Google maps, Google sheets, or Google docs to keep your travel plans organized. With Pilot, you'll be able to chat, vote, and plan your trips centralized all in one place.
Not only that, we've also got a comprehensive collection of all things travel-related on our Pilot Blog, Flightdeck. Check them out now if you're ever in need for more resources!
The entire team believes in making travel as fun and enjoyable as possible, so you'll be sure not to waste any moment of your trip worrying about missing anything important!
Above all, Pilot is free to use and we're still currently developing more features helpful to travelers. Give it a try and sign up now!
Let's Hit the Road (or the Skies)!
I've barely scratched the surface of all the travel apps available out there, even with all these apps! These are my recommendations for the best travel guide apps out there, but feel free to let me know if I missed your favorite!