Dave and I have always believed that the best adventures are those unplanned. Spontaneous trips, unexpected layovers, and impromptu road trips have shaped our love for travel. Yet, these exciting journeys would not have been possible without the aid of technology. That’s right, from hailing a ride in a new city to finding a place to crash for the night, there’s an app for almost everything. Let’s dive into some of our favorite travel apps, carefully divided into various categories, to enhance your travel experience.
The Best Travel Apps for 2023
It is hard to believe that we have used all of these at one time or another in our travels around the world. Some of them are free travel apps and others require a subscription or you have to pay for. Regardless, each travel app listed here has either helped us save money, get cheap flights, helped with travel planning, or just made our life easier on the road. Most of these apps are available for both Android users and Apple users.
Best Apps for Transportation
1. Google Maps – Your Personalized Navigator
Remember when we got lost on the way to that hidden beach in Bali? Google Maps came to our rescue! Offering precise directions for driving, walking, cycling, or public transport, Google Maps is more than just a mapping service; it’s like having a local guide in your pocket. With real-time traffic updates, it even rerouted us around a massive traffic jam in London. It is easy to see why this is one of the best free travel apps around.
The feature that allows users to download offline maps was a lifesaver during our hike in a remote part of New Zealand. And let’s not forget the restaurant recommendations, opening hours, and reviews from other travelers that enrich our city exploration. Google Maps doesn’t just show you the way; it makes the journey an experience. Get Google Maps
2. Uber – Your Ride, Anytime, Anywhere
How many times have you been waiting for an overpriced taxi? We have had this happen countless times so always make sure to have the Uber App loaded on our phones. It is especially handy in big cities and can often be cheaper than taxis in certain countries. Our first time in NYC we were out late on a cold winter night and Taxi cabs were nowhere in sight. Thankfully, the Uber app was our savior. With just a few taps, we found ourselves a warm car and a friendly driver.
Uber provides ride-sharing services in cities across the globe. Whether you need a quick ride to the airport or a luxurious car for a special night out, Uber has options for every budget. Don’t let language barriers or unfamiliar streets deter you; let Uber take the wheel! Google Play / App Store
3. Citymapper – Navigate Like a Local
If you have ever been to London you know that navigating the London Underground can be a challenge at the best of times. (At least it was for us). That is one of the reasons we use Citymapper. With real-time updates, the best routes, and even alerts for when to get off the bus, this app turned us into savvy local commuters.
Citymapper is the go-to app for public transportation in major cities. From trains and buses to ferries and trams, Citymapper has it all covered. Save time, money, and sanity by letting Citymapper guide you through the twists and turns of urban travel. Get the Free Version of Citymapper on the Google Play / App Store
4. Lyft – A Friendly Alternative to Ridesharing
You can’t mention Uber without mentioning Lyft. Both basically provide the same service but we recommend having both loaded on your phone so you can compare fares. We were often able to find cheaper fares depending on what app we were using.
Also, when you are traveling to many different countries you soon find out that sometimes Lyft operates in countries that Uber does not and vice versa. Lyft operates in hundreds of cities in the U.S. and Canada. With various ride options and a commitment to the community, Lyft makes getting around town easy and enjoyable. Get Lyft on Google Play / App Store
5. Moovit – Public Transit Unleashed
In bustling São Paulo, Moovit was our guide to efficient public transportation. Providing real-time transit data for buses, trains, and subways, it tells you exactly when the next one is coming. It also offers service alerts, so you know if there are any delays or interruptions. Moovit demystifies public transport, making it accessible to both locals and tourists alike. Get Moovit on Google Play / App Store
Best Travel Apps for Booking Accommodation
6. VRBO – Feel at Home, Anywhere
Who could forget our cozy cabin in the Swiss Alps or that trendy loft in downtown Tokyo? VRBO made those experiences possible. It’s not just about finding a place to sleep; it’s about finding a place that feels like home.
VRBO offers unique accommodations hosted by locals. From apartments and houses to treehouses and igloos, you can find the perfect spot to match your travel vibe. Connect with hosts, explore neighborhoods, and enjoy the comfort of home while exploring the world. It is a great alternative to a generic hotel room Get VRBO
7. TripAdvisor – The Wise Traveler’s Handbook
Oh, the countless times TripAdvisor has been our compass in the chaotic world of hotels, vacation rentals, and even restaurants! We’ll never forget that charming B&B we found in Tuscany or the perfect beachside resort in Belize, all thanks to the extensive user reviews and ratings on TripAdvisor. Its intuitive filters let us tailor our searches to fit our budget, preferences, and even specific needs like pet-friendly accommodations or family suites.
But it’s more than just a booking app; it’s a community of fellow travelers. We’ve laughed and learned from reviews, discovered hidden gems, and even made some travel buddies along the way! The “Things to Do” section led us to that unforgettable cooking class in Paris, too. TripAdvisor is like having a seasoned travel buddy who knows all the insider secrets, making every trip not just a journey but a rich experience. Get TripAdvisor
8. Hotel Tonight – Last-Minute Lifesaver
Dave and I are notorious for not planning well. We often wing it, especially on a road trip. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten to our destination without having a place to stay. That is why the Hotel Tonight app has come in handy on more than one occasion.
For last-minute hotel stays, Hotel Tonight finds empty hotel rooms and offers discounts to travelers needing to book right now. Hotels would rather sell a night at a discounted rate than leave a room empty. So if you’re flexible and willing to take a chance (or are completely disorganized like us), Hotel Tonight is a great choice! Get Hotel Tonight on Google Play / App Store
9. Booking.com – Options Galore for Every Traveler
When we wanted to explore a range of options from hostels to luxury resorts, Booking.com was our go-to platform. Its vast selection and user reviews helped us find the perfect beach bungalow in Thailand.
10. Couchsurfing – Connect with Locals and Culture
Couchsurfing gave us unforgettable experiences and lifelong friendships. During our time in India, we stayed with locals who showed us the hidden gems of their city. The app connects travelers with local hosts willing to share their homes for free. It’s not just about a place to stay; it’s about cultural exchange and community. Get Couchsurfing
11. Hopper – Book Hotels with Confidence
Our spontaneous beach getaway to the Cayman Islands was made flawless with Hopper. It predicts future hotel and flight prices with 95% accuracy up to a year in advance. When we saw the beachfront villa we desired a drop in price, Hopper alerted us, and we snagged the deal! For savings and smart bookings, Hopper is the way to go. Get Hopper on Google Play / App Store
Best Travel Apps For Flights
12. Google Flights – The Savvy Traveler’s Flight Finder
Our last-minute trip to Rome? That affordable flight we found was all thanks to Google Flights. Scouring the web for the best airfares across airlines, it presented us with options we never would have found otherwise. What we adore is the “Explore” feature, where you can search for flights to any destination based on your interests, like beaches, adventure, or culture. Plus, Google Flights’ price prediction tool warned us when fares were about to rise, allowing us to book just in time for a steal! We even got suggestions for alternative airports and travel dates to save more. Google Flights is more than a flight search engine; it’s a strategic travel planner that makes flying as exciting as the destination itself. Get Google Flights
13. Skyscanner – Flights, Hotels, and Car Rentals in One Place
From planning a last-minute blogging trip to New York to a leisurely holiday in Greece, Skyscanner has been our go-to app for all travel arrangements. It searches millions of flights, hotels, and car rentals to find the best deals. Its “Everywhere” feature even suggests destinations based on your budget. Skyscanner turns wanderlust into reality. Get Skyscanner
14. Kayak – The All-In-One Travel Companion
Our spontaneous getaway to Greece wouldn’t have been possible without Kayak. This all-in-one travel platform scours hundreds of travel sites, offering the best flight options tailored to our needs. Whether booking a week in advance or searching for last-minute deals, Kayak never fails to surprise us with great bargains.
The “Explore” feature became our inspiration, displaying affordable trips from our home airport to worldwide destinations. We also love how Kayak provides a fare prediction, guiding us on the best times to purchase tickets. Don’t forget its handy alerts, which notify us of price drops for chosen routes. For flight bookings made as thrilling as the travels themselves, Kayak is our reliable co-pilot. Get Kayak
15. Skiplagged – Uncover Hidden Flight Deals
During our adventurous globetrotting, Skiplagged has been our secret weapon for finding the best-hidden deals. By utilizing loopholes in airline pricing, it exposes “hidden-city” ticketing opportunities that regular search engines miss. This means flying cheaper by booking a flight with a layover as the final destination. It’s not just about the flights; it also offers great hotel deals. For those seeking adventure and unbelievable bargains, Skiplagged is a thrilling treasure hunt. Get Skiplagged
Best Apps for Booking Tours
16. Viator – Your Gateway to Adventures
Standing in line for hours to get tickets for the Colosseum? Not us! Viator took care of that and even threw in a guided tour with an actual historian. It turned a simple visit into an unforgettable experience.
Viator is a marketplace for tour operators, offering access to thousands of sightseeing tours, attractions, and experiences around the world. From skip-the-line tickets to private excursions, Viator connects you with the adventures that make travel truly extraordinary. Get Viator here
17. Klook – Explore Like Never Before
We were clueless about what to do in Hong Kong, but Klook turned our trip into a gastronomic and cultural feast. From dim sum making classes to nighttime harbor cruises, Klook offers activities that go beyond the typical tourist path.
Klook makes discovering activities and experiences in your travel destination easy and fun. Browse handpicked experiences, enjoy exclusive deals, and book with confidence. Turn your trip into an adventure with Klook! Get Klook here.
18. GetYourGuide – Customized Tours at Your Fingertips
We wanted to explore Rome at night, and GetYourGuide made it happen with a Vespa tour! Personalized experiences and excellent customer service set this app apart.
GetYourGuide helps you find and book tours, attractions, and activities. Create your perfect travel experience with exclusive offers and local insights. Get GetYourGuide
30. Airbnb Experiences – More Than Just Accommodations
Airbnb isn’t just for finding a place to stay. We discovered that Airbnb Experiences offers unique activities hosted by locals. In Tokyo, we joined a traditional tea ceremony led by a master. From art classes to food tours, Airbnb Experiences adds a personal touch to any trip, connecting you with the local culture and community. Get Airbnb Experiences
Travel Apps for Staying Connected
19. WhatsApp – Stay in Touch Without a Hitch
When we backpacked through South East Asia, Dave’s mom needed her daily updates. WhatsApp made international texting and calling a breeze. It’s our go-to for staying connected with friends and family, no matter where our travels take us.
WhatsApp is a free messaging app that works over your phone’s internet connection. You can call, text, and send pictures and videos without worrying about international charges. Group chats are perfect for sharing your journey with everyone back home. Get WhatsApp here.
20. Skyroam – Internet Everywhere You Roam
Skyroam is like magic. Seriously, how else would we have had internet while camping in the Australian Outback? It’s a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that lets you connect multiple devices in over 130 countries.
Whether you need to work on the go or just want to share your travel experiences in real time, Skyroam ensures that you’re never without a reliable internet connection. Pay for what you use, and stay connected everywhere. Get Skyroam
21. Google Fi – Flexible Mobile Service for Travelers
In Japan, our usual mobile plans were too costly. Google Fi offered a flexible solution with smooth service even in remote areas.
Google Fi adapts to your needs, providing data and calling in over 200 countries without the need for special plans or SIM cards. Stay connected without the usual travel hassles. Get Google Fi
22. Skype – Bridging Miles with Video Calls
Our business doesn’t stop when we travel, and Skype has been vital for our remote work. Offering video conferencing, screen sharing, and real-time translation, it has helped us conduct business seamlessly across continents. For professional or personal connections, Skype is a global communication powerhouse. Get Skype here.
Never again have we fretted about roaming charges or buying local SIM cards, thanks to Airalo E-Sims. With a wide selection of plans, it let us use our phones just like we do at home. Staying connected abroad has never been easier or more affordable. Get Airalo
Language and Language Translation Apps
24. Duolingo – Your Friendly Language Guide
Hablas Español? We didn’t, but Duolingo helped us with the basics before our trip to Spain. From ordering tapas to asking directions, Duolingo made communicating fun and accessible.
Duolingo offers bite-sized language lessons that feel more like games. Choose from dozens of languages, set your pace, and watch your fluency grow. It’s a delightful way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Get Duolingo here.
25. Rosetta Stone – Dive Deeper into Language
For those wanting to delve into the language’s heart and soul, Rosetta Stone is our recommendation. Dave’s Italian improved dramatically, turning our trip to Florence into a linguistic adventure.
Rosetta Stone focuses on immersive learning, helping you think and speak in a new language. Detailed lessons, interactive exercises, and real-life scenarios make it a comprehensive language-learning tool. Get Rosetta Stone here.
26. Babbel – Conversational Skills in Real-Life Situations
Want to chat like a local? Babbel’s real-life scenarios helped us break the ice with locals in Germany. Practical and engaging, it’s a winner.
Babbel focuses on helping you have real conversations in a new language. Lessons are tailored to everyday situations, making them practical for travelers. Get Babbel here.
27. Google Translate App – Our Multilingual Travel Companion
Let’s take a moment to relive our unforgettable journey to Japan. Without speaking a word of Japanese, how did we manage to navigate the bustling streets of Tokyo, order delectable sushi, and make friends with locals? Our secret weapon was Google Translate! This extraordinary app is like having a personal interpreter right in our pocket. From typing in phrases to translating handwritten kanji characters or even snapping a photo of a menu, Google Translate unlocked doors we never knew existed.
And remember the time we chatted with a delightful elderly couple in Kyoto? We spoke in English; they replied in Japanese, and Google Translate bridged the gap, creating a connection beyond words. With support for over 100 languages, it’s not just an app; it’s a passport to understanding and being understood, no matter where our adventures take us. From “hello” to “thank you,” Google Translate makes the world feel a little bit smaller, and our travels a whole lot richer. Get Google Translate
Travel Apps for Camping and Glamping
28. Hipcamp – Discover Hidden Camping Gems
Remember our night under the stars in California? Hipcamp made it happen. This app unlocks access to unique camping experiences on farms, vineyards, public parks, and more.
Hipcamp is like Airbnb but for camping. Browse thousands of locations, check availability, and book your next outdoor adventure. Whether you’re a traditional camper or prefer a little glam in your camping, Hipcamp has something for you. Get Hipcamp on Google Play / App Store
29. AllTrails – Find Your Perfect Hike
Our hike in the Rockies was unforgettable, thanks to AllTrails. From easy strolls to challenging mountain treks, AllTrails lets you explore the great outdoors with confidence.
AllTrails offers detailed trail maps, reviews, and user-submitted photos. Filter by difficulty, distance, or rating, and find the perfect trail for your next hike, bike ride, or run. Get AllTrails
30. Gaia GPS – The Ultimate Navigation for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Lost in the woods? Not us, thanks to Gaia GPS. From off-grid trails to topographical maps, this app is an outdoor lover’s dream. Gaia GPS provides detailed maps and navigation tools for hikers, bikers, and campers. Customize your maps and routes to explore the wilderness safely. Get Gaia GPS
31. The Dyrt – Camp with Confidence
On our quest for the best beach camping in California, The Dyrt became our trusted guide. With user-generated reviews, photos, and details of over 42,000 campgrounds, it gives you the lowdown on every site. Its community-driven content ensures that you always find the perfect spot to pitch your tent or park your RV. Get The Dyrt here.
32. Glamping Hub – Luxury in the Wilderness
For our anniversary, we wanted something special. Glamping Hub connected us to a luxurious camping tent in California. Offering unique accommodations like yurts, treehouses, and airstreams, it’s the place to find a unique outdoor stay with all the comforts of home. If you seek nature with a touch of luxury, Glamping Hub is your ticket. Get Glamping Hub
Best Apps for Travel Itinerary Management
33. TripIt – Your Personal Travel Assistant
Do you remember our chaotic escapade in Greece, where we almost missed the flight? TripIt was our lifesaver then. It consolidates all your travel details into one place, regardless of where you booked them. Flight details, hotel bookings, car rentals – it keeps everything neatly organized in one itinerary.
Real-time alerts about gate changes, delays, and cancellations keep you a step ahead. Plus, it’s not just for flights; TripIt can store plans for concerts, restaurants, and more. Never scramble through emails again; TripIt keeps your travel stress-free. Get TripIt
34. PackPoint – Never Forget Your Toothbrush Again
From the beaches of Bali to the icy landscapes of Greenland, PackPoint ensures you pack right every time. It creates a customized packing list based on weather, activities, and trip length, even reminding me to pack thermals for that Arctic winter escapade. No more forgotten essentials or overpacking, PackPoint is like having a personal packing assistant who knows exactly what you’ll need. Travel light and smart with PackPoint. Get PackPoint
35. TripCase – Keep All Travel Details Organized
TripCase helped us organize a complicated multi-country journey in Asia with ease. By simply forwarding confirmation emails, it creates a detailed itinerary with all bookings and reservations. With real-time alerts, document storage, and collaboration features, it keeps all travel information in one place. Stress-free travel is just an app away from TripCase. Get TripCase here
36. Pocket Earth – Offline Maps and Travel Guides
When we ventured off the beaten path in Kyrgyzstan, Pocket Earth was our guiding star. It provides offline maps, travel guides, and itinerary planning without needing internet access. Whether hiking in remote areas or exploring a city without Wi-Fi, Pocket Earth ensures you never lose your way. Get Pocket Earth here.
Best Travel Apps for Finding Food
37. Yelp – Find the Best Local Bites
From the finest sushi in Tokyo to Michelin-star restaurants in Spain, Yelp has led us to gastronomic heaven. With millions of reviews, ratings, and pictures from locals and travelers, Yelp provides insight into the best eateries around you. You can even make reservations and order takeout. Whether you want to dine like a local or indulge in gourmet delights, Yelp is your food guide to the world. Get Yelp
38. HappyCow – Veggie Love Worldwide
If you are a vegetarian, dining abroad could be tricky, but not with HappyCow. From vegan eateries in Prague to vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Buenos Aires, HappyCow is the ultimate directory. Browse user-submitted reviews, and photos, and save favorites. Filter by dietary preferences and find eateries that cater to your culinary choices. Don’t just eat; savor the flavors of the world, cruelty-free, with HappyCow. Get HappyCow.
39. OpenTable – Dining Reservations Made Easy
That popular Parisian bistro on a Saturday night? No problem with OpenTable. Browse menus, read reviews, and book tables at thousands of restaurants worldwide. Whether planning a romantic dinner in Rome or a family brunch in New York, OpenTable ensures you have the perfect spot. Customize your dining experience with preferences for table size, location, and time, all at the touch of a button. Dine in style, every time, with OpenTable. Get OpenTable
40. Vegan Maps – Plant-Based Eating Made Easy
A plant-based diet is no longer a hurdle on our travels, thanks to Vegan Maps. It lists vegan and vegetarian restaurants, cafes, and stores worldwide. User reviews and ratings guide you to the best options. In places where veganism was uncommon, Vegan Maps became our culinary compass. Get Vegan Maps.
41. Eater – For the Food-Obsessed Traveler
When we wanted to dive into Tokyo’s food scene, Eater was our gourmet guide. Providing city-specific food news, dining guides, and reviews, it helps you find the best restaurants, bars, and cafes wherever you are. If food is an essential part of your travels, Eater keeps you in the know. Get Eater here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What app do I need to travel?
Apps like TripIt for itinerary management, Airbnb for accommodations, and Google Maps for navigation are essential for smooth traveling.
Which is the most downloaded travel app?
As of this writing, apps like Airbnb, Uber, and TripAdvisor are among the most downloaded travel apps.
What app can I use to book a flight and hotel together?
Platforms like Expedia and Kayak allow you to book flights and hotels together, often providing discounts for bundled bookings.
Is there an app to store travel documents?
Apps like TripIt and Google Drive can store and organize your travel documents, ensuring that you have all the necessary information handy.
Traveling can be as unpredictable as it is exciting. Whether you’re like Dave and me, always on a whimsical adventure, or meticulously planning every step, these travel apps will be your virtual companions. From finding the best local food to ensuring you pack your toothbrush, technology has indeed revolutionized the way we travel.
Embarking on your next adventure? Make sure these apps are your travel buddies, and let the world be your playground!