Hey travelers! I’ve put together a list of some FREE proven travel apps for iPhone and Android to help you travel smarter and with less stress. So whether you’re off for a weekend adventure or flying around the world, here are my top 10 travel apps you gotta have!
My list may look a little different from other lists because there are some apps I did NOT include that other travelers use. While traveling, I am NOT using apps to:
- help me pack
- find other travelers with similar interests
- track every penny and graph my expenses
- follow the daily exchange rate on a currency converter
- track my travel rewards points
But the following apps will provide valuable resources so you can enjoy your trip to the max and have what’s needed, even if plans change.
1. Smart Traveler
For United States citizens, the U.S. State Department offers this app for the purpose of notifying citizens traveling abroad in the event of a disaster, emergency, or other emergencies. Within the app, you can enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free program for citizens living and traveling abroad. STEP allows you to enter information about your trips so the Department of State can better assist in an emergency through our embassies and consulates.
Within the app you can see information, by country, regarding travel and transportation, health, safety & security, local laws, and embassy information. You have the option to provide phone or email information so the embassy can reach you in an emergency situation.
2. Seat Guru
This is the app you want to have handy when you’re making your flight plans or when you arrive at the terminal and your seats are being assigned. The app offers a detailed seat map of every flight so you can see the layout of the plane as well as see the seat amenities It identifies bad seats (in red) and when you click on the seat, it lets you know why it is not a desirable seat (i.e., doesn’t recline, etc.).
Seat Guru also shows flight status, something other apps offer but having that feature here is convenient. It also offers the feature to shop for flights, though I have not used this specific feature.
For hotel and apartment bookings, I prefer to use Booking.com for great pricing and ease of making reservations. For many reservations, you have free cancellations and many don’t require payment until check-in. Also, you will still be able to earn rewards points with your favorite hotels by providing your member number when you arrive. I really like the search features on Booking.com, including hotels nearby (map or list).
Full Disclosure: I am an affiliate marketing partner with Booking.com so you can help out a fellow traveler by booking your hotel here at this link Booking.com. If you do, there’s no additional cost to you and I earn a small commission.
For booking flights, I typically use online sites such as Skyscanner or Expedia and book as early as possible for planned travel. However, if I’m traveling and need to make a change or book an unexpected flight, I like to use the Kayak app. Also, it has a feature that allows you to choose an airport and see upcoming departures and arrivals.
OK now that your flights and hotels are booked, use Kayak to organize your plans and create your trip itineraries. It’s super easy to use. You forward confirmation emails to Kayak or allow the app to scan your email inbox that receives your confirmations and it imports them into the app. Done!! You can access your plans anywhere — no wifi needed.
Agoda is another great tool for finding lower prices on hotels and flights. The search features, maps, photos, and reviews from over 15 million travelers help you get the best accommodations. I use Agoda to compare prices and book here when I find a better deal.
Full Disclosure: I am an affiliate marketing partner with Agoda so you can help out a fellow traveler by booking your hotel here at this link Agoda. If you do, there’s no additional cost to you and I earn a small commission.
6. Google Translate
When you arrive at your destination and don’t speak the language, fear not! Using Google Translate, your phone will translate text offline in 30 languages by pointing your camera at the words. (Download the languages you’ll need while on wifi.) It will also translate speech for you. So no worries about ordering from the menu or wondering what those signs say! Use the app (not the website) so no wifi needed.
7. City Maps 2 Go
Where are you going once you get to your destination?? Plan your days around town with City Maps 2 Go. Before you travel, download the city or national park maps you plan to visit and you’ll have interactive offline maps.
You can search for places you want to visit and create lists to have your travel ideas ready when you need them. We liked that as we wandered through cities in Europe, we could always see our location on the map (“the dot”), without wifi access. Over 60,000 destinations are available! Let’s go–I’m ready!
Waze is an app that I use every day, every time I am in my car. It shows live maps with crowd-sourced alerts that come from real drivers so you can avoid construction, accidents, traffic congestion, and be aware of police locations. It has sent me on some great detours, and I’m pretty sure it has saved me from getting some traffic tickets……
As you travel, you can use Waze as your free mapping and voice-guided GPS navigation. Using the search features, you can look for addresses or businesses by name or search by categories such as pharmacies, hospitals, etc. The app uses data as well as drains your phone battery, but I highly recommend it in situations where you are driving and need navigation assistance.
While I’m traveling, I’m looking for the perfect place to eat or shop. That’s why there’s Yelp!! Find restaurants by location, price, rating, and hours of operation. You can look up business addresses and phone numbers and read customer reviews. You can check out what is nearby. Handy!!
Yes, you’re having a great time on your trip, but it’s time to call family and friends back home. You need WhatsApp for that!! It’s an app that uses your available data or wifi (you have your data turned off when you’re overseas, right?). So jump on your hotel or coffee shop wifi and call home for free using this app. There are no subscription fees, no messaging or cellular charges, and no international charges. And it’s simple because you connect with your contacts who have WhatsApp, so no need to remember usernames. Get your favorite people on WhatsApp and give them a ring when you’re traveling. Cool!!
What are your favorite apps for traveling? Let me know in the comments below!