14 Essential Travel Apps

May 30, 2015


I must admit, traveling the world is MUCH easier when you have unlimited access to information on a device that fits in your pocket. A good smartphone should be higher on your packing list than underwear. Here are my all time favorite free apps (in order) that make planning, navigating and vacationing that much sweeter.



1.     Maps.me

This offline map and routing app has worked almost flawlessly across my travels. Download each country before you visit and you will have a map that shows your current location and heading when you arrive. It is just like Google Maps but you can use it offline (even away from cell towers) with your phones built in GPS. A good tip is to locate your hotel or hostel ahead of time and drop a pin on it so you can make sure your at the right bus / train / taxi stop.

 2.     RTT2 – Real Time GPS Tracker 2

Having an extensive security background I highly recommend using a reliable tracking app like this when traveling abroad. Trusted family and friends can be emailed a link and password where they can see your location. As the user, you can manipulate how specific of a location it shows (exact, city, country). I found this app to be one of the most battery friendly trackers after manipulating the settings. RTT2 is feature-rich, and can be tailored to different travelers with advanced settings such as texting, accuracy limits, update intervals, private boundaries etc. In the extreme circumstance of a kidnapping or just a regular phone theft, this app will be worth it. As a backup I use Google Plus’s location sharing which is basic but still works fine.

3.     Personal Capital   

This financial tracking app is the best way to view all of your bank and investment accounts in one place. Tracking purchases and ATM withdrawals as you travel is the best way to keep yourself in check. My favorite part of PC is their daily email of all account transactions. I am always a bit wary of accessing my bank accounts directly from foreign Wi-Fi connections so receiving a daily “spending report” helps me stay informed without the risk.

4.     Airbnb

I was initially hesitant on using this app until I gave it a try and its one of my new favorites. Airbnb allows anyone to rent out their house or spare bedroom for travelers to use like a hotel. Don’t worry, they verify users (including you) when signing up and work off positive reviews like regular hotels. It’s a great (and incredibly easy) way to find the perfect place to stay with personalized bonuses like laundry, kitchen use and airport pickup when posted. When it comes to value, hosteling makes the most sense when traveling alone while Airbnb is better if you have 2 or more people. 

5.     HostelWorld

If you are traveling solo or looking for a cheap and sociable place to stay hosteling is for you. Hostel World is so easy to use that I often find and book places to stay minutes before heading to the next destination. This app is best used when searching for the highest reviewed place after entering your dates of stay. It only shows places with vacancies and you can properly see what each place has to offer before pulling the trigger.

6.     Hotels.com

There are a million hotel apps out there but my favorite is Hotels.com because they give you the 10th stay for free. Like all the others it’s very easy to use. When you’re in the mood for a hotel (especially in really dodgy places) I recommend it.

7.     TripAdvisor

I always read the “top 10 things to do in X” before heading to a place. When I am traveling at a quicker pace I am not always the best at planning (or am just too lazy). This app really simplifies the question of what to do when getting to a place. I have also used it to find tour groups, hotels and other miscellaneous travel info that the millions of users have reviewed.

8.     The Weather Channel

I think this one is self-explanatory. There is nothing worse than huddling over your Digital SLR camera after failing to know it was going to pour. It's accurate, simple to use and gets the job done.

9.     Whats App

Whats app is the gold standard of texting across the world. While it is not too common in the U.S. it is widely popular overseas. I have found that iMessage and other typical messaging apps have compatibility issues while texting foreigners. 

10.  Brightest Flashlight Free

I found this flashlight app to be simple, effective and small in file size (can mean less information access etc).

11.  Compass by GabeNative

I use this as a backup to Maps.me. It is effective and simple to use. Every traveler should have it.

12.  Genius Scan

This app turns your phone into a scanner and document organizer. When traveling for extended periods of time it always becomes necessary to save documents. I tested many scanning apps and this one works very well at turning a photo from your phone into an official looking scanned document.

13.  Inkpad

In the “old days” I used to carry a pen and paper on me, never again! Embrace the tech!

14.  Been

I admit this app is not totally essential, but I wanted to toss it on here because it helps show all the countries you have visited. When chatting with other travelers its an easy way to show them where you have been and where you are heading next. 

Category: Products

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