So in this post I have made a list of the best travelling apps that I use. Yes, technology advice from a boy from the bush! First of all, I only bought my first smartphone in May 2016, a Samsung S4, for $110 USD. Before that I travelled with an old slow tablet that didn’t work very well. I have upgraded to an S5 now after my first phone took a tumble and smashed at New Years…. Frustrating! I wasn’t even having that much fun at the time!
Having a smartphone does make travelling a lot easier but don’t forget, it’s still possible without. Go back a few years, we never had them!
To also see some awesome tips on saving money travelling or simply how to travel longer please see my post: My Top 10 Awesome Cheap Travel Tips!!
Maps.Me is the app that I recommend to people the most. Google maps is better if you have Roaming or Wifi connection. However, for offline maps, this is the one. All you need to do before travelling to an area, such as a state or province of a country, is to zoom in on it and the map will download. Therefore, you arrive at the destination with a map loaded and ready to go. This app doesn’t have quite as much information about hostels and restaurants as Google Maps does, but it has most things. If you’re into hiking, it always has all the trails around an area, which is REALLY useful and quite trustworthy. I have checked a few of them out and have never got lost yet….
I use Booking.Com for almost all my accommodation, whether for private rooms, hostels, or fancy hotels. The main reason is that you almost never have to pay a cent in advance. They do keep your credit card on file but they rarely ever use it. It’s safe to say that almost all accommodation that will be available will be found on Booking.com and at the lowest price. They allow free cancellations, sometimes even up to 6pm on the day of your booking. For example: arriving at a hostel in Shanghai, I decided that I didn’t like the look of the location. So I went to a cafe, cancelled it and booked another one in less than 5 minutes, for no extra charge.
Many of my best experiences have come from Couchsurfing. This isn’t all that it sounds and is more than just staying on someone’s couch. You can do that if you like but I mainly use this website by going to events in the different cities that I visit. Most cities have an event on a Wednesday night (or another night) and you can go along, join in and make friends. It’s probably the easiest way to meet people because everyone is open and expecting to make new friends. The “Hangout” section is also new with the app and with this you can see who is available to hangout. That is meet for a beer at a bar, a coffee, a meal or whatever. It’s very safe, everyone leaves each other references and you can see if someone is trustworthy or not. And you always meet in a public place; that way nothing can go wrong.
To read more about using this app/website please see my full post about it. How To Use Couchsurfing
Airbnb has always been a great option, from renting a private room right through to a full house or apartment for a very good price. It has got a bit more expensive in recent years but is still worthwhile. I use it if I’m travelling with a friend and we don’t want to stay in a hostel. In Thailand, Graceie and I rented a full NICE apartment for a week for about US$12 a night in total. They usually have good weekly discounts too. Click THIS LINK to receive $30 or 30 euro off your first booking.
I have always used Skyscanner for booking flights. Even though there are some slightly cheaper apps out there now I still use Skyscanner because it gives you the option to search by country to country or country to everywhere for a whole month, all in one search. No other apps seem to do that. I’m always super flexible with booking dates so I want to know exactly what day is cheapest, what city or even country. Once I find the cheapest route and date, I usually check the airlines website directly and maybe another app like Ctrip.
Did you know that Chinese people have been booking the cheapest flights for ages?? Cheaper than what everyone else usually finds. Especially for flights in or out of Asia. CTrip in English is the closest we can get unless you happen to know Chinese. For the best results search in Chinese currency (Yuan) and use a VPN that makes you look like you are in China or Hong Kong. I made a list of 5 flights using the sites I usually use to show my friend in China. She found significantly cheaper options on all 5 flights. No one has ever beaten me on cheap flights before. So now I always check CTrip. You pay by credit card, usually in Chinese currency, or USD and you either get the ticket immediately or the next day. Depends on the airline. There’s no advertising and trying to sell you rubbish like rental cars and meals. Its the easiest app I’ve ever used for flights. And if you don’t feel like trusting a Chinese app. think of it this way. China has 1.3 billion people. More people use this app for flights/trains/accommodation than probably any other app in the world. So there’s nothing to worry about.
Most of you probably already use this in your home country. It is a great app for travelling because it takes away the uncertainty of not knowing how much you should haggle with taxi drivers, and constantly getting ripped off. You just need wifi. Usually you can stand outside an airport, restaurant or hotel and pick up a signal. No haggling, no cash. Very simple. And Uber is in most countries now.
Click This Special Link and you will get a couple of free rides!
I use this app every day to translate between NZD, USD, Euro, Yuan, Baht…..the list goes on. It is very simple and is used off line with the currency rates saved. Super simple and saves you getting ripped off at the money change because you don’t remember what the exchange rate should be.
Very Important!! Especially if you are going to countries with different languages. I use it all the time. You can save the language so it works offline. It doesn’t seem to work all the time offline but it’s OK. The best part?….if you have the language saved you can hold your phone in front of the language you don’t understand and the camera will analyse the words and translate it on the screen for you! Magic. It also works with different alphabets like Chinese and Russian. This can really save your butt! Especially in China.
I don’t really use Hostelworld much anymore but it’s still very good for searching for hostels anywhere in the world. Sometimes it will have slightly more of a selection than Booking.com. You only have to pay about 5-10% in advance on your booking and then pay the rest when you get to the hostel.
So there you have it… Technology advice from the boy from the bush! Haha! I hope my list of the 10 Best Travelling Apps helps you along your journey!
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Antarctica: Working as an Expedition Guide in Antarctica
Thailand: Why Thailand is my favorite country