12 Travel apps to download before taking your trip [2020]

12 Travel apps to download before taking your trip [2020]

Planning a trip and want to be as prepared as possible? This list of travel apps to download before taking your trip actually started as 5 but when I looked at the apps that I have on my smartphone that I use for travel it ended up being 12! These 12 apps are ones that I really do use every time I’m on the road and I can’t tell you how much easier they have made my adventures.

The Skyscanner App

This is my number one because it’s the one I use first. My next destination is normally dependent on where Skyscanner tells me I can fly to cheaply.

I put in my closest airport and then search everywhere for the month that I want to travel and take it from there. You can use Skyscanner to search for Flights, Hotels and Hire Car.

They also have tonnes of great content about the best places to travel, where and when. Now I know that some people find Skyscanner a little confusing but once you get the hang of it, you will be as hooked as I am. If you need some help navigating the app or the main site take a look at a post I wrote talking you through step by step how to use Skyscanner. If you are using Google Flights I also wrote this post comparing the 2.

 

The Airline App 

Ok, so you have booked your flight!

Next thing to do it download the app of the airline you are flying with. A lot of the airlines now offer paper free boarding passes and online check-in. If you have the app then you can create an account, check in online and use the mobile boarding pass.

This saves the hassle of finding somewhere to print your boarding pass and having to carry extra paperwork.

Also, some airlines like Ryanair of Viva Colombia will charge you extra at the check-in desk if you haven’t checked in online and printed the pass.

Some airlines will also send you notifications direct to your phone of any delays or disruptions. Here are links to some of the main airlines who have mobile apps.

American Airlines British Airways
easyJet Emirates Airlines
KLM Lufthansa
Monarch Airlines Qantas
Ryanair Virgin Atlantic

The Booking.com App

Chances are that you will be using Booking.com for your accommodation.

The Skyscanner accommodation search also searches Booking.com so I check there first but 9/10 times my accommodation is booked through here.

Whether you are booking before you go or booking while on the move I love this app!

There are so many features to help make sure you get the best place to stay. I actually wrote a post about it which you can read here. Booking.com was a game changer for me and this app is great.


Booking.com

 

The Airbnb App

If for some reason a hotel or a hostel won’t work for me then I check Airbnb. If you do go with this option for accommodation then the App is a must.

I recently had an experience in Belgium when I got lost trying to find the apartment and thanks to the Instant Messaging service on the app I was able to contact the host who came and found me.

Click this link to get £25 off your first Airbnb Stay

The Viator App

I was recommended to use this when I was looking for things to do in a city.

So I downloaded the app and it’s great!

I have saved so much money and had some really great travel experiences using it. You can set the location or ask it to search around you and it will give you information about tours and activities in your chosen place. They always have discounts and special offers. So far I’ve been on cheap bus tours, beer tasting tours and even a coach tour around Belgium.

WhatsApp 

If you don’t already have this app then you need to download it now! It’s so good for traveling as you can message, send pictures, have group chats and even make phone calls all using Wifi. Saves so much money and means you can keep in touch with friends and family when you have Wifi.

Amazon Video or Netflix

This one is only for people who have Amazon Prime or Netflix accounts. If you are one of those people then get their apps.

You can download up to 10 videos that you can then watch them offline.

I can’t even tell you how many long journeys these apps have made more bearable!  Just sit back and you can binge watch your favorite TV series or have a movie marathon on your tablet or smartphone.

 

 

The Kindle for android/ iPhone App

Before I made the jump to Kindle (read more about that here) I downloaded this app on my phone and tablet. It’s also perfect if you get caught somewhere and you have forgotten your Kindle or your battery has run out. All of your devices will sync so you can swap between them without getting confused about which page you are on.

 

XE Currency 

I love this app! Does what it says on the tin… converts currency. It’s really easy to use and it’s free.fullsizerender-3

Google Maps 

Where do I even start! I LOVE this app. I don’t even know how I survived travelling without it and it has saved me so many hours not getting lost. There are so many things I love about it but here are my top 3.

You can get directions and load it up while you have Wifi and then follow the directions offline.

Even when you are offline you can still get the little blue dot of where you are (This was a godsend in Thailand)

You can search road, walking or public transport. If you are trying to find your way by public transport this is so useful. Although be warned it isn’t always 100% accurate as it’s caught me out once or twice.

fullsizerender

EDIT: OK so I’m actually loving MAPS.ME much more than google maps. I’m still testing it out so I will update once I’ve traveled a little more with it.

Google translate for android or apple 

Great for translating signs and menus!

Or if you are trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t understand you I’ve typed it into here and we have had a conversation via google translate. A brilliant app for getting you out of difficult language barrier situations.

EDIT: If you are traveling in a Spanish speaking country I would recommend Spanish Dictionary over google translate as it is much more accurate.

 The Uber app

Like Airbnb there is some controversy around Uber. I don’t always use it and tend to only use it when I’m traveling with someone else or I can’t get a taxi. But it is useful to have when you are traveling. Save money on the service with an Uber promo code.

Bonus Apps

Here are a few other apps that I love and use all the time:

Vamonde

I love using Vamonde to help me find interesting places. It is growing al the time so although it is mostly US cities right now they are adding more destinations weekly. I also write for them so you can check out my experiences here.

 

12 Travel apps to download before taking your trip

 

Final Thoughts

Did I miss any apps? I’m always updating this list so if you know a good app that isn’t on this list let me know!

 

Here are my other planning guides

How to Save Money for Travel

How to to find the best deals on accommodation

How to find the best flight deals online

Do you need travel insurance for longterm travel and backpacking

12 Travel apps to download before taking your trip

 A step by step guide to planning the perfect trip

How to research for your next vacation

I never travel anywhere without Travel Insurance. If you are looking for insurance be sure to check World Nomads first.

This post was proofread by Grammarly

 

Book your trip now

Are you ready to book your trip?  To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.

  • Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with. 
  • Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections. 
  • Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
  • Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there. 
  • Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership! 
  • Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
  • RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals. 
  • Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
  • World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review. 
  • SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here
  • Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration. 
  • Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.

Claire Summers

Dancer, producer, traveller, photographer, cake maker, dog lover and knitter of Christmas scarfs.

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. I haven’t heard of most of these! Finally an ‘app’ recommendation post where I’ve had the chance to learn something new 🙂

  2. These are all really good app recommendations. I must admit I haven’t used Viator, XE Currency, uber or Skyscanner yet. But I should give them a go next time I am away.

    1. The currency one is fab! And another traveller recommended Viator to me. I always use it now to do a quick search of things to do when I’m heading to a new place 🙂

  3. This is a good list! Instead of Booking.com, I use the hostelworld app 🙂 But I definitely use Booking.com when I’m booking a trip with my parents!
    I’m not the biggest fan of Google Maps! Sometimes I find that it brings me to the wrong place.. I think I may have to give it another shot…

    1. Yep I have the same sometimes with google maps ?. But I haven’t found anything better yet. I almost missed a connecting train a few weeks ago in Spain because it gave me wrong info about bus times. 9/10 is seems to work for me though and I love that it works offline so I can load up directions when I have wifi. Is there a different map you use?

  4. Great list! I use most of these, but I’ve never heard of XE before. That would be great since I am an expat and have to convert all the time. I also like to download the local taxi app in a country, some places use a mytaxi type thing in case uber isn’t available.

    1. XE is great. Best exchange one I’ve found. Great point about the taxi app I also search for public transport Ines if I’m in a city.

  5. I agree about AIrbnb and Kindle for Iphone-they are invaluable. You can download KIndle books you have, and read them even when not on Wifi which is a lifesaver on trains.

    Plus of course Google maps. anyone who doesn’t have that I don’t really know what to say! But I don’t use a currency converter (I usually always look up the exchange rate before I go and just use my calculator to calculate cost of things) and it might be a good idea for me in case I”m drinking wine while trying to figure out the exchange rate! 🙂

    1. Hahaha this is true. It’s always best not to do math whilst drinking wine ??

  6. What a useful list. I already have skyscanner, booking.com, uber and xe.com but there are so many more I ought to have before my next escapade. On it 🙂

  7. Ahh absolutely live by some of these apps. Booking is a lifesaver if you’re trying to find accommodation on the go. And the Kindle app is seriously underrated in how perfect it is to kill time! I’d also recommend Audible if your eyes get tired from reading screens like mine.

  8. Great list of Apps recommended here. I also download the city App wherever I go like DiscoverHongKong. It lets you know all the details & activities of the place.

  9. Totally agree on Skyscanner mobile app – we have it and love it – I love the Everywhere feature for inspiration on where we could fly 🙂

    1. Me too I could easily spend hours daydreaming searching fit cheap flights ?

  10. Great suggestions! I’m personally a huge fan of the app TripIt. I recommend it!

  11. There are some great apps on this list. I don’t usually download a lot of travel apps because I never use sim cards when traveling, but there are a few of these I would definitely use in U.S. Travel. I loved the Couchsurfing App when road tripping the U.S. If you’re a couch surfer, I highly recommend it! Cheers!

    1. Thank you! I’ve hosted before but never surfed. Think I’m going to give it a try soon though ☺️

  12. Great app ideas! I love google maps and XE, both are so helpful even when I’m not away. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. Google translate has been a life saver! Sometimes I type in what I want to say and just show the translated screen. Usually whomever I am trying to communicate with even assist with my pronunciation, so I learn as I go!

  14. Great blog here! Also your site so much up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link for your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  15. Great and so helpful post thanx alot for this informative sharing

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