I LOVE traveling, and I do it often. I’m an impulse traveler: if I see a deal that’s too good to resist, I book it and worry about the details later. So during my travels, I’ve come across a lot of travel apps and websites that have made my travels much easier, and I want to share my secrets to help YOU travel more and more easily too! Click To Tweet If you have a trip scheduled, whether it’s somewhere you’ve been 15 times before or it’s your first time, check out some of these travel apps to see how you can make your experience better.
1. Google Flights and Skyscanner
Both Google Flights and Skyscanner essentially do the same thing. They check the cheapest places to go on the cheapest dates with the cheapest airlines. If you want to cross a specific place off your bucket list and don’t care when you go, you can put a destination in and see when it will be cheapest. If you have a specific week off and don’t care where you go, just punch that date in and see where it’s cheapest to go. This worked really well for me in Europe when I wanted to travel every weekend but didn’t care where I went, and I managed to get roundtrip flights for less than $50 anywhere by being flexible.
2. Google Translate
The Google Translate app is essential when traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language! It used to be very robotic but has really improved over the last few years. It errs on the formal side, which is safer than being too casual. It even reads the words or sentences with the correct accent to make sure you’re saying them right. I used this app plenty of times while in Spain (because seriously, what non-Spanish speaker knows how to say “kale” in Spanish?)
If you’re staying in a foreign country for a long time or want to start learning a language, DuoLingo is an awesome free alternative to Rosetta Stone. You can download the app and practice when it’s convenient for you. There are translations, games, and speaking practice. It’s perfect to learn when you have some down time and aren’t sure what to do with it!
The Rome2Rio app is really useful for figuring out transportation plans. You put in your starting point (and no matter how remote you are, it will find you) and ending point, and it will show you distances and costs whether you want public transportation, driving by car, or a car-sharing service. It pulls up flights, trains, buses, subways, ferries, and any other available travel options. It also will show you how long it will take you to get where you’re trying to go. It really makes traveling in a foreign country easier! You can also use this in your own backyard to discover new ways to get somewhere.
5. Uber, Lyft, Hailo, and BlaBlaCar
Ridesharing services are amazing! Uber and Lyft are available in America with strict regulations to make it safe for riders, but they’re also international. Unfortunately, private transportation services all over the world are trying to shut down these low-cost ridesharing services, but they are still available in many countries. I would recommend checking Uber and Lyft first but if they’re offered in your destination, don’t worry. There are others!
Hailo makes hailing a taxi easier because you can order it on the app to come directly to where you are. No more standing on a street corner fighting with other people trying to get a taxi! BlaBlaCar is mostly unregulated, but users offer open seats in their car for any price they want, and you can negotiate directly (without a third-party). I have used these services and support them all!
6. AirBnB and Couchsurfing
In addition to ridesharing services, homesharing services work really well for getting to know a place. Couchsurfing lets you stay with new friends all over the world for free as long as you also offer your home to others on the site. If you have a couch to spare, why not let a fellow adventurer come stay with you and learn how a local lives?
If you don’t like the idea of staying with others, try AirBnB. You can rent an entire home, a private room, or share a room for lots of different places. Many times, AirBnB is cheaper than a hotel room and offers so much more room and plenty of amenities, like full kitchens, sometimes more than one bathroom, sometimes two or three floors, maybe even a nice balcony overlooking a bay or ocean! AirBnB is also a great way to directly connect with locals who know the area and can recommend local places to go or even introduce you to their friends for a truly local experience. If you’re new to AirBnB, sign up through my code for $40 off your first trip!
7. Currency Converter
The free Currency Converter App is amazing! It converts more than just currency: time, temperatures, metric measurements, energy, etc. Anything you could need converted, it can help you with! This is really helpful for converting speed limits, prices, oven temperatures, weights, laundry cycles, and buying plane tickets. I used it daily when I lived in Spain.
Yelp is good on lots of levels. You can find reviews on basically anything on Yelp. If you’re looking for good restaurants, the best brunch, local breweries, popular events, well-reviewed business services, or anything else you can imagine, you can find it from someone who’s tried it. When you’re in a new place and have no idea where to start, Yelp is a great friend.
While TripAdvisor does reviews of hotels, restaurants, and activities, it’s my main go-to site when it comes to checking out hotel reviews. I have contributed hundreds of reviews myself on TripAdvisor and have found that most of the reviews of places are extremely accurate. People write very detailed reviews so you can decide for yourself if something is a turn-off or not. For example, a room that has the bare minimum isn’t a big deal to me since I don’t plan to be in the room often, but it’s good to be prepared so I know what to bring with me. Before you go, read reviews! Then write your own.
My favorite hotel booking site is hotels.com. Hotels.com has a loyalty program: for every 10 trips you book during the year, you get one night free. When you get to 30 trips, you get the gold service with a special phone number where they answer right away and do everything in their power to make you happy. They’ve credited me when I found a lower price, given me free rooms if a trip got cancelled, and upgraded my rooms.
Often, hotels.com offers a free cancellation policy, a “pay when you stay” option, and a lowest-price guarantee. If you find a lower price anywhere for the same room, they will refund you the difference with no questions asked. Remember: when using sites like these to research prices, use an incognito window so the sites can’t track how often you come back and how interested you are and raise the prices on you (yes, this does happen!) Hotels.com also stores your trips so you can always check back to see how much you paid or where you stayed. Super helpful!
These are the top 10 travel apps I’ve found that make my life easier before, during, and after traveling. I’ve used all of them often and highly recommend them. Have you found any others that you love to use? If so, share them with me in the comments! Happy travels!
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