If you’re somewhat of a gadget and techie geek like me, the smartphone is like an extension of your body. It’s very likely glued to your hand while you follow directions from Google Maps towards your destination. You are likely documenting your travels religiously on Instagram or Facebook. Travel apps have always been helpful with guidance using maps or even helping out with the language barrier.
Want a map of the current city you’re at? What about where to find the best flight deals? Maybe you want to know delays and status of your flight? Want suggestions from locals about where to drink or eat? All answers to these at the palm of your hands.
There are a plethora of apps out there that I end up downloading and never actually use. Throughout the years I’ve also downloaded dozens of apps and end up removing them from my Android phone because all they do is take up space. Besides the obvious necessity, Google Maps, I’ve compiled a list of the best travel apps that either solve problems or improve lives that will see continued to use through 2023.
1. Google Translate
Nothing beats learning the language of the places you intend to visit or even just memorize a few phrases. However, it could take months or years to master a language. That’s where Google Translate comes in, it can help on occasions you can’t. It has a conversation mode, where you can speak your language and the person you’re talking to in theirs with Google translating live.
It can handle English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian, with more to come. There’s also the scanning mode where it will translate text instantly onscreen and a handwriting mode where you can draw text on the screen and Google will translate.
What is Trover? You can think of it as an Instagram for travel minus the selfies. Members post photos with details descriptions, inspirations from their travels. You can explore the world with other member’s photos or find inspirations. Trover also has themed contests where they offer monetary awards to winners.
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JetRadar has an awesome easy to use WEBSITE for searching and booking low fare flights. It has quickly become my favorite flight search app. JetRadar could find me fares cheaper than Kayak, Travelocity, and other Airline search engine. Amazingly the search result has a fare that includes taxes, a feature I really appreciate. It also has a clean interface and is easy to use.
Tinder isn’t just a dating app. You can use it to meet locals and make new friends. Since it pretty much exists everywhere in the world you can find locals or fellow travelers to hook up with. It uses a location based proximity search so you’ll always find somebody close by. So, if you’re single, lonely, and traveling why not Tinder?
This is probably the most popular social media platform out there right now, over 300 million users! You can share your adventures and travel photos and find inspiration from others. It’s not a travel-specific app, Trover is better in that regards, but it does have a hefty user base.
Not just for selfies, you can use it to follow other travelers and share your adventures. Like Tinder, you can also use it meet people or other travelers.
I, with thousands of other travelers, use TripAdvisor to rate restaurants, hotels, bars, parks, and sights on a five-star rating system. It’s a nice handy travel guide that offers tidbits of information. There’s also a standalone Offline City Guide that’s very useful when you have no Mobile Data Connections.
What would I ever do without Hostelworld? This has saved me from sleeping under the stars in some unknown city for more times than I can count. It provides a directory of 35,000 listings for budget hotels, with user reviews, right under your thumbs.
8. Google Photos
It can back up your smartphone photos on the cloud. You can even edit these photos on the fly. It’s one of the best free photo services on the web. Nothing fancy. It just does what it’s supposed to do.
9. Hangouts/Google Voice
The coolest thing about this combo is that you can use your mobile data or wi-fi to make phone calls or send text messages. There are no third-party apps necessary. Since you have a Google Voice phone number, Hangouts will automatically use that number as your caller ID for all your Hangouts calls and texts.
This is still the most reliable VOIP (Voice Over I/P) system I’ve ever used. I’ve tried over services but none compare in terms of reliability. If you want to talk overseas, you have to buy some credits at Google for international calling. It’s cheap. I’m still 80% of my $10 credit and I’ve used hundreds of minutes on international calls already. There’s rarely any dropped calls but it depends on the quality of the Wi-Fi connection and internet service provider.
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| Skyscanner gives me the best deals in flights. They also have the best app for finding hotels and flight deals around the world. The price tracker alert has saved me a lot of money so I can travel more!|
Just be careful to disable your mobile phone’s mobile voice and data network service, and use WiFi, to avoid roaming charges. I use this combo with Google Project Fi overseas with great success. Saves a ton in long-distance calls!
10. Oanda Currency Converter
There’s a ton of currency converter apps out there. But Oanda is the most no frills and easy to use currency converter I’ve ever used. It’s free to use currency converter that uses daily filtered exchange rates that are used by auditing firms and banks. Convert 190+ currencies and even four precious metals. You can choose the Interbank rate, or use the percentage add-on to calculate rates charged by credit card companies and banks.
This is my de facto language learning app. It’s very fun to use and can teach you some basic phrases in various languages and for what it’s intended for, very awesome at it. It’s designed like a game with a bit of social media competition. It offers courses in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Turkish, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Polish, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Hebrew, Welsh, English, Swahili, and Romanian. You’ll become multi-lingual in no time!
Prey helps secure your smartphone, tablet, and laptop. You can track multiple devices in case it gets stolen or lost. It will send out notifications via email it detects that one of your devices has gone missing. Prey is an Anti Theft “find my phone app” that can also recover other lost or stolen devices – Android, Chromebooks, iOS, Windows, Linux, or even MAC. You can track and manage every device from a single point, on your Web Panel.
13. BackCountry/Topo Maps
These apps turn your smartphone into a full-blown GPS unit! You can download maps from various TOPO sources and for all maps around the world. You can even use it without any data connection. Download any topo maps for an offline outdoor GPS navigator! You can use your phone or tablet as an offroad full blown topo mapping handheld GPS! You can now explore beyond cell or data coverage for hiking and any other recreation.
Rome2Rio is a must have app for any traveler. It’s the most comprehensive point to point trip planner available today. You can enter your destination and it will find a route, whether by land, sea, or air. Enter an address, landmark or city as your destination and boom, and Rome2Rio will instantly display all your travel choices and a booking information, along with accommodation providers and other things to do, in one convenient spot. A huge user base in over 220 countries proves this is a very useful travel app.
Swarm is actually an add-in to Foursquare that I’ve used all over the world not only for its entertainment value but also for documenting where I’ve been. Each check-in is recorded so if you had to refer back to where you at a specific date and time, you can just find it in your check-in history. You can also use it to discover good places to eat, drink coffee, bars, and whatever else you’re trying to find all around the world. What about your friends? No problem! Not only is this little app good a logging your travels but it also keeps track of your friends’ adventures as well, no matter where they are.
16. Travel Stoke
Travel Stoke makes traveling way more fun. It’s created a travel company, Matador Network, for travelers. The app lets you connect with others and lets you discover new places and things to do based on your location. The app displays local hotspots such as restaurants and places to stay and connects those spots with Google Maps and Uber. Once you join you get to interact with a community of international travelers and create your own customized travel guide.
While not necessarily a travel app, eSteem allows you to access the Steem blockchain on mobile and that in itself has a flourishing travel community. The app could use some more polish but it’s only one of a few out there to interact with Steem on mobile (you can also just go directly to Steemit.com using a mobile browser). If you don’t know anything about Steemit, go ahead and read my Steemit Review. It’s basically Social Media like Facebook that pays you for your activities on the platform.
SteepShot is a social media photo app powered by the Steem blockchain. Monetize your selfies and even earn a few bucks from that picture of that lunch you ate! It works a little bit like Instagram but with the caveat of being able to interact with the Steem Blockchain.
19. Google Maps
You can’t really have an Android phone without Google Maps pre-installed. But, you know what? It’s probably the most useful app out of everything you’ll ever install on your Android phone or iPhone. It gives step by step walking or driving directions. Gives you hotspots such as restaurants and bars all around the world. There’s also a nifty off-line mode where you can download portions of the maps in case you don’t have a mobile connection in the countries you’re traveling to. You will always use this app no matter where you are.
The app works over Wi-Fi or mobile data. It’s not really an SMS app, it’s more of a messaging app with a huge global user base. A lot of people still use it so most of the travelers I meet on the road and future friends are on it.
It has voice calling, media attachments, and all kinds of other cool things that will lead you to practically eliminating your Texting plan. The annoying thing about it is, it doesn’t interact with other messaging apps so if all your friends use FB Messenger or Viber, you won’t be able to communicate with them.
I’m a huge fan of Booking.com, which I use to book hotels, hostels, and various other accommodations more than I use other services. It tends to give the better prices and most of the places I book allows cancellations without fees, unlike Hostelworld.
It’s fast and efficient to use. I’ve even used it book the hotel/hostel where I’m at currently because it offers better prices than the walk-in. You can try it yourself, go to the hostel/hotel in question. Ask for a room/bed and compare the price you see on booking. You might just get a better price!
22. – Amazon Drive/Photos
It’s not free per se but included in your Prime Membership for FREE. For me, it has more than paid itself ten times over what it costs to be a member. Free Unlimited and storage on Amazon’s reliable cloud service for photos and RAW photo files. You can also backup your files and Video for a nominal fee.
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I have terabytes of RAW files uploaded on the Amazon Cloud as a backup to all my photos. All the photos on my smartphone are also automatically backed up on the cloud whenever I have Wi-Fi service on. The User Interface could use a little facelift and improvements but it does what it’s meant to do, back up photos.
I may have had a few problems with Airbnb in the past, not the App, the company. But there are really few options that can yet compete with this room sharing app. I still and do use the app – that’s why it’s on this list. The interface is intuitive and easy to use and I’ve always had a roof over my head because of it.
So there you go, 23 travel apps you will use and continue using in 2023. Now, check out the best Flight Apps to Find Cheap Flights!