21 Best Travel Apps to Download Right Now

by Diego Navarro | LAST UPDATED September 10, 2021

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When there are hundreds of apps whose sole purpose is to make travel a little bit easier to manage, pinpointing the ones that will actually make your life easier when away from home can be a nuisance. 

We will dive into what we consider to be some of the best travel apps currently on the market and point out all of their strengths and uses. Since we have over 20 items on our list, you might not be interested in trying them all, but any that you do decide to try can help you organize your next travel plans.

We believe that we’ve included a decent mix of well-known travel apps, as well as some of the more obscure names in the industry that are simply too good not to include. While the famous brands are tried and tested, some lesser-known items are much more convenient than people give them credit for.

Airbnb

a person using a laptop

Airbnb allows you to use the app to find rooms, apartments, lofts, and entire houses available for booking. This is very useful if you’re planning to stay somewhere for more than a few days since you can sometimes work out a reduced extended stay rate with the owner, making the rates usually cheaper than your standard hotel rooms.

The app has an interactive map that displays any properties near your preferred traveling destination and displays everything you need to know about the landlord, their rates, and any specifications they might have included. 

Not only is the Airbnb app very intuitive to use, but it also gives you access to “Airbnb Experiences.” This feature will show you tickets and prices to any unique attractions in the area, as well as the most popular nightlife locations, which can allow you to get the most out of your trip.

Booking.com

Being one of the most reliable booking apps (and simply awesome travel apps in general) that are currently available on both Apple and Android devices, Booking.com is your go-to choice. The app has information on flight plans, available accommodations, popular restaurants in the area, and even car rentals.

The app also shows reviews by other travelers, allowing you to get a more accurate picture of the city that you’re traveling to than you would from travel brochures or marketing campaigns.

Additionally, the app also allows you to make cancelations and receive confirmation emails about your flight and check-in times. While you’ll need to enter your credit card details to book flights, booking hotels is free unless the hotel itself charges a fee.

TripAdvisor

Similar to our previous entry, TripAdvisor is also a jack of all trades regarding travel apps. The main reason why we say this is because you can do practically everything from this app, including finding and booking a hotel, reserving plane tickets, finding restaurants, and more. You’ll also find and compare location reviews that’ll tell you more about what you should expect from your chosen destination.

TripAdvisor also has a useful feature that’s simply called “Near me.” As you might have guessed by the name, this feature allows you to find any hotels or available restaurants in your vicinity. This is very useful if you’ve had a cancelation or a problem with your hotel room and are trying to find a new one as quickly as possible. It also separates it from our previous entry, which is a lot more focused on carefully planning your trip rather than last-minute changes.

Skyscanner

Skyscanner goes through more than 1,000 websites to compile the results and present you with the cheapest airfare ticket prices available at a point in time. The app also shows you the valleys and peaks of ticket prices and suggests when you should book your vacation if you’re interested in cheap flights. This feature is very useful since it can allow you to save quite a bit of money by delaying your trip for a few days when you know that the plane tickets might be down by as much as 25%.

In addition to this, the app also has real-time ticket prices, booking options, and you can even find car rental locations in the city where you land, as well as hotels in the cities where you might have a layover.

Hopper

Hopper is an app that constantly monitors plane ticket prices in over 250 major airports. The app then sends push notifications to your phone in the form of pop-up messages that tell you about a price drop in a particular plane ticket that you may have been interested in.

The app is similar to other flight tracking apps, but while other apps work by having you actively look through the available ticket prices, Hopper sends you notifications on flights that you marked or have checked out before. Hopper is a watcher for you! 

The price predictions are a useful feature for anyone that wants to plan out their flight a bit more thoroughly, but the option to immediately find which airline currently has the cheapest price tickets is obviously incredibly useful as well.

Kayak

Kayak is an app that has a lot in common with our previous two flight apps. You can enter your departure date and the destination that you’d like to travel to, and the app will display the most promising prices for plane tickets on that day for that location. You’ll also receive a summary of those tickets’ prices for the past 90 days and what sort of spikes you might be looking at in the near future.

The app itself also has many similarities with booking apps since it can provide you with extensive options for rental cars, hotel rooms, restaurants, and so on. In addition, you can input various specifications like “traveling with child” or “solo travel,” and the app will recommend accommodations that might suit you the most based on those search parameters.

Yelp

a person taking a picture of their meal

When you go to a new city, you don’t generally look up restaurants on a website or look through brochures to check where to grab a meal. Instead, you’re more than likely going to open your Yelp app to find the best restaurants in town.

The app allows you to both read and post reviews of restaurants and bars you’ve been to and creates an accurate image of the service they offer from the aggregate scores that appear online.

Aside from the reviews, you’ll also be able to see the menus, prices, locations, addresses, and even the restaurant’s phone number you’re interested in.

While other apps have a massive user base, this particular app has reviews of over one hundred million locations worldwide, which means that it’s in a league of its own.

Roadtrippers

Available both on the app store for iPhone and on Google Play for Android, Roadtrippers allows you to map out the entirety of your journey with just a few taps on your screen. Well, depending on your journey, you may need more than a few taps. Anyhow, you’re essentially given an interactive map for those of you who prefer traveling on wheels. All you really have to do to use it is input your starting point and your final destination.

The app will then chart a course from point A to point B and it’ll automatically include any restaurants, gas stations, hotels, or other points of interest in the locations marked as layovers. Speaking of, you can also determine exactly how many miles you’ll need to travel before you get to another hotel and exactly how much driving you’ll need to do per day to cover that distance.

You can also search for specific locations like bars and gas stations and modify your road trip plans accordingly. The free version allows you to set up to 7 waypoints, while the pro version goes up to 150 waypoints.

Rome2Rio

As you may have guessed by the name, Rome2Rio specializes in travel plans for any trip around Europe. This app also allows you to plan your route around Europe and highlights all of the most important points of interest.

You’ll also gain insight into nightly hotel prices for the places that you’re planning on staying in, as well as menus and item prices in any and all bars and restaurants in your layover cities. In short, you’ll be able to budget your trip if you use this app accurately.

Additionally, the app also provides you with transportation options and the ticket prices for public transport options. Furthermore, you’ll be able to access a map of the ticket terminals and a rundown of bus routes.

Lonely Planet

If you’re new to being a world trotter and still don’t really know what you’re doing or how to properly plan a trip, then you might want to get Lonely Planet. In simple terms, this is essentially a digital guide that can really help you with every aspect of planning.

The app is a well of information that you can tap into to find travel experiences, brush up on some travel tips for the place you’re going to, and even find a recommended packing list for items you might want to bring along with you.

Lonely Planet also comes with offline maps that can really come in handy when you don’t have an internet connection handy, as well as a ticket purchase feature that can make finding all of the most exciting events in the city much easier.

Hoteltonight

a person in a dim room staring out of a window

Hoteltonight is an app that can help you get a hotel room in virtually no time at all. The purpose of this app is actually to find all of the available listings near you and provide you with a list of their prices and their exact location.

The service itself is created for last-minute deals, so it’s perfect for people looking to find new accommodations in case there’s been a problem with the arrangements they’d already made. This is a great last-minute joker up your sleeve if the Airbnb you booked didn’t turn out as advertised or if you needed to vacate your planned hotel room sooner than expected.

It allows immediate booking, and it provides something called a “Daily Drop” feature that automatically notifies you of the most attractive prices of any hotels in the city where you’re currently located.

Citymapper

Citymapper is one of the better tools you can use to get around in a new location. The app provides interactive maps that you can use to select your starting point and your destination. The app will then provide you with a list of available options.

These travel options include everything from buses and trains to bicycles. You’ll also receive a message telling you that a particular destination is only accessible by foot or how you’ll need to change your route if you want to get there by bus or any other means of transportation.

The app also provides you with arrival and departure times, ticket station locations and even tells you which stop you need to get off at depending on the line you took. You’ll also be given an estimated time for your journey so that you can plan out your day more accurately.

Packpoint

Packpoint is the app for you if you hate packing, which is around 90% of the population (conservatively estimated). This app will tell you exactly what to pack for the location that you’re going to depending on the exact time of year that you’re going in, the length of your stay, and the estimated weather forecast for that period.

All you really need to do is enter your location, your departure date, and the length of your stay, and the app will do all the rest. You also have the choice to pick if the attire you’re taking with you is mostly going to be for formal affairs or if you’re primarily looking for casual wear.

Keep in mind that all of the items that will be listed are merely suggestions, and you have the choice to add or remove any clothes as you prefer. This feature also allows you to check off items as you pack to make things even easier.

GasBuddy

GasBuddy is a pretty unique app since it’s exclusively focused on gas stations and their prices. The app has an interactive map that allows you to plot your route and display the location of all of the gas stations that appear along the route you charted.

You also have suggestions that appear in-app, displaying the location of places with cheaper prices that are close to the road that you mapped out, which will allow you to modify your plans if you want to save a few bucks on your trip.

The app currently works in the US, Canada, and Australia, but US citizens have the bonus of using the “Pay with GasBuddy” card that will save them five cents per gallon.

Uber

Uber is well-known as one of the best travel apps for ride-sharing, which allows you to search for available drivers that also have the app and that are nearby. The biggest draw of the app is that it’s generally much cheaper than standard taxis, and while prices may vary in big cities like New York, this statement remains true in both the US and Europe.

The app is useful anywhere you go, but it can be particularly useful when you’re abroad somewhere and don’t know the lay of the land well enough to go anywhere on your own.

The app also comes with a review service so that you can look through the different drivers, fares, and vehicle rates that might be close to you and choose whichever one you want. Additionally, you also have a tracking feature that maps the location of the Uber that you called and an easy credit card payment system.

Tripit

Tripit has a lot of helpful features that can provide assistance in various ways throughout your trip; however, if we had to summarize the app itself, we’d say that it was a mixture of a notepad and an alarm clock.

The storage feature allows you to upload all of your travel information, including the confirmation emails for your hotel reservations and your boarding passes and plane ticket codes. This saves you the trouble of sorting through all of your emails and simply opening all of your vital documents in a single tap.

The alarm clock comes in handy for putting in your departure times and hotel room checkout times. Aside from reminding you of these deadlines, the app also creates an itinerary for your trip when you send in your confirmation emails.

Xe Currency

Gauging the price of certain items is never easy when you’re abroad, and you could be spending a lot more on a single t-shirt than you wanted because you don’t know the exchange rates. That’s where XE comes into play.

XE Currency is the easiest way to make sure that you know exactly how much money you’re spending regardless of where you are in the world. The app is constantly being updated, and the value of every currency is modified to fit any increase or decrease that happens on a standard basis.

The app also stores data offline, but this might cause issues if you’ve been away for a few days and the exchange rates have risen or dropped since then.

Google Maps

a person looking at a map on their phone

Google Maps hardly needs an introduction since it’s the single most famous mapping app online. The fame is deserved as while there are other map apps that you can get, the reason why this is one of the best travel apps is because of how frequently it gets updated and displays accurate information.

The biggest mistake that a lot of people make is using this app exclusively for online mapping. By doing this, they overlook the feature that allows them to download specific areas and interact with them offline as well. This is incredibly useful when you don’t have an internet connection but still need to find your way around a new location.

Additionally, many people don’t even know that the app allows you to sort hotels based on more specific searches like “pets allowed”, or “air conditioning included”, which can be really helpful.

Google Translate

Google translate is one of the most useful tools you can have in your arsenal for travel apps. Aside from the database of millions of words in over one hundred different languages, the app also comes with a text to speech option and vice versa.

This feature allows you to have the closest thing to a conversation with a local that you can without speaking the language yourself. And committing the speech to text will allow you to understand what people might be trying to tell you more accurately.

Additionally, there’s also the image translation feature that automatically translates the words and phrases from a picture that you’ve taken. This is vital if the local menu or a guidebook doesn’t actually have a translated section and you don’t understand what you’re looking at.

And finally, you also have the choice to download the data package in a language that you might need and use it offline whenever you want.

Duolingo

Duolingo isn’t really a travel app, but it’s a great way to prepare for your getaway. It has beginner-friendly grammar tips and sections dedicated explicitly to common phrases and words that you might come across and might want to know.

The app is a great way to learn a new language or brush up on a language you might have forgotten by going through the visual and audio learning methods. These methods will mostly cover everyday conversations and greetings, but you also have the option to take placement tests if you want to move on to some more advanced lessons.

You won’t become a master at the language, but after about a month of occasional lessons, you should at least be at a level where you can comfortably communicate with the waiting staff in a restaurant or provide courteous answers to some questions you might run into on the street.

WhatsApp

The final app on our list is an encrypted messaging app that allows you to send texts, make video chats and place voice calls online. WhatsApp is a free app that can provide you with an easy way to get in contact with your friends and family from virtually anywhere abroad, as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection at least.

The app is available on both Android and Apple devices, and it allows both platforms to add extra security measures like Touch and Face ID to open the app at all.

Additionally, while you’ll need an internet connection to use the app itself, you won’t receive any international call charges, which is always a plus.

VPN

One last bit of advice that we’d like to give before we end our article is to recommend getting yourself a VPN for your devices. Certain countries have a ban on certain apps, so at least a few of our best travel apps will be useless for a leg of your travels unless you take matters into your own hands and protect your data.

A VPN service usually costs around $10 a month, and it protects your internet history while also adding an extra layer of security to your phone and all of the information on it. VPNs are meant to keep your private information inaccessible to others who may be on the same network, making it safer to use public Wi-Fi.

In addition to protecting your data and ensuring that the country you’re currently visiting won’t have an issue with your app of choice, you’ll also be able to access the mobile app store and download your preferred app, even if it’s blocked in said country.

We’ll admit that a simpler solution to the blocked app problem is simply downloading a different app for the duration of your stay in a particular country. However, this doesn’t work if you’re traveling to multiple places in a short period since you will need to do a lot of app switching depending on which country allows which app.

Conclusion

a person looking at pictures on their phone

Many of the apps that we mentioned on our list have a few similarities that they share, but all of them also have more than enough unique features that make them stand out.

Regardless of whichever app you go with, as long as you install something that can cover all of your bases and allow you to make your journey a little bit easier, then that means that those apps deserve to be called the best travel apps.

Diego Navarro
Diego became interested in a nomadic lifestyle during a semester abroad during college. He spends most of his time in central Europe and the American southwest (where his family is from). He loves exotic food and playing video games on his Nintendo Switch.

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