“I love to travel, but hate to pack for the trip.” – Shaunda Jay.
What you packed or didn’t pack can make or break your trip. You may be an over-packer, preparing for every situation that you might face on your trip. Or you may be a light packer, taking only the essentials. Either way, getting ready for a trip can turn into a major THING.
Like the kind of thing that you eat, sleep, and breathe because it has consumed you with worry. I used to get so stressed out about traveling when I started solo traveling. I would worry about every little detail.
What should I pack? What was the weather going to be like? Do I need to apply for a visa for this place? What is the currency exchange rate? How much money do I need for my trip? What is the cheapest and easiest way to get to my accommodation? The list could go on for many posts, but I’ll stop there.
Being a Type B person, planning every single detail is quite nerve wrecking for me. I had an epiphany one day while packing for a trip.
I realized that I love to travel, but hate to pack for the trip. This epiphany left me with two options: 1. Stop traveling 2. Find a way to make my trips easier. Option one was clearly not going to happen. I love traveling and exploring way more than I hate packing. So, option two it was.
After some research and many trials, I settled on a core group of apps that best supported my travel endeavors. These apps have been my saving grace when it comes to planning trips, keeping up with my itinerary and getting around while I’m traveling. Hopefully they can be of service to you on your next trip too. (The list is not in order of importance)
1. Hostel World
Hostel World is a great resource of thrifty travelers looking for deals on accommodations in vacation hot spots. You can find many properties in prime locations, but be sure to read the reviews and policies before booking.
- Variety in price and quality
- Tons of locations to pick from
- Easy to use
- Last minute booking available
- Reviews and pictures available
- Low booking fees
- Some of the properties looks different in person
- Can be time-consuming to read through reviews (but it’s worth the work)
- Some locations do not have many property options
Skyscanner can be used to book flights, hotels, or car rentals. I personally use this app to book and research flights. I usually find great flight deals on Skyscanner. My favorite feature is the everywhere flight search from your airport. I use this tool to design the cheapest flight route my trips.
- Easy to use
- Wide range of search opportunities
- Price alerts and saved search available
- Some prices can be different on the airline’s website due to extra fees
- Some airline websites can be difficult to use
- Prices increase if you don’t clear your computer cookies before searching again
Globe Convert is a conversion app for just about everything. You can convert currency, time zones, tips, length, power, temperature, etc. As an avid international traveler, I use this app mostly for currency conversions, temperature, and metric conversions (Dang American metric system). The app provides real-time currency conversions and can be used offline. It has been a life-saver for me.
- Easy to use
- Wide range of conversions
- Can be used offline
- Conversions are accurate
- None that I can think of
4. Trip It
Trip It is an app that allows you to create your digital trip itinerary. You can fill out every detail of your trip and even plan your trip with friends. I love this app because I can easily access my booking information for all of my plans in one place. No need to comb through my emails or other apps for my booking numbers or addresses.
- Digital itinerary on your phone
- Every detail of your tip in one app (accommodations, tours, flights, etc.)
- Plan trips with friends
- Live flight updates on your flights
- Offline usage available
- All of your booking details in one place
- Time consuming to fill in booking information
5. Google Maps
Google maps is useful for finding directions and information of places of interest. I often use the app to get addresses, directions, and read reviews on places. However, I have a love-hate relationship with Google maps.
- Directions including public transportation routes
- Pictures and reviews of destinations are available
- Quick search of places of interest in your area
- Satellite and terrain maps are available
- Traffic details available
- Save and share location
- Download and save maps to use offline
- Access to location details
- Not as efficient in some Asian countries
- Provides difficult or detoured routes sometimes
- Inconclusive search results (either no address or no route)
- Can’t use offline unless you downloaded a map
Happy Cow is a great tool for those whom are vegan or vegetarian travelers. This app provides a guide for vegan, vegetarian, and veg-option restaurants, stores and bakeries near you. I thoroughly enjoy the recommendations from this app while I’m traveling.
- Easy to use
- Accurate food guide
- Informative reviews
- Available offline
- Ability to create personal trip food guide
- Save your favorite places for next time
- Location address, hours, and phone number are available
- Some locations are hard to find
Pinterest is an app that allows you to discover everything from recipes to DIY projects. It’s also a great resource for researching travel destinations. On the app you can read many blogs about any and everything. Some of my best trip advice came from blogs I found through a Pinterest search.
- Unlimited information
- Search results more specific than google
- Search of related pins available for each post
- Quality and quantity of information
- Some links can be spam or not available anymore
Instagram is more than just a picture and video app, it’s a way to connect with other travelers. Almost everybody and their mamas are on Instagram, which makes it a great way to exchange information to keep in touch. It’s also not as personal as Facebook, so you can still keep some privacy. I find this app extremely useful for keeping up with my travel buddies all over the world.
- Keep up with friends made along your trip (or while on your trip)
- It’s a free way to text
- Post and view amazing pictures and videos
- Less personal than Facebook
- Not available offline
- Can cause intense wanderlust
These apps have been my go-to guides for before, during, and after my trip. I hope that you will find these apps useful for your next adventure. If you have any travel apps that you use and think are amazing, please feel free to mention them in the comments.