The Best Travel Apps that you can download for FREE!
Updated: Sep 21
Forget paper maps to help guide your trip. With today's smartphones, you have the technology to guide you right at your fingertips. Having the right travel apps can help you save both time and money while making your trip so much easier. From offline maps to finding trip recommendations, and even booking last-minute deals! This article has got your next journey covered. We list and review the 15 best travel apps, which have significantly improved our own travel experiences in the past. And the best part of all... you can download and use them for FREE!
If you are an outdoor enthusiast like us, AllTrails will become your favorite travel app! With over 100,000 hiking, biking, backpacking, and running trails worldwide, you'll have plenty of choices to explore the outdoors! Each route includes trail maps, elevation gain information, detailed reviews, and photos. It has never been easier to find your perfect trail! Filter your options on the app by adjusting experience level, star rating, length, dog-friendliness, kid-friendliness, and much more. Whether you want to explore a national park or discover hiking trails nearby your home, All Trails has got you covered. Other fun features of the app include driving directions to the trailhead and a self-recording option, allowing you to record your adventure as you move across the trail. This is by far our favorite travel app!
This app is our #1 offline map for travelers. With endless tourist routes, hiking trails, and navigation available all around the world, you will never get lost again in your destination of choice. We have been using this app for years and it has been saving us tons of money on our cellular data usage. We mainly use maps.me in conjunction with AllTrails, so we never get lost on our hikes. It is especially helpful when you are finding yourself in destinations with little or no cell phone reception!
Above all, this app is entirely free. You just select and download the regions you are going to. It is also extremely helpful for driving in foreign countries, as you don't need a GPS system to guide you.
Finally, the app integrates with hotel bookings on booking.com and even shows descriptions and photos of places. Hence, it could serve as your city guide as well!
Another great travel app for the road is Waze. It is perfect for road trips to busy cities as it gives you user-generated data on traffic jams and additional information on points of interest like the cheapest gas stations and fastest routes to your destination. The App also gives updates on police traps, construction, speed cameras, and more. You can either take a more passive role and just use it to get to your destination or you can take a more active role by sharing road reports on accidents or any other hazards along the way. Waze makes it "fun" by adding points and achievements every time you drive around with the App or report incidents along your route.
Gasbuddy is the ultimate money-saving travel app! By comparing different gas stations with their prices, you find the best gas deals around. The app includes over 150,000 gas stations throughout North America, giving you approximately 27 ways to save money on gas. What we love about the app is the Trip Cost Calculator feature. Just fill out your road trip destinations and GasBuddy will calculate how much your gas cost will be. So if you're planning a road trip across the US or Canada, then make sure to download this app.
If you are not driving your own vehicle and have to rely on public transportation, then Citymapper is the ideal travel App for you! This public transit App showcases the various transport options, usually with live timing, between any two locations in a supported city. Modes of transport include walking, cycling, and driving. Citymapper is available in major cities around the US, Canada, Europe, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, and more. We used this App to navigate around London and found it very useful as transportation is often confusing.
6. XE Currency
If you are traveling to a foreign country, you need to brush up on the local currency and exchange rate. The XE Currency App has got you covered! With live exchange rates and charts for every world currency, you will be up to date about the conversions. This App will help you with saving money as you will have a better idea of how much to take out of foreign ATMs and for pricing items. What we absolutely love about this App is the fact that you can use it offline as well!
Forget about collecting all your bills when traveling with others. Splitwise is a free App that allows you to split your travel expenses with friends right away. Whether you are sharing summer vacation costs, splitting household expenses with roommates, or lending someone money. Simply add the group members and the bill in the App so each expense will be tracked. At the end of the trip, it is easy to see how much each person in the group owes to one another. What we like about this App is that it eliminates the "awkwardness" to ask for money if someone forgets. It truly makes everyone's life easier.
One of our favorite travel Apps to search for flights is Skyscanner. By comparing prices for over 1,200 travel companies and airlines, Skyscanner will offer you the best price guaranteed. You just choose where you want to go, when you want to go, and Skyscanner will do the rest. We have booked most of our flights through this App, and have found some great deals in the past, including some last-minute deals. What we love the most about this App is the flexibility it offers. For instance, with its search ‘Everywhere’ button you can see where you can go for a great price. And if you have made up your mind about a specific destination, the ‘Price Alerts’ feature will keep you up to date when prices change.
9. Accommodation Apps (Hostelworld, Booking, Airbnb)
There are a bunch of accommodation booking apps available. Thus, we summed up our favorite ones. Hostelworld is perfect for the solo budget traveler, while Booking is more suitable for couples and inclusive of all budgets, and Airbnb for a more local experience or for larger groups. All Apps are easy to use and have a wide range of options. We usually compare accommodation on all three Apps to make sure we get the best bang for our buck.
If you are more of a camper, nature lover, and spontaneous traveler, then RV Parks & Campgrounds might be the travel App you are looking for! As the name of the App implies, RV Parks and Campgrounds will help you find great RV Parks in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Camping is a great alternative to the previously mentioned accommodation Apps, especially when you prefer spending time in the outdoors or want to make spontaneous, last-minute decisions on where to stay. All commercial RV parks and campgrounds are sorted by rating and you can also find gas stations, rest areas, stores, and more.
TripAdvisor is our go-to travel app when it comes to finding local attractions and activities to do in the area. With over 500 million reviews by fellow travelers, this App provides accurate travel advice and tips. From comparing different tour companies to local restaurants, every travel scenario is covered by the App! We use TripAdvisor all the time when we travel as the reviews are endless and comprehensive. The App also allows you to download city guides and maps of your destination, which you can access offline while on the road. Our personal favorite feature of the App is the Travel Map on which you can track everywhere you've been.
AccuWeather is the best weather App around! It provides way more details than the standard weather App on your smartphone. With minute-by-minute updates and details on air quality and even allergies, this App is very comprehensive. We especially use AccuWeather at destinations with precarious weather conditions. For a hike on rugged terrain deep in the mountains, it may be essential to know the hourly weather predictions.
If you don't have your own vehicle and public transportation is not for you, then these travel Apps will be right up your alley. Uber and Lyft are popular examples of ridesharing Apps. Simply download the app, enter your credit card information, and select where you want to go. Uber will automatically detect your location and send the first available local driver to pick you up. Ridesharing makes getting around in foreign countries a lot safer because of the user-moderated rating system and in-app tracking of your vehicle. You can easily cross-reference the license plate to ensure it is the right car to go in. We use Uber or a local ridesharing App whenever we are in major cities with safety issues or complicated public transportation systems. We find this a better alternative to the more expensive taxies.
14. Carpooling Apps (BlaBlaCar & Kangaride)
An inexpensive, sustainable, and fun way to travel is by carpooling. BlaBlaCar (mostly in Europe) and Kangaride (in Canada and the US) are long-distance carpooling platforms that connect drivers with empty seats to people traveling in the same direction. It is very simple... the driver sets a price for the ride so travel costs are shared among the passengers. On the road, you can share stories with fellow passengers. We've used these travel Apps a bunch in Europe, where it is very easy to find a long-distance ride on BlaBlaCar. It is a great alternative to the more expensive train system and lengthy bus rides.
15. Google Translate
Google Translate is probably the most useful App when you are traveling to a foreign country where no one speaks English or any other language you know. A language barrier can make it difficult to order food or drinks, get you on the wrong train or bus, or even get you lost! Google Translate prevents you from any of these awkward and potentially dangerous situations. Pull out the App and either type or speak what you want to say in your own language. The app will then show what the translation is in the local language. Show or speak that to who you want to communicate with and start a conversation. One thing we love about Google Translate is that you can actually use it offline! Just download the languages you need, it's that simple.
Have you used other travel Apps that have helped you save money and time? We would love to hear about it! Comment below.
Are you curious about how travel tech will keep you safe during your future trips? Our article on travel tech that will improve your trip during coronavirus times explains how various travel companies and Apps have been finding unique solutions to the rapidly changing regulations and environment.