4 Must-Have Travel Apps

smart-phone

I’m not super techie (like, at all). Yes, I’m on my phone more than I should be, but I’m mostly checking Facebook and the news.

That said, in the age of the smartphone, there are a few must-have travel apps that I highly recommend.

Hostelworld

This is my favorite platform for finding hostels while on the road. You can filter searches by rating, price, and to make sure they have crucial amenities (like wifi). Display in a list or on a map to find the place that’s right for you. There’s also a website that does the same thing, but the app is better designed if you’re working from a phone.

XE Currency

Save your brain from all the math and get currency conversions instantly. The best part is that this app is available offline as well, so you can use it everywhere. It updates with the latest rates when you are connected, but uses the last info available when there’s no connection. Add whichever currencies you’ll be needing (while you are connected) and then just enter in prices to get instant conversions so you always know exactly how much you’re spending.

Maps.me

The key feature of this app is that it works offline. The problem with standard map apps (like Google Maps, for example), is that they only work when connected to the internet. When you’ve just arrived in a new place or are wandering around the streets of a local market and need to get back to your hostel, you might not have a connection. Maps.me always knows where you are and can provide turn-by-turn directions to wherever you want to go. Many landmarks, including hostels and restaurants, are searchable by name. The only catch is that you have to download regional maps when you do have a connection, so remember to do this before you arrive.

Happy Cow

This one is veg-specific, but crucial for anyone wanting to find vegan, vegetarian, or veg-friendly food options while traveling. The app uses your location to find restaurants near you (you can also search by city) and then links to your map app to provide directions. Each listing gives you opening hours, reviews, and photos (assuming they have been provided by users). There are listings all over the world, so this is a great app to have when you’re on the road.

Honorable Mention

Gate Guru

This app includes maps and amenity lists for airports around the world. This is especially helpful if you’re in a large airport and are looking for something to eat. Rather than having to walk up and down an entire terminal, you can just check the app to see what’s available and head directly towards the spots that sound promising.

You can also pre-load your flights into the app and it will provide departure/arrival times and gate info as they become available. It seems like some flights/airlines are missing though, as I wasn’t able to add a regional flight operated by United Express.

Vegan Passport

It can sometimes be very difficult to explain exactly what ‘vegan’ means to someone who is unfamiliar with the term and doesn’t speak the same language as you. Some cultures don’t consider chicken to be ‘meat,’ while others simply can’t seem to comprehend why you wouldn’t want fish sauce in everything. Others overlook items like dairy and eggs, not recognizing the difference between vegetarian and vegan. Vegan Passport has a detailed (but brief) explanation of what you do and do not eat, translated into 79 languages. Just pull up the appropriate one, show it to your server (or street cart person), and they can read the explanation in their own language, along with a request for a meal that meets those requirements. And if all else fails, there’s a picture page to help you get your request across.


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