15 Travel Apps That Make Travelling Easy

how to use travel apps to make travelling easy

From travel planning, tips to help you on your journey and how to navigate strange cities safely – check out how to use travel apps to make travelling easy.

 

Did you know you can point the camera on your phone at a building and it will tell you what its called, its purpose and even opening hours? This is Google Lens, something I recently discovered, and will now never leave home without! I also love the new features on Google Translate, where you can just speak into your phone and it will translate it into your language of choice. I’ve also got travel apps to help with travel planning: from hotel bookings to trip organisers and how to help save money on local attractions.
 

 

 
I have travel apps to help you stay out of trouble too: from getting safe taxis to avoiding banking charges, helping with currency conversions and storing important documents. I’ve even got an app to help with jet lag, and how to keep you entertained when travelling long distance. All of these travel apps are very highly rated on the Google Play Store and App Store, and most of these I use myself when travelling. I hope by using these travel apps, it will make travelling easy for you too. 

travel apps
 

 

 

1. Google Lens

Google Lens is your ultimate travel companion and one of my favourite travel apps. As much as I think tour guides are invaluable in certain cities, sometimes you just want to go it alone. Perhaps you are returning to a city and don’t feel you want a guide, or perhaps you are just an independent traveller. If so, you will love Google Lens. Google Lens searches the web based on what you see. Did you ever walk past a particular building and wonder what it is used for, or see exotic flowers and wonder what they are called? Once you have downloaded the Google Lens app, simply open it and point the camera on your phone to the building, flowers, or even an item of clothing. Google Lens will search the web and tell you the name and lots more information about the object you are searching for. If it happens to be for sale, it will even tell you where to buy it!

google lens travel apps
 

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2. Revolut

The number of people using Revolut is growing at a phenomenal level – over 8 million people are using it now. You can open a virtual bank account in minutes from your phone – they don’t even have branches. You can spend money in over 150 countries without any fees (a fee of .5% for anything above 6k per month) and withdraw €200 a month in foreign ATMs for free – anything over €200 incurs a €2 fee. You can freeze your card if you have misplaced it, and unfreeze it when you find it again. You don’t have to cancel it completely, something I wish other banks would introduce. 
 

 

 
I love the exchange functions. If you are travelling to the US for instance, you can keep an eye on the exchange rate on your phone, and exchange money instantly if you see a favourable rate – you can even set up alerts for when your currency hits a certain value. I also love that you can set your account to round up card payments to the nearest whole number. For instance if you buy a coffee every day for €2.60, you can set Revolut to round this up to €3, and it will stash the 40 cent into a separate vault. You can have multiple vaults for holiday funds, special occasions etc.


 

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3. Hotel Tonight

Over 285,000 people have given the Hotel Tonight app a 4.9 out of 5 rating – so you really don’t need to look elsewhere if you are searching for a last minute hotel. It will allow you to book hotels up to seven days in advance. Because it specialises in last minute bookings, it tends to get great prices direct from hotels with empty rooms available. This is a great app to use if you are travelling to multiple countries or cities on one trip, and happen to be booking hotels as you go. It’s categories are pretty cool too, you can search basic, hip, luxe, charming and high-roller hotels.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Download from App Store

 

Download from Google Play Store
 

 

 

4. Google Translate:

I love Google Translate, it can translate over 100 different languages within seconds. You don’t even have to type the words anymore! You can translate text by using the camera on your phone, or have a conversation with a local by speaking into your phone. If a restaurant doesn’t have an English menu, its not a problem, simply point the camera on your phone at the menu and Google Translate will translate it for you. Google Translate works offline too, just download the language packs from the country you are travelling to before you go. Google Translate is without a doubt one of the world’s best travel apps.

google translate travel apps

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

5. Timeshifter – The Jet Lag App

I am often asked about cures for jet lag and I usually reply with the same answers: set your watch to the destination time the minute you take off, and drink plenty of water. However, I now have another tip to add to my list! I recently discovered the Timeshifter travel app. Timeshifter was developed by world-renowned scientists and appears to have excellent results in reducing jet lag. You can create your own personalised plan, depending on your age, regular sleep patterns, length of flight etc. The developers are so convinced that it will work that they offer your first plan free – so why not give it a try?

jet lag app

 

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6. Google maps

Officially the world’s top rated travel app, I like most people, have used Google Maps for years. However it wasn’t until recently I realised how much information is actually available to us. Did you know that there is an ‘Explore’ tab at the bottom of the map, that tells you about unknown places favoured by locals? When you are searching for an individual restaurant or museum, you can also check the google reviews, see photos from fellow travellers, opening times, and even prices.
 

 

 
I used to find it awkward using Google Maps when walking. I found myself turning my phone upside down, trying to figure out the correct way to go. Not anymore! With Google Maps new ‘Live View’ function, augmented reality (AR) will guide you in the right direction with arrows and directions. I used this recently in Palma and it was terrific.

google maps live view travel apps

Don’t make the common mistake and forget to download a map in advance of travel. Maps can be used offline, so you don’t need to use your data roaming. I even find this useful when travelling in Ireland, as there are places outside the big cities where the network coverage is poor, so having an offline map can be a Godsend. 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

7. XE Currency converter

We have gotten so used to travelling within the Eurozone, and most of us are aware of the approximate rate of the US Dollar, so we rarely think about currencies anymore. But what happens if you are visiting China or Japan, or maybe European countries that are not in the Eurozone, like Switzerland or Iceland? Trying to figure out the currency conversion can be quiet frustrating, especially if you are in a hurry to pay for something.
 

 

 
A classic mistake when travelling in a strange country is getting ripped off by the airport taxi driver, or giving an outlandish tip to the luggage porter, mainly because you are unsure of how much you are actually handing over. This has happened to tourists all over the world, including myself. Inevitably you are tired after travelling and are unaware of the currency exchange. It is only when you arrive at your hotel you realise that you have paid way too much.  The XE currency converter is a great app to have on your phone. You can convert currencies in seconds and use it offline too, as it saves the last updated exchange rates.

currency converter travel apps

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

8. TripIt

TripIt is the world’s highest rated travel organising app. As soon as you book a flight, hotel or car, forward the email to plans@tripit.com and it will be added to a master itinerary. You won’t have to search your emails, WhatsApp messages, calendars or anything else – they will all be stored in the one place.  

If you upgrade to TripIt Pro, it is like a personal travel agent. It will advise you when you leave for the airport, send real time alerts if flight times or gate numbers are changed, and even let you know how long security queues are!  

tripit travel app

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

9. UBER

Travelling in a strange country can be daunting. Using UBER instead of local taxis will give you a great sense of security. It is available in over 500 cities around the world – check if it is available in the city you are visiting here. Not only are all taxis tracked, but you will see your driver’s picture and car details before he arrives. You can pay with credit card, pay pal, apple pay, or cash. You will automatically be sent a receipt by email and be asked to rate your driver, which means drivers are usually on their best behaviour.

uber travel app

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

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10. TripAdvisor

We are all familiar with TripAdvisor, but how many of you are familiar with the app? As well as checking reviews for restaurants, bars, hotels etc, the ‘Near Me’ function will help you find highly rated places close to you.  You can also see if any of your friends have visited a particular place and if they recommend it. TripAdvisor also offers deals on hotels, tours and attractions and you can book directly via the app.

best travel apps

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

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11. Netflix 

Ok, so Netflix is a household name, but you would be surprised how many people pay the monthly subscription but don’t download movies or their favourite shows to watch online. You can download anything you see on your regular TV at home, on to your phone or tablet (make sure you do it using WiFi) and then watch them on the plane, train, or even in your hotel room. Having Netflix on your device, makes travelling long distances painless.

netflix for travelling

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

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12. WhatsApp Messenger

If you don’t already have WhatsApp – download it now! Use to to make free calls, send free texts, even pictures when you are abroad. It uses your phones network connection, so once you are in a WiFi zone there will be no charges. It can also be a useful tool for group texts, both at home and abroad. 

travel apps

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

13. Audible

Audible is the highest rated books app in the App Store. Owned by Amazon, it is the the audio version of the Kindle app. I personally suffer from travel sickness if I read in a car or bus, so I would prefer to listen to an audio book than read a paper book or kindle. I also like to look out the window when I am travelling and take in the local scenery. You can do this while listening to an audio book. Audible will give you your first audio book free. After that you pay per book, or you can join their various subscription services.

audible travel apps

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

14. Groupon

Groupon is a well-known shopping website, but did you know that they have deals in countries all over the world? Get deals on hotels, restaurants and activities in your chosen city – some with up to 70% off retail prices.  At the time of publication, I found shopping deals to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets from New York. The return bus journey is usually $42 but it is only $27 now on Groupon – a saving of 35%!

using travel apps to save on shopping

 

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15. Google Drive

Store images of your passport, travel documents and photos in Google Drive, so you can access them anywhere in the world. They are backed up safely so you can’t loose them. You can also share your folders with friends, partners etc. Google accounts get 15GB of free storage across Google Drive, Gmail and Google Photos, but you can opt for premium plan with larger storage space if you wish. 

passport

 

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Note some of the links in my favourite travel apps post contain affiliate links, where I receive a small payment if a booking / purchase is made, but with no additional cost to you.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert