Over the past few years of travelling, we’ve been surprised by the number of fellow travellers we’ve met, not using the most basic travel apps. These apps I consider not only sensible, but critical to travel, saving time and money. Now if my parents can use these, so can you, so here’s the top 7 essential travel apps everyone should be using.
7 x Essential Travel Apps
1.) Google Maps (Offline Version)
This said, not everyone knows about Google Offline Maps. This little trick can save you hours of frustration. It takes only a minute, and you can download the local map before you arrive. Then simply pull out your phone when you need it, plug in your coordinates and away you go.
Interestingly, you don’t need data for Google Maps to identify your current location. This is done through cell tower triangulation. You don’t need anything except the map pre-loaded on your phone!
If you do run into issues, most cafe’s, McDonalds and other stores offer free WIFI. Jump in, connect for a minute and your issues will be resolved. Simples!
2.) Tripit App (free)
It gets better! Tripit automatically monitors airline departures, if the plane is running late, you’ll be the first one to know. This has saved me countless trips to the airport, instead sitting comfortably in the hotel awaiting the new time.
For travel hackers like myself, TripIt also monitors your frequent flyer miles with each provider. Whilst there are a lot of apps for this out there, it’s super convenient to have everything under one roof. The functionality of TripIt is so easy, you will wish you’d been using it for years.
Cost: The free version of TripIt is excellent, no need to upgrade. If you are a regular traveller, the extra functionality for the $50 premium version is great value, and you get a LoungeBuddy credit for $25 free!
Visit their website: http://tripit.com/
3.) Apple Wallet or Android Equivalent (free)
There’s a range of other functionality Apple Wallet allows, including storing credit cards, memberships etc. However it’s travel and event ticketing that makes it really shine. It’s free, so start trying it out today.
Android users, there’s a number of excellent equivalents for you also. Find the one that suits you best, they are mostly free to download, learn how to use it now. It’s only a matter of time until this is how we always store out tickets.
Uber is now global, and by far the cheapest and safest way to travel (my opinion). When travelling through South America, we totally avoid haggling with Taxis, or risking our safety through muggings etc. The Uber app makes all of those issues a thing of the past. Here’s the run down:
- Fixed price that you know up front (Save Money)
Plug your destination into the app, and it will tell you how much it will cost you. No worries about what route the driver takes. It’s generally much cheaper than a taxi, and there is no negotiating over price.
- Automatically charged to your credit card
No messing around with hard currency, your trip is automatically charged to your credit card. Plus, if there is any issue, Uber have an amazing refund policy.Want to split the trip, no problem, there is a function in the app to split the fare with a friend.
- Amazing Refund Policy
Have any issue with your trip at all, Uber will immediately refund you. Within the app, navigate to your past trips, click on it and report it as unsatisfactory. Uber will send your money back, no questions asked.
- The Best Drivers & Cars
After every trip, you score the driver. If the drivers rating falls below 4 stars (out of 5), they are not allowed to drive any more. This level of customer driven quality control, ensures they follow local laws, courtesies and go above and beyond to provide good service.
- Full Location Tracking (Security & Punctuality)
You can feel safe and secure knowing your car and phone are constantly tracked. While waiting for the car, you can see it’s current location on your phone. Likewise, Uber always knows where your driver is, if they take a wrong direction or stop unexpectedly. This sort of safety has become a favourite of bar owners ensuring drunk patrons get home safely.If you haven’t signed up to Uber yet, use this link for $5 credit: https://uber.com/invite/4b5tt
If you haven’t started using AirBNB’s yet, then you are throwing money away. Rent someone’s house or apartment for a fraction of hotel prices, and you can end up with a lot more than you expected. We’ve stayed in incredible houses all over the
world, and at rates you wouldn’t believe. Like Uber its all user reviewed, so you’ll quickly know the best places in town to stay.
AirBNB has exploded all over the world, with many governments choosing to partner with them. Cheaper accommodation drives more travel, more money in the economy and a better all round experience.
For those not use to the concept, you book the property just like a hotel (through the website or app). Your credit card is automatically charged, and then the owner leaves instructions on how to gain access. After that, it’s all yours to enjoy.
We recommend taking your time to review your options. Each city will have hundreds of listings, so use the filters to find the assets important to you (pool, beach access, parking, wifi etc.). AirbNB provides an unparalleled way to see the world, and save a dime.
If you haven’t signed up to AirBNB, use this link: www.airbnb.com/c/jstrawczynski1
6.) Google’s Project Fi
This recommendation is currently only available to those using an American cell number, but it’s a beauty. Google has entered the telecommunications industry, and their solution Project Fi, is crushing it.
Google’ Project Fi solves the problem of international phone coverage. With their system, where-ever you are, your phone and internet just work. There is one standard price to pay, no extras, no catches, no hooks.
It should be no surprise Google is getting in on the action. The world’s biggest internet search engines has the motto “Don’t be evil”, and after years of being ripped off by telecommunications companies, it’s great to see Google stand up to them.
If you use a US cell phone, but live overseas, then this trick is for you. To purchase Google Fi, setup a new gmail account in the US. You will need a VPN to do this (click here for a VPN), but that shouldn’t challenge you too much. Once setup, ship the Fi to a friend in the US… simples
Only partially iPhone friendly
Currently Google Fi is only suppose to work on Android devices, and can only be activated by a handful of them. However once activated, you can slip it into your iPhone and it should work just fine. Read a the GadgetHacks blog to understand the ins and outs of this.
Read more here: https://fi.google.com/about/
7.) NetFlix Offline
Whilst Netflix penetration in the US is huge, it’s only slowly creeping into the rest of the world. The Netflix service offers unlimited, on-demand TV & movies for around $10 -- $15 per month. Best of all, you can use it across multiple TVs, Computers, Tablets & Phones.
A relatively new feature also allows you to download episodes to your device for watching offline. Got a long flight or bus ride coming up? Load up on downloads and you’ll have the trip covered with ease.
Honestly, we don’t need to push NetFlix, it sells itself. However if you want to know how to use the offline functionality, read this guide.
What do you recommend?
Tell us the apps we’ve left off the list, should we have listed TripAdvisor, Skype, etc? The best suggestions will get added in, and we will keep building the resource for the future.