I love apps and technology, but I don't like to overload my phone and my life with too many. I prefer to have a streamlined app inventory, but here are some of my favorite travel apps I can't do without:
This is an obvious one, but I love it so much that I can't leave it off this list! I always love to look back on my gallery and remember all the good times from my past travels. It's a convenient place to see all the highlights and memories. (PS. I always use VSCOCAM and sometimes AFTERLIGHT to edit my photos before I upload)
And I love to follow bloggers who live in the cities I am going to visit and see the places (cafes, restaurants, shops, etc) they frequent. It's a great way to bookmark where you want to go in the next city you're exploring!
This is by far my most favorite app to learn a new language. It makes learning grammar rules and new words like a fun game!
I've been recently dabbling in Italian and Mandarin and this app fills my wait times on the subway and airports.
3. GOOGLE MAPS
Another obvious choice, but I get so much functionality from this app while abroad. Its ability to give directions (walking, driving, public transport) differs from country to country, but I've been able to rely on it in most places.
Before I head to a new country where I won't have data service on my phone, I like to load the map area around my hotel. Once that area is loaded (and I don't load another location), I'm able to track my location on the map once I'm there. (The GPS tracker works without data!) Disclaimer: it's not always the accurate, but at least loading the streets and intersections will give you a great general sense of where to go.
You can also download the map area so you can access it offline. (Instructions here)
4. APPLE WALLET
I don't know where I would be without this app. I love being able to pull out my iPhone instead of searching through all my pockets and bags for the paper boarding pass. It really saves time at the airport, but I also use it for payments, trains, movies, coupons, you name it.
It's well integrated with many airline apps and ticketing services. Always opt to click the "Add to Wallet" button when you see it!
5. GOOGLE TRANSLATE
I like to sneakily look up words and wow crowds, as if I've taken time to study a language. Just kidding, but this is a lifesaver in foreign countries.
Best interface to look up flights and hotels. I don't exactly always book through this app, but looking up prices on Kayak give me a good range of what prices to expect (and what prices to beat!) I also love its flight tracker and price alert features.
This website/app is great for showing options of how to get from one place to another. It displays all the options (train, plane, car, etc.) and shows you which way is the cheapest.
I found it more accurate than Google Maps for some countries, especially in Europe and for travel between two cities.
8. TRIPADVISOR & TRIPADVISOR OFFLINE CITY GUIDES
TripAdvisor is not my only go-to source for travel advice and tips, but I believe it gives a good sense of what to expect and a general direction on what to do in a new place. Their Offline City Guides app is great in a new country where you might not have a phone plan.
9. YELP / FOURSQUARE
These are both great for looking up restaurants and cafes, especially for a quick decision on what to do in your vicinity. I don't prefer one platform over the other--I use Yelp because I've had my account for longer and therefore have a high switching cost. However, I know Foursquare constantly updates their results algorithm for suggestions that are personalized and tailored to your preferences.
These apps obviously have the most restaurants & reviews in the USA, but they're slowly catching on in other countries. I find them especially convenient for looking up addresses and open hours, even if there aren't many reviews.
I obviously use Skype for video calls, but I find it the most useful when I need to call an actual phone (think: landline) when I'm traveling and I don't have a phone plan. It's definitely the cheapest option for international calls. I've used it in the past to call my bank and credit card companies to figure out finances while abroad.
Viber is a great app for free calls. You can only call other who also have the Viber app as well. I found it reliable and that many people already have the application, which makes Viber more useful than other similar platforms.
I use Whatsapp everyday to text my boyfriend, who lives in Europe (I live in the US). Compared to some other texting apps, I found it fast and reliable, with hardly any bugs or random lags. Whatsapp has 700 million active users, so it's by far the best app to keep in touch with your international friends. Plus, who doesn't love stalking your friends to see when they go online and when they last read your text?
Yup, Uber's been expanding like crazy, so it works in other countries too! This is a great, affordable option for countries that might not have reliable modes of transportation. See if it is available in your destination city here. The downside would be that you would have to have a data plan in order for it to work.
This is my go-to for reading on my iPhone or my iPad. I add my favorite news websites and bloggers. I love the interface and use it when I'm waiting at airports or during train rides, etc.
14. HOTEL TONIGHT
I don't have a go-to site for hotels. I use Airbnb, Booking.com, Hostelworld, and Hostelbookers, as well. HotelTonight made it to this list because their app is very well done and has a well-curated hotel inventory. They give you great discount offerings, and the app is super fast & reliable. (I always appreciate good graphic and UX design.)