Technology has truly changed the way we travel – a topic that I’ve mused on in the past and continue to contemplate. And like many of us, I’m mildly addicted to my phone. I admit it. Though when I’m traveling, I’m likely glued to one of the following travel apps as they are more or less required for me to function efficiently and keep my sanity when I’m on the road.

Traveling for a decade has streamlined what I need when I travel, and like pretty much everything in our world these days there’s an app for that. Here are my must have travel apps that help me get the most out of my travels – and get me through endless flights, lumpy beds and noisy neighbours.

My Favourite Travel Apps

Google Translate: One of my most critical travel apps! Google Translate has come such a long way from when I used to use it for my homework in high school Spanish classes (my teacher always knew). But nowadays, if I’m unable to converse with someone, I can enter what I want to say in English and it gives me the written phrase in the other language – and it can even speak it for you. I can’t tell you how many times this has helped me manoeuvre a new city where I don’t know a single word of the local language.

Yelp: This is my go-to for finding cool bars and restaurants on the road. It can be hit or miss if you’re in an area without a lot of active yelpers, but I find the app usually points me in the right direction. I’ll use TripAdvisor for restaurant recommendations if I must, though I prefer Yelp.

Google Maps: Guys, I need all the help I can get with directions and Google Maps keeps me on track – literally. I need this to function on a daily basis, even when I’m home. I often download an offline map when I’m heading to a new place. I also save locations like my Airbnb, co-working spaces and recommended bars and restaurants so I can see them on the go. I particularly like the transit functionality in many spots, which eliminates the need to download a local metro app.

Airbnb: Staying in Airbnbs is my preferred way to travel. I get a lot of use out of the Airbnb app, whether to find spots to stay in upcoming cities or communicating with my hosts. I don’t always have the time to open up my laptop so could miss important information about my next Airbnb, so the app is critical. I’m also an Airbnb host for my home in Toronto so it keeps me connected with guests 24/7.

Uber: While not available everywhere, Uber is my go-to for transportation. I truly appreciate the standard pricing, tracking and elimination of language barriers. Having Uber as an option while traveling in Johannesburg was a game changer – no longer did I have to worry about waiting for ages for a trusted taxi or being concerned over safety. It was hands down the easiest and most efficient way to travel there. If you haven’t used Uber before, here’s a friendly referral for $20 off your first ride!

Instagram: I not only like to share my travel photos in the moment, but I also enjoy seeing what my friends are up to or getting inspired by some of my favourite influencers. I’m going to sneak in another app here – A Color Story, which is my preferred photo editing tool for my phone.

WhatsApp: This is a particularly useful chat app depending on where you’re traveling. I’ve found that WhatsApp is a primary method for connecting in Europe and Asia, and I’ve used it for contacting my B&B host, reaching out to a tour operator or keeping in touch with friends that I’ve made in other countries.

Podcasts: love my podcasts and I often listen to them while in transit, walking around a new city, or when I want to block out noise. My preferred genres are either entrepreneurial based or true crime (polar opposites, I know) and some of my favourites at the moment are Being Boss and The Tim Ferris Show when I want to feel inspired and Reply All or Someone Knows Something when I want to be distracted with an engaging story.

Xe: Traveling a lot can make it difficult to keep track of exchange rates, especially if you’re not good at fast math like me. I remember the day I arrived in Prague and paid $7 for a basic coffee because I didn’t know what the exchange rate was. Avoid being ripped off with this foreign currency app, which has a very simple interface allowing you to plug in the amount and get the cost in your currency in no time.

iBooks: I’ve written a lot about my carry-on only lifestyle, and electronic books has helped me achieve that. Though I do prefer reading on my Kindle, I also have iBooks with a few titles if I’m traveling super light and forgoing other electronics.

NordVPN: This is one of my top travel apps and I use it on all my devices. It protects my data online with military level encryption wherever I am and allows me to disguise my IP address securely. And with an account starting at less than $3 each month, it’s well worth it.

Trail Wallet: Keeping on top of your travel budget is a drag, but worse yet is ending your trip in a major deficit. This app, built by travellers, monitors your travel budget so that you can stay on track with your cash, and is a breeze to use.

Evernote: I often jot down thoughts on the spots I’m visiting and log recommendations from locals. I also use Evernote as a journal as well as keep track of my business projects when I’m on the road. I particularly love how it doesn’t need to be connected to the internet, so I can just start typing away on my iPhone and actually get things done when I’m on a plane or bus, and it will sink to all of my devices. To see what I mean, try Evernote Premium for free with my referral offer.

Weather Underground: If you have an iPhone, get rid of the factory setting apple weather app right now. Weather Underground is the best weather app for traveling that Ive found. The level of detail can be extreme, but the hourly forecast is truly wonderful when you’re planning out your day on your travels.

Netflix: I often download a new series that I’m interested in watching before I depart to give me something to do when I’m in transit. I find I use Netflix (both on my phone and iPad) when traveling alone in the evenings before heading to bed in spots where I get sufficient wifi.

Spotted by Locals: I love gathering local advice on a new place instead of navigating it on my own. Spotted by Locals has travel apps for over 60 cities around the world, each with a constantly updated list of local-recommended spots to ensure you don’t get caught in a tourist-trap. Best part is that the information and map are available offline so you don’t need to wander aimlessly looking for a wifi signal.

Texture: I enjoy reading magazines but I loathe lugging them around. I’ve been a big fan of Texture since discovering it a year ago as it allows me unlimited access to a huge range of magazines for $10 per month. That’s less than it costs to buy two magazines at the airport! I’ve also delved into magazines I’ve never heard of before and probably never would’ve found. Texture has a free trial so it’s a no brainer to try it out.

Splittr: This is the key to keeping the peace when traveling as a group. You can track what everyone pays for and then Splittr will divvy it up effortlessly. Super simple to ensure that shared expenses are split evenly without any quarrelling over who pays what or resentment if people think they contributed more than others.

Sleep Pillow: I don’t do well with random noise. I wish I could be one of those people who can drown out hostel noise or a bar down the street pumping beats all night, but it drives me absolutely mental. Sleep Pillow is my favourite noise-cancelling app out there. You can mix your own ambient noises (like fans, rain, ocean, etc) to find the perfect balance for you.

Fruit Nibblers: Okay, this one is not really a necessity. I always have at least one game app to distract me on long bus rides or make me tired at 3am when I have a bout of insomnia. Nibblers is my ‘don’t need my brain on’ game of the moment.

Those are all of my personal must-have travel apps. Have any favourite apps for traveling of your own?

Must Have Travel Apps photo courtesy by Raw Pixel

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