We live in the Golden Age of digital life. We don’t have to visit an actual travel agency anymore to find out about flights and book them there, everything can done online. And thankfully, most of these chores to get out and go travel can be done with just your fingertips on your phone.
Get ready for my list of most necessary and useful travel apps for 2024
It all starts with the escape to out of here, where I need to find the best rates for flight tickets and destinations.
With the Kiwi app I can access a goldmine of information about possible destinations from a set departure point. The app doesn’t have to interface with the fascinating map like the browser version offers, but it still gives the great overview of destinations at a certain time, for a certain duration and from anywhere in the world.
According to themselves “Kiwi.com’s combination of cheap flight tickets and unique booking system is like having exclusive flights in your pocket. Use the finder and search for your next trip! On average, airline flights cost 28% less with Kiwi.com – saving you up to 90% on direct prices. Finding bargains has never been simpler.”
Unlike other apps, Kiwi.com compares flight prices from airlines who DO NOT normally offer linked flights – allowing you to choose from a huge range of travel destinations with massive cost savings.
The folks at the Dutch Kiwi company then book everything for you once you enter your details online, even give you the Kiwi Guarantee to help you out a their costs if an airline like AirAsia is screwing up your travel plans and you seem to be stranded in Singapore on canceled flights. They even put me up in a hotel for the night, arranged another flight with Jet Airways and I could continue my travels! And that all didn’t cost me anything extra!
However I prefer to book my flights through Kiwi.com I do end up occassionally (and because of my geographic location) with The AirAsia Mobile App. Sometimes their app even has offers for 10% discount on certain flights and destinations, which you can’t even get on their website. And what I do love about the app is that I can check-in online, edit flight stuff (pick the Red seat and add meals) so I don’t have to do much at the airport.
When I book my accommodations on my travels, I mostly like to use Booking.com. And while I tend to do the initial research and booking with my laptop, with the app I can easily see my reservation information on the go. The app has also saved me once or twice while looking for a place to stay on the fly, at the last minute.
If you don’t have an account yet, create one online with this link and you’ll get 10% discount on your first booking!
Here is $25 for your to spend if you don’t have an AirBnB account yet. That was easy hey? With AirBnB you don’t just book hotels, you can simply book a room in somebody’s house, or just rent an entire villa! The coziness and the fact that you have to communicate with real people, instead of a booking engine, makes the experience the most fun. You actually stay in these people’s houses and that’s all worth it.
Choose from over 4 million vacation home rentals across 191+ countries. You can search by price, neighborhood, amenities (swimming pool?) and much more.
Yes, I admit. I do switch around when I am looking for accommodation and I feel a bit adventurous. I’lll go from Booking.com, to AirBnb and even look at the offers on Agoda because they like to compete with each other like crazy. And of course, I have FOMOOGD (fear of missing out on good deals). Oh, on their app the prices are ALWAYS cheaper than on their website. They say.
Surely I can not leave out the site that created lots of travel opportunities for millions of people. When I traveled around the world without spending any money, I had not realized that it would create its own bubble of hospitality sharing people. CouchSurfing came along and I personally know hundreds of people who used it and who traveled around the world simply by staying on people’s couching. However CouchSurfing as a web service killed itself off by creating a pay wall and throwing people off their website if they even mentioned competition, so here is the Better option for today’s surfing: Couchers. Created by the tech folks who used to work on Couchsurfing.com and know how to do it the non-capitalist way.
With Couchers you get a chance to meet people and interact with locals in ways that would otherwise be largely impossible! Create an account, put up a picture (!), describe yourself and find yourself an interesting host to stay with in the city you wish to visit next. If you are lucky, you get to stay at this person’s place as a guest on the couch! And if you like to return the favor, host people from all over the world on your couch too. I’ll love you for that!
With the TravelSpend app I can keep track of ALL my expenses, categorize them, order them by day or divide expenses over a period, even insert different currencies and see what my average spending it. It even warns me if I over-spend and gives an amazing graphic overview of all expenses during a certain trip with a pre-set travel budget. I can’t travel without this app anymore.
“Who paid for the drinks last night?”
“Brendon did, I paid for dinner. Didn’t you pay for the boat tickets? So how much do we owe eachother?”
While TravelSpend is great for tracking solo travel expenses, Splittr is awesome for tracking shared expenses. If you are traveling with a friend, in a group, or with a partner with whom you don’t commingle finances, Splittr is essential. You can track expenses in multiple currencies, and set how the expenses are to be split amongst the group. The app does all the math and shows who owes who money in order to settle up.
TripAdvisor is a catch-all app when it comes to travel. You can quickly peruse millions of reviews, opinions, videos, and photos pertaining to just about anything related to your trip — bars, restaurants, hotels, airlines, and more. You can use TripAdvisor’s Near Me function to find well-reviewed places close by, but the best feature the app has to offer is the number of countries it supports — it’s just about everywhere, making it a necessary guide for every traveler. You can also ask specific travel questions in the app’s forums or add your own reviews in a similar fashion to Yelp.
Maps.me gives travelers the option of downloading entire country maps on your phone or tablet, without having to be online. And then with your location (GPS) turned on, you are right there on the map and can find destinations and directions just as if you were online.
Having a currency converter (and one that works offline with the most recently loaded rates) is essential. XE Currency is the current favourite for me and my travel colleagues. Just make sure you update the rates before you leave, so you can perform exchange rate calculations on the fly with or without a data/WiFi connection.
Say what you want about the “sharing economy” (that I godfather like crazy) and the likes of Uber and AirBnB being the antichrist; as a solo traveler, Uber is a godsend. I can catch a ride with a (vetted, publicly reviewed, and thus safer than a taxi) driver, who is paid to deliver me directly and expediently to my destination (instead of driving me in circles to increase the fare). The cost is usually less than a taxi or an ordinary threewheeling tuktuk, and the conversation is almost always better.
Grab is the #1 ride-hailing app if you end up in Southeast Asia, where even Uber ceased to exist in Cambodia and gave all the clients to grab. And yes, just like Uber, they can also deliver food orders. Uber works for example in the capital city Colombo, but Grab is then suddenly always cheaper. And then the Sri Lanka’s local ride-hailing app is Pick.Me which is again exactly the same but still works in the provinces. In Cambodia, the only competition to grab is the local and cheaper variation PassApp.
Newly discovered apps:
I am going to try our PolarSteps on my next leg of travels. It automatically tracks your route and places you’ve visited while you are traveling. Just carry your phone in your pocket (GPS on) and the app creates your own beautiful travel journal. Once connected to the internet, your travel routes, locations and photos are seamlessly transferred to your personal traveler profile, where your route is plotted on a colourful world map that can easily be shared with friends and family.
The folks that brought you the best currency overview app, now bring you a travel spending tracking app that documents your travel expenses, converts them into your home currency, track them against the pre-planned budget and analyzes which parts of the trip were most expensive in a graphic overview. This totally sounds like an utter copy of my beloved TravelSpend, so I’ll need to try it out on my next leg of travels and see if it is more beneficial or not.
This one necessary one:
Unfortunately the world is not a perfect place, and crimes of theft can take place even in some of the most scenic and majestic destinations. Prey Anti Theft is an app that manages your digital accessories, allowing you to find your phone, laptop, or tablet even after they’re gone. Retrieve photos remotely, wipe data, and prevent future loss by locking devices from across the street or across the world.
And to keep track of where you have been
After all that traveling, you might just want to keep track of all the countries in the world you have ever been too, you want to go to or even have lived in. This app is perfect for the adventurer, globe-trotter and travel-minded person. “Countries Been” allows you to browse the world, its places, and add the ones you have already explored or want to visit to a colorful visual checklist. You can share your map onto your favorite social networks, to compare with your friends or use it for bragging rights!
Let me know if I am missing out an exceptional fantastic travel app in the comments below!