Your phone is a powerful device for travel planning, saving money, and communicating with fellow travelers thanks to the incredible range of apps available. How did we ever travel without one? Solo travelers, in particular, benefit thanks to the ability to find cheaper hotel rooms without single supplements, meet other people traveling alone, and break communication barriers
The following are what I consider to be some of the best apps for travel
AwardWallet is a simple, no-nonsense app that has helped me track my air miles for years. AwardWallet lets you monitor your miles and award balances and reminds you when your points are about to expire — a very handy tool. In addition, you can track hotel loyalty programs and many other types of rewards.
AwardWallet also automatically adds your flight and hotel itineraries to a well-presented tab in the app called Trips.
The app is free but I recommend the inexpensive ($30) premium version with more functions. It’s one of the best travel tools I’ve ever used.
This mobile-only app is like Tripit but more modern-looking and offers some really nice features lacking in Tripit. App In The Air lets you track and manage your flights, air miles, perform check-ins, scan baggage, and receive travel alerts. You can also book flights and hotels directly in the app. The visual world map display of your flights is fun and informative and makes the app stand apart from its competitors. The trip list is also neat and easy to read.
Wise’s online bank app has been a live saver countless times. With Wise, you can save money by converting currencies in seconds and spending in local currency, sending money internationally at the best rates, creating temporary credit cards for security, and accepting payments to your own “virtual” bank accounts with addresses around the world.
The app is fast, easy-to-use, and both a money-saver and a time-saver. Don’t travel without it.
A popular alternative to Wise is Revolut.
Tripit organizes your travel arrangements in a neat, easy-to-read, and consistent format. It’s similar to the now-defunct Google Trips product but it has some extra features that make upgrading to Tripit Pro worth it.
The app offers seat tracking, real-time alerts for delays, alternative flight options, cheap flight monitoring, automated travel itinerary imports, and more.
Upon arrival at an airport, a traveler’s first thought is how to get from the airport terminal to their final destination. If you’re you’re a little suspicious of taxi drivers hawking business outside of the terminals and want a bit more security, the Bolt app is your friend. Even if you’re not going to call a cab with the app, it’s good to get a baseline taxi fare to see what you should be charged by the drivers outside the airport.
Google Maps is pretty good at showing me how to get from one place to another. But it’s really only suited to journey’s involving one form of transport. What if the fastest, best, or cheapest way of traveling between two places is by car, ferry, and train? This is where Google’s tool falls short.
Rome2Rio, on the other hand, shows you all of the different ways to travel between two locations on the globe. It even provides links to train, ferry, and airlineall the timetables and booking systems.
Rome2Rio is one of the best apps for people traveling alone who want to get around the world with minimum fuss.
Watching movies and TV shows on a plane, train, or automobile (not while driving, please) is a pleasant way to pass the time. But what if you could combine TV shows and movies with language learning? Improve your language skills and be entertained at the same time.
Lingopie is the only language app that uses TV shows with real-life dialogs to help you learn. You learn from context rather than just words. The app contains interactive transcripts for all shows, the ability to save phrases, rewind or forward instantly, and select different subtitles.
This is one app that will not only make you smarter but make your journeys shorter.
Traveling alone can be, well, lonely. And while many people enjoy the freedom and solitude (myself included), it’s great to be able to meet up with like-minded individuals. Meetup is the perfect app for finding your tribe in whichever city you happen to be in.
If you’re looking for locals to guide you around a city, ShowAround should be one of the first places to look. Most of the service providers are amateur locals, so prices for tours and city guides are lower than similar services by professionals. But what makes it interesting is that you can often find people with interests in music, architecture, wine, or food that will happily introduce you to the important landmarks in their city related to your favorite subject.
I’ve used this service in Ukraine and Georgia and recommend it highly. Rates are per hour and some are even free. Perfect for the independent solo traveler who would like to meet like-minded locals and not break the bank.
Tours are often much cheaper for groups. Single travelers get poor deals because they must organize tours by themselves or join other groups and sometimes wait for the other members to do whatever it is they have to do. But there’s a solution.
GetYourGuide offers a á la carte menu of activities and food tours in thousands of worldwide destinations. GetYourGuide is essentially a marketplace for experiences, similar to Airbnb’s “Experiences” offering.
Ever found yourself wandering around a city with a backpack with nowhere to leave it? Envious of couples when one person sits with the bags while the other walks up flights of stairs or scouts the location for eateries? It’s hard to do when you’re traveling solo.
Well, stashing your bags in a safe location is easier now thanks to Stasher. Use the app to book on-demand storage for your bags in a growing number of worldwide cities (over 1000 currently). Your bags and valuables are secure and insured. Why did nobody think of this before?
Like a mixture of EatWith, Get Your Guide, and ShowAround, WithLocals aims to provide travelers with the best private food tours, walking tours, and activities with locals. WithLocals focuses on private, personalized itineraries. The company is attempting to move people away from mass tourism and into more immersive and intimate touristic activities.
Google Translate is invaluable in situations where there’s a language barrier and hand signals and miming doesn’t work. Of course, these kinds of situations can lead to some great travel stories, and sometimes it won’t matter if you’re not understood – a smile and you’re on your way. But at other times, like when you’re booking an important train journey, trying to find your bus among hundreds of others, or ordering food that is actually cooked, Google translate can save you time, money, and even a trip to the doctor.
There are other advantages too. The Google Translate app is also a powerful tool for learning a language or improving a current one.
Of course, no journey would be complete without the ubiquitous Google Maps. But it’s hard for them to compete with Google’s massive resources. As such, Google’s app is likely to be the one you use on your phone.
It’s free, fast, and covers most of the world’s cities (and more). Of course, not everyone loves Google. If you don’t want to use the platform because for whatever reason, don’t worry, there are alternatives…
This app might appear to be a direct competitor to Google’s map app, and in a way it is. But it takes the concept of the map and adds a new layer on top. Map information is also sourced from the crowd-sourced OpenStreetMap, a type of Wikipedia map.
Maps.me is an alternative map resource that you can use to plan your journey and discover new attractions and routes while you travel. Maps.me offers extra information on attractions, tourist routes, and things to do. Anyone can contribute and there’s no spying on your movements. It’s easy to label places and create travel itineraries on this app.
While there’s nothing wrong with eating alone (I often welcome the opportunity) sharing a meal with good people is special. EatWith offers a shared dining experience in countries around the world. For solo travelers, group meals like this are great for not only meeting other travelers and locals but for making mealtimes a social activity that doesn’t involve hanging around a bar and drinking too much.
EatWith bills itself as a food experience and thanks to the great app, you can easily find a meal with new friends that will turn your travel dinners into group events. There are also cooking classes and food experiences exclusive to the app.