When we first decided we were going travelling, I did the thing that all over excited soon-to-be explorers do: googled all the hints, tips, apps and hacks. To say that it’s an extensive market is an understatement, there are hundreds of apps claiming that they make your life easier whilst travelling. However, I’ve tried and tested many and I have discovered a few which really do help you out.
Disclaimer: I’m just a girl sharing her travel knowledge, of course I am in no way affiliated or associated with any of these brands, these recommendations come from my own experience.
In no particular order here are my favourites:
- Airbnb. Okay, so this is an obvious one, but this app has been a lifesaver. We’ve found loads of amazing places to stay at a relatively cheap price. The assumption is that hostels are always the cheapest option for travellers, but we have found that because there are two of us it’s usually cheaper, or the same price, to book an entire home through Airbnb. It also means we get our own kitchen (which is great if you’re trying to eat cheaply), private bathroom and overall more personal space. Sometimes I do feel we have missed the opportunity to meet new people and other travellers because of our lack of hostel-hopping, but we’re really lucky to have met a lot of incredible people through our Wwoofing and Workaway experiences instead. A tip to find cheaper Airbnb is to look slightly further out of the big cities, if there is good public transport then sometimes it’s better and cheaper to get a 10 minute bus everyday instead of paying to stay central. Also, always check the cleaning fee, sometimes there isn’t one, but sometimes its extortionate!
- Trainline EU. Amazing for booking train journeys. It shows you the cheapest options available and you can receive your tickets via email to access them easily from your phone. This cuts out the stress of trying to read and understand train timetables or can help you to work out exactly what you need to ask for when practising the correct language to book in person!
- FlixBus. Basically the European Megabus. Really cheap transport but unfortunately you only really find them in big cities. As well as the cheap price you also usually have wifi and plug sockets. FlixBus also lets you cancel a trip and get a full refund up to 15 minutes before, you then receive a voucher of the same amount to use within a year.
- Culture Trip. I really like this app because you can search a town or city that you’re visiting and it will give you some really good and interesting recommendations for places. For example- ‘The 10 best markets to visit’ and ‘The best places to buy gelato’ etc. You can easily find places to visit that may not come up in a general search. If you’re like me and kind of bored at this point of seeing the usual churches and cathedrals, this is a good app to help find more hidden attractions.
- Google Translate. Again, an obvious one, but this app is brilliant for translating words, sentences and even whole pages in another language. As long as you download a language beforehand you can use this app offline so it doesn’t matter where you are, you can always access it. It also can translate words from a picture. So if you’re in a restaurant for example, you can take a picture of the menu and it will translate it into your language.
- Maps.me. This app has helped us massively. You need to download the area beforehand but then you can use it offline and it is a very useful map. You can see hiking routes, points of interest and shops. You can search specific points of interest or pinpoint where you’re headed and it will show you the easiest route and how long it will take you to walk, cycle or drive there. Also, great to know that this app is available worldwide, my sister used it every day on her recent trip to Asia and said it was a literal life saver!
- Rome2rio. Helpful to show you every possible route to somewhere. For example, if you wanted to go from London to Paris it would show you the flight, ferry, bus and Eurostar route. It also suggests how much each of these would cost, they’re not very accurate but it’s a great place to start and you can do your own research from there.
As we all know travelling can be super stressful, these apps have made it slightly easier along the way and I hope they can help you too!