Explore the world easier and cheaper with this year's best travel apps on your iPhone or Android smartphone.
I've covered everything you need for your next trip: packing a suitcase, finding discount flights, booking a hotel, exploring a new city, managing your cash, locating a small group tour, and everything in between.
Traveling is a lot less stressful with the right info at your fingertips. But there's also a lot of useless apps out there. So, save your time and download these top travel apps as voted by the globetrotting pros here at Forever Break.
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Planning & Research
PackPointBuilt a custom packing list with integrated weather.
Have you ever had that sinking feeling of opening up your suitcase and realizing you forgot to pack something? This intelligent packing app will guide you on what to pack based on the length of travel, weather at your destination, and specific activities planned during your trip.
TripItOrganize your itineraries automatically.
Forward all your travel reservations via email to [email protected] – including flights, hotels, car reservations, tours and restaurants – and they will magically be added to your itinerary. Itineraries can be accessed offline and easily shared with a travel buddy or family member.
TripCaseFree itinerary builder.
Similar to TripIt, forward all your travel plan emails to TripCase and they will magically be added to your streamlined itinerary. It covers the entire process from planning to making your transit through the airport easier, to accessing directions or booking an Uber ride at your destination.
TripAdvisorHotel, restaurant and tour reviews.
The ubiquitous travel behemoth – love ‘em or hate ‘em. Create a free account and save your ideas for hotels, restaurants, tours, and attractions. Trawl through over 700 million reviews from other travelers so you know what to expect before arriving at your destination. Now with Viator integrated, you can instantly book tours and attractions.
Kiwi.comFlights with flexible search.
In addition to flights, Kiwi also searches lightning-fast for hotels, trains and car rentals. Their advanced algorithm often finds rates cheaper than other platforms. Take advantage of price alerts to find out when is the perfect time to book the cheapest ticket. And for ultimate flexibility use the Nomad tool to plan a multi-city trip at the lowest price.
HopperWork out the cheapest day to fly.
The biggest source of anxiety when booking a flight is wondering if the price is going to go down. Hopper predicts prices with 95% accuracy up to 1 year in advance, providing savings of up to 40%. Once it believes the time is right it will send you a push notification and the booking can be completed within the app.
SkyscannerFind cheap flights.
Beyond flights, Skyscanner also searches for hotels and car rentals with ultra-flexible filters and make bookings within the app. Price alerts keep you in the loop if flight prices change to ensure you catch the best deal. The new intelligent flight predictions feature gives you an idea of how to much you can save by booking during the optimal window.
KAYAKFlexible filtering for flights & hotels.
An all-round travel app focused on finding discounted flights, hotels and car rentals with private deals and mobile-only rates. Price forecasts show airfare trends over the last 90 days to assist in smarter booking decisions. Make the airport experience seamless with live gate updates and step-by-step directions to shops, duty-free, lounges, restrooms and restaurants (including photos).
FlightAwareLive flight tracking with interactive map.
The most reliable live commercial flight tracker for consumers. Whether you are flying or picking up a loved one from the airport, get everything you need to know about each flight: time until landing, gate number, weather reports, and delay notifications. Aiming towards more hardcore airline geeks, the live map view of an airport is pretty cool with icons for each plane and colored lines for their flight paths.
FlioCheck your gate number, get live flight updates, plus comprehensive airport guides.
The best air travel companion, hands down. It offers flight tracking, but without the geekiness of FlightAware. Beyond this are security wait time predictions, gate numbers, baggage claim belts, airport shops and restaurants, and lounges at over 5,000 airports. If a new airport feels a little daunting, use the interactive map to orientate yourself, and walk to the next gate or find a delicious bit to eat.
LoungeBuddyAccess premium airport lounges.
For travelers who prefer to fly in style. Discover and book over 3000 airport lounges all around the world. Find details on each lounge including amenities, food, WiFi, operating hours, photos and reviews.
AirHelpEasily claim compensation for your flight delay or cancellation.
If your plane is delayed, canceled or overbooked, use the time at the airport to make a claim via AirHelp and you could receive up to €600/US$700 in compensation. This platform works best in the US and EU. Simply scan your boarding pass or upload flight details and they take your claim to the airline. Once the claim is successful, they simply keep a 35% commission and deposit the rest of the funds in your nominated bank account.
Booking.comWide inventory of accommodation all over the world.
The undisputed 800lb gorilla in accommodation with over 27 million properties to choose from, including hotels, motels, vacation rentals, and apartments. Search and filter properties by location, price, review score, star rating, breakfast included, and facilities such as swimming pools. Booking.com does not charge booking or credit card fees. Unlike TripAdvisor, all guest reviews are verified and can be filtered and sorted so you can read property feedback from people who care about the same things you do.
HotelTonightLast-minute hotel deals.
Possibly the quickest accommodation booking experience with just 3 taps and 1 swipe. HotelTonight specializes in offering unfilled inventory from hotels who would rather get a sale than have an empty bed. In addition to the usual options, search and filter properties by interesting categories such as “hip” or “luxe”. The HT Perks program rewards frequent travelers with deeper discounts.
AirbnbAccommodation anywhere – from apartments to specialty.
The undeniable leader in vacation rentals – both short and long-term stays. Offering 6 million properties in 191 countries, chances are you’ll find accommodation that matches your budget and desired location. The entire booking process is extremely smooth, with flexible options like part-payment upfront, through to an automated “house guide” which includes essential details like check-in instructions and WiFi password. Integrated chat featuring automated translation makes it easy to communicate with hosts in any language. Airbnb now offers “experiences” such as cooking classes and animal encounters, and “adventures” which are multi-day trips led by local experts.
CouchsurfingFind free places to stay.
They say a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet. And the Couchsurfing app brings together 12 million travel-lovers, connecting hosts with people in need of accommodation. It’s a fun, safe way to score a free place to stay but also meet really interesting locals and experience a more authentic side of a city. In addition, the platform supports group events which are often held at a bar or coffee shop.
TrustedHousesittersLook after a pet in exchange for free accommodation.
If you love animals, find puppy cuddles in over 130 countries. The premise is simple – an exchange is coordinated between an owner and sitter. TrustedHousesitters take care of making the process safer and more reliable. With identity verifications, member reviews, and damage guarantees, both the owner and sitter can rest assured. In-app picture messaging makes it easy to stay in touch at any time, and you can manage multiple sits on the go. Refer a friend from the app and when they sign up, you’ll get 2 months free membership.
UberThe most popular global ridesharing app.
Covering over 700 cities, this app offers fixed transport fares, lower rates than traditional taxis (usually), more transparent driver background checks and training, integrated user reviews, and seamless payments. Simply open the app and enter your destination, and a car will arrive at your nominated pick-up point. Track the driver’s location live while waiting, and keep an eye out for the car’s number plate, make, model and driver photo, so you safely enter the correct car. After the ride, you can leave a review, give the driver a tip or contact support for additional help.
GrabPopular Asia-centric superapp for ridesharing and food deliveries.
Request a private car or taxi seamlessly with just a tap. Based on the same premise as Uber, Grab will get you from point A to B quicker, cheaper and safer. Grab take it to the next level with more transport options (in certain cities) like motorbikes, trikes, e-scooters, and longer-term car rental (4+ hours). Cashless in-app payments make the process effortless. In addition, Grab offers food delivery from local restaurants, courier service, grocery deliveries, and cashless in-person payments.
WanderuFind buses and trains in North America & Europe.
Effortlessly search hundreds of sources for bus and train routes, compare the best deals, and book tickets. Filter by amenities like WiFi, extra legroom and in-seat power outlets. Bus tickets start as low as $1! View your itinerary and get walking or driving directions to your departure or arrival point so you never get lost. Tickets are easily accessed in-app for quick boarding (on participating carriers).
RoadtrippersUltimate road trip planner.
Find amazing places you never knew existed, from local diners to quirky roadside attractions. Start by entering your departure point and destination, then search for all sorts of waypoints by category: hotels, food & drink, camping spots, scenic lookouts, hiking trails and more. The free version of the app allows up to 7 waypoints, and a paid pro subscription will support up to 150 waypoints plus offline maps. Each potential waypoint has a dedicated page with photos, parking details, and reviews from other travelers. The app currently works in USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
GasBuddyFind best petrol prices on a road trip.
Why pay more for a road trip? Track down the lowest price gas (petrol) station by filtering for price, location, brand, and amenities (like restrooms). The optional “Pay with GasBuddy” card (only available in the US) saves users 5c per gallon and additional savings when the card is used at participating retailers (like The Home Depot, Old Navy, Walmart, and more). The app currently works in USA, Canada and Australia.
Navigation & Public Transport
Google MapsEssential travel app for directions, local restaurants, attractions and more.
What started as a point-to-point navigation app has morphed over the years into a superapp that includes hundreds of millions of businesses and places, real-time traffic reports, turn-by-turn navigation, live public transit and local neighborhood guides. With an Internet connection, the app will automatically re-route your journey based on road closures and live traffic. Review your recent locations in the “timeline” or write reviews to help other travelers make informed decisions. Indoor maps are now available for many airports and malls.
Rome2RioFind transport options just about anywhere.
Whether you want to catch a flight, train, bus, ferry, rideshare or rental car, you’ll find how to get there on Rome2Rio. Compare all your options side-by-side with price estimates, and transit times. Drill deeper for route frequency, carrier names, line names/numbers (for buses) and contact details.
CityMapperComprehensive transport options for getting around a new city.
While Google Maps wins out on sheer breadth of coverage, CityMapper wins in terms of depth and intuitiveness. However, the catch is only a few dozen cities are supported at the moment and new cities are slowly being rolled out. Killer features are live bus and train tracking (no more wondering where that darn bus is) and comprehensive public transport timetable with pricing. Easily compare all transit options in real-time (including ferry, e-scooter, and bike), with deep integration for Uber and other ridesharing services. Even super granular tips like working out the best subway car to get into and which station exit to take is covered. Want to walk? It will calculate the expected number of calories you’ll burn. Service disruption alerts are included, as are automated alternative routes. Once you use CityMapper, you won’t know how you lived without it.
MoovitFind public transport options and routes all over the world.
Built on a similar concept to CityMapper, Moovit makes navigating a city so much easier. While the UI isn’t as sexy, it still performs very strongly, with route previews (including photos of transit stops), and live directions which is often more granular and accurate than Google Maps. The breadth of public transport coverage is impressive with over 3000 cities available. Realtime alerts for disruptions, traffic jams or delays make journeys smoother, and members can submit reports about any local issues so other nearby users are kept in the loop.
FlushdThe best bathroom finder.
It does what it says on the label… need I say more? When you gotta go, you gotta go. Find one of over 190,000 bathrooms near you right now. In addition to the map view, additional information about each toilet includes relevant fees, disabled access, and if a key is required.
WiFi MapFind the nearest free WiFi network.
Tapping into a crowdsourced database of over 100 million WiFi networks all over the world, chances are there’s a free Internet connection close to you. The integrated WiFi speed test makes this app even more useful. WiFi network details include: address, network name, password, and historical download/upload speed and members can provide feedback if a network’s password works or doesn’t. The paid pro version includes a secure VPN connection and offline maps.
TheForkEasily make advanced restaurant reservations.
Discover over 55,000 restaurants all over the world, with detailed information like menus, photos, chef recommendations, and prices. 11 million reviews from fellow food lovers make narrowing down a place for a bite to eat just that little bit easier. View a map to see what establishments are close to you and filter by rating, price, cuisine, setting, dietary requirements and more.
OpenTableA widely popular restaurant reservation platform.
A very slick interface combined with tens of thousands of restaurants gives this foodie app the upper hand on competitors. Intuitive search filters include price, cuisines, neighborhoods and seating options. Bookmark your favorite restaurants or considerations for easy access, and share a review after the meal to let other app users know what you think.
HappyCowFind vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
The go-to app for every plant-based traveler. Search through over 108,000 hand-picked restaurants in 180 countries with filters including vegan, vegetarian, open now, gluten-free, WiFi, and 24 cuisines. If you like the look of a restaurant, “star” it for easy reference – both online and offline. Reviews from fellow veg-heads tell you if an eatery is a winner or dud. And members can submit their own finds, photos, and reviews.
YelpSearch for restaurants near you.
Tap into 135 million local businesses all over the world, from coffee shops to pizzerias. Drill down for all the info you need including address, phone number, map, open hours, parking and noise levels. Filter restaurants by price, open now, child-friendly, takeaway options and credit card support. Browse through reviews and photos submitted by other Yelp users. Switch the search from “restaurants” to “reservations” to make table bookings in-app. Other search categories include bars, food, delivery, and takeout. Keep track of what your friends are up to under Activity, in a social media-style feed with photos and reviews.
OpenRiceSE Asia’s answer to Yelp.
The interface isn’t as polished as Yelp, but the depth of data is far better in cities like Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. All the expected functionality is there – search for restaurants by cuisine, close to landmark/district, air conditioning (important in SE Asia!), WiFi, parking, breakfast available, and late hours. In-app table bookings are supported (for a limited number of restaurants). The new “newsfeed” feature allows friends to follow each other’s dining updates and drool-worthy food photos. Bookmark your favorite or prospective restaurants for easy access later.
Attractions & Events
ViatorFind tours and attraction tickets.
The world leader in booking travel experiences, with over 200,000 options to choose from. Search and sort prospective tours and attractions, read through reviews from other travelers, and feel inspired by their photos. One you’re ready, book and pay safely within the app. Prices are competitive across the board, but tours tend to skew towards the lower end of the budget.
KlookTour and attraction ticket platform focused on Asia.
Klook has grown very rapidly in recent years, offering thousands of activities and tours targeted at younger, cost-conscious travelers. Their best price guarantee will refund the difference if you find a better deal. Search by available dates, price range, and instant confirmation. If you’re not sure where to start, browse through popular options or read themed featured guides. RRP is shown next to Klook’s price so you always see how much you’re saving. The richness of detail in each listing is solid and customer reviews add credibility and transparency to the platform. A slick interface and smooth checkout process make this app a must-use for anyone traveling in Asia.
WithlocalsHigh quality private tours from expert locals.
Guide books are okay, but what is better is a knowledgable local expert to show you around a city or region. Choose from 1,200 unique experiences in 50 cities in Europe and Asia from essential highlights to under-the-radar. Unlike other platforms, Withlocal’s emphasis is on the guide – choose the tour first, and then pick a guide to match your interests and style. Most tours offer instant confirmation and have traveler reviews so you know what to expect. Their tour details are thorough, and the entire app is easy on the eyes. If you refer a friend who enjoys a Withlocals tour for the first time, you each earn €15 towards your next tour.
MeetupGet to know locals through fun, small group events.
If you’re spending some time in a new city and want to get to know the local culture, there’s no better way than hanging out with ordinary people. These aren’t tour guides or professionals in the travel industry. Just everyday folk who want to share their passion or interest – such as food, exercise, comedy, singing, technology, you name it! After installing the app, select a few of your interests and it will give you suggestions on matching groups. From there you can join groups or RSVP for upcoming events. Many of these are low cost or free to attend. The organizer will indicate a meeting point and an overview of what to expect.
AllTrailsGet inspiration and plan a hiking trip with curated maps.
If you love the outdoors, then this app is essential. Search through over 100,000 crowdsourced trails for hiking, running and biking. Know what to expect with distance, photos, topography maps, elevation charts, experience levels, and member reviews. The integrated weather forecast with sunrise and sunset times and UV index is useful. Add your favorite trails to a list, then turn your phone into a GPS tracker to record your adventures – so you don’t get lost and can share your accomplishments with friends on social networks.
HipcampFind and book unique tent, RV & cabin rentals.
What Airbnb did for vacation rentals, Hipcamp does for camping. Unique camping locations range from public parks, to farms and vineyards. While popular destinations such as Yosemite and Yellowstone are also available. Search based on price range, group size, pet friendliness, facilities, WiFi and more. Community reviews and photos help you know what to expect and make better choices. This app is heaven-sent for outdoorsy people however it currently only works in USA.
Google TranslateUnderstand signs and menus in other languages.
This app has saved the day many times. Translate via text input, camera, voice and handwriting. The camera instant translation is essential when shopping in a supermarket and you’ve got no idea what the ingredient label says. Or trying to communicate with a taxi driver and they just can’t read Google Maps. The uses on the road are endless. The new “conversation” mode is especially impressive. Simply speak into it to see the words translated into your desired language then the other person in the conversation can press a button and speak back at you, converting on the fly. This is surprisingly fast.
DuolingoLearn a new language for free.
There’s no way better to make a local person smile than say a few words in their language. It shows that you care and are making an effort. Learn over 30 languages for free with Duolingo in a fun, lighthearted way. The learning style is very conversational and relaxed so it will be more useful on the streets than a typical formal program. As you make progress in the app through each level you are awarded cute crowns.
MemriseLearn a language with local pronunciation video clips.
If you learn best by copying someone else, then this app is for you – it’s the opposite of textbook learning. Even if you only spend 5 minutes per day with it, you’ll notice the difference. Memrise uses a combination of fun learning tools: video clips called “Learn with Locals”, listen and record your pronunciation, word games, and photo recognition for when you get stuck. Memrise is conversational, light-hearted and your first lesson is free.
Stay in touch with friends, family or co-workers back home and dodge the expensive roaming text and voice charges. Send photos of your travel adventures even when you’re offline and they will send automatically next time you reach WiFi-land.
SpeedTestTest the WiFi speed at a hotel, hostel, apartment or restaurant.
The first app I open after checking into a new property. Every serious Millennial traveler knows WiFi speed is more important than bed comfort. The “ping” indicates the latency or responsiveness of the connection, and the “upload” and “download” are pretty self-explanatory. You’re looking for a minimum speed of 1-2Mbps for light usage (emails, web browsing), 2-5Mbps for more serious usage (uploading images to social media), and 5-10Mbps for smooth video streaming on Netflix. If you’re a frequent tester, you should download the companion desktop app as well.
XE Currency ConverterKeep track of live exchange rates.
Avoid getting ripped off while haggling in a street market and check the exchange rate on the spot. Look at the “chart” to get an idea of the direction which the exchange rate is heading. If it seems like last time you were in Bangkok, the exchange rate was better you can see historical data up to 10 years old.
SplitwiseKeep track of shared expenses for group travel, for later reimbursement.
Getting your travel buddies to pay you back is tough. This app makes it easier to stay on top of who owes what. Add expenses as you go along, even offline, and then tally them up at the end. Multiple currency support is essential for trips across a region like Southeast Asia or Central America. Pay back using integrated options – Venmo and Paypal.
FreeleticsStay fit anywhere with customized workout routines.
Do a full workout anywhere, anytime. If you don’t have access to a gym while traveling, you no longer have an excuse. Create a personalized plan that matches your goals and fitness level. It’s just like having a personal trainer in your pocket! Short, high-intensity exercises create fast results, and a community of over 40 million other users gives you accountability and encouragement. The free version has a limited selection of exercises, while the paid premium upgrade offers more workouts, an AI-powered coach, mindset audio training, and a deep library of training journeys.
UnitConverterConvert distance, area, fuel mileage, temperature, speed and more.
If you’re used to driving in miles at home and in a new country that uses kilometers, or liters instead of gallons, or Celsius instead of Fahrenheit, then you’ll know the struggle is real. Convert all the numbers you need on the fly, even without an Internet connection, with this simple, elegant app. Your next foreign road trip will be so much easier.
World Time BuddyVisual world clock across multiple time zones.
Calling friends and family back home from the other side of the world can be painful at the best of times. Keeping track of multiple time zones is not conducive to a relaxing vacation. Simply add a row for each city you want to track (plus button in the top right) and see all the info you need in 1 screen – GMT offset, time zone name, current time, and day/night shading. Swipe left and right to elegantly see the time change all across the world. Daylight savings is automatically taken into consideration.