We rely on travel technology more than ever, for inspiration, bookings, flight notifications and for creating the perfect travel itinerary. Whatever you need, there’s a travel app out there!
To help choose which to download we've compiled a short list of what we consider to be the must-have travel tech. Get downloading travellers!
Navigating City Transport
Citymapper is a super app for efficient urban mobility. After choosing your supported city and plugging in the destination, Citymapper gives you all your travel options across all transport modes in real-time.
In addition to its core functionality are a plethora of cool features - it provides 'get off' alerts so you don't miss your stop, the transport fare, scooter-friendly routes, the calories burned if you walk or cycle, and informs you of which section of the train to board, so you're closest to the exit when you reach your destination. It even allows you to pick main roads for your walking route, helping you to navigate a city after dark.
Citymapper covers the majority of big cities in the US and Europe, with big plans to expand across the globe.
I know what you may be thinking, the sounds great, but Google Maps does a great job of getting me from A to B, covers the globe, provides driving directions, and even recommends nearby restaurants, so why download Citymapper? Citymapper is a specialist in providing abundant, useful and reliable information in this space, so where Google Maps may struggle, Citymapper will come to your aid.
Free and offers in-app purchases.
Creating a Travel Itinerary
Creating a trip itinerary with TripMapper is fun; for every plan added, the anticipation and excitement builds about the upcoming trip.
So why TripMapper and not TripIt, Wanderlog or a Google sheets itinerary? TripMapper is different - a beautiful kanban style layout, granular trip budgeting (including currency conversion) and pre-made customizable, interactive itineraries to give you a starting point or a little inspiration. That’s just the start of what is on offer!
Once signed up, you could use the free 'Trip' plan or upgrade for a free 7-day trial of the premium 'Trip+' plan to unlock all these incredible features:
- Invite your travel companions to contribute to your itinerary.
- Manage and track your spending both before and during your trip.
- Convert one currency to another for accurate budgeting.
- Set yourself useful trip notifications.
- Add locations to your trip cards and see them plotted on an interactive map.
- Attach tickets, booking confirmations and other useful information to your itinerary for easy access.
- Save, print and share your trip itinerary in PDF.
- Access and view your itinerary when offline.
Plus, having an amazing desktop experience and a mobile app means no one is left out! TripMapper is the travel itinerary app you never knew you needed!
Free and offers in-app purchases.
Put very simply, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) protects your connection while you’re using the internet. It makes your browsing private, hides your IP address and ensures your internet service provider can’t track you. Whether travelling at home or abroad, keeping your data and information safe is paramount, and that's where VPNs come in.
With so many different VPN providers to choose from, it can be challenging to know which is best to suit your needs. This Nomadic Matt article should give you a helping hand in choosing the right VPN for you.
Up until a few years ago, ExpressVPN was our preferred provider until we moved to Surfshark. Why did we change provider? ExpressVPN is known to be an excellent option, but Surfshark offers incredible value in addition to a great VPN service.
Various pricing plans available.
Travel Budget App
Plan your itinerary and stay in control of your travel budget with TripMapper.
With TripMapper's travel budgeting tool, you can easily manage and track your spending both before and during your trip. No longer will you need to create your own travel budget template or be a google sheets travel planner!
TripMapper recognises there is no one-size-fits-all travel budget, allowing you to either begin with the destination in mind and plan accordingly or to start with your budget and see how far it will take you.
Start by setting your daily or entire trip budget, and then input your paid costs (including deposits) and upcoming amounts as you make your plans. The granular budgeting tool will let you know what you have left to spend or if you are over budget, allowing you to retain in control of your trip spending.
Powerful filters for status and category allow you to drill into the details, and the currency conversion feature makes for accurate budgeting in foreign countries. Budgeting with TripMapper is an absolute breeze!
The budgeting and currency conversion feature is included in TripMapper's Trip+ Plan (subscription).
Searching for Flights
Google Flights is not available as an app, but it has a great mobile experience, so it made the list! The criteria filters allow you to find exactly what you need, at the cheapest price. What's more, with Google Flights you can track prices for a flight or route and when the price for that tracked flight or route changes significantly, Google will notify you. Super!
Google Flights also offers useful price change insights letting you know the price history for the flights you’re viewing, when those prices are likely to increase and an estimate of the price increase.
You can't book with Google Flights directly, but it links to the relevant airline or online travel agency making it easy enough!
If you’re going to stay regularly at large hotel chains, then it may be best to book directly with them in order to earn hotel elite status, benefits and points. Using accommodation booking websites is advantageous if you have no loyalty to any one hotel chain, will never stay enough in a particular hotel to earn benefits or want to stay in a boutique hotel.
There are now dozens of booking websites to choose from, all claiming to have the best options, prices and rewards. For us, Booking.com tops the charts for its customer service, functionality, pricing and its 'Genius' loyalty programme. There are currently 3 Genius Levels with relatively low thresholds to reach the next level. If you unlock Genius Level 3, you will be rewarded with 10%-20% discounts, free breakfasts and free room upgrades on participating properties.
If rewards are a key factor in deciding whom you book with, it is worth mentioning that the Hotels.com Rewards programme is also very good and worth checking out. Whether it's Booking.com or Hotels.com, loyalty often pays off!
"Speak, snap, write or type!" From taking photographs of non-English food menus in China to communicating with a local in Cusco using the 'speak' functionality, Google Translate has proved a valuable tool during our travels over the years!
Google Translate is easy to use, doesn't require an internet connection and at the time of writing can translate 109 languages! It may not be the most accurate tool for translating complex sentence structures, determining the gender of the subject, or recognising when a formal tone vs. informal tone is required, but this free pocket interpreter does a pretty decent job and we wouldn't be without it!
Available on the web, iOS and Android.
Spending and Withdrawing Abroad (UK residents only)
Before we get into why we like to use Monzo whilst abroad, we should mention that you currently need to be resident in the UK to get a Monzo card (but they are hoping to launch internationally in the future).
What do we love about using Monzo abroad? Paying with a Monzo card is fee free! When you spend money abroad with Monzo, they use the Mastercard exchange rate without sneaky fees or extra charges. Nice! We choose to be billed in the local currency if we have the choice, as it often gives us a better rate.
If you use Monzo as your main bank account, or have Monzo Plus or Monzo Premium, withdrawals in the European Economic Area ('EEA') are fee free, too. We use Monzo as more of a 'spending card', so Monzo asks that we pay 3% on withdrawals over £250 every 30 days. Outside the EEA you can take out £200 for free every 30 days, and Monzo will charge 3% after that. With Plus it’s up to £400 for free every 30 days, and up to £600 with Monzo Premium. After that, they’ll charge 3%.
Also do bear in mind that some cash machines will add a fee too for taking out money, so use machines that don’t charge if possible.
Maps, Directions and So Much More
With a multitude of features and comprehensive navigation for several modes of travel, Google Maps continues to reign supreme in the navigation app space. Whether by foot, car, taking public transit, or bicycle, Google Maps can show you where you are and how to get to where you need to go. You can even save maps offline so there's no need to worry when you don't have service!
Google Maps is equally useful when you want to explore points of interest, obtain business information and ratings or need to find the nearest gas stations en route.
Google Maps continues to be a top travel tech app when home or abroad.
Photo and Video Editing
Take your photography to the next level with the VSCO app! Either use the 10 free presets, or upgrade to get access to their complete preset library, to creatively edit and enhance your photos.
This slick app is integrated with VSCO Grid, VSCO's own social community where photographers can showcase their best work and be inspired by others. Where this app differs from some other photo-sharing networks is that you can't post comments, which some may consider a refreshing change.
With VSCO it is possible to automatically add photos taken with VSCO to your camera’s roll, or keep them separate in VSCO's own camera library. You can also import your photos one at a time into VSCO for editing.
Free and offers in-app purchases.
Rick Steves Audio Europe
The Rick Steves Audio Europe app organizes Rick's vast library of self-guided walking tours and radio interviews covering Europe's top sights, travel tips, and cultural insights.
If you're travelling to any of the top destinations in Europe, download this app for high-quality, free guided walking tours while you're there.
So there you have it, a list of what we consider the best travel tech out there!
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