Once upon a time, you travelled with a heavy guidebook, a muster of courage to ask a local for more information and by crossing your fingers for luck. These days all you need to know is condensed into a small gadget; all that nervousness, excitement and air of uncertainty has vanished. Information is available to you anywhere there is a network or WIFI signal and you have a smartphone device loaded with lots of useful apps. But which apps are the best? Here’s a guide to some of the handiest apps out there:

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Before you go

Flights

Searching for the best flight deals can be made really easy by using an app, and there are certainly plenty out there. You can take a look at the most popular, including Kayak, Skyscanner, Momondo to name a few. Double check with the airline directly, sometimes this can work out cheaper. Once booked download the app for the airline you are flying with if it is available. They usually make online check-in and getting boarding passes really easy.

Accommodation

There are a plethora of apps to suit all types of accommodation that will suit every budget. Try Trivago, Booking.com, Airbnb, Hostelworld, and Couchsurfing to see what is on offer where you are heading to. It is usually best to book well in advance if you are going somewhere popular during peak season, but if you like being flexible or for a last minute getaway give Really Late Booking or Hotel Tonight a try.

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If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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Weather

Knowing the type of weather where you will be travelling to is pretty important. If you are choosing somewhere that is in the middle of monsoon rains or hurricane season then you might want to change your proposed dates. Yahoo’s weather app is not only beautiful to look at, but it is also full of useful information, including wind speed and precipitation. Keep an eye on the weather whilst you are away, it can change quickly and be very dangerous, or just leave you cold and wet!

Packing

Packpoint provides you with a checklist so that you definitely put all the essentials into your bag. By selecting your gender, destination, dates, and activities you will be presented with all the gear you need to take. After that, you can add anything else to the list. Don’t forget to look at the Travel Essentials page for suggestions and check the items off as you pack.

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For the Nervous Flyer

If you hate flying then plenty of people have developed different apps to help you overcome your fear. Try SOAR to watch videos about the different steps of travel, as well as well as links to weather and turbulence forecasts. SKYGURU basically tells you what is happening during your flight, so that any worrying mechanical noises are easily explained. If you are looking for something that will treat the root cause give Master Your Fear of Flying a go or distract yourself from the experience by using ANA a game that has been designed to make flying more enjoyable.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.
If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

Whilst You Are Away

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Now that you are at your destination you need to make the most of your time there. Luckily, there are apps for that. Tripscout features city tours, audio guides and customisable maps, whereas Culturetrip is all about creating itineraries from local tips.

You can always check out what residents are doing by using MeetUp or if you want to connect with some locals and other travellers over a meal then check out EatWith.

If you prefer the great outdoors then there are apps for that too. AllTrails unsurprisingly has trail guides for hiking, biking and more, as well as recommendations from other adventurers who upload their activities. Don’t forget Spyglass, the compass app.

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Maps

Unless you are someone who enjoys getting lost, having a set of maps to hand is pretty useful. It is no surprise that Google Maps is the industry leader in this field, however maps.me is the one you need. Download before you go and you will always have a guide to where you are. You can search for what you are looking for or use the handy categories to see what is nearby, including sights, restaurants, and transport.

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Transport

Using public transport can be confusing, especially when navigating it in another country. Download Citymapper to discover all the different route options you have in real time or try Moovit which also adds crowdsourced updates to official public transit data to make these kinds of journeys way easier.

If you do find yourself lost, are short on time or there are no public transport options then you may need to hail a ride. There are several apps that can help you find a taxi service, including Uber, Lyft and Taxify, just make sure that you know the fare and that traffic may affect this. In countries where these services are not available search for a reputable alternative, for example in Hungary use FoTaxi.

Translation

Google Translate does a pretty good job of making sense of a foreign language. Make sure you download the language pack before you go to get the best functionality. To use the app to type in words or phrases, take a photo and highlight the words or press the microphone to translate speech as someone is talking.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.
If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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Money

Managing your finances whilst you travel helps you to have enough spends to do everything you want. The first app you need is xe.com, where you can easily see the latest currency conversion rates. Your bank should have an app so you can access your accounts whilst you are away or set up an account with PayPal. Alternatively try Monzo, as their app is designed with the traveller in mind. It allows you to keep track on your expenditure by categorising your spend as well as sending you notifications of transactions.

If you are travelling with friends then keep track of who has paid what using Splitwise. You can add payments made in different currencies, choose who owes who within the group and also record any settling up. It takes the pain out of joint bills and makes sure everyone knows their debt.

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Mind and Body

Travelling can incorporate a lot of exercise, especially if you are pounding the streets taking in all the sights or taking part in sports regularly. Sometimes it can be more leisurely and with many different foods to try you can easily put on a few extra pounds.

Sworkit is a free exercise app that has plenty of workouts that will suit anyone looking to get active. From cardio routines to yoga sessions you can work up a sweat wherever you are.

Travelling can be exhausting for your mental health too. There are many helpful apps that are designed by experts that make it easy access to meditation and mindfulness whilst you are away. Headspace is very popular and great introduction for beginners but requires a subscription to unlock more than just the basic package. Alternatively, try Smiling Mind as it is completely free.

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Entertainment

You will find that there may be times where you are hanging around with nothing to do, on a long journey or needing a break from all the activities and sightseeing. Having something to read or watch can while away those hours.

Gutenberg has an amazing library of free books that will suit any reader. From horror to comedy there is something for everyone. Go for a classic Shakespeare or Charles Dickens or try a book from the country you are travelling in, there’s plenty to choose from.

There are many ways to watch something entertaining using your phone. YouTube is stuffed with all kinds of visual treats, from educational how to’s to music videos. Netflix has a free month’s trial, as does Amazon Prime.

If you prefer to play a game there are so many apps to choose from. Classics such as chess or Sudoku are timeless, or you can easily find computer games such as Sonic the Hedgehog. Hours of fun.

Stitcher is an app that makes it easy to download and listen to all your favourite podcasts whilst you are travelling. There is a genre for everyone, and you might just learn something new.

One drawback with having everything on your phone is that if the battery runs out, it gets lost or broken then it can be quite annoying and expensive. Remember to buy insurance, back everything up to the cloud and carry paper copies of the essentials. If the worst does happen then it is not the end of the world. You can always go old school by asking locals for directions gesticulating wildly, make friends with your fellow travellers or look out of the window!

What’s your favourite travel app? Tell me in the comments below:

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.
If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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