The BEST Apps for Traveling
Y'all know I do a lot of traveling; I'm one of those girls who has a literal heart palpitation over the word "wanderlust" as I start at flights.google.com an average of 15 times a week. I plan and research, and research and plan for all of my trips. But what about once I get there? What apps do I use to get around, to make the most of my time, and my energy, while I'm abroad.
Here I break down my favorite apps to use while traveling and how I make the most of them!
This may seem obvious, but I promise you I use it more than just for finding directions. Anytime I am in the company of well traveled friends I listen for their favorite restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, etc the they've found while traveling. I'll find them on GoogleMaps and add a flag, a star, or a note (I actually have them coded by what type of business it is). Then, when I'm in a new place, I can bring up my maps and plan my days around places that are all close to each other; this saves me from the craziness of trying to find specific places and retracing steps. It helps me to be much more efficient with my previous vacation time!
Sure, you can type some things into Google every time you want to see how to say something in another language, but the GoogleTranslate app can handle that and so much more for you. It's especially wonderful when you're traveling somewhere that has a different alphabet as your home country's! Features include the ability to speak into the app and have it translate via voice, have it translate words, and you can hold it up to signs and have it translate them in a sort of pseudo virtual reality! My favorite was holding it up to the toilet panel in Japan and seeing it translate the bidet into "ass input"; hey, it wasn't wrong!
You may think that Uber is strictly American, or that they wouldn't have it in seemingly third world countries, or that using Uber abroad would be more expensive. Well, you're not correct. We've used Uber to get around in South Africa, London, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, and more! I love that it's the same app I use at home and that, despite many travel guides and advices to download a local taxi app, we were able to save room on our phones for more photos and memories!
4. Hotel Quickly
I'm usually a meticulous planner, but sometimes I like to at least try to live life by the seat of my pants. Whenever we're flying frivolously, I grab HotelQuickly to find a last minute hotel deal. This was exceptional helpful when we road tripped across the United States (Washington, DC to San Francisco, CA); we didn't want to over exert ourselves if we didn't have to, so we planned to live abby the edge of our seats, only booking hotels when we were about an hour away from where we'd want to stop. It was definitely an adventure, but HotelQuickly made sure we got the best deals for our one night stays.
If you're not like me and you don't have unlimited wifi in over 140 countries (thanks, T-mobile!), it can be hard to keep track of your trips and emails while on-the-go. TripIt aims to solve that, with an offline platform that allows you to input your travel itinerary including flights, hotels, AirBnBs, excursions, etc. All your tickets and information, all in one place. It's also super helpful for when you are planning a lot over the course of multiple days and timezones; TripIt keeps you organized for it all!
If you're not new here, sorry, but you're going to hear me wax poetic about AirBnB again. If you ARE new here, Hi, I'm Sahra and I'm an AirBnB addict. I've been using AirBnB for nearly 6 years as a traveler, using it everywhere from Austin to South Africa, London to Cambodia, and, well, everywhere I go. I'm also an AirBnB Superhost - which tends to give me extra fund$ in my pocket for traveling! I've always loved the AirBnB lifestyle of staying with a local and getting their insight and recommendations to explore a new city's culture, more so than just museums and tourist hotspots.
But the AirBnB love doesn't stop there - sometime in the last year or so they launched "experiences" where you can book day trips with locals. I'm currently offering my Shopping Tours right here in San Francisco on AirBnB experiences, but am hoping to start using it to explore more too! We eyed a matcha ceremony for when we were in Kyoto and I'm considering a chocolate making class here in SF for when my parents visit, as well as a wine tour. We're currently dreaming of spending our anniversary gallivanting around Italy and all I want to do is have a little old grandma teach me to make gnocchi. If you haven't used AirBnB before, here's a $20 credit for your first use (stay/host/or experience!)
7. Currency Converter
Traveling a lot means having to understand different things, more than just different languages and words. New terms, new customs, new measurements (if you're for the States) and new currencies. This XE Currency Converter has been a lifesaver for figuring out what we can afford while on-the-go. It also updates regularly so you can keep up with where the USD is respectively.
There you have it - my top 7 apps to get the most out of your travel! What are your favorite apps to use while traveling? Let me know in the comments!