Whilst I’m far from a seasoned traveller, over the last few months I’ve definitely picked up a few tips and tricks. Smartphones and the general level of connectedness of our world makes travelling so much easier and apps can really make the process even smoother.
Here are some of the apps that I relied on the most during my travels.
1. App in the Air
This app is so handy and now my go-to whenever I’m planning a trip. Simply put it’s a digital itinerary app that tracks your flights as well as accommodation bookings from certain sites. You can sync it up with your emails which means when you book a flight the app automatically pulls the info into your itinerary, no need to manually input anything. It’s great for checking your plans at a glance and keeping track of changes. The app auto-updates and notifies you if your flight is delayed (pretty much constantly for my Cebu pacific flights 🤦) as well as giving you reminders before you travel of gate numbers and boarding times – which can be really handy when you’re trying to navigate huge airports.
Another feature I love about the app is the profile, which stores all of your travel stats. I find these really interesting to look at, the total km travelled is particularly handy if you’re planning to carbon offset your flights later.
This one was recommended to me by a friend in Borneo and I’m so glad they told me to download it. Basically, it’s a maps app but the great thing about maps.me is you can download the maps and then use them offline, ideal in remote areas where your data coverage is non-existent.
The maps are searchable by a variety of categories such as where to eat, ATMs, and pharmacies. You can also type in to search for places. A great feature is that you can save places for reference later and also plan routes to and from different points. I still use this app every week in Wellington when trying to work out the best route to a coffee shop I’ve been recommended or find the nearest ATM. Being able to save places makes it super easy to build up your own personalised map to explore.
Another really handy navigation app, Rome2Rio lets you put in two locations and then suggests the best way to get from A to B. It shows the best routes and modes of transport and journey times as well as letting you dig deeper into exactly what train or bus you need, the departure times and approximate price. This app came in so handy so many times!
In the above screenshots, you can see I used pretty generic cities and it still gave me precise journey details. If you click the arrows next to the mode of transport suggested you’ll be able to see the timetables for them. You can get super specific on this app to plan journeys between precise locations.
Another one suggested to me by a fellow traveller I met in Bali. Sometimes you have long layovers in airports or maybe you just want to treat yourself to a slightly more luxurious airport experience, this is where LoungeBuddy comes in handy. It shows you the lounge options at the airport nearest to you (or you can search for others to plan ahead), and lets you buy passes to access them. You’d be surprised at how many fancy lounges are actually affordable, and if you’ve got a long wait it might be a good way to rest before your next flight. The app tells you what amenities the lounge has, reviews, photos and opening times.
6. Individual Airline and accommodation apps
This one probably goes without saying but it will definitely make your life easier. Having apps for the individual airlines you’re using as well as accommodation booking sites will save you a lot of digging through your inbox for booking confirmation emails. Not only that but a lot of apps offer slight discounts when booking through them, Expedia for example. Make sure you sync up your rewards programmes and if necessary download the required apps for those too (such as AirAsia BIG loyalty) so that you’re not missing out on any air miles or rewards points on your bookings.
One top tip I have is SCREENSHOT EVERYTHING. You can’t always rely on airport WiFi and sometimes your travel sim data just won’t work, not ideal when your only boarding pass is on an app on your phone. That’s why I screenshot absolutely everything. Confirmation emails, boarding passes, maps with directions to my hostel, addresses, you name it it’s saved in a special photo album. That way should the internet fail you’re not running around desperately looking for wifi that actually works. This can also save you money as quite a few hostels charge you to print.
Do you have any go-to apps that you always use when travelling? Share in the comments.
Love, Sarah x