Homo Digital Sapiens / Our Must-have Travel Apps

Twenty-first century, homo digital sapiens. We can leave home without keys, socks, make-up, without luggage or even cashless but there’s still just one thing that gets us naked: our black mirror and digital ego - The Holy Smartphone. 

Sarcasm aside, hand-size gadget expands our capabilities when we decide to take up a travel on minimal. With proper preparation, we may ease our headaches, worries, save time and money when travelling. And as 2018 is coming to an end, here is my list of must-have travel apps. 

 by SIMONA LAICONAITE

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Airbnb (iOSAndroid)

Though legal not everywhere, Airbnb is a great choice for a more authentic experience – it offers you cheaper places to stay overnight (or longer) either with a local or in a local’s home. You may find rooms, apartments, villas or even boats (yes, boats!!) with bedrooms to rent in a particular city or region. 

You may also find suggested trips or events with local guides in the app.

 

Hotel Tonight (iOSAndroid)

In case Airbnb plans fell apart or you ended up in the wrong city (been there!) I have a nearly perfect app that shows you great and cheap last-minute hotel deals with better discounts than one could expect. Extremely easy to use and navigate, you don’t have to be even nearly tech-smart to nail it, and, I swear, this might be the easiest hotel booking app you’ll ever be using. 

 

Citymapper (iOSAndroid)

OK, not everyone digs public transport when travelling but Citymapper makes it so much easier. It’s a perfect help if you want to get around the city fast and smart with all the available local public transport options. I love not only function but interface as well - it’s funny and funky enough to make you want to at least try it out. What’s more, if you allow notifications, the app is there to assist you with reminding which stop to hop off and where to head next. 

 

Maps.me (iOSAndroid)

I don’t think I have ever travelled without a map. Paper-map era is long gone and now we’ve got plenty of map apps to choose from. Maps.me is my favourite mostly because it offers something that other map apps don’t: it lets view your maps offline (hallelujah!). Meaning, you don’t have to burn roaming data checking your needed locations anymore and this is a Thing if you don’t have a cheap telecom plan for travel.

Skyscanner (iOSAndroid)

This is my happiness app. Sometimes I use it just to lighten the day up. Skyscanner app helps us search for the most affordable and cheapest flight options all around the globe. If not looking for a flight on a particular date, this app also provides info on when it’s cheapest to fly to certain destinations or simply lets you know about the hottest deals from the nearest airport.

OK, I admit also having kiwi.com and Momondo apps on my smartphone, but there’s a reason why Skyscanner is a number one in this list. It works faster and offers much better user experience - convenient interface and filtering options, easier to navigate within the app. 

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Culture Trip (iOSAndroid)

We all seek recommendations from locals, right? This app has it all - places to see, experience, try, taste, explore, etc. The best part is that if you provide a bit of info on your interests and rate previous experiences, the app gets to know you better and continues to offer places that will suit your needs and preferences best. 

 

TripAdvisor (iOSAndroid)

Much broader and deeper than Culture Trip and for most travellers, this one still is a must-have. Probably because TripAdvisor is not only an app but also a platform with nearly every possible town on Earth. Millions of users with reviews and opinions on anything you might need during your travel. I myself mostly use “Near me” function to find restaurants with best reviews nearby or check out its forums before taking off to my destination. 

 

Find My Family, Friends, Phone / Family Locator (iOSAndroid)

Yeah, I know this one might sound creepy but if you ever need a tracking app, I recommend this one. I use it when travelling alone - my family then is able to see my location and be sure I’m safe. When travelling with friends, this app lets you find each other in a crowd, a supermarket or makes it much easier to move towards each other if separated in the city. It also has another useful feature - it may notify you when a person reaches a certain destination so that you know your beloved one is safe (for instance, a notification comes in when a person has reached a hotel or an airport). 

But it does have two drawbacks though - data must be on and it uses quite a lot of battery, therefore, power bank is also a good idea if planning to use the app constantly. 

 

Uber (iOSAndroid)

This one probably doesn’t come as a surprise but it sure is among the Top 10 travel apps. Although legal not everywhere, Uber app is perfect when you don’t have cash for a cab, can’t stand using public transport or just don’t want to be cheated by a regular taxi driver. Normally Uber is even cheaper than a taxi and there even are countries that allow Uber boats to get around islands.

 

Revolut (iOSAndroid)

Ever been in a situation where they don’t accept cards and you just stand there cashless? I sure have. And though Revolut doesn’t cover the globe (yet!), it sure comes handy when you need to pay and only have your smartphone. 

While Revolut card works everywhere as a regular debit card even in non-Revolut countries, the reason I list it as a must-have app is because it is incredibly safe to manage your money when travelling. 

Topping up the account with as much as you want to carry around, switching contactless payments on or off easily within the app or doing the same with online payments. Fast, smart and most importantly - safe. 


Google Translate (iOSAndroid)

I just couldn’t skip this one. At least not until someone develops a better app to get over language difficulties on a trip! This app is extremely easy to use and what’s cooler than in most other translation apps is that it doesn’t only work on input text. You may use your camera to scan texts or even signs and its digital brain translates you the meaning so that you don’t have to worry in non-latin alphabet countries. 

Your turn. What are your must-have apps when travelling?

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