20 Travel Apps You Should Never Be Without

There’s an app for everything these days, and I mean everything, like unzipping and zipping up a simulated fly, or cracking a virtual screen. Thankfully travel apps are a little more useful. In fact, they are easily some of the most useful around. You can get help for every minute aspect of your trip; from the very obvious, like flights, to the very specific, like when you next need to layer on a little more sun screen. Check out our list of the 20 best travel apps for all your backpacking and holiday needs…

#1 Foodspotting

FoodSpotting Map

  • Free for iOS and Android

Foodspotting is made especially for the dedicated foodie and uses GPS to scan your local area for restaurants. It’ll show you a slide show of nearby eateries, accompanied dangerously tasty looking pictures to get you in the mood and customer reviews to make sure you get what they are advertising. It also has a map mode to make finding whatever you fancy even easier.

#2 Gas Buddy

Gas Buddy

  • Free for iOS, Android, Windows 8 Phone and Blackberry

Gas Buddy is a brilliant travel app for road trips, allowing you to find the cheapest gas around while you’re on the move. It’s only available in America and Canada at the moment, but a must if you’re burning it down Route 66 but don’t have money to burn.

You can find the nearest gas station and compare the prices. You can also earn points for reporting gas prices and use the points to enter prize giveaways. You can win a $250 gas gift card every week.

There’s a strong community of users on GasBuddy so join in for free and with current gas prices, you could literally save hundreds.

#3 FlightBoard


  • £2.49 for iOS, Android, Windows 8 Phone and Blackberry

FlightBoard instantly turns your iPhone or iPad into an arrivals or departures board for any airport in the world. You can tap into any flight board around the world and check the arrivals and departures – great if you’re one for picking up friends from the airport!

The design is old-school and the travel app covers 4000 airports and 1400 airlines worldwide. It’s updated every 5 minutes and you can quickly switch between departures and arrivals boards – you can also share your flight info with friends and family via Twitter, Facebook and email.

#4 Trip It


  • Free for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone

Trip It is the world’s easiest way to organise and share your travel plans on FaceBook or LinkedIn. You can also let your followers know about the best cheap hostels around and it’s a great way to keep all your travel plans in one place.

Store confirmation emails and bring them together in an itinerary to have when you need it. Just forward the confirmation or important email to plans@tripit.com and the travel app will update your account automagically.

#5 Byword

  • £2.99 on iOS

Byword is a writing app for jotting down thoughts while travelling. It uses iCloud and Dropbox sync to allow easy backup and syncing with the new Byword for iPhone and iPad application.

There’s an autosave function, it’s fast and there are plenty of shortcuts to keep things simple. You can export MultiMarkdown documents to PDF, HTML, Word, RTF and LaTeX and there’s document recovery for OS X Snow Leopard.

There are also auto-pairing, auto wrapping and typewriter scrolling functions.

#6 Packing pro

Packing Pro

  • £1.99 on iOS

Packing pro gives suggestions on what to pack, based on the trip you’re taking. The award-winning app fully syncs up, so you can edit your lists on a PC with Excel, Numbers or GoogleDocs, and you can share your lists online or with friends.  There’s a huge master catalogue with more than 800 items for babies, kids, pets, sports, cooking & religion.

The expert list assistant creates lists based on the number of adults, children and days as well as the current temperature, the destination, the food preparation and clothes washing preferences.

#7 Google Translate

  • Free for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry

Google Translate translates phrases into more than 60 languages. For 17 languages, you can speak your phrases and hear the corresponding translations spoken back to you.

In 24 languages you can listen to your translations spoken aloud and you can also display translations in full screen mode to make it easier for others nearby to read. It also supports translations from even rarer languages like Yiddish, Czech, Tamil, Telugu and Latvian, among all the more popular ones too.

#8 Skyscanner


  • Free for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry

Backpackers circumnavigating the globe aren’t going to find a better app than Skyscanner. This lets you compare countless flights from all the biggest airlines around the world. Not only can you do it on the move, but you no longer need to scour all those annoying flight comparison sites. All you need in one handy little app.

#9 XE Currency

XE Currency

  • Free for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry

XE Currency is a great app for the financially forward thinking (or frugal) traveller. It gives you up to date exchange rates on your money and can be used to calculate prices in shops or restaurants as well. Now you can make sure a currency exchange is displaying the right rates and double check you’re not being taken for a ride.

#10 Around Me


  • Free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone

Backpackers are almost constantly on the move, so rocking up to a new town or city every few days can get a little disorientating. Thankfully there are all purpose GPS guides out there that can help you find whatever you want, wherever you are. So, whether you’re after a restaurant, a shop, a bank, a bar or want to know where all the local attractions are, Around Me can point it all out on a useful little interactive map.

#11 HostelBookers

HostelBookers App

  • Free for iOS and Android

Alright, so this is a little bit of a cheap plug… but it does make booking the best budget accommodation even easier than it was before. The HostelBookers app has the same complete range as the website, only now it’s easier and quicker to book using the apps simple interface. No more waiting for the mobile browser to load, no more pesky timeouts on dodgy data networks. Did we mention – it’s free!

Download it now in the App Store or on Google Play and give it a try.

HostelBookers App

#12 JetLag Calculator

Jet Lag Calculator UI

  • Free for Android

There are a few of these floating around in the various app stores, but the Jet Lag Calculator and its peers all serve pretty much the same purpose. You enter in the time of your flight, your home country and where you’re flying to and the app will work out a sleep pattern that will gradually acclimatise you to your new time zone. The Jet Lag app serves the same purpose on iOS.

#13 WeatherPro

  • £1.99 for iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry, £2.49 for Android

WeatherPro has the reputation of being the master of weather forecasting, being deemed “accurate to the point of clairvoyance” by Time Out magazine. Not only does it predict the weather, but also provides all kinds of geeky data like cloud formations, atmospheric figures, wind speed and humidity, all of which will be fascinating to at least one person in the hostel bar… possibly.

#14 Google Goggles

Google Goggle

  • Free on Android

Probably the coolest of all the apps, Google Goggles is my favourite by far. It’s the one for all history geeks, culture fiends and tech geeks alike. If you’ve seen any of the promotion for Google Glass, then you’ll probably have seen a snippet of this in action. Simply open the app, point your camera and snap a pic of any nearby attraction (painting, sculpture or architecture, whatever). So long as what you’ve photographed is old enough and well known enough, it’ll bring up the relevant Wikipedia article automatically and make you an instant expert. How very, very cool!

#15 Wi-Fi Finder

WiFi Finder Radar

  • Free on iOS and Android

Wi-Fi Finder is pretty self-explanatory, doing exactly what it says on the tin. It’ll point out all the nearest Wi-Fi hotspots on its built-in map so you can avoid those extortionate roaming data costs. It also has a very cool Wi-Fi radar, which can show you which specific Wi-Fi connection is closest and strongest.

#16 Time Out City Guides

Time Out Travel Apps

  • Free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone

The Time Out apps can really help you get the most out of your city trips. It’ll cover pretty much everything that’s happening in the city over the coming few days, like gigs, theatre showings and club nights, along with reviews and advice on the best restaurants and bars to visit. You’ll need to get the app that specifically covers the city you’re visiting as there isn’t one worldwide Time Out app. However, the content is so comprehensive you won’t mind the little extra time needed for downloading each.

#17 MapMyRide GPS Cycle Riding


  • Free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone

If you plan on exploring by bike, then MapMyRide is for you. Not only can you track your routes and save for later, it’ll also help you navigate via GPS. It’ll spew up a load of stats too, if you want cold hard data on how much of a fitness freak you are.

#18 SunScreen Re-Applying Reminder

Sunscreen ReApply Reminder

  • Free on iOS and Android

No matter how good your intentions in the morning, do you always forget to add that next, much needed layer of sun screen? Inevitably do you end up shuffling around like a New England lobster and look just as pink? Well, never fear. The very creatively named SunScreen Re-Applying Reminder is here to save the day. It does exactly what is says on the tin and sets a phone reminder for when you need to rub in that next layer.

#19 Tipulator


  • Free on iOS and Android

Brits seem to be world renowned as the worst tippers in existence. It’s all good and well complaining that we don’t have to do this at home, where bar and waiting staff are paid properly, but in places like America, staff rely on their tips to live. It’s a lesson I learned quite starkly after being chased down the street by bar staff after forgetting to leave a tip for the last few rounds of drinks. Well, Tipulator will make sure you’re never deemed a tight wad again. You won’t be thought of as generous either, but come on, you’re backpacking. Got to save those pennies!

#20 Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

If you don’t know what Kindle is then it’s probable that you’ve been living under a rock for close to a decade. You know, it’s that universally known app (or device) that lets you read e-books. Are there any alternatives out there? I’m honestly unsure. Still, the Amazon library is pretty spectacular and you can find pretty much every book in existence, along with some Amazon exclusives from little-known self-published writers; some on the rise, some not. You can also find a whole bunch of classics for free – so yeah, it’s worth downloading.

What are your favourite travel apps and which are the most useful or most unique? Let us know in the comments…

Thanks for the pic travelanthropist.com!

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