10 essential apps for travel

10 Essential Apps for Travellers

I’ll be the first to admit that my iPhone is my most important travel tool. From taking great photos to checking in to flights to showing me how to get around town, there’s not much it can’t do. True to the saying, when it comes to simplifying travel, there’s an app for that. Here are my top 10 essential apps that make travelling a breeze.

1. Skyscanner

First things first: book a flight. I am a huge fan of Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” search function. Often times I’m not picky about where I want to go; I’m just looking for the cheapest flight. That’s when Skyscanner becomes a great reference tool. Simply input the departure city and Skyscanner will display results in ascending order according to price. Before finalizing anything, I always check to see if booking directly through the airline is reasonably priced compared to booking through a third party. If the former is considerably more expensive, I’ll chance it and book with the third party, but booking with the airline is always a safer option if you can afford it.

Skyscanner everywhere feature 2. Booking.com

I don’t even bother checking out other apps, except maybe Airbnb, when booking accommodation because Booking.com’s ability to provide free cancellation is a major selling point. What’s more, you can easily filter by price, location, pet-friendliness, accessibility, and several other factors.


3. Tripcase

Tripcase conveniently combines all the details of your trip into one place. Set up an account and forward your flight itinerary to trips@tripcase.com and the app will create a new trip for you. From there you can add hotel bookings, car rentals, and even attractions that you’d like to see. Tripcase will also tell you what the current weather is like at your destination and give you suggestions for places to visit. You can even use it to order an Uber! The countdown feature sends you notifications to remind you that your trip is coming up soon.

Tripcase countdowntripcase discover
















4. Maps.me

If you’re directionally challenged like me, Maps.me is a lifesaver. Simply download the map of your destination before you arrive and it will be available offline, avoiding any hefty data usage charges. Easily view attractions and get directions by car, foot, and bicycle.

Vancouver maps.me

5. Transit

I used to use Google Maps for transit info, but I find this transit app to be even more intuitive. The routes are extremely readable and Transit will even send you a notification when you’re nearing your stop. Favourite your preferred routes – like how to get from the airport to your hotel and back – for easy access. For now, Transit is most useful across Canada and the United States, but they also offer info for major cities in Europe and Australia, with more on the way.
transit app route

6. Google Translate

In high school, my Spanish teacher always warned us not to use Google Translate because it would be totally obvious we had done so. Well, my friends, our dear old pal Google Translate’s come a long way in just a few years. It’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s more than sufficient for translating basic phrases. Plus, the translations are available offline. Perhaps the feature with the most potential for travellers is the ability to translate text using your device’s camera. The grammar needs some work, but the vocabulary is basically there. Hopefully, as it improves, this feature can help us avoid the pain of blindly picking a dish off the menu and suffering through a steaming plate of disappointment.

Google translate camera

The Boy Who Lived, The Child That Survived – same difference. (Okay, so this feature needs some work.)

7. Snapseed

I rarely, if ever, filter my photos. Instead, I use Snapseed to quickly edit the exposure, saturation, and brightness before posting to social media. But if you are into filters, it has plenty of those, too!

edit photo snapseed

8. Overdrive

If you’re an ebook reader and you haven’t yet heard of Overdrive, head to the App Store, STAT. This nifty little app allows you to borrow ebooks from your local public library. All you have to do is sign in with your library card number and voilà: thousands of ebooks at your disposal, 100% free.

ebook reader

If there’s a book you’re dying to read, be sure to place a hold well before you leave. There might be a waitlist.

9. Nike Training Club

Staying in shape while on the road is important. Although walking is my preferred way of exercising when I’m travelling, if I spend a longer period of time – say, a few months – in one place, I like to have some quick workouts available. Many of the workouts use body weight only and can be completed in just 30 minutes.

exercise nike

10. Hotspot Shield

This one is especially important for those who spend a lot of time away from home. I am very careful never to input important information like credit card numbers or banking passwords over public wifi networks. Using a VPN (virtual private network) protects your data on unsecured wifi networks. You can also use it to access websites that may be blocked in your destination, like Facebook or YouTube. Most importantly, Hotspot Shield allows you to tune in to American Netflix, so you can binge watch the latest season of OITNB wherever in the world you may be.

VPN hotspot shield private

Now that you’ve seen my list of essential apps, tell me what you’d add! What are some travel-related apps you simply can’t live without?   

10 Must-Have Apps for Travel


  1. Reply

    Laura @ Grassroots Nomad

    July 9, 2016

    I use a few of these and will look into the others. It is funny which maps app’s work in different countries. In Guatemala none of the maps work – the best one is something called Waze, which I hadn’t heard of before. Thanks for the tips!

    • Reply

      Ivana Abroad

      July 9, 2016

      Interesting! I haven’t been anywhere yet where the map apps I use don’t work. I guess it’s always good to stay up to date with the vast selection of apps out there. Thanks for reading, Laura!

  2. Reply


    July 11, 2016

    Some great ideas here! Have to say I LOVE sky scanner, it’s like a dirty habit. I’m ALWAYS looking. haha

    • Reply

      Ivana Abroad

      July 15, 2016

      I’m the same way!

  3. Reply


    July 13, 2016

    If you’re roadtripping – try https://www.myscenicdrives.com – It’s a free road trip planner that works worldwide. Lots of handy features to customize your adventures. There are also pre-planned itineraries (so far in the U.S. only).

    • Reply

      Ivana Abroad

      July 15, 2016

      I’ve never heard of it! Thanks for the tip. :)

  4. Reply


    September 6, 2016

    Definitely downloaded the skyscanner app after reading this blog when I was still in Asia :)

    • Reply

      Ivana Abroad

      September 7, 2016

      Awesome! I’m glad you found it useful.

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