Useful Travel Apps and Links

When traveling, especially when going solo, we are at an advantage compared to previous generations in that we benefit (for good or bad) from unlimited data in Europe and an array of mobile applications. These apps help us to find our way in foreign cities, to translate foreign languages, to learn what there is to do around us, and to understand a country’s history without paying for a guide.

Here’s a roundup of some of my favourites:

Not all those who wander are lost

J.R.R. Tolkien

For booking flights

Among many others, I frequently return to:


For collating your trip information, including flight and hotel bookings

TripCase App

Google now collects this information automatically, but TripCase allows you to send your bookings directly to the app. Anything the app can’t read will be saved in your ‘inbox’ or you can add it manually. It’s a great way of keeping track of complicated itineraries. You can simply scroll through your weeks and see where you’re supposed to be. Moreover, you can stop worried parents from constantly asking where you are by linking them into the itinerary. They will receive an update if your flight is delayed and if you’ve landed. For the rest of your trip, they can’t see where you are – there’s no location tracking – but they can see where you’re supposed to be.

Facebook Groups and Websites

It might be better to stay logged out of Facebook while you’re away, but there are some useful groups on the site.

The following are useful for seeking advice, meeting other travelers, and getting ideas:

Love her wild
We are Backpackeuses (French Facebook group)
Explorers Connect

You can also use magazine social media accounts for advice and ideas. These include (Instagram or Website links):
Lonely Planet
NatGeo Travel

You can follow the #amazingdestination

For finding your way

Google Maps. It might be an obvious suggestion, but people sometimes under use the ‘things to do near me’ function. This is useful for last minute city adventures. – Offline maps, sometimes of footpaths and areas which Google doesn’t cover so well

For the UK, the OS Maps app offers multiple routes with guidance on your mobile phone, for a subscription fee. You can park yourself at a cafe, then search for suggested routes near you. You can filter these by difficulty, terrain, length and other options. The routes include suggestions from individuals as well as popular walking magazines.

For finding and booking things to do near you

In addition to Google Maps and OS Maps above, Trip Advisor is useful.

Get Your Guide offers bookable trips.

Klook offers transport and tours at competitive prices. I found this app useful in Thailand to book a bus/ferry combo to the islands from Bangkok at prices cheaper than others had found.

For Climbers, try Rockfax

For learning about your surroundings, and planning itineraries

Czestochowa, Poland is a town with a fair amount of history, but unlike many larger cities in Poland it’s not so well known. As a result, there aren’t tourist signposts telling you how near you are to historical landmarks – or what happened there.

Visit a City is a new one on my list. It literally suggests complete itineraries for you.

Google Maps can also be useful if you click on the accompanying information for the site you’re standing in front of.

For notes on the go

My current favourite is Pushbullet. If you want to organise your notes, choose Evernote or SomNote, but if you simply want to note something quickly – by text, photo, voice etc – Pushbullet works fast and conveniently. It also immediately syncs your notes across other devices.

For Dive Logs on the go

Dive+ App

Most popular for editing dive photos, I really like the dive log on Dive+. Like most Dive apps, it sometimes has difficulty finding the location of your dive site, but it also seems to be one of the few that doesn’t fail, doesn’t cost much, and saves almost all of the information you might like to have. I think it could be improved with a dive time section. It currently asks you to work out what time you finished the dive, rather than just inputting the dive length. The dive log can also be hard to find from the main menu – but once you remember where it is, it’s very handy.

For money

Revolut. Some people prefer Monzo or others, but I’ve rarely had issues with Revolut. Always carry a small amount of emergency cash just in case the app is having issues (this happened in 2017). But to be honest, you don’t need much cash, if any. I haven’t yet found a country in which I’ve been unable to withdraw cash from an ATM using my Revolut card, something which used to happen with debit/credit cards in Asia. I’ve happily paid using the card at shops in foreign countries.

The instant notification about how much you’ve spent in the foreign country and your home country is fantastic, and the ability to keep track of how much spending per country is really handy for planning. This aspect only falls short when a foreign company is registered to a bank in another country. If your friends or new acquaintances are using the same app, you can transfer money to each other without knowing many of their details. You can also split bills and attach photographs of receipts to your payments. Who needs paper receipts anymore, anyway?

For translating

Google Translate, especially the option to translate written text via your device’s camera

Do you think I’ve missed something important? Let me know by commenting below.

‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.’

Mark Twain

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