My favorite travel apps in 2016

After many months traveling, I can confidently judge some of the new apps I tried. I have an IT background so I try to find special cases where a given app is not up to the task.

Although I am using an iPhone now, you can find most of these apps on Android too.

Essentials travel apps

Oanda

Currency conversion app working very well, offline too. Offline tip: it saves the rate it had when you were last connected I suppose, so the rate may be a bit off.

Oanda for iPhone. Oanda for Android.

Revolut

Revolut is an “app only” bank: open a bank account in a few minutes after having downloaded the application. And start spending with your virtual bank card right away! You can also get a physical bank card sent to your home, or wherever you are for free! This company has been featured in many websites & seems very promising. More on this in my article “Banking solutions for travelers, expats & digital nomads”.

Revolut for iPhone. Revolut for Android.

Google Translate

Translate whatever you want, even printed text since it acquired Word Lens. So you can now translate food menus & actually understand what you are about to order!

Google Translate for iPhone. Google Translate for Android.

Evernote

Take note & access them from any device. Extremely useful for work, it also great to have when on the road. Whenever another traveler gave me tips, I’d add it to Evernote along with the notes I took doing research. Evernote has more than 100 million users since 2014, it might be a good sign for using it too!

Evernote for iPhone. Evernote for Android.

Pocket

Save articles to read for later, even if you are offline! I love this app as much as Evernote. It prevents me to get too distracted when I bump into an interesting article: I just “add it to Pocket” & close the page. It also gives me an actually interesting reading list & avoids me to waste time browsing the web for things to read. The offline feature is key: when taking a transport without internet access (i.e. 8h bus ride), I can catch up with all these interesting article my best friends sent me. Finally, I use it to share interesting articles I read a long time ago as there is an archive with all the articles you have read in the past.

Pocket for iPhone. Pocket for Android.

Marvin

ebooks are great, but I don’t have an e-reader. Luckily this app lets you read any e-book your travel buddies might want to share with you. Phones are not ideal to read books, but hey, that’s a convenient alternative. I am traveling with a dozen guidebooks in my phone, so that helps!

Marvin on iPhone. Marvin is NOT available on Android, but you have many other options.

CityMaps2Go

I stopped using CityMaps2Go as I was more satisfied with Maps.me, the maps were lighter, more accurate, the app is nicer to use, and Maps.me can also plan your journey from point A to point B.

Maps.me

Maps, but offline! If you want a map application that “just works” then that’s for you. Download a region/country map when on the wi-fi & then you will have access to it at all time. Maps also come with surprisingly good indications on shops, accommodation & more.

Maps.me for iPhone. Maps.me for Android.

Google Map

Maps online, there is also an offline feature but Google Map seems to have primarily been designed to be used when online. Although many places might be missing when traveling (i.e. southeast asia or south america), you can actually help a local business & add a missing place to Google Map.

Google Map for iPhone. Google Map for Android.

Duolingo

Languages are the key to communication. This app is constantly adding new languages to its list. It’s been the best language app I have tried, by far. It’s free, it’s fun & the design of the app is very nice. Finally, you can also use Duolingo from a desktop via their website!

Duolingo for iPhone. Duolingo for Android.

Splitwise

Accounting while traveling with friends made easy. Just add the expenses, who paid what for who & let the app figure out the rest. I’ve tried other similar apps before but that’s the only one that actually does a very good job. You can add expenses in different currencies, create groups (i.e. a travel group), send report to email addresses & more. This is a mature app that deserves being tried.

Splitwise for iPhone. Splitwise for Android.

Motion-x

GPS tracking & following, you might want to use this app to explore new territories. Although finding GPS tracks can be complicated in some regions of the world, once you do it can help you reach areas that you have never been able to independently otherwise. The user interface of this app could be better but “it does the job”. I still have to try other iPhone apps to compare their features.

Motion-x for iPhone.

Motion-x is NOT on Android, but Android has AlpineQuest, which is a great app, better than Motion-x many say.

Instagram

Pictures taken by someone in an area where you go next can inspire you to visit a monument, eat a restaurant, go out in a nice looking bar, and more. I use Instagram to find hidden gems sometimes: I type the name of the city/area I am interested in & browse the relevant tags, i.e. #Bali #BaliFood #BaliBar

Instagram on iPhone. Instagram on Android.

PhotoSync

Back up all your pictures & videos to any service you like. I use it to back up to Google Drive but you can plug it to Dropbox, Flickr, SmugMug & more. I have looked for a reliable solution as I care a lot about my photos & that’s the best I came across. The support team is super reactive & efficient.

PhotoSync on iPhone. PhotoSync on Android.

Fotor

Photo editing from your phone. Yes it sounds far-fetched but it surprisingly works very well. I often don’t have my camera with me & end up taking shots with my phone. iPhones do take nice pictures, but not all the time. Take a couple of minutes to edit the pic on Fotor & you will have a decent photo to post on your favorite social network. I also use it to simply add notes on top of a pic, for instance if I see a product I like I take the pic & add the price on it. Days later I can go back to it when I’m in another shop & negotiate more confidently if needed.

Fotor on iPhone. Fotor on Android.

Momondo

Booking flights or just checking prices with this app is a breeze. German based & not so famous from other countries yet, it has a great user interface & often provides options other services (Kayak, SkyScanner, & else) do not offer.

Momondo on iPhone. Momondo on Android.


Let me know if you have any suggestion for apps to be added. I am happy to try new apps & see what they offer!

I hope this article will help you travel more easily & safely. I would recommend you to get a sim card with internet data on it when you arrive. It’ll save you ton of time & money.

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