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Best Apps For Backpackers

Best Apps For Backpackers To Save You Time And Money

Whether it is planning or booking, searching for bargain accommodation or cheap flights these are the best apps for backpackers that allowed us to do all that at the click of a button. Taking the stress out of travelling and getting us out of some very tricky situations. There literally is an app for every step of your journey to save you money, time and effort as well as stick to a budget, speak the local language and travel as safely as possible.

BEST APPS TO PLAN YOUR ROUTE

Rome2Rio

What this app does: This app allows you to plan your travel route when you are travelling by plane, train, bus ferry or car.

Why you need this app: One of my favourite apps for backpackers that I’d never embark on a trip without is Rome2Rio. Rome2Rio is a convenient app that lets you find the best transportation between two places. 

All you have to do is enter a starting point and a destination and the app compiles all possible ways of getting there for you, be it by train, bus, aeroplane, or taxi. The app also estimates the trip duration and prices so that you can save time, stress, and money.

Rome2Rio is a true lifesaver when venturing off the beaten path in areas without hyper-developed tourist infrastructures. Without this app, I would have never been able to get to the remote parts of Mindanao or embark on a day trip from Bucharest to Bulgaria.

By Arabela at The Spicy Travel Girl

Wikiloc

What this app does: This is one of the best apps for backpackers who enjoy hiking. It lets you track your hiking, cycling or walking route via GPS with access to over 18 million trails worldwide.

Why you need this app: Wikiloc is one of my favorite apps when it comes to exploring remote places as it is an app with millions of user-generated GPS-trails. The trails on the app can serve as inspiration for your own adventure, or you follow a certain track exactly. 

It is suitable for hiking, mountain biking, waterfall chasing, kayaking, trail running and all other kinds of outdoor activities. While you probably don’t need Wikiloc for developed countries where you have plenty of well-signposted hiking or mountain biking trails, it is a great fit when you want to explore a country where most of the trails are just known to the locals of the next village. 

For example, here in the Dominican Republic, I have used Wikiloc several times to find hidden farmer trails to pristine beaches, unknown waterfalls or secluded peaks with abundant vegetation, where you otherwise would never have been able to find a way to reach your destination. It also helps if you want to explore certain areas without a guide as you simply can follow the trail tracked by someone else with the app.

However, two warnings for using Wikiloc: First, some of the trails are not entirely accurate as there is no content control behind Wikiloc. Sometimes the users just upload a random trail or they put it into the wrong category. When venturing out, always double-check the trails, the best is to use double check with a second source or app to make sure.

Second, even if Wikiloc can save you paying a guide, never head into the jungle or other unexplored areas without proper knowledge of the terrain. If you have never been out there on your own, it’s a bad idea just to rely on an app, so ensure you have someone else with you and have the correct gear.

By Chris at Punta Cana Travel Blog

Maps.Me

What this app does: Search & discover routes & maps all over the world – offline!

Why you need this app: Maps.Me is one of the most popular travel apps for backpackers. The free app and its features are an excellent backpacker resource for cheaper, better travels

Top map apps such as Google Maps are ideal, but many backpackers rely on Maps.Me as an alternative, especially if you have limited access to Wi-Fi or data. The maps are downloadable and an excellent backup to larger, more comprehensive map apps. Google Maps does not work in every country, and sometimes it just isn’t accurate. In many backpacker locations, there is no internet access or mobile service to use an app like this, either. 

Maps.Me breaks countries down into downloadable regions. All you need to do is download a map over Wi-Fi before visiting a particular region. This also saves valuable storage on devices over downloading the map of an entire country or larger region.

One of the best features of Maps.Me is the user tips added to maps. When you download a region, tips added by other users are on the map. There are points of interest, viewpoints and attractions not listed on any other map or website. For those countries where Google Maps is blocked or you’re in need of extra travel tips or just some peace of mind, Maps.Me is an excellent app for backpackers.

By John at The Hangry Backpacker

Komoot

What this app does: Search and plan routes for hiking or mountain biking.

Why you need this app: One app I can’t survive without is Komoot, an insightful route planning app that provides all the optimal options in a given region, with offline maps, turn-by-turn instructions, and more! It saves me a lot of time (and money), and helps me make the most of the area I am traveling in. From the most basic of dirt tracks to the most celebrated hiking trail, Komoot lets you search for all the best options around you… with height maps, times, photos, guides, advice, and more. It’s like having information from a local, right there in your pocket — and has so many places I would never have found without it. It has saved me so much stress, and having to take experience tours to discover local nature trails.

I used this app a lot while camping in Auckland (New Zealand) but Komoot has the most options in Europe, especially in Austria, where it is based. If you like to plan your own trip, too, Komoot makes things simpler. If you want flat asphalt for your bike trip, independent trails for your mountain bike, or quiet hiking trails with a view, Komoot lets you filter and creates sport-specific, topographic routings. Just configure your preferred option, and it recommends a  path that’s include everything you really want to see along the journey. It used to be totally free, but now they have a premium version. You might decide it is worth it, but I have never had a desire to use more than a basic version.
 
By Jordan at This Is Auckland

Polarsteps

What this app does: This app allows you to plan, track and relive your travel experiences.

Why you need this app: Polarsteps is one of our favourite travel apps during our trips. The main goal of the app is to track your trip: it creates a map of your destination with your exact itinerary. You can do this by either switching on the automatic tracking or creating pinpoints on the map during the trip. We actually do both, as you can also add photos and a text about that specific destination on these pinpoints.

The combination of travel photos and itinerary makes Polarsteps the perfect app to update your loved ones about your trip altogether. You can simply share your app account or this specific trip with them and they can enjoy your travel updates. We like how we don’t have to update all our family and friends all the time this way.

The app is often used for big world trips, but we even use it for shorter trips like our 12-day road trip to Jordan or our two week-trip to Egypt.

Even better: if you like to look back upon the trip afterward, just open the app to see your day by day itinerary. Or use their offer to convert all Polarsteps data into a travel photo book of your trip.

By Maartje & Sebastiaan at The Orange Backpack

Waze

What this app does: Like Google Maps, but much more fun

Why you need this app: Waze is a navigation app which is the funkier, younger cousin of Google Maps. Why is Waze better? Waze allows you to report road incidents in your area and this will then become visible to other Waze users. It is one of the most accurate navigational apps that we have ever used and couldn’t travel without it.

There are many quirky features that make long road-trips much more fun, a favourite being recording your own voice to give the Sat Nav directions. If listening to your own voice in a 3 hour journey doesn’t sound too fun, download some of the apps hilarious voices such as “boy band” who will sing the directions or Football team who can cheer you along. You choose your own icon and can see other Waze users on your route as well as unlock new features as you pass certain milestones. Far more entertaining than a usual Sat Nav and also completely free!

Google Maps

What this app does: Create itineraries and bucketlists, navigation and more.

Why you need this app: But wait… didn’t you say Waze was better? We believe that Google Maps deserves a mention on here, as it has some amazing features which aren’t just helping you get from A to B. One of the best apps for backpackers as it is the best travel itinerary planner we have ever used and the ideal way to have your bucket list in one place.

During our Workaway in Hawaii we were introduced by our host to the stars feature of Google Maps, you can watch his full review on YouTube here. How many times have you seen somewhere amazing on Instagram or Pinterest and then forgotten where it is? Basically, the star function allows you to star all the places you want to visit in a place and then creates a route.

This means you can track your bucket list in one app and tick them off as you go. Before this we were hunting through screenshots from Instagram or endless Pinterest boards as we constantly forgot which must-see places we’d saved.

Best of all, if you search for the best attractions in a place, for example “Venice Top Attractions”, then Google will recommend these on a map so you know if any attractions are nearby, give you the reviews from other users and also allow you to star them there directly. It also shows you how many miles you’ve travelled, number of cities you’ve visited and so much more.

At times a little shameful (surely we didn’t go to McDonald’s THAT much) but very useful when trying to retrace your steps and remember the name of that restaurant in Vienna with the best Schnitzel and so on. This app will save so much time and effort, making travel planning so much easier.

Man Getting Directions On Phone

BEST APPS FOR BACKPACKERS ON A BUDGET

Money Manager

What this app does: Keep track of your expenses.

Why you need this app: Ironically, money manager is the only app which we have paid for during our travels, but is one of the best apps for backpackers on a budget! The hardest part about travel, with so much amazing places to stay, eat and explore is how to afford it all. This app, allows you to keep track of your expenses by storing your receipts and create graphs automatically to show where your biggest expenses are (looking at you cheese & wine.)

I know this all sounds very exciting, but if you’re serious about travelling then you need to know how to budget and when to cut out those ice-creams. At first, in all honesty it was a bit of a faff typing in each time we purchased a coffee and so on. However, it quickly became habit and those satisfying little pie charts made it worth it to see where the majority of our money was going.

We are all about those bargains, so if you’re backpacking on a budget, take a peek at our resources page for more budget advice, discounts and money saving travel hacks! As well as our post on how anyone can afford to travel the world.

Want to also know how much it cost us to travel Europe for 3 months, take a peek at our backpacking Europe costs to find out exactly what we spent.

Tripcoin

What this app does: This app allows you to keep track of your travel budget on your iPhone.

Why you need this app: This app is a long-term traveller’s best friend. Hands down, the biggest budget blowing mistake travellers make is forgetting to track their expenses. You simply cannot stick to a budget if you don’t know where your money is going. I first used TripCoin on my 7-month round the world trip & was able to keep track of every dollar I spent, what country I spent it in, & see my total daily average, as well as my daily average by country or by category (accommodation, food, activities, etc.).

My favourite feature of the app is that it links to your phone’s GPS automatically inputting what country you’re in as you record each expense. Another time-saving feature of this app is that I can input my transaction in ANY currency. The app keeps up to date conversion rates, so I can input my expenses in Laotian Kip & it will convert it to my home currency automatically. No math skills needed here. You can also split expenses over the course of several days with a simple push of a button. So, that three-day all-inclusive trek you just set out on? Choose the split option & it will automatically divide the expense over the course of the next three days & did I mention it’s free? 

By Geena at Beyond The Bucketlist

TravelSpend

What this app does: This app allows your to track your spending during your travels.

Why you need this app: One of the most important things for a traveller to do is manage their budget. If you don’t keep a close eye on how you spend your money, you won’t be traveling very long. Our favourite app to keep us on a budget is TravelSpend. The free version has everything you need to keep you from overspending and track your expenses. 

There are over 19 categories to choose from, and for a small fee, you can add an additional 10 categories. The statistics show you your average daily budget, the total amount spent to date, daily average spend, and deficit/surplus.

The other cool features included exchange rates, geo-tagging, payment methods, and cost breakdown per person. The cost breakdown per person is great for families or large groups. You can even track if your friend owes you money, how cool is that?

As a full-time travel family, this keeps us from buying anything that is not essential for travel. This app has everything you need to keep your budget on track, to keep you on the go.

By Corritta at It’s a Family Thing

Splitwise

What this app does: This app allows you to easily split your expenses with another traveller during your trip.

Why you need this app: One of the best apps for backpackers on a budget is Splitwise. This ingenious app helps you split bills with a travel companion or a group. You simply input any expenses you or your companions make and it keeps tally, splitting the final total between everyone involved. You can split a cost between one person in the group or everyone or choose the percentage that you’re covering. At the end, you can press the simplify button which usually results in the person who owes the least and most settling up, rather than everyone paying everyone in small contributions.

Downloading Splitwise is a great tip for solo travellers because it reduces any awkwardness over owing money to people you’ve only just met. It really helps keep your budget on track, especially if you’ve bought one too many rounds at the hostel bar and your memories a little blurry over who owes who.

By Rose at Where Goes Rose

Man Taking Photo With Phone

BEST APPS TO MEET OTHER TRAVELLERS

Meetup

What this app does: This app allows you to meetup with other travellers and make friends while travelling.

Why you need this app: Do you wish to travel with like-minded people having similar interests and tastes? If you are fond of meeting more and more new people and make friends while traveling then Meetup App would be the best choice for you. Meetup App is one of the most famous social media apps that has gained popularity among travellers. It is an equitable platform to find and build local connections. All you have to do is to connect with local people around you through the app who wish to visit a similar place and pack your bags.

Meetup App not only helps you to meet new people but also find support and learn new things while traveling. The app assists you to plan your journey and look out for the best deals available. It is not required to have any other messaging app to remain connected with people on the trip. Once you meet people you have the option of discussions and messaging for a hassle-free trip. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and don’t forget to take along some of the best wilderness survival books to read during your backpack trip.

By Paulina at Paulina on the road

TravSolo

What this app does: This app allows you to keep track of your travel budget on your iPhone.

Why you need this app: Sometimes, backpackers travel solo, but still want to meet others and make friends while on the road. That’s why one of the best apps for backpackers is TravSolo, an app that helps connect solo explorers with other travellers in the area! You update your profile with a few details such as interests and hobbies, as well as pictures. Then, you can find others near you on the app that are open to meeting and hanging out. This can be a great resource while traveling, as you can find new friends to grab food with or even split the cost of a tour guide or activity. Roadtrip Tip: sharing a rental car with friends can really save costs, even if it’s for a day trip, and it will make the ride more enjoyable. You might even decide to start backpacking together! The friends you make while traveling last a lifetime. The app also allows you to upload your itinerary, stories, maps, and pictures from your trip, so others can get ideas and inspiration for their own travels – and vice versa. 

By Kay at The Awkward Traveller

Couple Eating Ice Cream

BEST APPS FOR TRANSPORT

Flixbus

What this app does: Allows you to book, track and search buses all over Europe.

Why you need this app: Not only is Flixbus great for cheap bus travel around Europe, you are also informed of delays in real time. One of the best apps for backpackers as you can also track and store your bus tickets. This is so much easier than searching through emails to find them (especially if you can’t find WiFi). Not only does it track journeys you have already booked but you can book new bus tickets through it too, often with exclusive deals!

Backpacking Europe by bus could not be easier (or cheaper!) thanks to this app. After our 3 days in Venice we used Flixbus to travel to Ljubljana then onward to spend Vienna and Bratislava. We then travelled onward to spend some time in Prague and Krakow! Our cheapest journey was the bus from Vienna to Bratislava which took around 1 hour and cost a crazy £3.47! Our most “expensive” was the bus from Ljubljana to Vienna which took 5 hours and was £22. Download it ASAP as you can get your first 5 journeys within Europe for 99 Euros!

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Kayak

What this app does: Find cheap flights, plan your travels.

Why you need this app: It’s likely you’ve heard of Kayak being one of the best apps for backpackers due to its bargain flights but did you know it is also one of the best trip planning apps and ideal holiday organiser. Kayak Trips is an amazing app for backpackers (especially if you hate itinerary planning) as you simply forward all of your trip emails and info to the app and it stores it all in order of when you’re going to need it.

Days of A4 folders with printed tickets and hotel reservations are over and there is no need to hunt through emails to find your reservations. All your bookings are in one place from bus tickets, airport transfers, hostel bookings and flights.

The best part? Not only will the app send you reminders about flight check-ins but it would even buzz when you land and tell you which baggage carousels your luggage would be on! At times it would inform us of flight delays even before the airline did! Best of all, this nifty little holiday organiser is completely free!

Secret Flying

What this app does: This app allows you to find the cheapest flight deals.

Why you need this app: Secret Flying is a powerhouse app with amazing features that backpackers can use to save money on flights. 

When you first open the app, you’ll be met with the latest flight deals from all over the world. Although not very specific, if you have some flexibility these deals are incredible.

But the true power of the app can be found in the search feature. You can search by an airport, area of the world, as well as specific routes, or fly anywhere deals. 

Click on a flight deal you’re interested in and you will be met by a set of travel dates where that deal applies. Pick the best date for your trip, and then you will be directed to Skyscanner. From the browser, you can select your desired flights and Skyscanner will take you directly to the airline’s website to book.

Secret Flying’s latest and best feature is FREE instant alerts on flight deals departing from your home city when you sign up for an account.

In addition, Secret Flying publishes error fares, hotel deals, as well as a blog with travel news and interesting stories. 

If you’re looking for ways that you can save money and budget for a trip read this

By Kelly at Snap Travel Magic

Uber

What this app does: Book a taxi-like service.

Why you need this app: Although due to disputes on pay meaning Uber has been earning a bad rep recently, it is one of the best apps for backpackers to save money on expensive Airport Transfers. Uber is a great way to get from A to B when you are a bit short of time and is usually much cheaper and safer than taxis.

In the way taxis can rip you off, take expensive detours or simply be impossible to find one in the first place – Uber solves all of these problems. Drivers are rated, price agreed before you get in the car and routes can be tracked and shared through social media.

When attempting busy public transport with backpacks in 30 degree heat just won’t cut it, book an Uber which will take you door to door instead. Even easier it’s a cashless system and bonus points often awarded to the Uber drivers who give you local recommendations or let you choose the music. Just be careful not to use in countries where it is illegal, like us during our stay in Bucharest.

Why not sign up here and get a discount off your first ride, saving you even more money!

BEST APPS FOR ACCOMMODATION & FOOD

Campermate

What this app does: Allows you to search via GPS campsites nearby, categorised by price (free, cheap, expensive)

Why you need this app: This is one of the best apps for backpackers if you’re planning a campervan or camping in Australia or New Zealand. Firstly, it’s fab because you can you download the maps offline – essential when signal is almost non-existent in rural areas.

It is an absolute life saver for finding campsites nearby, last minute and within your budget. Through the app, each campsite is represented by 1 of 3 colour codes – if the campsite is free then green, low-cost is blue or slightly higher cost is purple. As you see it through GPS you know when you’re nearby and can also choose site based on if they are near the beach or finding cheap sites in tourist hot spots such as Milford Sound.

It also shows you other amenities such as public toilets, activities, restaurants and more, such as where to empty your campervan waste or top up fresh water. Each day exclusive deals will pop up on the app for the location you are in such as discounted kayaking, 2 nights for the price of 1 and so much more.

Most importantly, Campermate allows you to leave and read reviews for every single site so you know which are safe, cheap and clean. This review system was also so useful for hidden gems in each area, recommended by other travellers. For example, while visiting New Zealand we were able to go and see the little blue penguins in Timaru for free due to advice on Campermate and we received free cookies at one of the campsites on the South Island for mentioning we booked through the app!

Couchsurfing

What this app does: This app allows you to save money on accommodation and meet other people while travelling.

Why you need this app: The Couchsurfing app has been a lifesaver during my travels as a budget backpacker. Not only does it allow me to save money on accommodation, but more importantly, it has given me real connections and friendships whilst on the road. The app- which allows you to connect and stay with locals- was particularly useful while I was backpacking in Pakistan

My boyfriend (and travel partner) Charles and I ended up staying with one Couchsurfing host for over a month, and in that time we were able to explore what felt like every nook and cranny of his city, a city that we quickly fell in love with, too. 

When we made our way to Peshawar, Pakistan, which is known to be lacking in affordable hotels that will accept foreigners, we stayed with Muneeb, another Couchsurfer who treated us to three days of endless hospitality, laughs, and great conversation.

Aside from just making friends, Couchsurfing has also saved us from several would-be miserable nights. When we arrived in Shimla, India on a busy Friday night, we were devastated to discover that there was not a single hotel available within a 10-mile radius. Just as we were about to settle in for a long, cold night on the floor of the bus station, a young Couchsurfer accepted a last-minute request, which afforded us a comfy sleep and shower in a home that was only a few minutes from where we were about to be stranded. 

Overall, I can’t recommend Couchsurfing enough to backpackers, especially in friendly countries like India and Pakistan. We still keep in touch with many of our hosts to this day, and there really is no more authentic way to explore a place than with the help of a local.

By Samantha at Intentional Detours

Airbnb

What this app does: Allows you to book quirky accommodation and live like a local.

Why you need this app: Hotels can be expensive and let’s face it, sometimes a tad boring. Instead, rooftop pools in Hollywood, glamping in a Tipi in Brighton or a jungle hut in Hawaii all sound far more fun and all of which, we have been able to do thanks to Airbnb. Offering much more unique accommodation options than a hotel, allowing you to live like a local and explore their neighbourhood instead. Often hosts offer local recommendations, meaning you find hidden gems off the beaten track, we even had a host in Budapest give us a bottle of wine on arrival and we learned to fire dance with our host in Hawaii!

We have used it for both short term and long term bookings with long term offering amazing discounts! Hosts as well as guests are reviewed and you can choose an entire property or simply a room. Best of all, some apartments can still be found last minute if you’re on the road and often are so much cheaper than hotels.

The app now includes a great experiences feature, offering surf lessons in Bali, street art tours in San Fran or cooking lessons in Italy. Local experiences ran by local people to truly indulge in the country’s culture and away from the usual tourist traps. Some of our Airbnbs even made it into our quirky accommodation post.

Although Airbnb’s are usually cheaper, we always check hotel prices using Booking.com as they usually offer the cheapest hotel prices online. When looking for bargain accommodation (and not necessarily fussed about that “wow” factor) definitely take a look at their website.

HappyCow

What this app does: This app allows you to find Vegan restaurants near you.

Why you need this app: HappyCow is a crowdsourced directory of vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants and other businesses all over the world. If you’re a plant-based eater or are allergic to any animal products, it’s a real lifesaver when planning where to eat out while traveling! Even if you don’t identify as fully vegetarian but are trying to reduce your meat consumption, HappyCow really comes in handy.

I always check HappyCow before any trip to get an idea of how many veg options there are in my next destination. But the best part is once you’ve arrived at your destination, and you can see all the veg options nearest you as you explore a new place. While HappyCow started out as primarily a restaurant guide, it now includes many other types of businesses that eco-friendly and health-conscious travellers are interested in. For example, you can find veg-friendly hotels and B&Bs, health food stores, juice bars and farmer’s markets. It’s the one app that vegans and vegetarians should never leave home without.

By Wendy at The Nomadic Vegan

Wikicamps

What this app does: Allows you to find campsites in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States.

Why you need this app: We are currently road tripping in Australia and have found Wikicamps invaluable. Of the three most popular camping apps we have tried Wikicamps is the most accurate with lots of interaction from users who regularly add photos and reviews.

The app is designed to help you find a campsite for your tent, caravan or RV and also includes backpacker hostels. A variety of filters allow you to drill down to specific types of site, free or low cost, powered or unpowered and more.

Search for sites via the facilities offered or nearby attractions – for example – prefer a pub dinner to cooking?  Filter your searches for campsites near pubs. Free camping but don’t have a shower in your vehicle? Filter for free showers in nearby locations.

Along with campsites, you can also search for attractions from walking tracks or swimming spots, to playgrounds click that box and filter out everything else.

Maps can be saved to use offline, and a planner allows you to save future trips.
When you can’t find what you need, there is an active forum with boards on road conditions, pet-friendly sites and even get tips on secret fishing spots and no-fail camp recipes.

By Paula & Charles at Australia Your Way

New Zealand Campervan Looking At Lake Taupo

BEST APPS TO SAVE STRESS

Yr

What this app does: This app gives you accurate weather forecasts wherever you are in the world.

Why you need this app: If you want to make the most of your holiday, it is essential for you to get a highly accurate weather forecast when you need it.

The YR weather app is undoubtedly one of the best and most detailed weather forecast apps available for Europe. Developed by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, this app will keep you well informed of the changes in the weather on an hourly basis.

There is also a long-term weather forecast feature with graphs that helps you to plan ahead when it comes to the weather. One of the newest features is the “Around You” section. This provides users with information about pollen counts, atmospheric pollution and local weather observations.

Several features stand out with regards to this app, including the clear, easy to understand visualisations, tables and graphs, as well as great user experience and no ads. For budget travellers the biggest benefit is that it is free to use. 

By Emer and Nils at Let’s Go Ireland

Wi-Fi Map

What this app does: This app allows you to find Wi-Fi hotspots all around the world.

Why you need this app: Internet is your best friend when backpacking: finding the best deals, looking for hidden places or just booking your next hostel. But it has to be said that hostel-internet (especially when backpacking in Asia) is not always the best.

Enter Wi-Fi Map. This amazing app will provide you with a map of nearby Wi-Fi signals and their passwords. Sure – not all of them will work, but within no-time you will have found yourself a shop, bar or even local business whose Wi-Fi you can get onto.

All Wi-Fi passwords are user-generated which means that the Wi-Fi Map community inputs all the information onto the App. Collecting passwords and sharing them has been gamified so you can earn points and level up.

I myself used this app with great success when backpacking through Sri Lanka. Sure – I sometimes had to walk a bit further to get connection, but my hostel had pre-historic internet speeds and this app saved me big time!

There is, however, a nominal fee to pay when using this app, but you have 7 days to try it out for free. The app costs $20 a year which is negligible if it means you can be connected to the internet everywhere in the world!

By Lieze at Glitter Rebel

Google Translate

What this app does: Translates phrases using voice, typing or your camera.

Why you need this app: Wait, before you think well duh, there is so much features to Google Translate we had no clue about before backpacking Europe. One of the best apps for backpackers because it helped us out of so many tricky situations. With downloadable offline languages and an easy to use interface this app is perfect for a quick translation.

It was a life saver when Loz was ill in Ljubljana and after spending a silly amount of money on medicine, didn’t think about the fact that the instructions would all be in Slovenian. Using the phone camera, the app translated the medicine instructions into English without having to type in each word individually.

Perfect for translating menus, roads signs and so much more! It was also hugely useful in foreign supermarkets to find the correct ingredients or we used it to translate medicine instructions when we were ill in Bratislava and also to find Cornflour to make Scottish shortbread for our Workaway hosts in Switzerland.

Duolingo

What this app does: Allows you to learn a new language, in an easy way.

Why you need this app: We found Duolingo to be one of the best travel apps for Europe as it means so much to locals when you make the effort to speak the language. Whether ready to full blown commit to a whole new language, or you simply want a few phrases to get by (like “where is the nearest pub?”) then Duolingo is definitely the app for you.

After our time in Switzerland through Workaway we used Duolingo every day to practice our French. If you are serious about learning a language you can also setup reminders every day and it will set you challenges to try. This was a great way to ensure we didn’t get lazy as you’d lose your “streak” – which Darren took a little too seriously at times. It also gives you a percentage of how fluent you are, hopefully you can beat our 12% in French!

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faramagan

When Darren the WordPress wizard & excel enthusiast met Lauren the storyteller and wannabe wanderluster, a grand adventure was bound to happen. Through Faramagan they document their tales (and fails) with a refreshing and unfiltered approach. By avoiding adulthood one adventure at a time, they hope to inspire others to do the same.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Baia

    Great list! I use most of those apps myself and was learning Spanish with duolingo a while back. Awesome app

    1. faramagan

      Darren has been learning Spanish too with Duo Lingo – so helped when we stayed with a family in Hawaii (through Workaway) who spoke Spanish!!

  2. Summer

    Yes to all of these! I hadn’t heard of the money app one though. Will have to try that. We LOVE google maps. I use the “want to go”, “love” and starred options to differentiate. And you can make lists – like I have a hiking list that I save hikes to! Super awesome app. Thanks for the recommendations

    1. faramagan

      The lists are so good – great suggestion with hikes! Definitely recommend the Money manager, if like us you are really good as spending – not so good at saving ha!

  3. Angharad Paull

    Some great suggestions on here that I wish I had known about when I was backpacking around! Still lots of useful ones now for family travel also. Thanks for sharing

    1. faramagan

      Glad you found it useful! Definitely not just suitable for backpackers, ideal for all kinds of travel!

  4. Miss Filatelista

    I didn’t know about Waze or Money Maker! They seem awesome. Going to try them out, thanks for sharing!

    1. faramagan

      Waze is hilarious – definitely recommend! Let us know how you get on 🙂

  5. Laura

    I keep meaning to check out Kayak, I need to get on it! Really useful post x

    1. faramagan

      I think alot of people use TripIt but we found Kayak’s travel planner so much more user friendly!

  6. Amanda

    We use a different budgeting app but might have to check out your recommendation!

    1. faramagan

      We tried & tested a couple, but have managed to actually stick with Money Manager – 7 months later, so far so good!

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