Our editors independently research and rate the best products. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made through the links on our site. Learn more

best travel apps

The 17 Best Travel Apps in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

best travel apps

Simply turn off the smartphone at least during the holidays – probably only a few will succeed – unless you are doing digital detox in a Zen monastery for a week and hand in your cell phone at the gate. Not only is the temptation to post the photos of the cocktail on the dream beach on Instagram is great. The smartphone is also incredibly versatile and is equipped with the right apps to become a practical all-rounder. We present the 17 most useful travel apps that you should install for your trip.

Crumpled folding plans, thick travel guides, and unwieldy dictionaries? With the right apps, the smartphone can make life and backpacking a lot easier. Raise the curtain for 17 really good and useful travel apps!

1. Skyscanner - Book flights, hotels & rental cars

You have to get to the holiday location first. To book cheap flights, Skyscanner is always our first point of contact. Millions of flights are compared and we mostly find the best deals here. As on the website of the travel search engine, you can also search for hotels and rental cars in the app and book immediately. Three in one, so to speak. Very helpful if you don’t yet know exactly where you want to go: the “Discover” section. There you can search specifically for offers, be it for popular travel destinations, short trips, longer trips, last-minute or weekend trips. Conclusion: A travel app that we have mostly used “only” to book flights for which the destination and date have already been determined, but which will now also serve as a source of inspiration.

Skyscanner is available for iOS via iTunes and for Android in the PlayStore.

2. Booking.com - The classic hotel booking app

Even if we ask ourselves why we still get e-mails about “Deals in Mamallapuram” two years after booking a hotel in the Indian village of Mamallapuram, we are still a big fan of booking.com. The well-known functions of the desktop version can also be found in the app, be it the filter functions or the map. It is not only convenient to transfer the bookings to the smartphone calendar on the booking.com app. In addition to an offline card, you receive a paperless booking confirmation that you can use for checking in via the app; no internet or even a printer is needed. The management and changes to bookings also work smoothly via the app. The app is now even compatible with dark mode.

Booking.com as a travel app is available for iOS and Android.

3. Pack the Bag - Pack stress-free and don't forget anything

Lists? We don’t like it at all. But on our last trips, it happened repeatedly that we forgot something or that we didn’t think that it could be important. So we took a closer look at a little helper: the Pack the Bag app. First plus point: the 27 finished inventory lists, which are prepared for every type of trip, be it for hiking, festivals or holidays with pets. Categories such as multimedia, means of payment or before departure are also very practical and save a lot of thought. In addition to maintaining the inventory lists, you can create your packing list. The question is whether functions such as sorting the items to be packed by storage location are needed. In any case, the memories that you should finally start packing are practical and the filters, through which you can see what is already packed. Another good thing about the travel app: record the weight of the objects and no more surprises at the airport.

Pack the Bag is currently only available for iOS, Android users can switch to the Pack Point app.

4. Dropbox- All important documents in one place

Gone are the days when copies of airline tickets, passports, and other important documents were deposited in different pieces of luggage. In the meantime, we no longer send such documents by email to our account, but save them in the cloud, mostly in Dropbox. There is also space for photos for temporary storage. In theory, you can access your data anywhere and anytime in the cloud, unfortunately, you need an internet connection with Dropbox. The folders can only be made available offline in the payment option. There is more free storage space than in the Dropbox (2 GB) at Google Drive (15 GB) and OneDrive (5 GB).

Dropbox is available for iOS in iTunes and for Android in the Playstore.

5. Lonely Planet - Guides online

When planning a trip, the first thing we buy is a printed travel guide, really old-fashioned on paper and to leaf through. We usually carry it around on-site so that we can quickly look up something. The Lonely Planet is still unbeatable when it comes to addresses and practical tips. A great addition to the sometimes thick woods is the “Guides by Lonely Planet” app, especially for city trips. Incredibly many cities around the world are covered, from Agra to Zurich, with clearly structured information on sights, restaurants and shopping opportunities and a range of filter functions. We particularly like the “Curated Collections”, articles by topic with lots of insider tips. Very practical: the maps to download, which can also be used offline.

Guides by Lonely Planet can be found in iTunes for iOS and on Google Play for Android.

6. GetYourGuide - Tours and activities worldwide

We like to be carried away on trips and prefer to explore new places on our own. Sometimes it is also very interesting to take a guided tour because you often experience things that are otherwise hidden from you. One can laboriously click through the wide worlds of the Internet to book such tours or use the Get your Guide app. There we discovered some interesting tours, which can be easily booked via the app, even at short notice. The mobile ticket is loaded directly onto the cell phone. The travel app recognizes the location and shows activities and sights in the surrounding area. You can also book tickets via the app and save yourself long waiting times. In total, Get your Guide offers more than 31,000 activities in 7,400 travel destinations around the world.

The travel app is available for iOS and Android.

7. MAPS.ME - Always know where to go

There you are, in the maze of alleys in an unknown city when the mobile internet router gives up and you find that you have nothing to open the SIM card slot on your smartphone. Activating data roaming is too costly. Where to go? Not an easy task, because nobody speaks English – but that is no problem! With MAPS.ME on your phone, you will have a map app that also works offline. Simply download the corresponding map, open the app and you can see where you are and where you need to go. It is also practical to search for categories such as Restaurants, ATMs or public transport. The directions are very detailed, the app even shows whether the path is uphill or downhill.

MAPS.ME can be downloaded via iTunes for iOS or in the Google Playstore for Android devices.

8. Google Translate - "Do you speak English?"

103 languages ​​can be translated by entering text or speaking in using the Google Translate app. 52 languages ​​are even available without an internet connection. Particularly practical in a country with other writing systems such as China: the real-time camera function that recognizes 88 languages. Simply hold the camera on the menu with the Chinese characters and Google Translate reveals whether the dim sum is filled with vegetables or pork belly.

Download Google Translate for iOS or Android here.

9. XE Currency - The currency converter

You can try to memorize the exchange rate of your travel destination and use the calculator on your smartphone to calculate whether the seller at the bazaar or the taxi driver doesn’t want to cheat you. Alternatively, you have a currency converter as a travel app on your phone, for example, XE Currency. Over 180 currencies are stored in the easy-to-use app with live exchange rates. You can convert the price of the taxi ride or the alpaca wool socks on the market offline: simply save the current exchange rate the last time you access the Internet. Useful extras: The frequency of the exchange rate can be set, the base currency can be set. After free registration, you can also transfer money to friends or relatives abroad: quickly and, above all, securely.

The currency converter is available on iTunes and in the Playstore.

10. Kindle app - Browse through books online

Even if we love the feel of printed books, we know that if you are traveling longer and want to have enough reading material with you, the backpack can be quite heavy. Despite the switch to electronic books, at least for travel, we didn’t want to buy a classic e-book reader. In addition to the laptop, we always have an iPad mini with us and then an extra device? No. So we downloaded the Kindle app. It is very practical and reads just as well on a tablet with a retina display as on a Kindle. E-books purchased from Amazon appear directly in the app and can be read on multiple devices. And if you want, you can even download the appropriate Audible audiobook in the background.

The Kindle app is available for iOS and Android.

11. Views on Top - The best views

Viewpoints, towers, roof terrace bars – we love to look at a city from above. The Eiffel Tower is known, as is the Empire State Building. But sometimes there are also more hidden places, from which you have a magnificent view. With the travel app Views on Top, locations with a view around the globe can be found, whether bridges or hotel pools. If you want to plan, use the “Location” or “Category” functions. Otherwise, simply activate the “Near me” function and you will be shown the seats with a view nearby, including information and directions.

The travel app is available for iOS & Android.

12. Toilet Finder - The quiet place

The classic: You are just sitting in a café and thinking, no, I don’t have to. At least half an hour later, when you walk through some remote streets, the pressure increase. The chance of finding a public toilet through an app like Toilet Finder – the worldwide toilet search engine – is probably slim at this moment, but it is worth a try. We find this app too strange to leave it unmentioned. More than 150,000 toilets worldwide are already in the database, and the trend is rising. There is also information about costs, accessibility and opening times as well as a general evaluation system. The integrated route planner guides you – hopefully without detours – to the quiet areas.

The toilet finder is only available for iOS and Android.

13. My Postcard - Send grandma a postcard

We don’t remember when we sent the last postcard from a trip. At some point, it got too annoying to look for stamps and mailboxes. A little more expensive than “normal” postcards and stamps, but the personal photo greeting cards that can be sent worldwide via the My Post Card travel app are individual. Using the app, you select the desired template, upload a photo from the album or Instagram and type in your message and the addressee. Then just pay and the card is on the way to friends & family. The price per card starts from 1.99 euros including shipping, you have to top up your credit beforehand.

My Postcard is available for iOS and Android.

14. Skype - Call home

When we were traveling around India and Nepal a few years ago, we always crouched in an internet café to make video calls to our parents via Skype on old-fashioned computers. Today we have the Skype app on a cell phone and iPad, so we only need one place with WiFi. Even though we now mostly use WhatsApp for voice calls from abroad, we like to use Skype for calls on the landline. To do this, you need to top up a credit that you can phone.

The app is available for devices with iOS as well as for those that run with Android.

15. Google/Amazon Photos - Save travel photos via the cloud

Of course, we also have a few favorite apps for the vacation. With Google Photos, for example, you can back up your many pictures for free as soon as you have an internet connection. Practical: the unlimited storage space. There is one restriction: you can only save compressed images. But the quality is usually sufficient! Anyone who is an Amazon Prime member can save their pictures via Amazon Photos – in the original format.

Google Photos is available for devices with iOS as well as for those that run with Android. There is also the Amazon Photos app for Android and iOS.

16. Uber - In a taxi through the world

When we were traveling around India and Nepal a few years ago, we always crouched in an internet café to make video calls to our parents via Skype on old-fashioned computers. Today we have the Skype app on a cell phone and iPad, so we only need one place with WiFi. Even though we now mostly use WhatsApp for voice calls from abroad, we like to use Skype for calls on the landline. To do this, you need to top up a credit that you can phone.

The app is available for devices with iOS as well as for those that run with Android.

17. Netflix/Amazon Prime Video - Switch off & relax

You are alone on the bus or the train, somewhere in the world, and you have a long, long drive ahead of you. Often only sleeping helps. Or you can treat yourself to a series to switch off and experience something different. Sometimes that has to be done! Streaming services are great for this. With Netflix and Amazon Prime, you can download films or series episodes beforehand and then stream them offline.

Get Netflix for iOS and Android, Amazon Prime Video is available for iOS and Android.

4.7/5 - (86 votes)