The beauty of having our cell phones with us wherever we go is that they actually can be tools to make our lives easier, especially when traveling.
The internet has become a traveler’s best friend, helping to navigate unknown territory with GPS, making finding accommodations a breeze, and by giving insiders advice at the tip of one’s fingertips.
Knowing which apps are essential to traveling is wonderful insider’s knowledge to glean before going on your journey so that you can embark fully prepared.
Additionally, making sure you are getting the most of beloved apps you may already have for travel is also key as there may be added features that you may be unaware of.
Read on to discover our list of 10 apps that take the stress out of traveling, and become an even more savvy traveler with these new tools.
Okay, I know that everyone knows Airbnb, but it’s no small feat that Airbnb has revolutionized the way that people book and seek accommodations.
Even ten years ago when Airbnb was just in the toddler stages of existing (it was founded in 2008), it was a foreign concept to be staying at a stranger’s house.
Now it’s one of the smartest and trendiest ways to travel, allowing travelers to seek exact locations and amenities they desire.
Did you know that you can also book experiences through Airbnb?
Whether you want to take a cooking class or go to the farm to feed sheep, Airbnb can hook you up with a unique and tailored experience.
Travelers will never return to the old way of booking with Airbnb’s innovative approach.
This is a recent travel innovation that I’m pretty excited about; an app that offers modern cabin rentals.
As a call to our screen-obsessed age, Getaway provides small but beautiful cabins that have modern amenities.
For those who crave the beauty of the outdoors but also want to be able to cook in a clean, up-to-date kitchen, Getaway provides the solution. With escapes throughout the United States, including tiny cabins outside of Portland, OR; Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC, Getaway’s list of retreats is growing.
The easiest way to communicate with friends and family worldwide—that is also free—WhatsApp provides a seamless approach to staying connected.
Chats, picture sharing, and phone calls all make keeping in touch as easy can be.
Gone are the days of hefty fees for international texting, and memories of calling cards (remember that?!) are blurry memories of antiquated travel.
WhatsApp is also owned by Facebook, so if you’ve got beef against privacy issues with Facebook, do beware that this is also under the same Zuckerberg conglomerate.
Viber is the Japanese-created alternative to WhatsApp, providing free and secure messages and calls worldwide.
I’ve found that it is somewhat of a country preference as to whether people are using WhatsApp or Viber.
In general, WhatsApp is preferred by friends and family in the U.S. and U.K., however, loved ones in other regions (Africa and the Middle East, for example), tend to use Viber.
WhatsApp is limited in that you can only call from your WhatsApp account to someone with another WhatsApp account, whereas Viber allows calls to landlines and non-Viber numbers at a low-cost.
Growing in popularity, the U.S. will probably never shed its preference for WhatsApp, based on the Facebook monopoly, however, perhaps it should.
Great for the social foodie looking to make a few new friends, VizEat is an app that offers group dining experiences, cooking classes, and food tours throughout Europe and beyond.
With 130 countries and counting joining VizEat, take a walking culinary tour of Amsterdam, or head to a traditional Russian meal in the chef’s apartment.
Somewhat of an Airbnb-style experience but for food-lovers, VizEat may put you a bit out of your comfort zone, but at a wonderful price of connecting with real people and local food.
If you’re fed up with Western Union money transfers (and who isn’t?), check out this low-fee alternative, TransferWise.
TransferWise allows you to send and receive money virtually, without the hassle of going to a service desk to do so.
Best for smaller amounts of money being sent (330 USD or 300 EUR and less), TransferWise is great for sending money to family members, small business transactions, or helping out an international friend.
Refer a friend and there is a sign-up bonus for both you and your friend.
7. Flush Toilet Finder
Okay, this may sound super silly but when in need, it can be a lifesaver.
Flush Toilet Finder is the app that yes, helps to make sure you’ve got a place to go when you need to go.
Depending on where you are in the world, this app can be a god-send as bathroom etiquette is unique to each locale. With 190,000 public toilets in its database, Flush Toilet Finder helps you find the free ones, and fast.
If you can’t find a bush to pee in and the privacy to do so, Flush Toilet Finder will get you connected to the porcelain alternative.
Great for when you’re hitting the open road, GasBuddy helps you locate the nearest gas station with price comparisons.
Now, I’ve lived the reality of being from a large city where gas prices skyrocket, only to travel an hour or two north and see major decreases in the per-gallon price, so I can attest to the struggle.
Enter GasBuddy which will pinpoint the best price as well as distances, making sure you never go beyond the empty.
If you sign up for the GasBuddy card, you’ll save 5 cents to every gallon. GasBuddy is only available in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
Skyscanner is perfect for those looking for a spontaneous getaway.
Sort by your budget and time frame to find surprisingly affordable flights domestically and internationally.
Like most flight apps, hotels and car rentals can be searched simultaneously.
Sign up for alerts to find out when prices dip, and to keep on eye on dream locations.
Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals all add to the allure of Skyscanner’s affordable approach. Additionally, Skyscanner’s “everywhere” search feature makes it easy to see which nearby departure is cheapest.
10. Mobile Passport
I think we can all agree that one of the most annoying parts of traveling through the U.S. is the long customs lines.
If I had known about this app years ago then who knows how many missed connections I could have prevented.
But as they say, better late than never!
Mobile Passport is an official recognized app by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that allows you to upload your passport information and skip long customs lines.
Having personally used this app many times, I strongly encourage everyone who travels through the U.S. to download it right away.
With a plethora of apps to choose from, there are certainly a few not listed here that are still noteworthy.
TripAdvisor, OpenRice (Asian Yelp), and Waze are additional apps that help ease the stress of orienting oneself in a new place.
However, the listed apps include something for searching for the perfect accommodation, keeping tanked and fueled, learning something new, and potentially even meeting a new friend.
With these ten travel apps that take the stress out of traveling, get connected and get traveling!
Marina Yoveva is originally from Bulgaria but she considers herself a citizen of the world. Having traveled to over 20 countries and counting, she loves writing about her adventures, experiences, and advice on her blog Exploreist.