The best travel apps for Android and iPhone


This list of must-download apps for iPhone and Android will make life on the road a little easier.

Make the most of your next trip with these must-have travel apps. Image credit: visualspace/iStock
Make the most of your next trip with these must-have travel apps. Image credit: visualspace/iStock

Apps for booking flights

Skyscanner – a reliable and user-friendly app for booking flights

Skyscanner has been one of the best travel apps for booking flights for a while now. The app is well designed and easy to use, and fares found through Skyscanner are often a little cheaper than those found through competitors such as Modomoto or KAYAK. Skyscanner searches millions of flights from more than 1200 sources, with convenient filtering options such as shortest flight time or fewest connections.

One great feature of Skyscanner is the option to select “everywhere” instead of a set destination. This returns a list of potential destinations with flight prices for your dates – a great source of travel inspiration.

Available for iOS and Android

Hopper – book your flights when they’re at their lowest price

There’s nothing worse than booking flights, only to find they’ve gone down in price a week later.

Stay on top of flight prices with Hopper. Image credit: Hopper
Stay on top of flight prices with Hopper. Image credit: Hopper

Enter your intended travel dates and destination into price predictor app Hopper and you’ll find out when flight prices will be at their lowest. The app maps out the months leading up to your trip and predicts the cheapest days to book, claiming 95 percent accuracy up to a year in advance.

Select “watch the trip” and Hopper will send you a reminder to book when the time is right.

Available for iOS and Android

Blackbird – the carpool of the skies

Hailing themselves as the “carpool of the skies”, Blackbird helps you board a private jet flown by licensed pilots heading in the same direction as you.

Costs are split between the pilots and passengers, making flight prices both affordable and fair. As many of Blackbird’s pilots operate between regional airports, Blackbird is a great option for those flying more obscure routes that aren’t well serviced by commercial airline. The best thing about traveling on a flight found through Blackbird? You only have to arrive at the airport a few minutes before departure.

Available for iOS and Android

Victor – affordable private jet charters

If you’re looking to charter your own private jet for an affordable price, then check out Victor. You can book your charter in four easy steps via their app, with aircraft to suit a variety of needs, whether you’re looking for a sleek and stylish mode of transport for some important business associates, or just a faster and more convenient way of getting to your holiday destination.

The app accesses a marketplace of 7000 aircraft across 40,000 locations worldwide, which means chartering a private jet with Victor can be surprisingly affordable.

Available for iOS

Apps for booking accommodation and hotels

Booking.com – comprehensive listings and free cancellations

Booking.com is one of the most universally popular hotel booking platforms, with an app that is a must-have for any frequent traveler. As well as making bookings, you can use the Booking.com app to store your reservations offline.

Booking.com has a comprehensive list of hotels around the world. Image credit: Booking.com
Booking.com has a comprehensive list of hotels around the world. Image credit: Booking.com

The address of the hotel is listed in the local language, which is also useful when traveling overseas. Because it’s so widely used, there are plenty of property reviews to guide your decision. Many hotels listed through Booking.com offer free cancellation up until the day before, which is useful if your plans change.

Available for iOS and Android

Airbnb – if you’re traveling in a group

No list of travel apps would be complete without Airbnb, which allows you to book both accommodation and cultural activities at your destination, all of which are hosted by locals.

Airbnb is a great tool for families or groups of guests who wish to stay together, as you can easily book entire apartments. The app is intuitive and easy to use, with the ability to chat with your hosts and keep track of all your bookings via your phone.

If you’re traveling for work, you can filter specifically for business-friendly accommodation which guarantees fast Wi-Fi and a laptop-friendly workspace.

Available for iOS and Android

Hotel Tonight – in case of emergencies

If your original accommodation plans fall through, or you end up booking a last-minute trip, then Hotel Tonight is your ticket.

Hotel Tonight partners with accommodation providers to offer amazing deals on their unsold rooms. Their app has great ratings and offers even cheaper rates than booking via their desktop site. Hotel Tonight is definitely worth having on your phone in case of emergencies.

Available for iOS and Android

Apps for getting around

Blacklane – safe and stylish city rides and airport transfers

If you’re looking for a reliable and secure way of getting around in an unfamiliar city, then Blacklane is an excellent app to have handy on your phone.

Organise your transportation with Blacklane. Image credit: Blacklane
Organise your transportation with Blacklane. Image credit: Blacklane

While some travelers are happy navigating their way via public transport or taking a gamble with local taxi services, Blacklane guarantees you a sleek modern car driven by a professional chauffeur.

You can book your Blacklane ride up to an hour in advance via the app for iOS and Android, and if you book an airport transfer service with Blacklane, you’ll be greeted at the arrivals gate by your chauffeur, who will be holding a sign with your name.

You can also opt for zero emissions rides via Tesla Model X or S in a number of cities with Blacklane’s Green Class.

Available for iOS and Android

Google Maps – the travel navigation all-rounder

We’re likely stating the obvious here, but Google Maps is a must-have app for any traveler. It’s arguably the most consistent and dependable map app out there, and is a catch-all with an incredible amount of information and detail, whether you’re in the CBD or the countryside.

Google Maps is particularly handy for travelers as you can also use it to search for things to do around you, and save places of interest such as restaurants and museums into lists for future reference. You can also download selected map areas for use offline.

Available for iOS and Android

Travel planner apps

Mapify – plan and share your adventures with other travelers

Mapify is relatively new on the scene, having launched just over a year ago. This Berlin-based startup describes itself as a “social travel network”, and its app allows you to document, visualize, find, and plan your travel experiences.

You can use the interactive map to search for cool things to do and add them to your itinerary, or you can load images and travel tips of your own for the benefit of other travelers (or to gain followers). The app is still in its growth phase so needs a little streamlining, but is definitely one to try out on your next trip.

Available for iOS and Android

TripIt – organize and store your travel itineraries

TripIt is a useful tool for business travelers who have trouble keeping on top of their reservations.

Plan out our holiday with TripIt. Image credit: TripIt
Plan out our holiday with TripIt. Image credit: TripIt

Forward all your hotel, restaurant, flight, and car rental information to plans@tripit.com and the app will automatically turn all the information into a master itinerary. Your itinerary, as well as all related travel documents, can be accessed offline, which means you can avoid trawling through your emails at the airport or in the hotel lobby.

The app also sends you notifications to let you know when to check in and head to your gate and will alert you if your flight is delayed or canceled.

Available for iOS or Android.

Google Trips – the ultimate travel planner app for Google converts

If you’re already a heavy user of Google products such as Calendar, Gmail, and Maps, then Google Trips integrates these services to put together a travel pack for you.

The app detects reservation information, such as flight bookings and hotel reservations, creating a framework for your vacation with little effort on your part. You can then browse the app and add activities and restaurants as suggested by Google Trips to flesh out your travel plans.

Your itinerary is stored offline so you can access it from anywhere without relying on an internet connection.

Available for iOS and Android

Culture Trip – insider travel tips and local recommendations

Culture Trip’s travel app for iOS and Android is a great tool for finding insider tips and local recommendations in a new city.

Explore a new city with the Culture Trip app. Image credit: Culture Trip
Explore a new city with the Culture Trip app. Image credit: Culture Trip

Culture Trip is primarily a media company, which has been producing interesting travel content for years, publishing more than 1000 short travel articles per month. Their app gives you access to their content on the go, with the ability to search by location to find articles, videos, and top-ten lists related to your current location.

The Culture Trip app also has a social element, as you’re able to save and share your own travel itineraries and wishlists.

Available for iOS and Android

Apps for finding restaurants

Foursquare City Guide – find the best-rated restaurants near you

Foursquare’s City Guide app makes it easy to find the best-rated restaurants and tourist spots near you while traveling. Their filters are particularly useful, giving you the ability to search for restaurants “open now” or based on how much you want to spend.

Foursquare's interface makes it easy to use. Image credit: Foursquare
Foursquare’s interface makes it easy to use. Image credit: Foursquare

You can save spots for later via lists, or browse other user’s lists for inspiration. Yelp, Foursquare’s primary competitor, may have the edge over them in some regions such as the U.S. and Canada where its more widely used but FourSquare’s City Guide app is a bit easier to navigate, making it a more useful tool for travelers.

Available for iOS and Android

HappyCow – the best travel app for vegetarian foodies

Vegetarians and vegans rejoice, HappyCow makes it easy to find a decent veg-based meal no matter where you are in the world. It’s a particularly useful tool if you’re traveling somewhere where vegetarian food is hard to find or if you don’t speak the local language to communicate your dietary requirements.

HappyCow is a go-to guide for vegetarians. Image credit: HappyCow
HappyCow is a go-to guide for vegetarians. Image credit: HappyCow

The HappyCow app allows you to search for nearby veggie restaurants and cafes through filters, or via an interactive map. Access reviews and restaurant images posted by other HappyCow users, or add your own to help future users.

Available for iOS and Android

Apps to streamline your airport experience

LoungeBuddy – get intel on airport lounges worldwide

LoungeBuddy lets you know which lounges you can access at various airports, based on your airline status and current lounge memberships.

LoungeBuddy can get you access to global airport lounges. Image credit: LoungeBuddy
LoungeBuddy can get you access to global airport lounges. Image credit: LoungeBuddy

LoungeBuddy is most useful if you’re a frequent flyer with existing memberships, however, it also notifies users of free lounges and gives the option of purchasing day passes for select lounges directly through the app, so it’s worth downloading for any traveler faced with a lengthy layover.

Available for iOS

FLIO – navigate through the airport like a boss

Navigate the world’s airports with FLIO. As well as allowing you to easily track your flight for changes and delays, FLIO contains comprehensive information about more than 5000 airports worldwide, including airport layouts, lounges, restaurants, and transit options, all with handy interactive maps.

FLIO also offers discounts and coupons so you might be able to shave a few dollars off that 16 USD airport sandwich.

Available for iOS or Android

FlightAware – get notified about delays and cancellations

FlightAware is a comprehensive flight tracking app, which allows you to check the status of your flight by aircraft, route, airline, flight number, or airport code.

Although there are plenty of apps out there for tracking your flight, FlightAware is one of the best rated, and most widely used. The app offers push notifications which are handy for keeping up-to-date on both imminent or future travels. You can even set up notifications for friends and family in case you experience delays en-route.

Available for iOS or Android

Other useful travel apps

PackPoint – generate a packing list for your next trip

If you loathe packing, then PackPoint is there to make the process smoother and easier. Enter your destination, the purpose of your journey (business or leisure), along with any planned activities and PackPoint will generate a packing list for you.

Take out the stress from packing. Image credit: packPoint
Take out the stress from packing. Image credit: PackPoint

It even checks the weather at your destination during your travel dates, to further tailor your list to suit the conditions. If you opt for the premium version then you can use the app add-free and integrate it with other travel planner apps such as TripIt and Evernote.

Available for iOS or Android

VPN Proxy Master – stay secure on public WiFi while traveling

There’s no bigger buzzkill than returning from vacation to find out you’ve become the victim of credit card fraud. Protect your personal information while using public Wi-Fi with VPN Proxy Master, which allows you to browse the internet anonymously and hide your IP address from potential hackers.

VPN Proxy Master’s app is a pleasure to use, thanks to its sleek and aesthetically pleasing interface. The app has a seven-day free trial period which is perfect for short trips, and affordable monthly and yearly rates for frequent travelers.

Available for iOS or Android

Elk Travel Currency Converter – get converted rates quickly and easily

Currency converter apps are a dime a dozen, but Elk stands out from the rest for its stylish interface and the fact that it’s optimized for Apple Watch.

The other thing that makes Elk different from its competitors is its interactive rates table, which shows you a list of incremental prices and their conversion rate in your chosen currency. For example, if you convert 5000 Japanese Yen to USD, you’ll also see the conversion for 4000, 6000, 7000, etc. A handy tool if you’re trying to figure out which bottle of Sake best fits your budget.

Available for iOS

Drops – learn a few local words and phrases

If you’re traveling somewhere where English isn’t widely spoken, kill time at the airport by learning a few words of the local language with Drops. Drops offers fun and visually appealing courses to learn 31 different languages and dialects, taking a unique approach to teaching languages by using images instead of words.

Learning a language has never been easier with Drops easy-to-use layout. Credit: Drops.
Learning a language has never been easier with Drops easy-to-use layout. Image credit: Drops

Compared to other language apps such as Duolingo and Memrise, Drops feels much less like learning and more like a game.

Available for iOS or Android

Shazam – collect musical souvenirs of your travels

Have you ever heard a new tune while traveling only to realize you have no way of figuring out who it’s by? Shazam is a tune detector app, which collects musical souvenirs of your travels by listening to songs and saving them to a playlist.

Shazam feels like magic with its ability to identify songs in just a few seconds, even with significant background noise.

Available for iOS or Android

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grace Catherine

Grace is a freelance writer and digital project manager from New Zealand currently based in Mexico City. She is an avid traveler who loves destinations with an eclectic history, a bike-sharing scheme, and plenty of cool animals.