Not being the most organised traveller in the world has its perks and I definitely prefer leaving my options open for backpacking as I find it makes for a more exciting trip. However there are some aspects of travelling that with a little forethought/a couple random apps can be made a heck of a lot easier! For example having google translate on your phone when trying to explain you’re vegetarian or vegan… better safe than sorry right? In fact I find a few of these can actually add to the whole backpacking experience!
Below I have listed the apps I rely on most for a smooth running trip and would definitley recommend downloading them before you start your adventure! Are there any apps you rely on that I should check out too?
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1. Trail Wallet
This is seriously the best app to help you budget on long backpacking trips. From your overall budget and the length of your trip it calculates your daily budget and helps you categorise and track your spending. I used this in South East Asia after being introduced to it by a German girl I met in a hostel. Free on iOS.
2. Google Translate
An oldie but a goodie! Like I said at the start, trying to explain you’re a vegetarian/vegan while abroad can be tricky but Google Translate solves all your problems. The camera instant text translation is ideal for translating menus too. Plus it’s always nice to learn a few phrases in the local language to help you get by. Free on iOS/ Android.
3. XE Currency
If you’re going to a country like Vietnam where the currency can be a little hard to get your head around it is always good to have a fast and easy to use currency conversion app like XE Currency. I’ve always use this one as I like having all the currencies I use regularly on one screen to compare and from what I can tell this is the one most people use. Trail Wallet also converts currency but this is better for quick conversions. Free on IOS/Android.
Obviously everyone knows about Uber by now and if where you’re going has Uber it is definitley worth downloading as sometimes it’s just easier having a pre-agreed fare for a taxi especially if you’re in a country where you could potentially be ripped off. Grab is basically Uber but in South East Asia. I was really messed around by a taxi driver in Vietnam to the point I had to get out of the cab before I reached my hostel so ended up walking… not fun at the time but pretty funny to look back on! Grab free on iOS/Android. Uber free on iOS/Android.
I use Hopper on my phone as I would Skyscanner on my Mac. The Skyscanner app is really awkward and annoying in comparison to Hopper plus it actually predicts future fares so you’re notified when it reaches its lowest point. No idea how that works but it does and has ended up saving me a fair bit of money. On a long unplanned trip you do end up booking flights last minute so this is well worth having. Free on iOS/Android.
Of all the ‘restaurant near me’ or ‘bars near me’ apps Foursquare is my favourite. I find the reviews are left by slightly younger people than on TripAdvisor so seem to suit my tastes better. Plus the app is really user friendly and has lots of helpful filters like price and distance. It also saves where you’ve been which is nice when on a busy trip as it remembers where you’ve been for you! Free on iOS/Android.
This app is about as organised as it gets. You can forward all your confirmation emails to the app and it magically sorts everything into one itinerary for you. Completely hassle free/ basically like having your own travel PA. Once you’ve used it once, especially for a long trip you’ll never look back. This is one of the ones I really can’t believe is free. Free on iOS/Android.
I am a massive advocate for couchsurfing and have had so many great experiences staying with and hosting couchsurfers. It’s a community for travellers who want to meet other travellers and exchange stories, culture, experiences etc and generally just make friends. You stay with or have people stay at your home for free. Obviously you have to be careful with it but as long as you’re sensible it is an amazing resource to take advantage of! Free on iOS/Android.
Introduced to me by the same German girl I mentioned earlier (thank god for Teresa!). This app tracks your backpacking journey (even offline) and syncs with your photos so family and friends can see where you’ve been and look at photos too. I think this is a really nice one especially for long trips because it keeps you in touch with home. It is also great if you’re travelling alone, safety wise, as people you trust will always know where you are and can keep an eye on your activity. Free on iOS/Android.