I like to disconnect while traveling, but there is one exception I will always make: Travel Apps. Travel Apps can enhance your travel, both while planning and once you have reached your destination. The days of carrying around a guidebook are gone! These days all you need is your phone. Here are my 10 favorite apps that I use for every trip to Eurpoe. Actually, I use them for almost every trip, with the exception of some of the dining apps. Those vary more by country.
Travel Apps For Research, Planning and Managing Your Itinerary:
Before you check out these research and planning apps, make sure to take a look at our post on how to plan your next trip! You can find it here:
1) KAYAK (PLANNING/MAKING RESERVATIONS)
- Kayak is great to search travel fares, car and hotel rates all in one place. You input your information and it looks across the internet for all the options.]
- PRO TIP: I love Kayak because of the filtering capability. You can filter based on arrival time, departure time, airline and more. I am sure other apps do this as well, but in my experience the results I get from Kayak are more thorough.
2) TRIPIT (MANAGING ITINERARY)
- TripIt organizes the logistics of your trips. Itineraries, reservations, documents are all in one place. Just set up the app to automatically update based on reservation emails you receive, and voila!, you have an itinerary at your fingertips.
- PRO TIP: I use it to hold my itineraries, but also to find holes in them. Before any trip I go through the Tripit Itinerary to make sure all transportation, hotels, VRBO lodging, etc are in the app and I have not missed anything.
3) TRIPADVISOR (RESEARCH ACTIVITIES, LODGING, RESTAURANTS)
- TripAdvisor is an amazing resource for researching and booking activities, lodging and even meal reservations.
- PRO TIP: TripAdvisor has a cool feature where you can build an itinerary and see it on a map. I am going to New York with my daughter in a couple of weeks and this is how we are mapping out our itinerary. You can use the feature yourself, or follow others who have done the work for you!
4) CULTURETRIP (RESEARCH)
- CultureTrip is one of my go-to apps for researching a destination. The content is written or curated by locals so you feel like you are getting the inside scoop.
- PRO TIP: I use it for inspiration for my upcoming travels. As you read the articles, you can save them for later. I use it to do research on the go, and then go back to the articles I have saved to really hone in on my plans.
Travel Apps for Transportation Sanity:
5) LOUNGEBUDDY (AIRPORT SANITY)
- LoungeBuddy makes airports less painful. You set up your account by adding airline status, credit cards you hold (some which give you lounge access), lounge memberships and specific trip details. When you are at the airport the app will tell you what lounges you have access to. If there are none that you can access based on your info, it will also tell you where you can buy a day pass, and sometimes if you are lucky, it will let you know about a free lounge!.
- PRO TIP: Sign up for a credit card that gets you access to Priority Pass. We have an American Express Platinum card and through that we can access lounges all over the world. You need to have your card or number with you to access the lounges, and LoungeBuddy will help you figure out which ones.
6) UBER (GETTING AROUND)
- Uber is my go to for getting around a foreign city. The fact that it is on demand and the transactions are cash free make it such an easy solution!
- PRO TIP: Uber is active in many countries around the globe. However, it is worth finding out in advance if it is active where you are going. In some countries the app has been banned. I’ll admit, it is confusing. I read an article dated July 11, 2019 that said Uber is banned in Portugal. However, I was in Portugal that same month and used Uber almost every day. I guess my point here is, if you are going to a country where it is (or might be) banned, have a back up plan.
Travel Apps for Finding Great Food:
7) YELP (RESTAURANTS)
- Yelp is…well… Yelp. For travel purposes it is an amazing resource to find restaurants. The reviews have made it possible to find excellent meals almost anywhere. It will also give you menus, hours, and phone numbers so you can book those reservations.
- PRO TIP: Don’t forget to use the app! My husband and I found our favorite Italian restaurant ever while in Venice by searching Yelp. We were surrounded by “Touristy” restaurants and wanted to try something off the beaten path. Yelp led us to Antiche Carampane. It was amazing and we could not have found it if we had not had Yelp.
8) THE FORK (RESTAURANTS)
- The Fork is part of TripAdvisor, and specifically focuses on restaurant reviews and bookings in Europe, Australia and Brazil.
- PRO TIP: I find The Fork to be more reliable than Yelp in some parts of Europe. I always check both while looking for good restaurants, but The Fork seems to have more comprehensive reviews.
Travel Apps for Practicing Local Langugage and On-The-Ground Communication:
9) DUOLINGUO (LANGUAGE PREP)
- DuoLinguo is a free language app that gives you daily “bite-size” lessons. The app has more than 30 languages to choose from, so you can prep for almost any trip!
- PRO TIP: Once you know your destination, start your learning! We visit family in Portugal every year. About a month or two before we go, I start refreshing my Portuguese with DuoLinguo, so once we are there I am good to go!
10) GOOGLE TRANSLATE (COMMUNICATING ON THE GROUND)
- Google Translate is an amazing tool for getting around and communicating in a foreign country. You type in the word or phrase you want to communicate, and both your starting language and the language you are translating to. Google translate gives you the result in at least written form, and in some languages it will give you pronunciation as well.
- PRO TIP: It is not reasonable to think you will master a language before visiting a country. It is also not reasonable to expect the people you encounter will necessarily speak English. Google Translate helps bridge that gap and helps you connect with others, regardless of if you share a common language.
Planning your next vacation? Check out this post with my best research and planning tips for an easier process!
Some of the travel apps in this post will help you with your planning, and others will be great for once you are on your vacation. If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more travel tips, make sure to subscribe below!