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Luke Brookes / © Culture Trip
Luke Brookes / © Culture Trip
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The 11 Best Travel Apps You Need on Your Phone

Picture of Peter Ward
Tech Editor
Updated: 22 May 2018
When we embark on great global adventures, there are some items we absolutely cannot leave behind. Your passport is certainly one, as is your credit card. The third is probably your phone. The reason the last of these is now such an important travel tool? The many amazing travel planning apps you can download to ensure you have the best trip imaginable.

Here’s our ultimate list of the top travel apps you need on your phone when you travel the world, from the moment you begin to plan to when you find yourself overwhelmed with abundant options in a great location.

Hopper – Advanced Travel Booking App

This is one for the planners. Travel can be very expensive, but there are a few tricks and tips that make it less so. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a flight you’d booked being sold for a cheaper price just weeks later. With Hopper, users can input their travel plans, and the app will tell them when is the best time to book their flight.

iOS/Android

Hopper tells you when to book a flight
Hopper tells you when to book a flight | Courtesy Hopper

Culture Trip app

When you’re proud of something, let everyone know. Culture Trip’s travel app provides hyper-local information and recommendations no matter where you’re traveling. Create a profile and you can bookmark and like stories, and the app’s intelligent search will filter your results based on the locations and attractions you really want to see.

Culture Trip iOS App/Android

LoungeBuddy

Airports can sap the energy out of you, and there’s nothing more envy-inducing than watching people swan into the executive lounges, knowing they’ll be enjoying complimentary food and drink, showers, comfy chairs, and more. But with LoungeBuddy, you can be the person attracting the envious looks, and without paying a fortune. You can book entrance into almost any lounge for a one-time fee, with no subscription charges. Simply select your airport, the day you’re traveling, and pick a lounge. After you’ve bought your pass just show it to the staff at the entrance to the lounge and enjoy the comforts of premium travel, without having to be a member of the club.

iOs/Android

Getting access to an airport lounge couldn’t be easier
Getting access to an airport lounge couldn’t be easier | Courtesy LoungeBuddy

Duolingo – Language App

Before you head to a new country, it’s wise to at least try and learn some of the language. Nobody’s expecting you to become fluent, but in non-English speaking places, a basic understanding of signs and phrases will make your time there much more rewarding. Duolingo helps people learn new languages in a entertaining game-like fashion. The app is extremely easy to use and keeps users hooked on the language of their choice. The company recently unveiled its new Japanese language course, and also covers Spanish, French, German, Russian, and many more.

iOS/Android

Duolingo’s Japanese class
Duolingo’s Japanese class | Courtesy Duolingo

Uber – Taxi Booking App

Say what you want about the company, we all use Uber. When you’re traveling and can’t face the confusion of public transport, or don’t have any cash to pay and tip a regular cab driver, Uber is probably what you pull up first. The app isn’t available everywhere, but it’s now close to covering the whole globe. It’s usually cheaper and more efficient than a regular taxi. And if you find yourself in Croatia, you can try out the new Uber speedboats.

iOS/Android

Booking an Uber in NYC
Booking an Uber in NYC | Courtesy Uber

Top Road & Map Apps

Citymapper

If you are brave enough to take on an unfamiliar public transport system, there’s help at hand. Citymapper is aimed at commuters, so you know you’re only getting the best travel advice within a city. The app gives you all the options to get around a city, from car sharing to buses or trains.

iOS/Android

Citymapper in action
Citymapper in action | Courtest CityMapper

MAPS.ME

No matter how you choose to navigate a new country, you’re going to need a map at some point. Thankfully, the days of awkwardly unfolding a gigantic map while the locals laugh at the clueless tourist are over. MAPS.ME does something most other map apps don’t—it lets you view your maps offline. That’s crucial when you’re on roaming data tariffs and don’t want to be charged a fortune to check where you are every now and then.

iOS/Android

The pedestrian view of MAPS.ME
The pedestrian view of MAPS.ME | Courtesy Maps.me

Roadtrippers

In the right place, with the right people, nothing can beat a road trip. Roadtrippers lets you plan the ultimate US road trip with ease. The app will suggest routes and pinpoint hotels, attractions, hidden gems, and other places worth hopping out of the car for.

iOS/Android

The Roadtrippers app
The Roadtrippers app | Courtesy Roadtrippers

Skiplagged for Cheap Flight Booking

Skiplagged provides another way for travelers to save on their air fares. The app claims to be so good at exploiting industry secrets to find the cheapest flights, that United Airlines sued them for it. One of the tricks the app pulls is to book passengers on two-leg trips that are cheaper than direct flights to the first destination. Then passengers simply ignore the connecting flight and enjoy the cash they’ve saved.

iOS/Android

Skiplagged on the iPhone
Skiplagged on the iPhone | Courtesy Skiplagged

Maven – Car Rental App

Some places are easy to get around with a car. The only problem is car rental can be a nightmare, and you may only want one for a day, or an afternoon. Maven is an app launched by GM, which offers car rental by the hour. You simply select the city you’re in, choose which car you want, and go pick it up.

iOS/Android

Maven recently launched in New York
Maven recently launched in New York | Courtesy GM

Google Translate

Even the most prepared traveler can hit language difficulties on a trip. There are a few different translation apps and other hardware solutions, but for a traveler, it’s hard to beat Google’s Translate app. Users can listen to conversations and provide translated text, but it also works on inputted text as well, and via your smartphone’s camera, it can look at a sign and translate its meaning.

iOS/Android

Google Translate works both offline and online
Google Translate works both offline and online | Courtesy Google