When you're traveling, you'll likely find your app needs have changed from what they are at home. Suddenly you're wondering how many Euros $100 equates to, or where the cheapest hostel in Istanbul is.
I've had many of these same questions myself while traveling, which is why I've compiled this list of apps. These 11 apps are apps I've either used myself, or have heard great reviews from other travelers who were also looking to save money.
Mint has completely changed the way I manage my money and stay on top of my finances while traveling. Before I downloaded the app, I had no idea what my spending trends were or what my net income was each month after expenses. Now I have a clearer idea of where my money is going, and if I'm spending too much on accommodation or food while I'm abroad.
When you’re in another country, chances are you’ll be exchanging money fairly often. If you’re a newbie to traveling, you’ll probably exchange money at the first exchange counter you see. Don’t do this, you’ll likely get ripped off! Instead, use the XE Currency app to know what the exchange rate is from your currency to the country’s currency you’re looking to exchange for. This will help you be more informed so you can hunt for a decent rate.
P.S. No worries if you’re a travel newbie. I was totally the person who knew nothing about exchanging money when I first traveled abroad...
It amazes me how many people yet still aren’t using Uber. Unless you’re in a country where the local transportation is ridiculously cheap, I recommend using Uber. In the U.S. especially, I would never pay for a ride from a regular taxi company. Uber’s rates are much cheaper, and I like being able to see on the app how far away my driver is.
My friend Yuting and I first heard about Turo on our trip to Hawaii last February. We were looking to rent a car, but didn’t want to pay the outrageous fees most rental companies charge. Lucky for us, our Airbnb host introduced us to Turo. Turo is a platform similar to Airbnb in the way a regular person can rent out their property (vehicle in this case). The prices on Turo are much more affordable than a traditional rental company’s prices, and the cars are often just as nice.
Unless you have free international data included in your phone plan, I recommend downloading WhatsApp. As long as you’re connected to Wifi, you can call and message other people who have WhatsApp downloaded on their phone for free. Facebook Messenger also does this, but WhatsApp is good for situations when you don’t necessarily want someone having access to your Facebook profile.
HostelWorld is the best! It’s the only app I use to book hostels through, and the first thing I recommend to travelers looking for cheap accommodation. I think what I like about it the most is how much information they give you about each hostel. When I’m comparing listings, I can easily see where they're located, read reviews, look through photos, and see which amenities are available.
I can can count on one hand the number of times I’ve stayed in an actual hotel while traveling. 9 times out of 10 I choose to stay in either a hostel or an Airbnb. I love Airbnb because you get the privacy of a hotel, the affordability of a hostel, and the coziness of a home. It’s a win-win for people on a budget.
New to Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and get $40 off your first stay.
I’ve never couch-surfed myself, but I’ve heard positive reviews from travelers who have. In case you’re new to couchsurfing, it's essentially an app which connects travelers with free accommodation. People who have a spare room in their house or even a free couch, publish a listing on the app in hopes of making a new traveler friend.
Skyscanner is super helpful when you're trying to decide where to travel next, but don't know which destinations are cheapest to fly to. Similarly, it's also a useful app for finding the cheapest dates to fly to a particular destination. You can do the latter by selecting 'Cheapest Month' in the date field, and find the cheapest destinations to fly to by selecting 'Everywhere' in the 'To,' field.
Once you've narrowed down where you're flying to and have an approximate idea of when you're hoping to fly, search for your actual flight itinerary on Kayak. They tend to quote the cheapest prices, and have a 'flexible dates' option that'll show you the cheapest day to fly on.
With Google Maps, you can be your own tour guide. I use it all the time in foreign countries, and have found it not only saves me from paying for a short taxi ride, it also makes me look less like a tourist. Instead of staring at a paper map, blindly asking directions, or hiring a guide, I can confidently set out in the direction I need to go.
Tip: To ensure you can use all of these apps while you’re abroad, purchase a local sim card once you arrive at your destination. If you happen to be traveling to China where some of these apps are banned, make sure and download a free VPN app before you leave home. I like Turbo VPN.
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Are there apps you swear by?
Let me know in the comments below!