Thank you, Internet, for the bounty of gifts you have given us. Thank you for amazing apps, wonderful websites, terrific tech and all the other incredible things that help us travel the world like superstars. Why? Well, if you let your mind wander back to a dark time pre-internet, travelling was a LOT harder. You couldn’t book a hotel online or pre-read reviews, you had to call the airline to book your flights, use a paper map to find your way and photos were taken with film and placed in albums. Now, we have access to a tonne of incredible resources that make travel so much easier and help us to have more great experiences more often. In the spirit of honouring our good friend ‘the Internet,’ here are 12 amazing apps and website that will boost your travel game, fam!
Hello, friend. This awesome website has a search tool that is going to change your travel life for good! Use the ‘Seat Map’ search to scope out your plane before you book and/or take off. SeatGuru gives you an overview of the plane you’ll be flying on, with awesome insight including reviews from travellers who flew that route, tips on the BEST and WORST seats on the plane, in-flight amenities and traveller photos from on-board.
2. Go Ticket
Specifically life-changing for those travelling in the US, GoTicket is a one-stop online shop for finding bus and train tickets. This one is great for budget travellers or those looking for a unique way to explore the States, with buses and trains offering a great way to see the land as you travel over it between destinations. You can search over 90,000 routes across the US for buses and trains, check schedules and find fare prices and days, all in the one spot – amazing!
Ever wondered how much ground you actually cover when you’re exploring a new city? There’s an app for that! The Moves app, to be precise. Download it to your phone, set it up and it’ll track your daily activity, recording any walking, cycling and running you do. You can view a map with your route on it, the distance you covered, as well as duration, steps and calories burned for each activity. All you need to do is keep your phone in your pocket or bag and make sure you charge it each day so you don’t burn the battery and miss those Instagram-worthy moments.
You know that thing when you’re planning travel and you suddenly have 1,00,000 confirmation emails show up in your inbox? TripIt is the ultimate app solution to this problem. You forward all your emails to the TripIt email address and it automatically transforms them into a master itinerary, so all your junk is in the one place. Then, it sends you reminders for upcoming stuff, so you stay on top of it all. You can even access it offline. #Hallelujah
5. Dark Sky
Do you like your weather information to be accurate and reliable? Then Dark Sky is the app for you. It kicks the butt of those stock-standard weather apps pre-installed on your smartphone. The maps on this thing are beautiful, so it’s perfect for map nerds (yes, husband, I know you’re reading this getting excited, ya little map fiend). It uses hyperlocal weather information so it’s incredibly accurate and can tell you, with down-to-the-minute accuracy, when rain will start or stop, right where you’re standing.
6. XE Currency
How about that thing when you’re travelling to a few different countries and you’re trying really hard to wrap your mind around the constantly changing currencies and accidentally end up paying $20 for a diet coke in Bali?! The worst! Well, XE Currency is a life-saver for exactly this type of situation. Use it to add loads of different currencies, then convert stuff so you know exactly how much those knock-off Ray Ban’s are costing you. It’s free and it works offline.
7. City Maps 2 Go Pro
Another great tool for not getting lost and, instead, finding great things without the hassle! The CityMaps2Go Pro app is a game-changer because it allows you to download maps offline, giving you the ability to search and zoom your way around major cities. It suggests places you might like to visit, gives you directions, links to their website and tips on price and wifi availability at the destination.
8. Google Translate
Where have you been all my life? One amazing feature of the Google Translate app is that it can visually translate printed text into the language of your choice (probably choose one you know). You take a photo of a sign, document or other thing you can’t read and it’ll show you the image in your chosen language. As with anything of this nature, the translation may not be totally perfect, but it’s going to make your travel a lot easier when it comes time to read restaurant menus and find your way around a city. You can also write characters on the screen with your finger (perfect in places like Japan and China) as well as have a conversation with someone else by speaking into the app and having it translate out loud. P.S it works offline!
At first glance, Viator is a website that allows you to search for activities in cities all over the world and book your ticket, thus securing your spot and taking the guesswork out of buying tickets when you arrive. But, dig a little deeper and you’ll find the true hidden gem in this travel treasure trove; skip the line tickets. As anyone who has queued up at the Colosseum in Rome will tell you, lining up for tickets sucks. With Viator, you can jump online and book their ‘Skip The Line’ tickets for things like the Eiffel Tower, Colosseum, Vatican Museum, Louvre and a tonne more. YAY!
You know that thing where you want to travel somewhere, but you don’t really know where you want to go, so you just kind of want to search for destinations that fit your budget and timeframe…. well, Adioso is the supply to this demand! The website has a flexible search tool which allows you to enter your travel dates and where-ish you’d like to go, it then shows you a whole lot of cheap airfare options in a user-friendly, image-based way. It’s a great way to possibly find yourself travelling somewhere you hadn’t thought of before!
Want to make your next layover a real dream? the LoungeBuddy app and website can help with that. It helps you find free and pay-to-enter airport lounges all over the world. You can not only find them on the app, but also book them. As anyone who has had a 6-hour layover in between 12-hour flights will tell you, that’s exactly the kind of thing you need to ensure your mental health stays on track (your personal hygiene too). It’ll tell you where the lounge is, what amenities it offers, show user reviews and allow you to book. So good!
If you’re one of those people who LOVE to know what’s going on, this is the app for you. FlightView tracks upcoming and in-air flights so you can spot a plane in the sky, taking off or landing on the runway and find out where it came from or where it’s headed. It also provides real-time flight information like gate assignments, delays, dreaded cancellations and a flight’s progress too. P.S it’s free!
Watch my video from my Business Class trip to Germany with Singapore Airlines!
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.