When I was a kid, we used to drive from Brisbane to Sydney by following road signs and referencing a map. It was a lot of fun road tripping with my mum like that but travelling now has been taken to a whole new level and made much easier. Thanks to smartphones, we’re able to carry all the maps, guides, booking services, calculators, recommendations and entertainment we could possibly need right in our pockets. It’s pretty amazing and smartphone apps have totally changed the way we travel! Today, I wanted to share a few of the very best travel apps around, to help anyone planning their own Australian adventure. These are going to help you plan, book and enjoy your way around Australia, ensuring you have an amazing time.
But first, watch this…
This post is sponsored by amaysim, however, as always, all advice remains objective and genuine. If you’re visiting Australia and need a local sim card, you may want to consider picking up an amaysim sim. All their mobile plans are prepaid, without any contracts and include unlimited local calls and texts – simply choose how much data you require during your stay and you’re good to go. Thanks, amaysim for sponsoring this post and allowing us to keep doing what we love!
Matt discovered Waze a little while ago and it has become one of our go-to travel apps when we’re driving. It offers free driving directions, traffic reports and GPS navigation. Waze users report traffic incidents so the information is current and after you put in your destination, Waze will find you the fastest route there. It’s helped us avoid traffic jams on many occasions! Another way we use it is to log that we’d like to get to the airport by 7am, for example. If there’s a traffic incident that’s going to delay that arrival time, the app notifies us we need to leave earlier to still get there on time. Find Waze here.
A lot of apps claim to offer the best prices for booking flights and hotels but Hopper has an edge to it. It takes the guesswork out of wondering if you could get a better rate by telling you when to book and when to wait! It predicts, with 90% accuracy, when you’re likely to get the best rates on bookings for hotels and flights and, with a 12 month forecast, you can see when the cheapest time to travel is likely to be. It’s totally free, tracking prices and sending you notifications when it’s time to scoop up a bargain. Every little bit of money saved on travel helps, right?! Find Hopper here.
If you find yourself without a hotel organised for the next few nights or like to travel without plans, HotelTonight is the app for you! Hotels list their unsold rooms and you search for the location and date you need (i.e. Sydney, tonight). Then, the app shows you all the very best last minute hotel deals for that night. Of course, you can search up to 100 days in advance but the very best deals tend to be the ‘same day deals.’ That said, it’s always worth checking anyway, just in case you snap up a bargain on a great hotel room. Find HotelTonight here.
You know when you’re booking all your travel and you have loads of confirmation emails and trip details floating around? Well, TripCase is like a personal assistant that helps you get organised. Before your trip, you can forward all your confirmations to a dedicated email address and they’re automatically added to your itinerary. You can view flight information, receive notifications of any changes and view your seat on the flight as well as see what’s available with real-time seat maps! Another cool feature is the ability to share trip information with your contacts. It’s a valuable organisation tool for anyone who travels regularly. Find TripCase here.
5. XE Currency Converter
XE Currency Converter is my go-to conversion app! If you’re visiting Australia from overseas, it’s going to help you figure out the exchange rate with no hassle or guesswork. The exchange rates are live, provided you’re connected to the internet and, even if you aren’t, it’ll save the last updated rate so you can still use it. You simply add the currencies you need, enter the amount and it’ll convert it for you quickly and easily. It has saved us a number of times, especially when we’re trying to figure out how much money to take out of the ATM. Find XE Currency Converter here.
6. Smart Receipts
Matt and I use SmartReceipts every time we travel! This may not be the perfect app for everyone but if you’re a traveller who needs to keep track of their receipts, either for work purposes or just because you’re super organised, SmartReceipts is amazing. We create a ‘Report’ for each trip we take, logging each expense by entering the cost, date, what it was and attaching a photo of the receipt. It keeps track of everything we spent, which helps me write accurate guides for you guys and also allows us to run reports for our accountant and the Government! Find SmartReceipts here.
Netflix has become one of my favourite travel apps! Before I fly, for example, I like to download movies I’ve been meaning to watch or a few episodes of a show I’m currently binging. I find it passes the time faster and ensures I’m not bored when I’m flying with a budget airline that doesn’t provide entertainment (you can scoop up some great deals on cheap flights around Australia with budget airlines!). Just be sure to pack a charging cord or emergency battery pack because it can drain your battery life. Savvy travellers on an Aussie road trip might like to download shows and movies to their device to watch at night while camping out. Find Netflix here.
PocketGuide is the perfect app for anyone travelling on a budget who still really wants to get the most out of their trip. It’s also perfect for anyone with social anxiety and/or introverts (me)! The app is like having a tour guide in your pocket. Guided walking tours are loaded into the app and you simply pop in your headphones and follow along. For example, in Sydney, you can do a 2-hour walking tour around Darling Habour. You follow along with the app, learn about key historical sites, hear stories and find hidden spots, all through your headphones. It also gives you the freedom to start a tour whenever you like, around your own travel schedule and stop off wherever you want if you see something that catches your eye. Find PocketGuide here.
9. Culture Trip
If you want to get the most out of a destination, Culture Trip is a fantastic app to have. You can search for the very best things to see, do and eat at a destination ahead of time and build wishlists of all the places you want to visit. At the destination, you can share your location to find tips based on what’s around you, like finding a cheap spot to eat for lunch in Melbourne’s CBD or a great bar in Sydney late at night. There are lots of locals-only tips on there and it’ll ensure you make the most of every moment, even the ones where you don’t know what to do! Find Culture Trip here.
10. Trail Wallet
If you’re anything like Matt and me, you’ll pretty much always be travelling with a budget in mind! We thoroughly believe it’s important to live and travel within your means and sticking to a pre-determined budget when you’re travelling is a big part of that. Trail Wallet is a travel expense tracker that helps you stay on top of your budget and means you aren’t just guessing (like I was when I went to Europe in 2008 and just about went bankrupt!) Simply enter in your budget for the entire trip then log all your expenses, including transport, hotel and flight bookings and all the things you buy as you go, like meals and sightseeing costs. You can see how much you’ve spent each day and how much is remaining of your daily and overall trip budget. If you find yourself over budget, the app can also help you work out where you’re over-spending so you can cut back and get back to travelling within your means. There’s also lots of graphs and stuff for all you data lovers out there (Matt!!). Find Trail Wallet here.
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Agoda – hotel bookings
Booking.com – hotel bookings
Cover-More – travel insurance
Motorhome Republic – RV rentals
RentalCars.com – car rentals
SimsDirect – travel SIM cards
Skyscanner – flight bookings
Surfshark – VPN
TourRadar – tour bookings