15 Free Apps I Wouldn’t Travel Without

Posted by Dylan Kim on

Living in such mobile world we are able to really take advantage of the computers we carry around in our pockets everyday: our smartphones. There are many free apps out there that you can use while you travel. From remembering to pack to saving you from getting lost, there is an app for everyone. Here are 15 free apps that I’ve found useful during my travels:  


Mint is a minimalist budget management application. My favorite feature is that it allows you to create budgets so you are not spending all of your money too quickly. You enter in your credit cards and the application will divide up your expenses accordingly. The interface is easy and simple to use.

Why is this important?

Say you save up for months for that trip to Iceland and snagged some cheap flights over but forgot that food is expensive. But using Mint, you already have your preset budgets that you can easily adapt and change. Available on Android and IOS.  


It’s almost impossible to mention traveling nowadays without mentioning Airbnb. This application is a real game changer for traveling on a budget. I have had friends stay in beautiful rustic apartments in Gramercy Park, New York to Ocean front Villas in the south of France. The best part is that they got to stay in these beautiful destination locations for a fraction of what a hotel room in the area would cost. I’ve currently been eyeing some tree houses in the PNW.

Why is this important?

I believe that the accommodations where you stay really can impact our impressions of that location. By staying with a local or at a local location, you are somewhat forced to immerse yourself in the local culture as opposed to a hotel room. Also when you stay with a local they often have the best recommendations on where to eat ;) Available on Android and IOS.    

3. Yelp

Yelp is one of the most popular review apps. Even though most people use Yelp for restaurant reviews. It is a phenomenal resource for planning by providing reviews and pictures of local businesses by people who have already been there. It gives little dives and hole-in-the-wall places the same chance as any other restaurant.    

Why is this important?

Depending on where you travel to the volume of reviews will be different. Yelp allows you to effectively plan and ensure that you are going to great places. Why spend money on food or experiences if you know you’re not going to enjoy it? Like this tip? Click here to tweet it! Available on Android and IOS.    

4. Instagram

Besides being the popular photography app, Instagram is also another great resource for planning trips. It is the best place to find images that are uploaded real time of a certain location. Also, people love to Instagram their food (or backpacks)! This way you can find appetizing places to eat in the area.

Why is this important?

Instagram has helped me many times especially when you’re planning on traveling to a location later in the day. Instagram can serve as a tremendous tool for inspiration. For example, I was planning a photoshoot at a waterfall several hours away in the middle of winter. I checked the location of the waterfall on Instagram moments before leaving and saw that it was completely frozen over.   Available on Android and IOS.    

5. Currency Conversion App

Globe Conversion is my app of choice for monetary conversion. This application is to convert currencies (and doesn’t require data). It’s very important to know how much you are spending in your current location. Knowing how the local currency translates back to your home currency will help you effectively budget and hopefully buy more souvenirs and experiences!

Why is this important?

Budgeting is one of the most important aspects of traveling. It’s very easy to lose track of how much you are spending between public transportation, food and entertainment. Available on Android and IOS.    

6. Hopper

Hopper is one of the coolest travel apps on this list. Hopper is designed to help you find the best prices on flights. Its minimalist design makes it very simple to understand the flight price trends. You can also watch flights to ensure you purchase tickets at the cheapest price available.

Why is this important?

How many times have you felt you overspent on a plane ticket? With flight prices often being a substantial cost of travel, it is fantastic that with some planning you can save up to nearly 40% off a typical ticket. As you can see, flight tickets to Hong Kong vary as much as $300 depending on when you go. Hopper is the kind of app that opens up the world through its simple interface.   Available to Android and IOS.    

7. Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers is the ULTIMATE roadtrip planning app. Seriously. The app comes loaded with preprogrammed roadtrips from “Appalachian Trail Road Trip” to “48 Hours in San Francisco” and you can also have the joy of planning your own. This travel app will also point out local food restaurants on your route so gone are the days of pulling over to your favorite fast food chain. You can also find nearby road trips to go on.

Why is this important?

There is so much exploring to be done, which I think is what excites me most about this app. A lot of people forget that there are a lot of place within driving distance. The team at Roadtrippers is constantly uploading new and exciting trips. The Great American Road Trip is something that has always been on my bucket list but there is so much more out there. I know for a fact, I’ll be doing the “Moonrise Kingdom Filming Locations Road Trip” real soon.   Available on Android and IOS.      


8. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a phenomenal app for making lists. Whether that’s a bucket list or to-do list you can share your list with friends and family. It also makes the most satisfying sound when you tick something off the list.

Why is this important?

When planning a trip, organization is key. Even the loosest planned trips rely on some level of organization. Being able to collaborate on lists with friends and family means that everything will get on the itinerary and every food you want to try as well. With good organization nothing is forgotten.   Available on Android and IOS.    

9. Pack Point

Pack Point is one of those travel apps that you don’t really think you need until you use it. You simply plug in simple details about your trip and it generates a packing list. Just so you don’t forget things such as a camera bag or nail clippers. It is incredibly straightforward and is one of my favorite organization apps.

Why is this important?

There are a lot of moving parts with trip planning. With a lot of moving parts, it becomes quite easy to forget the simplest things. There is nothing more frustrating than that feeling of forgetting the basics and having to buy another stick of deodorant. Having a travel app that helps you remember the tiny essentials can save a lot of time, keeping you focused on things that are more fun.   Available on Android and IOS.  

10. Pana

Pana is the perfect travel companion. It connects to your email in order to keeps all your flight information and updates organized. My favorite features about Pana is it can automatically check you into your flight 24 hours before and send flight updates to a preset list of contacts.  

Why is this important?

Pana is one of those apps that you don’t realize how much you value it until you use it. Travelling can be pretty hectic. I always strive to eliminate as much worry as possible before starting my travels. Not having to worry about checking in, sifting through your email for flight updates or texting your mom once your flight has landed allows you to travel with more peace of mind. Available on IOS.      



11. Local Subway App

If you’re anything like me, you love to travel as cheaply as possible and seeing as much of the city as possible. Most major subways have apps that guide you through their tricky network of lines and colors. This way you will always know what subway stop to go to! The New York City Subway system will always confuse me no matter what. In the heat of the moment, it is really easy to board an uptown train when you meant to go downtown. While in Hong Kong, I downloaded the local subway (MTR) app and never got lost.

Why is this important?

There is no worse feeling than being lost and confused. It can delay plans and really through your whole day off. I would highly recommend taking the guesswork out and take it as an opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture. There really is no experience like boarding a rush hour train in another country. NYC Transit app available on Android and IOS. Hong Kong MTR app available on Android and IOS.  

12. Lyft

Lyft is a ride-sharing app (like you haven’t heard about it already.) But can be incredibly useful if you find yourself lost between destinations. Especially, if you don’t speak the native language it can sometimes just be easier and less stressful to call an lyft.

Why is this important?

Depending on where you travel, they might have different cultural policies about taxis and the public transportation might stop early in the night. For example in Hong Kong, waving down a taxi does not work the same as it would in New York City. You are expected to stand in a line and wait your turn.  

13. Google Translate

This is probably the most useful app on this entire list. The first time I used this application I couldn’t believe how fast it worked.   One of the incredible features is the camera translate feature. This allows you to point your phone camera at a sign and it will translate it for you. It can’t translate paragraphs but gets the job done.   Another cool feature is the conversation feature. This allows you to have a conversation in two languages and is a breeze to use. Again, this feature isn’t 100% but you are definitely able to understand more with it than without it.

Why is this important?

Communication is what keeps this world together. This app serves as a tool to bring the world even closer together. This app can come in handy at the most random times, while in China I was in a remote village where nobody spoke English hopelessly lost trying to find the start of a hiking trail. Using the conversation feature, a local man was able to point me in the right direction. Available on Android and IOS.      



14. Bonjournal

Bonjournal is a minimalist journaling app and really has me excited. When traveling, it is really easy to forget the small moments. Bonjournal has a simple interface where you can keep your trips organized and quickly write down little notes, take photos and easily share these with friends and family.

Why is this important?

It’s hard to face but memories fade. Bonjournal is one of the few travel apps that gives me hope. There are so many moments over the years I wish I could recall better and though it might take persistence and work. Bonjournal combines text and photos into a stunning narrative. Now when your friends or family ask how your trip was, you will have something to show them.     Available on IOS.  

15. Lightroom

The mobile app for Adobe Lightroom has improved drastically over the years. The photo app now has the ability to take full RAW DNG images straight in your smartphone. You can also follow this Popular Photography article to learn how to use your own Lightroom Presets on the mobile app.

Why is this important?

Being mobile and free is one of the best feelings while traveling. Traveling as photographer it can sometimes be difficult a place and time to setup and edit. Being able to take and edit RAW files straight in your mobile device is quite an incredible experience. This app opens up so many possibilities for the smart phone photographer. Available on Android and IOS.       It is incredible how in-depth free travel apps have become. I tend to focus on travel apps that will help me plan, stay organized and remove the stresses associated with travel.   What are some of your favorites to use? Let us know in the comments below!
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