Living in a digital era surely makes travelling very easy to do. I am not gonna lie. I depend on my mobile and internet data whole my journey, especially when you are going solo. Being alone as a solo female traveller out there in a foreign country developed my instinct to be always cautious and organised. I gotta say I am very thankful for the technology nowadays if you compared the way people travelling 10 years ago. Man, I think I would be lost in the middle of the jungle somewhere. Nonetheless, it is so much fun to try all these useful and amazing apps that people has start to build. They really tried so hard to make the best travel apps to make everything simple, organised and leave your mind at ease.
And of course, being an UI designer, choosing travel apps can be super tricky, cos I analysed everything. When I say EVERYTHING, that means start from their Brand Name, Logo, User Interface, Colors Combination, User Experience, and the review. Fiuh.. I know it’s annoyingly detailed, but hey.. That’s just the way I am! If you ever open up my phone, your eyes will pop out because of how many apps I have in different folder sections. You can guess that I have tried so many.. SO MANY travel apps to help me get through backpacker life. I only keep the apps that I feel are super useful. Therefore, I am sharing my secrets with you of the Free (YES IT’S FREE) Best Travel Apps that has been my saviour for the past years.
I have been using this app since it first launched and still using it up until now. Even though the user interface is “okay”, I really love its functionality and how easy I can find all the information. It pulls out the data from your email of your flight details, your hotel along with map location, and it even stores your important documents such as your passport number and the emergency contact. When I had so many flights and bus connection in Europe, this app surely helped a lot to keep track of the transportation schedule. When I forgot which hostel that I finally booked, I just open this app and saw the maps that linked into the Google Maps so I won’t get lost. Trip It has been my saviour during my long term travels plan!
This new app has a beautiful user interface that makes you want to click more and more and more. Even though it has some parts just like Trip Advisor, you can personalise the city based on the flight data it pulls from your email. For example, you just booked a flight to Bangkok, and Google Trips took this information as initial of your flight number, some recommendation on what things you can do in Bangkok, emergency numbers and important stuff in the country, even food and drinks suggestion! All of these reminds me of Trip Advisor but in more enhanced way 🙂
And the amazing thing is that you can download all of this information and keep it on your mobile offline. Damn, aren’t google become cooler and cooler?
Even though Google Trips has the best interface of all, it still lacks something. The Forum. Place where people can ask questions and answers to help others who has the same problems. And so I still depend on Trip Advisor wherever I go, especially when I have some difficult questions such as how much the ferry price to cross from Spain to Tangier or some useful tips for the solo female traveller in Morocco. The forum helped me so much on finding this kind of information.
Gosh, so many apps for accommodation and I just could not explain it one by one. I believe it all depends on your likeliness. As I have fallen madly in love with the Couchsurfing concept to connect with the locals, I personally use a lot of Couchsurfing apps to get in contact with my host or my couchsurfers. Hostelworld has always been my apps to go on finding the good cheap hostel (especially for the female dorms), and I trust 90% of their review rather than any other hostel apps. Booking.com also have an advantage for securing rooms without any deposit and I usually use this to get my visa done. There are some times when AirBnB is even cheaper than the hostel, and it’s even more to your advantage when you are travelling in groups!
So when it comes to accommodation apps, I gotta be honest, I have it all. Cos you never know which one will be the door prize! 🙂
The ultimate flight scanner that most people use. I gotta be honest, I depend on this apps so much for all of my bookings. This also keeps me on tracks with their flight notification that tells me if the price got dropped (means I gotta book right away!). Another cool tip is that when you book the flight, try it with different IP address or clear up your cookies. I assure you the price won’t get higher!
This app saved my ass so much when I was travelling around Europe. It can scan transportations through European countries either by land or air from the cheapest price. What made me awe is that it can even scan through BlaBlaCar! Geez. Amazing apps and I really think Asia should have one too!
Always have local taxi apps on your phone. Malaysia is big with Grab, Indonesia is famous with Go-Jek, Leeds is well-known with Amber and Uber is the popular ones as it has been spread through many countries and it’s easy for the payment by using your credit card, no matter where you are. BlaBlaCar is another alternative to get a ride with people that are going towards the same way as you are. It can be cheaper in some way too. So always check what is the trusted taxi company name of your destination country, and see if they provide apps! You’ll absolutely be safe!
Another life saver that I truly depend on (oh, I still have real paper maps as a backup!). I use this app so much even back then in my hometown. The best thing about it is that you can save the maps offline and even save the place so you know where to go back. Even though it could not coverage the transportation by bus or any local car transportation in rural areas, I can totally rely on walking around by just using this app.
I first got to know this app when I visited London for the first time. A friend of mine said that I should have this app if I did not want to get lost underground in the tube. And yep! This app saved my life. It can coverage which bus number and tube line I should take to reach the end line along with details of how many minutes I can get to the destination. What amazed me is that it can even cover the broken line and other delayed trains on the apps, and saved my ass!
I also know that this app not only can save you in London but also in Singapore and Bangkok! (Praying that Jakarta will be next!)
The ultimate apps to check the currency of the country you’ll go. Even though it’s not really an updated real-time, but it’s good to check on this app before you start selling your money in Money Exchange stalls in the middle of nowhere. At least it can give you some premonition on how much it will cost.
I got to know this app just recently and yes I fell in love with it right away. As a person who failed to be an organised accountant, this app can record all of my expense and bills with just one camera click away! Damn! I don’t think I will ever lose tracks on my bills again. Just take a picture of any bills you have and it will automatically keep the record on it. You can finally see the total at the end of the month and see how it can sum up your expenses.
This will help me to save up my money for travel fund even more! Wohoooo!
I was never really into weather as I never really care if it were raining or sunny. But after living in the UK, I finally understand how important it is to always check up the weather forecast. I hated that time when I was Brussels and it was raining all the time that made me lose energy to explore the city. After that, I become super aware with the weather forecast around Europe so that I can have a full maximum day out for my adventure.
There are so many weather apps these days, but BBC Weather has an amazing cool User Interface and made me fall in love with the interactivity right away. Geeky I know, but hey, if you liked how it display, the information will stick in your memory. Righto?
This cool app helped my to pack necessary stuff on my journey. I was never really into this 4 years ago, as I only travelled to tropical countries. But after that Euro Trip, I finally don’t underestimate the power of this apps. Just search the city you will go, the dates, how many days and what kind of occasion will it be; business or leisure. It will automatically give you list of what things you should pack for that season in that country. This has been my packing checklist whenever I go to the new country!
I never really use this much but I know that my friend who went to China got so difficult for browsing many things on his mobile. This app can override the VPN and redirect the server to the eligible country. I keep this on my phone just in case something happens.
You can see how these apps can truly help me to plan my journey. And it’s all so easy, just one step away from your fingertips! But there are some disadvantages when you depend on a lot on your phone; your phone can get stolen, lost or out of batteries. That’s why I keep my old iPhone 4 as a backup phone in case something happen. And of course, power bank is a must!
Don’t get me wrong, I always try not to depend on these mobile storage. Anything can happen. So, of course, always keep important documents back up, write important stuff on the notebook and prepare well for the solo trip. One last tip from me to fully enjoy your travel time; Put away your phone when you don’t really need it. Enjoy the view. Connect with the locals. Eat local food. Be a social media person at night on your hostel bed only 🙂
Any apps that you can recommend for me?
© 2017 Writing & Images copyright of Marina Utami.