Personally, I do not believe that technology is a negative thing in and of itself. It really depends on how you use it. Not that you should rely too heavily on things like cellphones, apps, or computers (you should still be able to function if your battery dies), but often they made travel easier and more enjoyable for us.
Just so you know, this is not a sponsored post. No one is paying us. These are apps that we find legitimately useful, and we thought you might too.
$3.99 (website is free to use though)
HappyCow is a community-run app that lists vegan, vegan friendly, vegetarian and veg friendly places all over the world. I used to use the website most of the time, but found that the app is just more convenient. We have used it all over the world, and even managed to find a small vegan friendly Rastafarian restaurant called Estrella Negra in the Atacama desert, Chile. You can find things nearby, or you can plan your trips and save places. If you are vegan or vegetarian, I cannot recommend this app highly enough.
This is TravelStart’s app. Honestly, because TravelStart lists the total flight cost including all the taxes, VAT and hidden fees, I’ve found them to be the most affordable, most of the time. The app is really easy to use. Obviously, we live in South Africa, and it’s cool for here, but I’m not sure how it’ll be for people outside of the country.
Hopper lets you pick dates and destinations, and then predicts the cost going up or down, and when you should buy your tickets.
Couchsurfing is amazing. Basically, you find hosts in locations you want to go, and ask if you can stay with them. We Couchsurfed in Portland, Oregon, USA and Santiago, Chile and both were amazing experiences that left us with incredible memories and life-long friends. The community is really active and really helpful. You can also use filters when looking for hosts e.g. ‘vegan’.
AirBnb is kind of like Couchsurfing, but you have to pay. AirBnb is our second go-to if we can’t find a Couchsurfing host. The app works really well, and we’ve only had good experiences with it in South Africa, the US and India. This app could also work super well if you own a place and want to save to travel.
Google Translate works the same way as the site, just in a nicer, more convenient format. I’ve whipped it out more than once in frustrating situations when me and someone else just weren’t understanding each other e.g. when trying to order something without dairy, egg, or oyster sauce in South America.
Heard of this one? Haha. This one may seem a bit weird to put in here, but honestly, Instagram has been incredibly useful for us when traveling. We’ve made friends in Seattle, New York, Canada, Germany, Australia and all over the world, as well as organised accommodation through it. You can use tags to see what a place is like, how vegan friendly it is (tip: search #(cityname)vegan), or even to find people who live there and connect with them. Instagram might have actually been the most useful app for us out of this whole list.
So far this is the most accurate, up-to-date currency converting app I’ve found. We use it often to budget when traveling as currencies fluctuate constantly.
Duh. But really, although the driving directions have got us lost a bunch of times, their ‘walking’ feature is great.
Personally, Waze smashes Google Maps when it comes to driving.
Duolingo teaches you languages in kind of a game style, where you can build up points, get bonus features etc. It’s pretty fun and easy to use. The best is when you get super weird sentences e.g. “The crab does not eat bread” (from when I was trying to learn Spanish). I am currently 1% fluent in German! Apparently Zulu is coming soon, which we’re pretty keen for.
What apps do you use and find useful when traveling?
I bet there are tons more I’m not even aware of or haven’t tried yet e.g. Warmshowers, which I’m sure we’ll be using soon.