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Best Free Travel Apps: Get More From Your Phone When You’re Away From Home


February 11th, 2015Culture, Travel, Volunteering, Food
By Samantha Evans

Best Free Travel Apps

Whether you’re heading out of the city for a quick weekend getaway or embarking on a three month journey around the globe, having a world of useful travel-related information at your finger tips can be a huge help to get the most out of your time away.

Our staff here at Projects Abroad are a well-travelled bunch. We’ve sorted through the masses of travel apps available and have selected a few of our favourites to share with you. Simply click on the links below and get downloading. They’re useful, they’re easy to use and best of all they’re free!

1. Foodspotting

This app is very specific in its approach and lets you search for an exact dish in a certain area. Just enter your dish of choice in the search bar and Foodspotting will locate places nearby with it on the menu, as well as pictures and reviews uploaded by previous diners. It also gives you the option to find dishes at places that take reservations or do deliveries.

Get the app: Footspotting website; Foodspotting on Google Play Store; Foodspotting on iTunes App Store; Foodspotting on Windows Phone.

2. Google Maps

You’re probably already well acquainted with this app and use it in your home country on a regular basis but keep in mind that it can also be a huge help when you’re navigating the streets of Rio for the first time and don’t have a clue where you’re going. A voice guided, turn by turn GPS navigation system, 360 degree street view capabilities and traffic and transit updates are just a few of the features of this app, making it a must have for exploring new areas.

Get the app: Google Maps website; Google Maps on Google Play Store; Google Maps on iTunes App Store; Google Maps on Windows Phone.

3. Google Translate

With its ability to translate 58 languages into text, Google Translate could prove invaluable when you find yourself in a country whose language is not your mother tongue. It gives you the option to choose between typing text into a word box or using voice input to translate a phrase. So the next time you find yourself backpacking through Sri Lanka and in desperate need of asking where to find a toilet in Tamil, this addition to your smart phone could come in handy.

Get the app: Google Translate website; Google Translate on Google Play Store; Google Translate on iTunes App Store; Google Translate on Windows Phone.

4. Trip Advisor

One of the best known travel apps out there, Trip Advisor offers advice and reviews for travellers by travellers. Information on destinations, attractions, restaurants and accommodation, along with pictures and ratings make this an ideal place to get a somewhat realistic representation of what a place is really like. It also gives you the opportunity to write a review of your own. Samantha Corbett, a Projects Abroad staff member, found Trip Advisor to be most helpful when planning a recent holiday to Thailand. If it hadn’t been for this app she wouldn’t have come across the accommodation she stayed in as it wasn’t mentioned in any of her guide books.

Get the app: Trip Advisor website; Trip Advisor on Google Play Store; Trip Advisor on iTunes App Store; Trip Advisor on Windows Phone.

5. Kayak

This app is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive out there and has a number of features that make it a must-have when planning your next trip. Not only does it allow you to search for airfares, car rentals and hotels but it also has a baggage fee calculator, flight tracker, currency converter and terminal maps of over 100 airports world wide.

Get the app: Kayak website; Kayak on Google Play Store; Kayak on iTunes App Store; Kayak on Windows Phone.

6. Instagram

A great way to share your travel snaps while you’re on the go, Instagram allows you to apply a filter to your photos and videos before sharing them online with your friends and family all over the world. You might not have considered what I did on a recent trip to Australia - I did a hashtag search on certain places and got some great ideas on where to eat and sights to see while I was there.

Get the app: Instagram website; Instagram on Google Play Store; Instagram on iTunes App Store; Instagram on Windows Phone.

7. Airbnb

Airbnb connects travellers looking for short term accommodation with people who have lodgings to rent out. With listings in over 190 countries, it’s ideal for those looking for a homier feel while abroad. My colleague, Julie Gendronneau, part of our French recruitment team is a big fan, she’s had really positive experiences of using this app in Brussels, Paris and Cape Town.

Get the app: Airbnb website; Airbnb on Google Play Store; Airbnb on iTunes App Store; Airbnb on Windows Phone.

8. Wi-Fi Finder

The benefits of this app are obvious. Wi-Fi Finder locates your coordinates and then presents you with a map of the area with all the Wi-Fi hotspots marked on it. It even differentiates between those that are free and those that aren't.

Get the app: Wi-Fi Finder on Google Play Store; Wi-Fi Finder on iTunes App Store.

9. Pack Point

This app is rapidly gaining popularity and it’s little wonder why. It is easy to use and effective and by simply putting in your destination, duration and nature of your trip it creates a packing checklist for you to pack accordingly. It even checks the weather for you so you'll never forget to pack sunblock or a warm coat. If you’re looking for additional tips on packing check out our blog The Ultimate Travel Checklist.

Get the app: Pack Point website; Pack Point on iTunes App Store.

10. XE Currency

For quick calculations and currency conversions, XE Currency works like a dream. You simply type in the figure you wish to convert and it shows its equivalent in the currency you've selected. It also allows you to view live exchange rates and historical charts. New to South African shores from the UK, Projects Abroad Programme Advisor, Beth Evans, uses this app on a daily basis and highly recommends it.

Get the app: XE Currency website; XE Currency on Google Play; XE Currency on iTunes App Store.

Do you have any other great travel app suggestions? Tell us about them using the comments box below.

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