Whether you are traveling solo, with friends, family or through a travel company, utilizing travel apps is helpful in making the most of your European adventures! I created a list of the travel apps I have used in Europe and why you may want to consider downloading them before your next trip.
One thing is for sure to happen when you travel, you'll get lost and unexpected things will happen - a great metaphor for life, right! Some of the most empowering experiences of my life have been abroad. Learning to navigate streets in languages I don't know and find alternative options when plans fall apart has taught me resilience. Missed your bus at 8am because you went to the wrong station? (aka what I did in Germany...whoops!) Guess you'll have to book the next one, which may be the next day and throw your plans slightly off track. But the lesson is seeing the silver lining. Maybe you'll meet people that you want to continue to travel with that you never would have met if you made that 8am bus. Life is full of unexpected adventures, so travel with an open mind and heart and things will fall in place as they need to, even if it looks like everything is falling apart! However, as great as those moments are at teaching us life lessons, it's nice to prevent those wrong turns and thankfully, there's an app for that! Actually, quite a few apps to help you navigate around new cities, book transportation, find accommodation, suggest pre-made itineraries, and provide the history behind must see sites and museums without paying for a tour guide!
Without further ado, here are the 9 travel apps I have personally used on two trips to Europe and what I found them helpful for navigation wise and beyond!
Visit A City
This travel app offers free itineraries of cities all over the world to allow you to plan your own trip! You can book tours and see when museums are open. You'll find travel tips specific to the city of choice such as traveling on a budget, whether city passes are worth it, and transportation advice. It even has a map you can open in the app to show where you are in proximity to popular sites and attractions. From there, you can click on the site and switch to google maps to get you there or have fun wandering your way to the site while watching your location get closer.....or further depending on your navigation skills! If you don't have WiFi or data to use abroad, you can download the map prior to leaving wherever you're staying that has WiFi. The app not only directs you to famous sites and attractions but will also give you the story and history behind it! It's like you're own free tour guide! Personally, I used it to learn about a city I'm about to visit, because I don't always have time to read up on the sites to see or the history of the city. I've also come across museums and sites I never knew about thanks to the app.
Budget traveling means budget airfare. Skyscanner finds you the best deals and sometimes they blow my mind! My last round trip ticket from Ohio to Ireland cost me $665 and when I first saw it, two months before I purchased it, it was $395! Had I booked my ticket early, I could have flown to and from Europe for just under $400! I remember taking a screenshot of the deal to remind myself getting to Europe doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars.
This is the travel app I used to book all my accommodation on my most recent trip. You can search for accommodation in 170 countries! They provide filters for every need imaginable: WiFi, 24-hour reception, airport transfers, bike parking, wheelchair accessibility and so many other options. I sometimes made a booking or changed my booking the day before, so it's very user friendly. While the name may give the impression they solely work with hostels, you can search for hotels, campsites, apartments and bed&breakfast places making this travel app great for people of all ages, solo travelers, families, and anyone in between.
FlixBus is a bus service operating in Europe and the U.S. Recently, they started to create routes on the west coast in the States. Hopefully, it'll continue to expand to the east coast! However, if you are in Europe, then this travel app will be super helpful! Traveling by bus is by far the cheapest form of transportation. My bus ticket from Brussels to Amsterdam cost 11 euros, which is around 12 USD - so cheap! You can search various cities and select the best time for you. You can even track your trip as you are traveling in the app. This is a lifesaver if you are traveling in a country where stops along the route are not announced in a language you understand. I experienced this in Poland when all announcements were made in Polish. We were delayed, and I had no idea until I opened the app and it told me. The app displays your in-route progress, estimated time of arrival and names of upcoming stops. A true-life saver to know when to get off the bus! Warning: buses always leave on time with or without you!
When I used this travel app it was called GoEuro, which compared planes, trains and buses. I loved the convenience of finding affordable travel and being able to purchase the ticket through the app, often last minute. The company has since changed its name to reflect its rebranded image of global transportation. Instead of limiting transportation to Europe, you can now compare prices of planes, trains and flights all over the world!
I've used TripAdvisor back home, but never considered using this abroad until I met others using it. With all the reviews on attractions and sites, it's a great resource for comparing where to spend your time. I also used it to find good, cheap eats in a new city!
An obvious one but so, so important! Make sure to download the languages you'll need to have on hand prior to leaving for your trip in case you don't have access to WiFi when you're out exploring.
This app allows you to text, call, video call, upload a story, send media, and record voicemails abroad. Although, the most helpful thing is that you can share your location with others. Making it much easier to meet up with new travel friends, especially if you're staying at different locations! I used this app before traveling, but found it useful on trips since it seems to be universally known as the go to international messenger app. Plus, it's a great way to stay in contact with friends after your travels 🙂
It's available in 630+ countries, so when taxis are busy try uber!