May we introduce you to our #DoodlerOfTheMonth in August Turner Barr, who is working his way around the world. Traveling across the world he has been using different apps that simplified his organization radically. Doodle’s definitely been one of his secret weapons to easily catch up with people around the world:
With smartphones and tablets and readily available Internet everywhere these days, travel has never been easier. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to worry about stepping in a puddle and being run over by a tuk-tuk whilst abroad, but by and large, there is an app that solves many of your travel woes before you even step foot on a plane. Part of me misses the glory days of lugging around a huge guidebook and looking like a helpless puppy in the street looking for accommodation, but then I snap back into reality and realize how much more time I get in a hammock or sipping piña coladas.
Below is my list of go-to travel apps that I have personally road tested. Most are free, some are paid, but having them and the peace of mind is well worth it.
Travel Planning Apps
(FREE or $.99)
TripIt is a great tool for keeping yourself organized. You can organize departure times, booking codes, etc. To make it happen, all you do it forward you info to firstname.lastname@example.org and they organize it all for you in one place. The Pro version includes reminders and flight status alert features.
(FREE or Premium Plans)
Are you tired of the constant back and forth debate in email chains or WhatsApp messages? Doodle’s got your back. Doodle solves this problem by allowing you to get the date/time in a diary form with one message. All you have to do is suggest the possible date with the app, email or iMessage, and Doodle allows participants to vote. You can also run polls, which is a great way to create democracy instead of anarchy with loved ones.
Accommodation Booking Apps
I have used hotels.com all over the world and scored some amazing minute deals. They even have a program that gives you the 10th stay free.
Like hotels.com, Priceline offers some amazing hotels with great discounts. Likewise, they have some price matching guarantees that give you peace of mind.
Offers some cheaper hotel options that the former apps. You don’t have to pay ahead of time usually.
The go to apps for finding hostels around the world. This puppy has made budget travel an entirely different beast by letting you reserve without headaches.
One of the biggest travel game changers by making a category (VRBO) more accessible. I have stayed in some incredible places for a fraction of what a hotel would be. Live like a local.
Flight Booking Apps
Probably the biggest flight comparison site out there. This aggregator allows you to find the cheapest flights out there by looing at a whole month at a time to find the cheapest dates.
A wonderful little app for those who are looking for historical prices and figuring what is a good and what isn’t a good deal. Lifesaver.
Flight Tracker Apps
(FREE or FlightRadar24Pro $2.99)
More interesting than a must, you can live the life of an air traffic controller with this app. You can see live air traffic feeds from around the world and airplanes in real time on maps. Provides flight statuses, departures and arrival times.
(FREE, used to be $10)
I can’t tell you how many cab rides this one has saved me on before the days of Uber. Still a great way to talk to locals. Surprisingly accurate.
Everyone needs a way to figure out you aren’t overspending on the vacay. This one is one of the main converters.
The standard bearer gets better and better. The public transport info with cities that have metros make it one of my favorite travel apps on the list.
Great mapping app that is better at finding how to reduce your drive time and to find police and accidents on the road.
More USA-centric, but one of the biggest restaurant review apps. Nothing spoils a night out more than a bad meal. YELP comes to the rescue.
From activities to restaurants, TripAdvisor is the go-to app for figuring out what is a must see and worth a miss when traveling overseas. It is also really great at finding restaurants abroad more than YELP.
You would have to be living under rock not to have Uber’d before. Some countries have outlawed them, but have their own, domestic versions. I have used it all over the world and it is super convenient to find a trusty ride in a world with some sketchy cabbies. If Uber is unavailable, it is usually worth downloading the local version.
Call Messaging Apps
The most famous texting app and gold standard. Great way to connect with locals as everyone seems to have it.
Not as big as WhatsApp, but also has a voice feature. Comes in handy.
The original voice app. While calling home has gotten a lot cheaper, it still gives peace of mind calling from Skype and knowing the rates will be reasonable.
About the Author:
Turner Barr is an American travel blogger and novel experience enthusiast. When he isn’t eating weird food in strange faraway lands or dishing out dating advice, he chronicles taking on odd jobs around the world on his blog – Around the World in 80 Jobs.