When I backpacked Southeast Asia in 2014 I had zero travel apps on my phone. I survived completely without them but once I landed in Lima, Peru in March 2017 to start my year long travels I met other travelers that told me the apps they have been using that have made their trips so much easier. So this post is all about what you should download on your phone before you take off and how they have helped me!
Finding A Place To Stay
This app has been a lifesaver for me on my travels. In Peru I booked almost all of our places with booking because it ranges everything from hostels to private rooms to hotels to homestays. My trick is to always filter everything from low to high and find one of the cheapest best reviewed places. Reading other peoples experiences about a place will completely make or break a stay for us. In Bolivia and Chile I haven't been using booking as much, instead I use the maps function and figure out where a few different cheap hostels are located that are all in the same neighborhood. From there I screenshot a few of the names and where they are on the map and once we get off a bus into a new city we walk towards them. Click here to book your first booking and get $20 off!
I have met many other travelers that lived in private rooms or rented apartments long terms in different cities to get the feeling of living like a local and make little homes around the world. That is why I love Airbnb because of the different types of traditional and non traditional places you can rent. It's good to take a look at booking, hostelworld and Airbnb before booking a place especially longterm to give yourself many different options and make it specific to your needs and budget. Click here to book your first Airbnb and get up to $30 off!
A app used globally that many hostel owners sign up for! Everything from this app from the reviews, price range, maps function is easily usable and wanted when you are on the go and need a place to crash. Sometimes just like Booking I don't always book a place on the app but more find a few I like in the same neighborhood from hostelworld and walk to them after arriving in a new city.
I haven't had any luck yet with finding someone to host us but I am assuming it is because I only speak english in South America and because I am traveling as a couple. I have family and friends that have had different kinds of experiences and living situations from staying on a strangers couch, to someones floor to having a private guest room! The people you meet from this community are amazing. I used to hang out with the Couchsurfing Seattle group and it was great to go get drinks or go to the park where everyone has the same thing in common; the love of travel.
This app has been a lifesaver backpacking Chile! It is an offline map that is all community based. When we did our road trip in central Chile other people would mark on the app different places we could camp at for free or at a cost and different hostels, police checkpoints, good restaurants you name it. The places people talk about or write about are the only places that pop up on the map and that is how we found three places for free to sleep in our car when we were driving with no wifi or data. Completely recommend!
This app is an offline translator and it is extremely helpful when you are backpacking another country and don't know the main language. We have been in Spanish speaking countries for three months now and we are learning quite a bit but it is nice to be able to look up words in spanish to english or when you are trying to communicate with others switching the languages to know how to say something from english to spanish. This has helped us many of times and I carry my phone around now mostly to be able to use this app whenever.
This app is a lifesaver and I 100% recommend every person to get this! About one hour before we started our three night road trip in chile I remembered about this app another backpacker told me that has helped her on numerous occasions. You download the app and the map of the area you are currently in and get ready for the best offline GPS ever. We found out about this app after over a month and a half of using google maps (which hardly works in South America when you are offline) and just using free maps from bus stations. Now we still prefer using free maps but this app saved us on our road trip. We got lost a few times and were in the middle of a huge flood and this app helped us get to dirt backroads that worked perfectly to get us out of the flooded towns we were at. It does drain your battery that is the only downfall but completely worth not being lost. It also will give you directions when you are offline for walking or driving so you won't have to be worried about how to get back to your hostel late at night.
This lovely travel app is the first one I used and actually the one I used to book my flight from Seattle, WA, USA to Lima, Peru for $360. Yes it had two layovers and made it a 22 hour travel day but to save so much money compared to shorter flights that were a few hundred dollars more it was completely worth it. The special thing about this app is that you can put a 'Watch' on flights on certain days you are thinking of traveling and it will tell you when the best time to buy the cheapest ticket and when to wait. It will also tell you when prices will be slowing raising so you know to not hold off. We bought our flights a few months before taking off and couldn't believe how inexpensive it was. Completely happy with this app.
This is a great app to find the cheapest flights for where you want to go! Sometimes they will give some choices with really long layovers but it can save you hundreds of dollars.
This app is great just to see the timetables of when buses are leaving. The cheapest option by far is booking a bus an hour or two before they depart because bus companies are just trying to fill in their seats so take a look at when some of the buses are leaving for your destination and then just head your way to the bus terminal. We booked a bus once on this app and was a headache since we had to get a printed ticket and we were at a hostel with no printer. (Luckily found a photocopy place and had it printed out before our bus left).
We booked our Uyuni Salt Flats tour with the #1 tour bus company on the list and it was completely worth reading the reviews off TripAdvisor. From restaurants, tour agencies, attractions you name it; the reviews will help you on your decision making on what you want to do. Many companies in South America sell the same types of tours when they are all located in the same city so it is great to read about other people's good and bad experiences with different agencies so you know if you should trust the sales guy at the bus terminal that says there will be wifi for the whole bus ride (that is always 100% a lie.)
This is a great public transportation app when you are learning a new cities bus or metro system! This was completely useful in Santiago, Chile trying to navigate around such a big city. You can find out where you need to go when you are connected to wifi and then press start and begin your journey. The gps will still work and give directions so it is perfect to get across town and get pretend you know what your doing!
Have any other travel apps that you love that aren't on this list? Comment below and tell me what works best for you!