Planning your trip can seem like a mammoth task. You want everything to go perfectly, from planning your itinerary to booking flights and packing your bags (without forgetting your socks). With this in mind, we decided to hand curate a list of the 20 best trip planning apps for travellers in 2019.
At some point in time, every app on this list has helped us in our travels and we’re confident they will be able to help you create the perfect holiday.
We’ll tell you which apps you need to download to create the epic-est trip ever.
Best Apps For Itinerary Planning
1. Google Trips
For us, Google Trips is the best trip planning app for organising your trip. All you need to do is log in with your Google account and Google Trips will update the app with every flight, hotel and activity you have booked.
Anything that you didn’t book through Gmail is super easy to update in the app manually. You can then view and manage your entire itinerary in chronological order from one app. We find it involves hardly any effort at all.
If that wasn’t enough, Google Trips also allows you to download sections of Google Maps so you can find your way around even without internet access. Actually, the entire app works without internet access so you never have to worry about not being able to access your itinerary and bookings.
There’s also a section of the app that provides suggestions for things to do, day trips and restaurants nearby. We usually check this out when we are in a location, but other apps do this better. It’s still handy for quickly identifying the main tourist activities in a new location.
Finally, the ‘Need to Know’ and ‘Getting Around’ sections are always worth reading first thing when you arrive in a new location. We’ve found it very helpful for everything from what sim card to buy and how to not get ripped off catching a taxi.
Free, $49 USD per year for Pro version
TripIt is another great app for planning your trip. It works very similarly to Google Trips in the sense that it builds out your entire trip itinerary in one app. From flight itineraries to hotel bookings, everything is there.
A major difference between TripIt and Google Trips is that TripIt doesn’t sync with your Gmail account. Instead, you need to forward on every booking email to TripIt. This adds an extra step which is why we prefer to use Google Trips.
Another key difference is that in order to get all of the additional info offered for free by Google Trips, you need to pay $50 to subscribe to TripIt for a year – something we never decided to do.
Finally, TripIt requires an internet connection to work. You can’t download your itinerary and maps and store it on your phone.
Ultimately, TripIt is a great app and we are more than happy to recommend it. It’s just overshadowed by Google Trips.
Best Apps For Accommodation
We love using AirBnB for booking the most unique accommodations in each location we head to. Our favourite accommodations have all been booked here and have allowed us to live more like the locals, especially in South East Asia and the South Pacific.
The app is easy to use and functional. It is perfect for finding local hosts and booking anything from a couch to a house or apartment.
Prefer a bit more service? Booking.com is our favourite hotel booking site. It consistently finds the best prices, so when we don’t have time to scour 10 different websites we’re confident about finding a hotel with just this app.
On top of this, it has a very handy section which displays all of your upcoming hotel bookings in one place.
A perfect app both for planning where to stay, and managing where you’re staying once you’ve booked.
We’re budget travellers at heart. Now, we don’t quite go for dorm rooms – there’s two of us, that’d be a bit weird. We’ve found booking a private room in a hostel can get you something just as nice as a hotel but at a fraction of the price.
Whether you’re after a low-cost room or a bed in a dorm, HostelWorld is the best place to find cheap hostel accommodation.
The app’s functionality is as good as the desktop website, allowing you to find new places to stay and manage your existing bookings. A must-have app for any budget traveller.
We didn’t want to exclude our solo travellers. As a couple, couch surfing isn’t quite our thing. Actually, I think most people would find it strange if two people turned up to sleep on their couch.
But for the extra-frugal travellers out there, CouchSurfing is an absolutely awesome way to find a cheap place to stay and meet new people. We love the idea. If you’re a solo traveller, give it a shot.
Make sure to checkout the Hangouts section as a fun way to meet other travellers and locals in a social setting.
Uber is the grandfather of ridesharing around the world. No traveller should leave home without this app installed. Uber is one of the best ways to get around in most major cities in the world.
The app itself is super easy to use, just enter in your credit card details then select a pickup and drop off location.
Safety is good too as Uber tracks your location and driver. No money changes hands either, so you are significantly less likely to get ripped off in locations where taxi drivers can be dodgy.
As much as we love Uber, Grab is a must have in locations in South-East Asia where Uber doesn’t exist.
The Grab app works exactly the same as Uber and is great for getting around affordably in some second and third world countries like Vietnam. One of our favourite parts of this app is how it significantly simplifies catching a taxi in non-English speaking countries thanks to the app’s advanced real-time translation.
While you’re at it, consider downloading Grab Eats. It can be extremely cheap to get food delivered in countries where Grab dominates.
Again, Lyft works the same as Uber. it’s another ridesharing app that enables you to book a driver to pick you up and drop you off at your destination.
Lyft is Uber’s biggest direct competitor and is available in cities around the world. It’s usually a good idea to have both apps installed in your phone in case one has surge pricing and the other doesn’t. Aside from surges, prices are roughly the same so feel free to use either.
Best Flight App
Skyscanner is the ultimate flight booking app. It’s our first pick for online flight booking sites as it consistently delivers the lowest price by searching a huge database of airlines.
The app itself is packed with functionality and does pretty much everything you would expect a flight booking app to do. It’s an absolute must-have for any traveller looking to venture to a new place by air.
Even if you have your flights booked, we recommend installing and signing up for Skyscanner. Things go wrong and sometimes you need to book a new flight. We ended up in Phuket during a tropical storm – Skyscanner definitely came in handy.
Best Translation/Language Apps
11. Google Translate
We use Google Translate for everything we need to translate whilst travelling in non-English speaking countries. The app has all the functionality you could need from a translation app.
Type in some words and you can translate from or to any language in the world. This is what we use for the majority of the time.
It’s also handy for translating speech. On more than one occasion we’ve needed to revert to this feature in order to communicate with an Uber or Grab driver. As a result, it has become an invaluable tool for our travels.
Finally, there is a feature that allows you to take a photo of some text and the app translates it for you. This is perfect for restaurants without English menus, signs and any sort of text in a foreign language.
Free, In-App Purchases Available
Any time we visit a new country, we love to take some time to learn a bit of the language. There’s no way we could ever learn every language anywhere near well, but learning the basics makes getting around and communicating with locals so much easier.
Duolingo is our favourite way to learn the basics. If you have just a few hours, you can easily learn the basics of most spoken languages. Give it a bit more time and you’ll be at a basic conversational level.
Although this app isn’t essential, we would like to encourage you to give it a shot. It really helps you make the most of any trip you’re on.
Best Map Apps
13. Google Maps
Google maps is probably the most important trip planning app on this list. Firstly, there’s the obvious feature of Google maps – it’s a map. You can use it to locate where you are and find directions to and from different destinations.
You can choose to download the map which allows you to use Google Maps even when you don’t have an internet connection. This feature is so useful that we wouldn’t feel comfortable travelling anywhere in the world without it.
One of our favourite features of Google maps is the ability to create lists. We love to research the best places to eat at, drink at and visit in every new location we visit. Once we’ve found the ones with the best reviews, we create lists in Google Maps. We can then look at the list and find a well-rated restaurant, bar or cafe nearby no matter where we are.
For safety, we use the location sharing feature 24/7. This is incredibly useful if you are travelling with someone else, be it a friend or a partner. Sure, it’s a little bit creepy, but when you get separated you can easily track down your significant other. It’s surprisingly accurate.
If you get one app on this list, get this one. You will need it when your travelling, but it’s also a fantastic app to use when planning your trip.
Free, In App Purchases Available
Roadtrippers is an absolute must-have app for anyone planning a road trip. From New Zealand’s coastline to exploring North America, this app will enable you to discover the best routes and locations anywhere in the world.
The process is simple. Firstly, you select a start and end point for your trip. Then the app shows you countless locations along the way for you to check out. Select where you want to go and it creates the ultimate, bespoke road trip tailored just for you.
No more tinkering with Google Maps to create your route, this app will create a definitive route for you to follow.
Beyond that, it’s also an awesome app to use for finding amazing places in any location of the world. Give it a shot for day trips, it works for any length of road trip.
Best Apps for Finding Food
One of our favourite things to do in any new city is to eat our way around. Sometimes that’s easy (like Singapore). Sometimes it’s a lot harder.
When you reach a new city it can be overwhelming the sheer number of eateries to choose from. Add to that the pressure of knowing you could be moving on in two or three days and choosing can become far too hard.
At least that’s the case for us. We use TripAdvisor to generate a list of all restaurants near us. We then filter out to include just the highest rated restaurants and sort by distance.
Then we walk to the nearest one and we’re done. Sometimes you don’t get what you’re after, but we love this data-driven approach to travel eating.
Similar to TripAdvisor, Zomato allows you to quickly find the best restaurants near you based on a robust review system built into the app.
We particularly like Zomato’s scoring algorithm and how it consistently shows us the best restaurants. Just be conscious that there are ads on this platform, so look out for this.
Both apps are essential if you are a foodie and travelling to eat great food. They work the same, but most cities have a preference for one app or another so it pays to have them both handy.
Best Finance / Money Apps
17. XE Currency Exchange
This app is simple, but crucial for both planning your trip and during. XE Currency Exchange is a consistent and accurate currency exchange app that we use to calculate what things cost in different countries relative to our home country.
There’s a lot of functionality built into this app which we don’t use (we aren’t forex traders, thankfully). What we love about it is how quick and easy it is to see currency prices and for making quick calculations when we’re out and about.
18. Trail Wallet
Free Trial, $4.99 Unlimited Use
Unfortunately, only available for iPhone users. But we had to include it as it is by far the best travel budgeting app we’ve used.
For an app with this many different features, it is easy for it to get unwieldy. Fortunately, Trail Wallet is super simple, clear and easy to use.
One of the most important characteristics of a budgeting app is how difficult it is to import your cost data. You can add this data into Trail Wallet with just a few clicks.
Our favourite feature of this app? The export as a CSV functionality. We’re nerds, we love numbers. Whether we’re tracking visitors on our site or closely monitoring our budgets. So the ability to analyse the data in a Google Sheet is amazing.
One thing to bear in mind is this app isn’t really free. You get a free trial, but this only allows 25 entries. After this, you will be happy to pay the $5 for unlimited use.
Best Weather Apps
19. Weather Underground
When planning your trip you will require an app to easily check the weather in your destination.
We’re really just speculating here, but we’ve found Weather Underground to be the most accurate weather forecasting app we’ve used.
In addition to this, it’s really easy to use and has a beautiful design. Just enter your destination and it will provide you with everything you need to know about the weather there. In fact, you can choose the nearest weather monitoring station, so pick one down the road from where you’re staying if you like.
Best Other Random Apps
Free, In-App Purchases
Packpoint is the best app we’ve ever used for planning what to pack for your trip.
You start by entering your destination, departure date and how long you’re staying there. PackPoint will then use data to build you a personalised packing list that takes into account everything about your trip.
Once you’re list is generated, you can then tweak it to perfection. Follow the list and tick off all your items as you pack your bag and you definitely won’t forget anything.
We particularly love how this app takes into account so many different factors like the weather and whether you will have access to laundry facilities when customising your list.
Make sure to download this app and use it when planning your trip and right before you depart.