The Best Travel Apps for Backpackers that are free and useful
·11 min read
Apps are so incredibly useful these days. Being a digital nomad I find apps the most useful as I can store them all on my phone. I use apps to help situations becomes less stressful as I am usually quite an anxious soul. All of these apps I have used myself and are highly recommended for different reasons. Without further ado here are my best travel apps for backpackers all of which are absolutely free!
I personally love two features on Skyscanner they are the monthly price chart which shows flight prices for each month and then if you are spontaneous like myself you don’t even know where you want to go and you can click on the “explore” tab and see what tickles your fancy. There is also an option to filter airline partners such as Oneworld and Star Alliance which is great if you want to make the most of your air miles.
There are however two negatives part of this app. One is that not all the airlines are shown in the app for example if you are travelling Europe, Ryan Air is not featured and two there is no filter for baggage preferences ie cabin or checked luggage as an option (a feature that some other apps have.) It will only tell you this info when you click on the flight. Having said this when I begin to plan my trip Skyscanner is the first place I look to see what flights are on offer.
The biggest advantage of Kiwi is that it shows you all the cheapest possibilities of flights which includes mixing flights on different airlines. This is by far the best feature especially if like me you are always on a budget.
There is also a “nomad” mode for people who want a longer trip. I have found this to be the cheapest and most efficient way to travel as I am always moving from place to place. A game-changer with this app is the kiwi guarantee that covers you for schedule changes with flights, flight delays and even cancellations.
Momondo looks completely different to all the other apps above and I love the colours they have used. I love that when you look at a flight it will tell you the cheapest, best and quickest flights with the prices included.
The most amazing feature about Momondo is the insights tab. Let’s say you are going from London to Amsterdam for instance. It will show you:
The best month to go,
The cheapest day to depart,
The cheapest time of day to fly (ie morning/afternoon/evening)
The cheapest airline for that specific route
The cheapest route (I put in London and London Gatwick is the cheapest to Amsterdam)
and how far in advance to book flights for the cheapest deals.
The Kayak app has an inbuilt flight tracker, airport gate information and price alerts (just in case they change.) I love that you can book through Kayak without it forwarding onto external sites. Kayak is the leading metasearch for travel, you can find everything you need from hotels, car hire, campers and even book travel insurance all through one app. Kayak also offers a business tab where you can plan and manage your own business travel.
Skiplagged is a site that gives you the best travel deals that you cannot find anywhere else. On their site, they even claimed that United sued them for having their flights so cheap. However, this is not a traditional flight app as it finds loopholes in airline pricing so you can get better deals and save your money. While using Skiplagged, I have managed to go on two flights cheaper than going direct on one flight (even though it took nearly twice as long.)
I use Hopper to find the best time to buy a flight. The hopper app predicts future flight prices and can notify you instantly if there is a deal. It claims to have a 95% recommendation accuracy and it can freeze the price for you if you need more time to plan your upcoming trip. Hopper also offers flexible dates and refundable ticket plans to make any trip flexible. If your flight is delayed or you missed a connection, Hopper has a disruption rebooking service where there are no extra costs to rebook.
Best Travel Apps for Backpackers – Booking Budget Accommodation
Booking.com is great for comparing hostels and they have a great range of different ones. This app offers many filters so you can get your perfect accommodation.
A bonus tip is booking.com’s loyalty program, Genius. When you complete two stays using booking.com you will be upgraded to Genius Level 1 which offers a 10% base rate discount on certain properties that are part of the Genius Programme. To upgrade to Genius Level 2 you will need to complete five stays within 2 years. You will then receive a 10-15% base rate discount, complimentary breakfast and a free room upgrade on selected properties. You don’t need to sign up for anything, you just need to create an account.
Agoda is very similar to booking.com where it has a wide range of hostels to compare. I have found Agoda to be slightly cheaper than booking.com so I would check both to compare the prices.
Bonus Tip: Agoda has Agoda Cash Rewards which helps you collect cash while you travel. The downside is that not all the accommodation featured offers this reward so you will need to look out for the cash icon in the description to collect the rewards.
Hostelworld is an app that has a huge range of hostels from all over the world. They have the best price guarantee where if you find a better price on another site, Hostelworld will refund you the difference. The Hostelworld interface is very user friendly with over 12 million reviews from fellow travellers. Hostelworld also offers instant booking confirmation and free cancellation up to 2 days in advance. I always look up the reviews on Hostelworld as well as the photos of the hostels to decided where I want to stay. The reviews are being filtered through location, staff and cleanliness to give you a very good idea about the hostel.
hotels.com is a site that I have used the least which is why I have placed it at the bottom of this list. I usually check hotels.com after I have found a hostel that I like the look of to compare prices.
Bonus Tip: Hotels.com also have a rewards scheme called Hotels.com Rewards. This is where you can earn stamps after each completed night stay. There is also silver and gold rewards status which include benefits like free breakfast and potential room upgrades. You do have to sign up for this but it only takes 2 minutes and is definitely worth it.
Travelspend is an budgeting app where you can add your expenses on the move. The best feature in this app is that all the currency exchanges is automatically calculated to your chosen currency. You can even follow your expenses on a map so you know exactly where you are spending all your dollar. Travelspend is available on both IOS and Android devices.
Do you ever worry about missing a flight or you have forgotten what gate you are departing from? Look no further than Tripit, an app that organises all of your planning within seconds and is honestly a game-changer to staying organised. How it works: Simply sync up your emails with all your booking info eg flights and hostel info and it will save it all in the app. Your itinerary will all be in one place and you can even add documents to this list for the added convenience.
The best feature about Tripit is that you can share your information with loved ones so that they know exactly where you are. I also love it as it automatically syncs with my calendar which makes my life so much easier.
Tripit does have a paid version Tripit Pro for additional features.
Rome2rio makes planning your journey extremely easy. Simply enter any address, city or landmark and it will tell you all your travel and booking options. You can also add in all your accommodation which makes this app very convenient having all the relevant information in one place.
Rome2rio will show you all the transportation including flights, trains and bus as well as rideshare and rental car options. This detailed app included estimated prices as well as journey duration. It can be used in more than 160 countries. I personally love estimated prices as it gives me a (very) rough estimate of how much the journey is going to cost so that I don’t get scammed.
Maps.me is the number one offline map. I use maps.me alongside google maps (just in case Google goes down which it has done to me twice before). it allows you to download maps in certain cities so that they can be viewed offline. This app also has travel guides and points of interest built-in. I used maps.me the most when finding nearby restaurants.
When I lived in London for two years, I used Citymapper all the time for navigation. Simply make sure your current location settings are on and add where you want to go. Citymapper will calculate the duration for walking, tube, train, cycle and Uber. The best feature in this app is the real-time results such as when the next relevant tube is arriving and which platform it leaves from. It also includes the costs as well as the duration of the journey. You can even change the time from leave now to a later time or date to estimate how long your journey will take.
The downside to this app is that not all the cities are featured so be sure to check before you leave.
Thank you for reading my best travel apps for backpackers. I hope you have found this useful and will use some of these for your next trip. If you have any additional questions or you have an app that I haven’t mentioned that you would recommend, do let me know, until next time.
Peace and love always.
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