30 travel apps and websites that will help you plan your trip

  • 26.01.2024 14:06
  • Bruno Arcos

A compilation of 30 indispensable websites or apps for your travels, ranging from hotel and flight aggregators to currency conversion tools, translators, public transportation planners, offline maps, and much more!

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Gone are the days of navigating with a map in hand, using film cameras and having to spontaneously drop by hotels or guesthouses to find out if there’s an available room for the night. As the digital era ushered in, along came a more predictable, planned and robotic way of traveling. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as these technological advances have helped many travelers find the confidence to plan their own trips start traveling independently.

Nevertheless, not all websites and apps are born equal, so it’s important to know how to distinguish the essentials from the all the needless junk – and that’s precisely where this article comes in! Without further ado, here’s a compilation of 30 indispensable websites or apps for your travels, ranging from hotel and flight aggregators to currency conversion tools, translators, public transportation planners, offline maps, and much more!

Apps and websites to help you plan your travels

GOV.UK

We kick off our list with a recommendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the entity responsible for creating, updating and maintaining the official Foreign Travel Advise page. This platform offers comprehensive information about the entire British consular network (and relevant contacts), serving as a true encyclopedia when it comes to advising travelers. These include specific details on entry requirements, security conditions, healthcare and transportation for each of the 195 internationally recognized countries worldwide.

Additionally, this portal is a great tool to stay updated in case of abrupt changes in your destination country, such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters, pandemics or military coups.

Kayak

Tired of having to navigate through 10 different websites to double-check the lowest price for a specific hotel booking? With Kayak, you have access to the prices from all the major booking engines in a single platform, saving you both time and effort.

Just do a quick search for your destination, set your personal preferences (rating, category, distance from the city center, etc.), and the platform will then automatically display prices from several different engines, including popular options like Booking.com, Expedia, Agoda or Hotels.com, alongside lesser-known alternatives. In addition to Kayak, there are other aggregators with similar features, such as Momondo or Trivago.

HiChee

Much like our previous recommendation, HiChee is the go-to tool for those seeking long-term accommodation or local stays. The end-result is pretty much the same, with the platform offering a price comparison of popular booking sites for this type of accommodation, such as Vrbo or Airbnb (and Booking.com as well).

However, the search method can be slightly different. While there is a feature that allows visitors to do a city-wide search (much like the aforementioned Kayak), with HiChee it’s also possible to paste the link of an apartment found previously on one of the booking websites, and the aggregator will then automatically display the same listing on their competitors. For instance, if you find an apartment you like through Airbnb but wish to check if the same accommodation is available at a lower price somewhere else, simply paste the link into HiChee and you’ll be shown the exact same listing on Booking.com and Vrbo, making it much easier to compare prices across all platforms.

Hostelworld

To cap off the accommodation segment, and now that we’ve covered conventional hotels and long-term apartments, it’s time to gear our attention towards hostels. If you still have the spirited energy of a teenager and the ability to sleep soundly regardless of your surroundings, then consider exploring Hostelworld!

Similar to the platforms mentioned earlier, Hostelworld operates as a search engine, but exclusively dedicated to this type of accommodation. Besides, after completing your reservation, the platform will let you connect with other travelers who have booked a bed for the same dates.

Google Flights

Transitioning from accommodations to flights, Google Flights is the airfare equivalent to the other hotel aggregators we’ve mentioned so far, displaying the lowest price for a particular route on selected dates. While some may suggest Skyscanner, we find Google Flights to have a more user-friendly interface, even though the goal is exactly the same.

Furthermore, if you haven’t yet developed the awareness to evaluate what can be considered a good price or not (a skill that comes with experience), Google Flights provides a price history charter, labeling the fare for your selected dates based on the average prices practiced over a specific period. While you can explore aggregators freely, when it comes to the actual booking, always make sure to book directly on the airline’s website!

Rome2Rio

Need to travel overland between two cities and don’t quite know how to do it? With Rome2Rio, you just need to type in your starting point and destination, and the platform will reveal the available modes of transportation between the two locations, the bus or train companies servicing the route, and even provide an approximate price range.

Depending on the route, the platform might actually link you to specific websites where you can conveniently purchase tickets online. On the other hand, if Rome2Rio isn’t quite able to do the trick, you can always search and buy bus/train tickets on aggregators like BusBud, Omio or 12Go.

Google Maps

Probably the most popular tool on this list, and even though you’re probably quite familiar with its use already, Google Maps remains the most complete mapping website/app in the world. Beyond showcasing the best and quickest walking routes between two (or more) places, the fact that the public transportation systems of the world’s biggest and most visited cities are integrated into its system makes it so much easier for both locals and visitors alike to get around. All it takes is a click, and you can instantly know which metro/train/bus to take, the schedule, the location of the stop/station, and even the fare for your journey. Couldn’t be any simpler!

As an added bonus, you can also use the Street View feature to virtually stroll through a specific location and get access to 360º panoramic views. This comes particularly in handy if you need to check out a specific place beforehand, therefore making sure you don’t get lost on the day of your trip.

Waze

Perfect for traveling by car, Waze is the best tool when it comes to finding you the best routes between point A and point B. More than a mere GPS tool, Waze has a system that is able to monitor current traffic conditions, displaying the most appropriate route to avoid congestion and ensuring the journey is completed within the shortest timeframe possible.

This feature is quite useful if you’re planning a road trip or need to guarantee you arrive in a specific location before a set time, especially when there’s a train or flight to catch or a super-important meeting.

Ridesharing Apps

While you’re likely to have one of these apps installed on your smartphone already (with world-famous Uber leading the charge), it’s always wise to confirm which ridesharing companies operate in your destination country. Whether you’re going out to party at night or need to cover longer distances within a city, there’s no beating the convenience of simply ordering a ride at any time, from any location, without even having to worry about carrying cash.

Alongside the aforementioned industry leader, other notable companies in the sector include Bolt, Lyft (North America), Yandex (former Soviet Unions), Careem (Middle East), DiDi (Latin America and Oceania), Grab or Gojek (both for Southeast Asia).

Roadtrippers

While limited to the USA and Canada, Roadtrippers is an extremely helpful app for those who dream of conquering the legendary Route 66 or driving along the region’s major national parks. When browsing through its extensive database, you’ll discover a wide range of travel itineraries that mention all the tourist attractions located along your preferred route, allowing you to tailor your road trip according to your preferences.

Plus, the app also incorporates features that allow you to book nearby hotels, calculate distances and travel times, estimate fuel costs and even do a quick search for restaurants and diners. You just need to create a free account and your entire travel plan will be saved on the app.

Maps.me

Still within the realm of maps and land travel, it’s almost mandatory to highlight the famous and incredibly reliable Maps.me. While Google Maps also provides the option to download a city map for offline use, this app stands out for its greater detail and user-friendly interface, including pedestrian trails in mountainous areas and countless cities and villages not fully covered by its competitors.

The process is rather straightforward, just download the map of your destination country before departure, and once you touch down, you’ll be immediately able to use the offline map (without needing an internet connection). In addition to walking routes, you can also use the same map for road travel. While not as detailed in that regard, it still proves quite useful.

Seatguru

If you have a particularly long and taxing plane journey ahead of you and would like to get a seat as comfortable and convenient as possible, then Seatguru will be right up your alley! By using this tool, you’ll be able to check the seating layout of over a thousand aircraft from nearly two hundred airlines. Plus, the seat mapping is color-coded based on the “quality” of the seat, considering factors such as legroom, seat recline angle or proximity to the bathrooms.

All you have to do is enter the airline name and flight number, and the platform will not only display the aircraft map but also provide information on flight amenities, baggage policies and other useful details.

Airalo

If you’ve ever traveled outside the European Union (or within the EU before roaming fees were abolished), then you’ve likely experienced the importance of staying connected to the rest of the world. It’s quite the challenge: you get out of the plane and the airport Wi-Fi isn’t working, so you need to search for an airport store selling SIM cards. To make matters worse, once you finally find such a place, you still need to worry about data packages and currency conversions, all while putting up with the often lengthy airport queues – what a nightmare!

Fortunately, services like Airalo have got your back, since this virtual SIM card (eSIM) store enables you to purchase a mobile data card beforehand and take care of the simple installation process, all from the comfort of your own home. As soon as you land, you eSIM will become active, making it all much smoother and less stress-inducing. For more details on prices, the installation process and equipment prerequisites, we recommend reading our dedicated article.

Climates to Travel

  • “Is X a good time to visit Y?”
  • “What clothing should I pack if I’m visiting Y in the month of X?”
  • “Can I enjoy the beach in Y during X?”

So that you don’t have to bother others with boring questions like these (kidding, we appreciate all your inquiries), we recommend turning to Climates to Travel, a website that provides weather information for every country in the world! While the display might seem a bit outdated, the content couldn’t be any more thorough.

Simply enter the name of the country you plan to visit, and you’ll promptly receive information on average temperatures by region, water temperatures (in coastal areas), average precipitation volumes and chances of natural disasters. Aside from this factual and statistical data, the site also offers recommendations on the best times to visit a specific country and what to pack for your trip. Finally, as the date of your trip gets closer, you can also check the forecast on websites like AccuWeather.

Tripadvisor

Arguably the world’s most well-known travel forum, Tripadvisor serves as a valuable resource for a broad range of topics related to the tourism sector. Beyond functioning as a platform for hotel research and activity/tour booking, at its core, it remains a place where users share their personal experiences and reviews, which is why we consider a very useful tool when it comes to choosing restaurants.

Luckily, the possibilities are virtually endless, allowing you to refine your search based on reviews, cuisine, price range, target audience or service type. Furthermore, with its mapping tool, you can narrow down your search to a specific area, avoiding restaurants located too far away from your current location.

HappyCow

While you can definitely search for exclusively vegetarian and vegan restaurants on TripAdvisor, HappyCow is king when it comes to this specific market segment. With over 1 million active members, this website serves as the ultimate Atlas for vegetarian cuisine, featuring accommodating restaurants located across 185 different countries.

All you need to do is type in the city’s name, and the interactive map will display the locations of vegetarian/vegan restaurants, along with their photos, contact information, social media links (where menus can be checked) and working hours. Moreover, all establishments feature verified reviews from members of the community that help keep the site updated.

Reddit

While this option might surprise some of our readers, Reddit is way more than a meme factory or a platform for controversial opinions. In fact, as the world’s largest online forum, it hosts a wide array of discussions and opinions in its subreddits, including a wealth of travel-related content.

So, if you have any questions about hotels, restaurants, activities, places to visit or general travel tips, you just need to do a quick search or even create your very own subreddit. In just a couple of hours, you’ll probably be drowning in eye-opening information!

Flightradar24

With over 200.000 flights tracked every single day and about 4 million visitors, Flightradar24 is a project of monumental proportions, allowing users to monitor flights in real-time and check any potential disruptions in airport services. Additionally, one of its paid features includes an up-to-date analysis of current and forecasted weather conditions, which in turn help passengers anticipate flight conditions.

Another pretty useful feature is the inclusion of flight history. For instance, if you have a relatively short layover, checking the usual landing times for your first flight can actually help you determine whether delays are common or not. While this doesn’t necessarily guarantee your flight will follow the same pattern, it can nonetheless provide an important insight.

Revolut

A product we talk about quite often, there isn’t much left to say about the Revolut card that hasn’t already been covered in our dedicated article or numerous travel guides. Standing out as a digital banking solution, you can manage your account and physical card exclusively through the mobile app, which you can use to do bank transfers, manage your balance, top up your account, trade stock and cryptocurrency, create “vaults” (a sort of savings accounts) and even subscribe to travel insurance, among other things.

Using real-time rates without charging any fees for currency exchange, the Revolut card makes it much easier to withdraw foreign currency and complete payments abroad, streamlining the process and eliminating the need to search for favorable exchange rates at currency exchange offices.

Google Translate

Quick and simple. When communication barriers are too much to handle and you start struggling to convey your message, Google Translate steps in. Developed by the tech giant, this solution supports 130 languages, from the likes of English, French and Spanish, to more obscure dialects like Maithili, Lushai (aka Mizo) or Hausa.

While the standard tool requires an internet connection, you can pre-download the languages spoken at your destination (along with your own language) before your trip, and then use the translator in offline mode. Also, make sure to use the Google Lens feature to obtain translations for photographed items, such as documents, street signs/plaques, labels or supermarket tags.

OANDA Currency Converter

Another straightforward yet highly useful website/app, with OANDA Currency Converter you can check the current market exchange rates for nearly 150 different currencies (and over a hundred cryptocurrencies). Plus, the platform also provides 31 years of historical statistical data, allowing users to check the fluctuations experienced by specific currencies over this extensive period.

Using OANDA, you can conveniently check the exchange rate anytime, right from your smartphone, helping you gain a more accurate understanding of the prices of specific items, tickets or meals.

Splitwise

If you’ve ever traveled with a group of friends, then you’re likely to be familiar with the often-awkward dynamics of cost-sharing. Beyond the social inconvenience, having to deal with the hassle of constantly keeping track of who owes what can be a real nightmare, and it’s not rare to come across instances where this led to tension within the group, negatively impacting the overall experience (and the relationships between everyone involved).

Fortunately, you may always rely on Splitwise, an app that allows you to create a group with all the members of your travel party. It will be within this group that all expenses will be recorded, with each member’s share of the expenses easily allocated. In essence, it’s a simple and transparent way to share costs and make sure everyone gets fair treatment.

GlobeTips

To wrap up this list’s money-related subsection, we introduce you to an app that can be particularly useful for those visiting countries where tipping is part of the culture (guess we all know who we’re talking about here). If you’ve been to the land of Uncle Sam, then you know how uncomfortable it can be to calculate a fair tip, especially since service industry workers earn ridiculously low wages and rely on tips to survive.

Enter GlobeTips! You can use the app to take a photo of your bill, and the platform will help you estimate a fair tip based on your destination and the quality of the service, splitting the tip amount for each member of your group.

Viator

Viator stands out as a tour aggregator offering visitors the opportunity to book experiences and guided tours worldwide. Besides the traditional walking tours, this platform is quite helpful when it comes to finding a way to reach and explore more remote locations (as part of a guided group), especially in areas where public transportation may not be available.

Fortunately, the interface is very user-friendly, and you can easily check the details of each tour, read reviews from other users and complete the reservation, processing the payment through this safe platform. In addition to Viator, other reputable tour companies include GetYourGuide and TourScanner.

Wanderlog

In a world where information is readily accessible, one can find solutions to virtually any problem, and it’s certainly no different when it comes to the travel industry. Be that as it may, planning an entire trip independently can be time-consuming or demand skills that you haven’t yet fully developed.

Thankfully, apps like Wanderlog provide valuable assistance in organizing all your travel information. Through this platform, you can create a comprehensive and intuitive travel plan, and you can even use their travel guides to add/incorporate specific restaurants and points of interest to your itinerary. Furthermore, you can even import emails containing all your reservations (hotels, flights, activities, transportation), and the app will automatically add these details to your plan, offering advice on how early you should arrive in each location. On a final note, if you’re looking out for an alternative to Wanderlog, TripIt is also an excellent option when it comes to organizing your travel plan.

PackPoint

Struggling with packing? Bid farewell to the days of seating on top of your suitcase to close it and wearing countless layers to avoid baggage fees, only to somehow still find yourself forgetting something important. Luckily, PackPoint is here to offer a helping hand when it comes to packing your bags!

It’s all extraordinarily simple. Add in your destination, travel dates and the purpose of your trip (leisure or business), and you’ll receive a list of potential activities you might be interested in during your stay. Simply select the activities you plan to indulge in, and the app will craft a personalized checklist with everything you need to have in your luggage. In just a matter of minutes, you’ll have a detailed packing list tailored just for you.

Locationscout

Once seen as shallow, apps like Locationscout are now immensely popular, focusing on sharing the geolocations for the best spots in the world to take pictures. Initially designed for professional photographers and dedicated amateurs, the platform has “evolved” to become a valuable tool for Instagrammers and influencers seeking that perfect “Insta-worthy” shot. Sign of the times, I guess!

Regardless, users seem quite happy with the service, saving considerable time on the hunt for specific locations for their social media photo ops. Just do a quick search for your destination, and Locationscout will instantly suggest a bunch of cool locations, complete with user reviews and recommendations on the best time to photograph based on sunlight, angles and crowds.

NordVPN

Despite persistent warnings, a significant portion of the population continues to overlook their digital security. While cybercrimes may not pose physical threats, risks such as phishing, identity theft or password scams can lead to substantial headaches and financial losses.

Especially during your travels, when it’s extremely common to connect to all sorts of public and private Wi-Fi networks, exercising caution is crucial. Subscribing to a VPN provides an essential layer of protection, as these networks encrypt your connection, making it much harder for potential criminals to hack your devices and accounts. In this case, a reliable VPN is something you always need to spend some money on, as free versions may not securely store user data, which is often sold to third-party companies (remember, if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product). That being said, we recommend using any of the leading VPN providers, such as NordVPN, Express VPN or Surfshark.

WiFi Map

Finally, we cap off our list of the best travel websites and apps with none other than WiFi Map, a platform dedicated to sharing the locations of millions of internet hotspots across over 200 countries. From public networks in squares, shopping malls and government buildings to private connections in cafes, restaurants or bars, WiFi Map offers a quick solution to those moments when you desperately need an internet connection.

Additionally, you can use the same app to subscribe to a VPN, download offline maps or even buy virtual SIM cards. Nevertheless, it is its extensive network of free Wi-Fi connections that truly sets WiFi Map apart from your run-of-the-mill travel apps.

Bonus: BTD Pre-Travel Checklist

There is no way we would write a post like and not give ourselves a pat on the back! After all, our pre-travel checklist covers everything you need to do (and take care of) before setting off on your adventure, including themes such as bureaucracy/documentation, healthcare, safety procedures, transportation and much more!

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