travel tips

20 Essential Travel Apps from My Life on the Road

This suite of awesome travel apps will get you the information you need, when you need it while traveling around the world.

Posted by Judson L Moore

With tens of millions of apps out there in the world, it is hard to see the forest through the trees. Travels Apps are only a fraction of all apps, but still one of the largest categories of apps which you will find. I am either currently traveling, or thinking about traveling, literally all the time. Whether sitting on a plane, trying to cross a city or laying in bed at night dreaming of my next trip, these are the travel apps that I rely on the most.  Please also share your favorite travel apps in the comments below, or let me know what they are directly at @judsonlmoore!

My Top Travel Apps

Google Maps

There are many maps apps out there, but none have the global reach or data of Google. Google Maps is more than just maps. It’s also full of business reviews, photos, tips, open hours and other useful information. Even the traffic data in Google Apps is a mashup of Google Maps and Waze users. With the recent addition of offline maps, Google Maps is now my go-to maps app when traveling. Get it Now: iOS | Android


The savvy traveler knows that the best option is to have many options. But that can get complicated. Moovel takes the guesswork out of choosing the best way to get from Point A to Point B by aggregating data from a wide variety of transportation solutions. You will quickly be able to select from ride sharing, bike sharing, public transit and other methods to get you swiftly and cheaply to your destination. Get it Now: iOS | Android

Check out my post about living in America without a car.


Now operating in 30+ markets in the USA, Canada and Europe, Car2Go is an affordable car rental solution for A to B transportation. By downloading the app, you can see where a car is located near you. When you get to the car, use the app to unlock it and then drive to your destination. Park in any legal parking spot and walk away. You get charged for the time you use and that’s it. All the cars are Smart Cars, but don’t discount their small size; I’ve fit a 6’ bookshelf and 3 kegs of beer in one of these cars! Get it Now: iOS | Android


For A to A (roundtrip) transportation needs, ZipCar is the way to go. They offer a wider variety of vehicles than any of their competitors for hourly and day rates. With cars in every major North American city and growing rapidly in Europe, this service is easy to find at a location near you. Get it Now: iOS | Android

Couch Surfing

I travel to connect with people and cultures. Couch Surfing is not only the best way to gain a local perspective, but it also connects its users with free accommodation! The Couch Surfing community is more than just a place to sleep, it is also events to attend, new friends to bond with and a great way to build a global network. Get it Now: iOS | Android


When in need of more than a couch, I turn to AirBNB. It’s cheaper and more flexible than hotels, and typically the accommodations are just as good or better than my choice hoteliers. I’ve also had amazing host experiences with property owners providing a compassionate touch in helping me get through a tough time and trying to figure out how to navigate their town. Get it Now: iOS | Android


When I need a hotel, I let Trivago do all of the heavy lifting. Trivago is the largest and fastest growing hotel search engine in the world and they make it effortless to find the perfect accommodation at the very best price. I really like that they connect the customer directly with the hotel rather than facilitating the purchase themselves, which is a huge benefit for locally owned hotels. Get it Now: iOS | Android


Skyscanner has proven to me time and time again to be the very best way to identify the best deals on flights, and with the greatest diversity of airlines. I love the feature which allows for leaving a destination open-ended so that you can just find the cheapest destinations around the world. Though many apps have the ability to set price alerts, I have had the best experience with the Skyscanner notifications. Get it Now: iOS | Android


If you’re a frequent traveler, premium credit card holder, or have a very long layover scheduled, you need LoungeBuddy. This app tells you the location and entry requirements for every lounge in every airport in the world. If you don’t have free access with status, you can purchase discounted one-time access to many lounges around the world, which is great if you have a long layover. The benefits of lounges are great, often including showers, free food and drink, comfortable seating, quiet space, internet and a general sense of serenity while on the go. Get it Now: iOS | Android


Airports are typically pretty bad at providing signage to amenities within terminals. GateGuru is your global terminal map to help you find coffee, restaurants, terminal spas or whatever else you may need as you await your connection. Get it Now: iOS | Android


If you’re interested in meeting new people who have similar interests as you, is full of fun activities. Ranging from volunteerism to coding to knitting, there are meetups for people of all ages and interests. The great thing about is that you don’t require an invitation to participate, just find an event, RSVP and go have a great time! Get it Now: iOS | Android

Rotary Club Locator

If you’re a member of Rotary International, or interested in visiting a local Rotary Club on your travels, this app will give you the time, location and contact information for any club in the world. Get it Now: iOS | Android

Poncho Weather

I’ve recently ditched my long-standing beloved weather app in favor of Poncho. Poncho’s hilarious graphics, accurate weather and built-in alarm clock make it a versatile and smile-inducing way to start your day! Get it Now: iOS | not yet on Android :(


Friend’s shouldn’t let friends borrow money, until now! With Splitwise, keeping track of who has paid for what and who owes who what is super easy. Invite your friends to a group (ie: trip, for example) and then as one person pays for a group taxi, covers dinner or gets the next round, Splitwise will keep track of the the numbers and tell you the most efficient way for everyone to get settled up. This is a must-have app for group travelers and roommates! Get it Now: iOS | Android


Pocket is a read-later app with a boost. The feature-rich free version syncs up between your mobile and desktop devices so that you always have access to the reading you want to save for later. I use this in concert with to create my own travel guides before trips. Its been a lifesaver many times! Get it Now: iOS | Android


If you’re headed to a destination where you need to brush up your language skills, Duolingo is the fastest and most enjoyable app for picking up some new vocabulary. It’s a social app, so you can compete with friends as you earn points while you advance your skills. Get it Now: iOS | Android

Google Translate

For all those words and phrases you didn’t get to on Duolingo, let the Google Translate app do the rest. The pronunciation guide and flashcard generator also go a long way in saving key phrases to use later. Pro tip: turn your phone sideways and watch the screen change into flashcards! Get it Now: iOS | Android

Find My Friends

Share your location with friends and family back home so that they can follow your adventure! This is also very useful in the event you misplace your phone or if you find yourself in trouble. This is a native app on iOS devices, but I found a great Android alternative as well, linked below. Get it Now: iOS | Android


VPN services allow you to watch your favorite shows on outlets like Hulu and Netflix when you’re traveling beyond their broadcast region. I prefer TunnelBear because of its simple and slick interface, plus those bears are super cute! Get it Now: iOS | Android


I love music! When I travel, I am always looking to connect with other cultures and people through music. Music is a core pillar of cultural expression and when I come home, I want to bring that with me. Shazam ensures that when I hear something new that I really like, I can capture that sound and find out what the song is and get more tracks by the same artist. Get it Now: iOS | Android


When traveling in India, this is the must-have app. All trains, the best flights and many hotels are exclusively booked on MakeMyTrip. Get it Now: iOS | Android


This app is a tour guide in your pocket. With hundreds of cities around the world in its library, you will always be able to learn the historical context of the places you visit.

Get it Now: iOS Android

photo credit: Sebastien Gabriel

Judson L Moore
Judson L Moore

Travel addict. Ambitious about making the world a better place. Writing what I learn along the way.

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