THE BEST TRAVEL APPS FOR 2020

When it comes to vacations, we are relying on our mobile devices more that ever. Not only as a source of inspiration but for booking and logistics as well. Whether you are tech-savvy or just looking to make your life a little easier, there’s probably an app for that. Here are the apps most loved at Find Your Happy Travels - hopefully they'll make your next adventure go as smoothly as possible. 


Solo female traveller, navigating, with her cellphone

GOOGLE MAPS

This is definitely one of my most used apps when abroad. And widely regarded as the best navigation app around. It offers directions for travel by car, on public transit, on foot, by taxi or even on bicycle. You can download maps of the places you are visiting so it is useful ever when you don’t have a connection. Of course, make sure to do this while still connected! Honestly, this has been a lifesaver to me in finding my way around many, MANY times.

Plus - in "Your Places", you can save restaurants, sights you want see, your hotels, etc. on to the map so that you can easily locate them in transit. You can even organize these into lists, ie. “Places I want to visit in Lima”, “Vegan restaurants in Cusco”, etc so that you can find what you need when you need it. If you haven’t planned ahead, you can use Maps to find places nearby and check to see how busy they are in real time.


Welcome, spelled, in 21 languages

GOOGLE TRANSLATE 

Google Translate can translate more than 100 languages and several dozen more offline. As with Google Maps, make sure to download while you are connected. Hover your camera over text and the instant camera translation will automatically translate. How cool is that?!

This is available in 32 languages, as is two-way instant speech translation. More languages are being added all the time. Once your text is translated, the app makes it easy to copy and share via social media, text or one of my other fav apps – WhatsApp. You can save favourite or frequent translations in your playbook. And the playbook mode is super useful when you’re not sure how to pronounce your translated text.


Person, holding phone, using, Uber app

UBER 

Active in about 173 countries and 785 metropolitan areas, Uber makes it SO convenient to get around in foreign countries. Particularly invaluable when you don’t speak the language or really know where you are located. It can be a much more budget-friendly way to get to and from the airport – this is not a given as Uber is not always legal or welcomed in every country, so do your research.

All you have to do is hop on the app, enter your location, peruse the different vehicles and fare quotes and select a ride option. You will be matched up with a driver who will meet you at your pickup location and scoot you over to your destination. You securely pay your fare using a credit card and you can even track the approaching car’s location. Easy peasy! And often, I have found that I have the most interesting conversations with my drivers.

Word to the wise – make sure you have the app downloaded and your payment source all set up BEFORE you leave.


Woman, holding, phone, displaying, whatsapp

WHATSAPP 

WhatsApp is a stellar messaging service for travellers to use while travelling, with more than a billion users! It uses very little data or runs on wifi, so it’s a very economical option for messaging while away. It works like most other messaging apps – you create an account, then you add your friends and family to contacts and voila! You can call, send messages, video chat, voices memos and files.

It’s also invaluable for easily getting in touch with contacts in regards to booking activities, tours, spa appointments, restaurant reservations and so forth. Most likely they don’t use SMS, like us in North America. If you happen to be travelling with a group, a group chat makes it so much easier to plan and/or meet, as well as share photos (and lots of laughs!).

My clients use it to communicate with me while travelling. That allows me to ensure everything is going smoothly or problem-solve in real-time if they're not.


Bowl of soup, smoothie, vegan dining

A RESTAURANT APP 

I can’t give you just one specific app here. The main reason being that I’m vegan, so the Happy Cow app is my bff when I’m travelling. This app can help me find vegetarian and vegan restaurants in 185+ countries. The search categories are vast with user reviews, ratings, photos and menus, and you can store favourites and reference them offline. You’re not vegetarian or vegan? No problem.

Yelp has long been a go-to app for find any business, including restaurants. There are quick categories that pull up the best results near your current locations or you can search for something specific, like a certain cuisine you are craving. Tap on your choice and the restaurant listings provide reviews, menus, photos and even estimates cost.

Zomato, available in 22 countries makes it easy to discover new places to dine – similar to Yelp, the restaurant listings provide reviews, menus, photos and cost estimates. You can filter your search results and easily bookmark those you may want to visit. OpenTable has similar features to the previous two apps and allows you to book directly within the app.


assorted currency, banknotes

XE CURRENCY CONVERTER 

There are many different currency conversion apps out there, but XE has long been the best. The XE Currency app quickly provides live, up-to-the-minute currency rates, then allows you to store and view them even when you are offline. It’s quick and easy, and can save you a lot of money. No more counting in your head or getting home and realizing that wasn’t such a good deal after all!




Airport lounge


LOUNGEBUDDY


OMG. Airport life is stressful. Sometimes we have no choice but long layovers, Lounges can be the best respite. A yummy selection of food and drinks, comfy seats, sometimes showers and always a serene atmosphere. The problem is, without membership or a business class ticket, access may be difficult. 

 LoungeBuddy makes airport life much less painful. Enter your credit card info, airline status, and lounge memberships, and the app tells you which lounges you can access at any given airport. Maybe you don't have the necessary status or memberships - the app will still give you the heads up on any free lounges or those at which you can purchase a day pass at. Easy to use and free. Boom!

Woman, sleeping, airport

TIMESHIFTER 

If you have an international trip in the works, and are hoping to fend off jet lag, give Timeshifter a go. The app was developed by scientists who used sleep and circadian neuroscience to help inform the personalized jet lag plans they craft for you. According to the app's website, even elite athletes and astronauts have used it to arrive at their destination in a peachy state.

The first "jet lag plan" is free, so why not give it a go on your next adventure?! 

People, hiking, view, mountains

ALLTRAILS 

My fellow adventure-seekers, this one's for you. AllTrails is for hiking enthusiasts, nature lovers, or simply those who just want to fit in a cardio workout on vacay. You can discover over 100,000 curated trails. Odds are good you'll find one near you! Bonus - you can create and share custom maps with friends.

SOOO being straight up, this last app is one I haven't used yet, but hope to soon. I think it has so much value in connecting with locals authentically so I'm including it.

Women, smiling, dinner party

EATWITH

Explore culinary experiences with locals in 130+ countries. Enjoy dinner parties, cooking classes and more in beautiful homes and exclusive venues.

Explore thousands of delicious food experiences around the world. Once you have chosen your destination, find the social eating experience that is right for you. Once you’ve made your choice, you simply need to select the dates you are available and click “Request to book”. Your host will receive a notification and get back to you as soon as possible.

Discover a new culture from the inside and enjoy an authentic experience. If you try this one, send me a message and let me know what you think!

I am a professional Travel Advisor, and Solo Travel Specialist. I design epic adventurous getaways for SASSY ladies. I love to inspire women to connect, conquer and flourish. If you'd like to work with me, contact me at shariblock@findyourhappytravels.com.