We’re all looking forward to the day that travel can resume, and in anticipation for it, there’s nothing wrong in making sure we’re fully prepared! In today’s day and age, it’s hard to imagine travelling without the help of technology. In fact, with so many top travel apps out there, it can be tough to tell which are the keepers, and which are just taking up unnecessary space.
We’re here to help narrow it down for you! From managing your travel documents to meeting new people, here are our favourite top travel apps that we can’t wait to use again, and some that will prove to be absolutely essential in the new normal.
1. IATA Travel Pass
IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that helps travelers store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. The app is now available for download on the Apple Store, but travellers will not be able to use it unless their airline is part of the trial. If your airline is part of these trials, they can provide you with instructions on how to use the IATA Travel Pass. We expect this to be an essential top travel app in the very near future!
2. Contact tracing apps
Many countries have their own contact tracing apps to help curb the spread of Covid-19. It is not compulsory in some places, but having one of the apps can help you be more aware of any possible contact. Although they are not 100% effective (please still wash your hands, wear a mask and adhere to social distancing rules!), they help you keep yourself and your loved ones safer. Check out the list of contact tracing apps here.
3. COVID Checker by Sitata
No thanks to Covid, travelling is now something of a logistical nightmare. Staying on top of ever-changing travel regulations and making sure you have the right documentation can be incredibly stressful. COVID Checker by Sitata is a comprehensive platform that will help you stay updated on the latest Covid-19 news of the country you’re visiting. It can also tell you in-depth details as public transport status, if masks are to be worn, duration of the required quarantine, curfews, airport and border closures – pretty much everything one would need travelling in the Covid-19 world.
Let’s be honest – waiting around in the airport sucks. It’s my least favourite part about travelling. As a normie who usually flies economy or budget, uncomfortable seats, overpriced food and long layovers are a part of that package. The only places in the airport that offer some respite are the airport lounges, but those usually require a business class ticket or membership. Thankfully, LoungeBuddy takes the pain out of long layovers. The app lets you know if there are any lounges that you can access within a given airport. Even if you don’t have any lounge memberships, the app provides a list of lounges that you can purchase a day pass for. Super easy to use and completely free!
Skyscanner is one of the top travel apps for flight bookings. It pulls up millions of flights from thousands of sources and then provides the best options available, be it the cheapest route, or the shortest one. A handy chart feature lets you see the cheapest days to fly and sends you notification of any price changes. If you’re trying to be a sustainable traveller, Skyscanner is completely on board.They have a ‘Greener choice’ label which highlights flights that emit less CO2, helping millions of travellers travel greener.
6. Trail Wallet
One of the most difficult things about travelling is staying on top of your finances. It’s easy to overspend when you’re away from home! With Trail Wallet, you can easily track all your spendings abroad and set budgets. You can organize your budget by month or by trip, and the app also has a currency feature. Super useful especially in countries with confusing currency conversions! And the best part? The app calculates everything back to your home currency for you, which gives you a clearer idea of how much you’re spending.
Couchsurfing has been around for a long time, and it’s especially great if you’re looking to save on accommodation costs and meet locals. It connects you with locals who have space in their homes to let travellers stay for free. The app itself used to be free too, but the impact of Covid-19 has prompted a $2.39 a month paywall. While it is a cost, it is a small one. The community has tons of value, from the app itself to the forums and the free accommodation it offers! If and when you resume travel, I’d say the fee is very much worth it.
If you need to book a hotel last minute, HotelTonight provides amazing discounts. If ever you’re stuck somewhere and need a room urgently, HotelTonight is your go-to app. And despite its name, you can actually book hotels up to 100 days in advance. So even if you don’t need a room right away, you can still make use of the deals that HotelTonight has to offer!
9. Google Translate
Google Translate is one of the most popular translation tools out there, thus no surprise why it’s on our list of top travel apps! Granted, it’s not 100% accurate and it tends to perform better with Romanic languages (it worked only about half the time for me in Japan!) Despite that, Google Translate is an awfully useful tool, especially for translating short sentences. You can also use handwriting and there’s a camera tool which can help you translate menus or road signs. Pro tip: download your needed language(s) before your trip, so you have access to it even when you don’t have internet access!
Sometimes finding what to eat can be one of the biggest headaches when you’re in a new place. Instead of going to the big chains, support local with LocalEats! The app curates the best local restaurants in your vicinity. You can search by cuisine, price range, and neighborhood, or enable GPS location services to see the recommended establishments that are closest to you.