After travelling for the past 4 months, I have learned a lot about which are the best travel apps for backpackers. Whether it is to save money, talk to locals, book places to stay, or just meeting people, these things can all be done through the beauty of technology!
I have put together a list of my 5 best travel apps for backpackers, ordered from most important to least important, in my opinion.
- Hostel World
- Travel Spend
- Google Translate
- Couch Surfing
1. Hostel World
This app is the absolute best app on the market for looking at and booking a cheap, reliable, and great place to stay. All you have to do is type in what city you are going to go, what dates you’d like to stay there and how many guests. Then you get a long list of hostels, what they offer, reviews from other travelers, and you can even filter your results for things like ‘must have air conditioning’, or ‘free breakfast’. Two filters I have found extremely useful in the hot summer of Spain and to save some money on buying breakfast elsewhere.
When you reserve a hostel for the dates you’ve chosen a small deposit is taken from your credit card, and you pay the rest when you arrive. Of course, Hostelworld has to make money somehow, and how they do that is taking a small portion of your already small deposit.
A pro travel tip I have found is to do research on Hostel World on where you want to stay, check how many beds they have available and if they have more than 3 or 4, just show up without a reservation. That way the hostel makes more money, and you save money by not having to pay a small fee to hostel world.
2. Travel Spend
This has been a GREAT application for keeping track of my money. Before I left for my year of travelling I did a lot of research on other blogs about how much money I would need to survive for the year. The consensus seemed to be an average of about $50 a day (including travel, food, everything). Of course, this number depends on your destination.
If you are spending a year in North America, Europe, or Australia it will be more expensive than South America, Africa, or Asia. The app helps you keep track of what your entire budget is, spread throughout your trip and tells you how much you can spend a day to stay on budget. You then just enter your expenses as you make them, and you can put them into categories, so you are able to get a vision of what you are spending more on, and perhaps what you could be spending less on.
3. Google Translate
This is a pretty self-explanatory travel app. If you are travelling to a country where you don’t know the language, this is a great tool to help you communicate with locals. Whether it’s ordering food, asking for directions, or even looking at a menu you can’t translate, this app has come in handy SO many times for me.
All you have to do is download the language you want when you are on Wifi or have data, and then you are able to use it offline when needed.
My favourite thing about it right now is the ‘conversation’ tool they have. I am able to communicate with someone I am currently staying with who only speaks Spanish, and it is simply amazing!
This is the BEST offline travel map ever. I learned about it from other travelers about halfway through my South America trip. Unlike google maps, it allows you to bookmark places offline, and search for things like Restaraunts, Wifi, ATMs, hostels, and more when you have no internet access.
Again, you just have to download the region you are heading to when you are on wifi and you will have access to everything when you are offline. It’s also really fun looking at your map on a larger scale to see all the places you’ve bookmarked, showing where you have been in the world.
Even if you have a new SIM card with a ton of data, I’d recommend downloading it for two reasons. Number one, you don’t have to waste your data when you don’t have to, and secondly because you can look back and see all of the places you’ve been and bookmarked before. Perhaps even letting you offer other people amazing advice of places to eat and stay who are going to the same places you have been.
I put this app on the list because although I haven’t used it very much I have used it a couple of times in an unconventional way that made my trips to cities way more valuable. Conventionally, you can put in a city you are going or wanting to go and find people who live there that have room in their house and would like to host travellers for free. There are reviews from past people who have stayed with them, and they get ratings, so I think it makes it quite safe. However, the app also has events that you can attend, without staying at someone’s house.
So, when I got to Bilbao, a city in Northern Spain, it was during their annual cities 9-day festival. My hostel was nice enough, but it wasn’t very social and no one wanted to go out to the festival or do anything much at all. I went on couch surfing, and looked at the events that were being hosted. Someone was hosting an event that evening to meet up at a local café, and then all go to the festival together. Sounded perfect to me.
They ended up all being locals from Bilbao which was even better for me. I made really good friends with them, even though my Spanish is terrible, and got to experience the festival from a locals point of view.
Thanks for reading my list of the 5 best travel apps for backpackers. Did you find it useful? Comment below your thoughts, or if you have any more to add to it!
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