30 Best Travel Apps Every Traveler Should Have: FREE to Use (2021 Essentials)

by Apps, Softwares & Websites39 comments

Apps are definitely becoming more popular than websites when it comes to convenience — after all, mobile apps are easier to use and they often offer a better user experience too. Naturally, when it comes to travel, you will be needing the best travel apps if you’re looking to save time, money, and effort!

Now, of course, there are TONS of travel apps out there and I know that the last thing you need is another useless app that will just clutter up your smartphone‘s screen and space.

That’s why with this guide, I am giving you the best of the best ‘virtual helpers‘ that will enhance every travel experience. Right from the planning stages and up to the actual trip itself, all of the travel apps listed below have been super helpful in my past adventures through all the 7 continents in the world — from city sprees to nature treks, etc.— so I bet that it would help you too!

What’s more? I’ve included alternatives as well as “hidden gem” options that are beyond the typical international travel apps that you have already heard of.

Must-Have Travel Apps

» Travel Apps for Flights «

The usual favorites when it comes to booking the best flight deals are SkyScanner and Kayak (both of these popular websites have their own app counterparts); but, if you want to find out the “hidden gems”, check out the following travel apps:

1. Hopper

This is one of the best travel apps for flights given its high accuracy for price prediction that’s based on vast historical data! Right from the moment that you search a flight route, Hopper will show you a color-coded calendar to show you the cheapest and most expensive dates to fly — the beauty of the app is that once you choose a time frame, it will advise you whether you should book it NOW or wait until prices dip.

If you choose the latter, you can set up a notification so that Hopper will ping you when the price is at its lowest. Ain’t that swell?

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can also do a price watch for hotels all over the world
~ Recommendations on travel deals based on your trip history
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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2. Timeshifter

Take the guesswork out when trying to avoid or reduce your jet lag woes with Timeshifter! Developed in partnership with world-renowned scientists, you’ll get a personalized jet lag plan based on circadian rhythm neuroscience so that you can arrive at your destination in the best shape possible. This plan will be based on your sleep pattern, flight plan, and other personal preferences.

Besides, not all trips are the same, the same way every person is unique so a personalized plan is definitely a must-have. To date, the first jet lag plan will be offered for FREE, and the next ones can be purchased individually or by subscription.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ Has a Practicality Filter™ feature that adjusts advice to the “real world”
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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3. LoungeBuddy

You don’t need a membership nor a business class ticket to view, book, and access airport lounges! Without paying a fortune, LoungeBuddy is one of the most useful travel apps especially if you’re on a long-haul flight or layover because you can simply pick a lounge and book an entry for only a one-time fee. After all, I’m sure you’ll be needing a shower room and a space to eat and sit/sleep comfortably as you pass the time away.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can find out what airport lounges you can access for FREE or a one-time fee based on your trip, class, or credit card you possess
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DOWNLOAD: iOS
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ALTERNATIVES: Since LoungeBuddy only accepts payments from cards under American Express, you can check out Priority Pass or LoungeKey instead

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4. App in the Air

This might just be the one travel app where you can manage all your boarding passes, itineraries, and frequent-flyer programs. To add, it will even show you current wait times for check-in to your flight along with customs and security checks so that you can manage your time well at the airport (in fact, it will even show you places to eat, WiFi passwords, etc. to fill up your time).

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ Through augmented reality, App in the Air can help advise you if your carry-on is within the size limits for your flight
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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» Itinerary Travel Apps «

With the following travel apps, you can easily research for your trip as well as organize your day-by-day travel itineraries with ease and minimal effort!

5. Guides by Lonely Planet

You can never go wrong with Lonely Planet’s guides and content. As of this moment, they have a paid subscription model in the app to access their up-to-date advice, BUT fret not — they offer 5 FREE previews per month without a subscription along with some other cities that can be accessed for free, so it’s still a nifty travel app to have on your smartphone.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ Scan barcodes of Lonely Planet books you already have to access content for FREE on the app
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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6. TripAdvisor

For sure, you have heard of TripAdvisor and I bet that you have used its website numerous times now! If you want to collect all the tips that you loved from their website, just use their app instead because, for instance, you can easily organize all the ‘things to do‘ that you want to accomplish for your trip. You can even start booking your accommodation, flights, and activities straight from the Trip Advisor app as well!

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You’ll get more insight into certain activities and establishments given the millions of reviews and photos that travelers worldwide have contribute to the platform
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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7. TripIt

TripIt helps you organize everything from your flight information to reservation numbers (for your accommodation, rental car, restaurant reservation, etc). Simply forward your travel confirmation emails to [email protected] and the app will swiftly create a detailed calendar itinerary for you, daily, as it lets you know where to go and when! If you use Apple Calendar, Outlook, or Gmail, it all happens automatically.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can access your travel plans anytime (even offline!)
~ TripIt has maps, weather forecasts, and attraction suggestions for your destination
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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» Packing «

You can always make your own packing checklist, that’s for sure, but there might be some things that you’re missing out — if you want to give yourself some peace of mind, try out this cool app…

8. PackPoint

If you’re like me who tends to be veeeery forgetful, PackPoint should definitely become your new pre-travel buddy! Through this travel app, you will never forget your travel essentials again. Ever.

Besides, PackPoint is an intelligent packing app that builds a list of the things you need based on your length of travel, type of travel (business or leisure) your destination’s weather, and your planned activities.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You’re free to edit the suggested list they build for you as well as save it for future similar trips
~ There is a ‘Repeat Basics’ and ‘Laundry’ feature that you can turn on or off as they build a packing list for you
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android
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ALTERNATIVES: Check out Travel List or Packr

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» Navigation & Transportation Travel Apps «

Aside from the usual ones that we all know by now such as…

…here are some other transportation-related travel apps you MUST check out!

9. Rome2Rio

When I first discovered Rome2rio, I fell in love with it instantly! Basically, it’s a comprehensive global trip planner that helps you get from Point A to Point B in the most efficient way possible — while also including the top accommodations and things to do in the area. You can type in any type of destination (an address, a landmark, etc) and Rome2rio will show you the best bus, ferry, flight, train, and driving options with estimated travel times and fares.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ It will help you navigate a new city like a pro with its precise fare details and travel estimates!
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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10. CityMapper

If Rome2Rio covers worldwide, CityMapper is rather specialized in finding the best routes within the cities that they want to focus on (which are fewer but definitely more comprehensive). To see a full list of the cities that they cover, go here.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ Has LIVE wait times and ETA so you’ll never miss your ride
~ Some maps can be accessed offline for use
~ Provides additional tips such as the best carriage to board and best exits, as well as be alerted when it’s time to get off
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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11. Roadtrippers

Going on some road trips anytime soon? You better download the Roadtrippers app on your phone! This app lessens the complexity of plotting your route and it even suggests lesser-known activities, roadside attractions, and other trip ideas that you can add to your itinerary.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ Allows you to map your route up to 7 waypoints for FREE; more than that, you can upgrade to Roadtrippers Plus which also adds the feature of using the map offline as well as giving your friends access to collaborate suggestions on the map.
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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12. Waze

Best Travel Apps: Waze Navigation & Live Traffic

Google Maps has a lot of amazing features and it’s also the most accurate, BUT if you want a similar travel app that has LIVE community-based prompts such as police traps, sudden road hazards, accident reports, and traffic updates, Waze is a great alternative! I also personally love its useful feature where I can add stops to places or gas stops while I am driving on my route.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ Waze has fun and customizable voice prompts that a lot of its users love!
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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13. GasBuddy

Speaking of road trips, if you happen to be traveling in the USA, I’m sure that your gas costs can start to eat through your travel budget if you’re not careful — and here is where GasBuddy comes in! With its live interactive map, it will help you find the best gas prices near you, and if you also avail of their FREE GasBuddy card, you can save on every gallon at any station.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ GasBuddy can even track your gas usage and log reimbursement and taxes
~ Has useful filters like finding gas stations that have available restrooms, etc.
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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14. ParkAdvisor

It may not be one of the prettiest travel apps around, but Parkadvisor’s RV Parks & Campground‪s app is the best way to find exactly what it’s titled for: RV parks, campgrounds, fairgrounds, rest areas, fuel stops, and stores. The locations that it covers are mostly in North America’s USA, Canada, and Mexico.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ The app is ad-free and uses a local database so it works faster
~ Parks are sorted by rating
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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15. Drive Weather

You wouldn’t want to get caught in a storm, nor be stuck somewhere on the road because of too much snow! Thankfully, Drive Weather is one of the best travel apps that will help you avoid the worst weather conditions while on a long road trip route. With its radar views and live tracking, it will update you every time you reach a new point or city.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ Drive Weather has an interactive time slider to see any weather changes during the day
~ Has additional premium subscription features that show wind speed, 7-day forecast, unlimited trip length, multiple stops, and more
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

• • •

» Travel Apps for Accommodations «

As a refresher, here are the best travel apps or websites that you should already have on your smartphone:

But if you want to take it a step further and score amazing deals, you should also install the following…

16. HotelTonight

Do you want to find last-minute hotel deals of the day? Don’t worry, there’s an app for that! Enter HotelTonight that unearths unsold rooms from hotels all over the world so that you can gain steep savings while traveling. Rest assured, you can also book hotels up to 100 days in advance!

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You’ll find basic BUT also top-rated luxury hotels that have the best last-minute deals
~ Has filters for your other needs: pet-friendly options, gym, etc.
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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17. Dayuse

Exactly as the name implies, this is one of the best travel apps that lets you book a nice hotel room for just a few hours that are marked down to about 75% off!

This is actually the best travel companion for you if you’re on a long layover and you just need to recharge for a few hours in a comfortable room. Or maybe you just need a quiet temporary office for a small part of the day? Or are you organizing a photoshoot? Whatever your temporary needs may be, Dayuse can be the answer to it!

Start times can range from 6AM to 8AM and from that time onwards, you can pick a timeslot of your choice from any of their 3 to 5-star hotels.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ Your DayUse booking allows you to access the amenities of the hotel too!
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

• • •

» Language Travel Apps «

18. Google Translate

For cities and towns that don’t generally speak English, it’s very helpful to have a language guide on hand. Surely you can’t bring around with you all those heavy phrasebooks if, for example, you’re planning on traveling to several countries. That’s why we can all agree how we are all so thankful for Google Translate!

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ It’s now possible to download languages into your phone for offline use
~ There is a two-way automatic speech translation in 40 languages, perfect for talking directly with locals
~ After Google acquired the technology of a previous app called ‘Word Lens’, Google Translate can now instantly translate printed texts with the use of your phone’s camera! It’s pure genius, especially when it comes to languages that use special characters.
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

Wanna know the BEST translation apps?

Read through this list of the best translation apps for travel!

• • •

» Social & Activities Travel Apps «

Just a quick overview before I get into the hidden gems of all travel apps related to social interactions and activities, here are some apps that you should already know by now:

Now as promised, here are the lesser-known travel apps that you must consider.

19. Swarm

“Lifelogging made easy”. This is an app made by Foursquare wherein you can track all of the places that you’ve been to as well as even add a photo or note to that check-in.

It basically keeps every little detail of your visits — hence, what’s the benefit of this app when you’re travelling? Well, you can actually share those logs or records to your family and friends; hence, if you’re traveling solo, it’s a great way to assure them of your activities!

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can gain added insights and suggestions based on your past explorations and habits
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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20. Untappd

For all the beer-lovers out there, meet Untappd, your new drinking buddy! This amazing app helps you discover nearby breweries, pubs, watering holes, events, and even the best-tasting beer brands to try in any place in the world!

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can keep track of all the beers and places you’ve liked in a list
~ You can follow friends and see what beers they are enjoying
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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21. Travello

Travello is where you can find the world’s largest travel community! From backpackers to luxury travelers, you can search for your new travel buddies here in any place across the globe! One of the coolest things that you can do in the app is to add your future travel plans, because after doing so, Travello will automatically show you the profiles of trusted travelers who are also traveling to your destination at the same time.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ Find like-minded travelers by joining niched groups for solo travelers, digital nomads, etc.
~ Post to your profile, get likes, and even book a day trip — doing these actions will help you earn Travello Reward Points that you can use for discounts on activities and tours worldwide
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android
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ALTERNATIVES: Tourlina (a female-only community)

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22. Rebtel

This is said to be the only international calling app that doesn’t depend on the internet! In just a few taps, you can call any landline or mobile phone to around 50 countries in the world at the lowest rate. No need to get a local SIM card or spend too much on phone cards or bills.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can also send international mobile recharge to friends and family
~ Does not depend on WiFi so you can enjoy stable and reliable connections every time
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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23. Eventbrite

No matter where you are, Eventbrite is one of the best travel apps that will help you discover the latest and most popular local events — as well as see which ones your friends might be going to any time soon! May it be festivals, classes, workshops, conferences, or whatnot, you’ll find all the kinds of events that you need.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can easily add events you booked into Passbook on your phone
~ You can also create your own events
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android
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ALTERNATIVES: Meetup (for groups and events), Headout or Klook

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24. AllTrails

Do you love hiking and trails like I do? Then you need to download AllTrails on your phone! As soon as you have this app, you’ll have access to over thousands of hand-curated trail maps with reviews and photos that are crowdsourced from millions of fellow hikers, trail runners and even bikers.

Best For Nature Lovers: AllTrails Green, Logo, Leaf, Font, Grass, Graphics, Plant, Illustration, Brand, ALLTRAILS If you’re like Oprah and think “hiking is so fun,” you need to download this app. AllTrails is for nature lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and even those who just want to fit in a cardio workout while on vacation. The app has over 100,000 curated trails—which all but guarantee you’ll find one near you—and lets you create and share custom maps with friends.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can filter through dog-friendly, wheelchair-friendly or kid-friendly trails
~ Hiking, running, and cycling stats are available
~ GPS activity tracker feature so you can follow your trail and not get lost
~ Offline maps with AllTrails PRO
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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25. Flush

Flush Toilet Finder is one of the best travel apps that will help you find the quickest way to the neared public bathroom or restroom! With its huge community, users can even rate and report a toilet; and you, yourself, can add a tip or new location. If you ask me, when I’m traveling, I just go to the nearest hotel because they often have nice lobby restrooms that are free to use! *wink*

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ Can be used offline
~ Shows toilets that have disabled access, a fee, or require a key
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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26. GlobeTips

Tipping is one of my biggest travel woes (especially because I hate anything related to math lol). So if you’re like me, let’s all say a big fat thank you for GlobeTips for answering our problem. With their easy-to-use app, GlobeTips will give you precise advice on how you can tip well based on a specific situation.

With data on tipping customs in over 240+ countries, you’ll get the best advice possible (e.g. like how you do NOT need to tip in Japan, etc.).

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ It also has bill scanning so that it can automatically calculate everything for you
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DOWNLOAD: iOS

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27. HappyCow

This is, unfortunately, not a free app — BUT I feel the need to include it here since it is quite helpful. I’m not a vegetarian but for those who are, this app only costs $3.99 and it is the best application for finding all vegan-options for restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores all over the world! There is also a huge community using this app so you will see a lot of real reviews and suggestions. So no matter your needs (deliveries, take-outs, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.), HappyCow can filter out all the search results for you.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can plan your travels by using HappyCow’s interactive map and saving places for offline viewing
~ You can connect with like-minded people through instant messages
~ Submit reviews and upload photos at places you loved (you can also track where you’ve been)
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

• • •

» Money «

28. XE Currency

Apart from foreign languages, foreign currencies can be a pain whenever you travel! Add the fact that there are constant currency fluctuations in the market, so it’s very difficult to be consistently on-the-dot with exchange rates — unless of course, you have XE Currency with you.

The best part? You can also quickly send money overseas based on the live exchange rates that they have whilst also having the feature to track the transfer.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can view currency charts in the last 10 years
~ You can set alerts for your chosen currencies when it hits your target rate
~ It offers LIVE currency rates, charts, and even stores the last updated rates, so it works offline (the rates will not be refreshed at that point, but they are still very close to the accurate value)
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DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

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29. Trail Wallet

I adore Trail Wallet. It’s certainly one of my favorite travel apps especially when it comes to tracking travel expenses. Built by travelers, you can easily organize your expenses in by trip or by month. You can also set yourself a daily budget limit and then easily add expenses as you go.

WHY I LOVE IT:

  • Designed for ease and fast use, whenever you incur an expense, you can just simply launch the app, add the amount using its ‘Quick Add’ screen and you’re done! It’s a no-frill experience so you don’t have to spend so much time on it while you’re on the road.
  • You can set categories, themes, colors, breakdowns, etc. And at the end of your trip, you will have interactive + comprehensive charts and reports showing how your spending behavior went.
  • As you can see from the screenshots above, the app’s interface is very modern and organized. Plus, it has fun customizable characters that will alert you if you’re ever going over your budget. (And would even coax you to relax if you’re under your budget).

DOWNLOAD: iOS

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ It can also show the data in any of your local currencies
~ Modern and organized interface where you can customize your categories and colors
~ There are interactive and comprehensive charts showing how your spending behavior went
~ Free for the first 25 items, with an In-App Purchase available to unlock unlimited amounts
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DOWNLOAD: iOS

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30. Splitwise

Traveling with friends or family? Say goodbye to stressing about who owes who; after all, Splitwise is the easiest way for all of you to share and track group expenses. Truth be told, this app is helpful not only for travel but even for daily use too.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LOVE?
~ You can easily create multiple groups for any ‘splitting’ situation
~ In just a few taps, see who you should pay or what the balances are per person
~ Everything is backed up online
~ Add expenses and IOUs in any currency (you can use it offline and the expenses will update across your group members once you connect to WiFi)
.
DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

• • •

Best Travel Apps

Overall

I hope that this list of the best travel apps will help alleviate all your travel woes and worries — whatever they may be.

If you have great app discoveries that I happen to have missed in this list, please share it with us in the comments section below. Thank you!

• • •

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About Me

Solo Female Travel Blogger: Aileen Adalid

Hey there! I am Aileen Adalid.
At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful digital nomad (online entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.

My mission? To show you how it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel no matter the odds — and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel hacks, guides, resources, tips, and MORE!

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CURRENTLY BASED IN: The Philippines

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39 Comments

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  1. Martinha Andersen

    Waowww… really good apps.. I’m shocked that I didn’t know Pack Point… could do my life so much easier. =)

    Reply
  2. Mike Lee

    Travel Apps have become a necessity now a days and then again anything free is always welcomed, so thanks a lot for this great and helpful list. Packpoint is something new but seems really good for organizing. Rome 2 Rio is really becoming a popular App with regular travelers, and I’ve recently downloaded Here so eager to give it a try. Trail Wallet looks like an excellent idea to keep a track of all the expenses so I shall give it a try too. Thanks again.

    Reply
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