I am no technology expert, but I have done a fair amount of travel in the past six months. There are plenty of articles out there with travel app suggestions, but each one is a little bit different. This is simply a list of apps that saved the day on my adventures.
1) AirBnB: I cannot say enough positive things about this service. I was able to find a place to stay in NYC (along the red metro line) for $90 a night. It was clean, the host was friendly—she even provided us with books and maps about the area for our adventures. Granted, with any service like this, you’re bound to encounter some unreliable people, but I have yet to regret any of my stays. When you are traveling with friends, AirBnB is the cheapest option for finding a place to stay.
**If you are alone, I would recommend staying at a hostel.**
2) Uber: The fact that some people still don’t know about Uber astounds me. It’s a taxi service from your phone, that charges straight to your credit card. Basically, no hassle. Choose UberX for some random dude with a car, or Uber Black for a more luxury experience. It’s a fantastic way to arrange transportation. (I have also heard that Lyft is good, but I haven’t used it.) The only downside is that some cities, such as Portland, have restrictions keeping these services away to protect taxi companies.
3) SkyScanner: The cheapest flight app that I have found. That’s all there is to say. (Note: Southwest Airlines doesn’t list their flights on these kinds of websites, so compare prices with their official site if you are doing domestic travel.)
4) Google Maps: This is a fairly obvious one, but if I had a dollar for every time I used it… Not only for directions, you can use Google Maps to look up restaurants and entertainment in your area—complete with ratings. I could dedicate an entire list to apps with restaurant ratings, but why bother? Google has me covered. Another thing I didn’t originally realize, you can use Google Maps to find public transportation routes as well as the usual driving and walking. TIP: This app will wipe out limited cell phone data plans, so map directions to a coffee shop and plan out your trip using free WiFi before beginning your adventure.
5) Duolingo: Basically a free “Rosetta Stone” on your phone, Duolingo is a great way for beginners to pick up a few words and terms from other languages. If your native language is English, you can choose from Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. The only catch with this app is that it only works if you practice before you travel. Otherwise, you’re better off with Google Translate. Although there were a few times Duolingo helped keep me entertained during a layover.