I don’t know about you, but I don’t even know how I lived WITHOUT some of the apps I currently have now. I’ll admit it’s a bit unsettling how reliant we’ve become as human beings, but it’s too late– apps are a part of millions of humans’ lives now! Apps are an integral part of our routine; we use them DAILY. Below is a top ten non-exhaustive list of the apps I use to enjoy traveling, make travel cheap, and to LIVE– in order of how OFTEN I use them.
Navigating Europe has been so much easier for me with these apps; I wanted to share them to help make your life easier too!
WhatsApp – This app is EVERYTHING. It is your communication to ANYONE, ANYWHERE around the world. You can text, call, video call, send pictures, and videos all for FREE as long as you have data or WiFi. You NEED this, if you don’t have it, DOWNLOAD IT NOW. Tell your family and friends to download WhatsApp to communicate with you for free. Before I moved to Spain, I made sure to give my mom (a 40-something Filipina-American and basically allergic to tech) a good 2 hour tutorial and practice to minimize separation anxiety.
Google Maps – Google Maps is extremely reliable when navigating the streets of Madrid, and other major cities and countries. It also gives you accurate wait times for metros and factors this into your travel time. It gives you multiple transfer options as well. Literally, I use this app every single day to calculate fastest routes, best routes, look up how far airports are in different countries, see how far a hotel is from attractions in different countries before I book, map out multiple destinations for a day and to get home!
SkyScanner – I have a method when it comes to buying cheap flights. First, I go to Google Flights because you can see a calendar of low fares and it’s easier to determine WHEN you should fly and for how long. You can also use the ever-useful “map view” and see which cities and countries are cheapest across the globe. I use SkyScanner second. It’s a nifty app to have because it searches for the best bang for your buck, shortest and cheapest flights. I always use both in tandem to locate the cheapest and shortest flight. I’ve used other apps in the past, but I prefer the user-friendly interface of Skyscanner and Google Flights. I don’t know about you but I LOVE short AND cheap flights. I even wrote a blog for you detailing how I find cheap flights! 🙂
TransferWise – This is a LIFE-SAVER app that I have used to cheaply transfer money between my American bank account to my Spanish bank account. As a teacher in Spain, we had to obtain a Spanish bank account (mine is Sabadell) to get paid our stipend from the Ministry of Education. Seriously, transferring money is SUPER easy with this app. The exchange rate for amounts up to 100 euros is typically only $3.00 when most banks charge $30-50.00. I also use it to transfer euros to USD when my American bank accounts start to run low. Recently (Feb 2018), they’ve notified users that they’re cutting their transfer fees by nearly 50%!
TripAdvisor – I LOVE to use Trip Advisor to find top restaurants and THINGS TO DO! You can just walk around a new city and find new things, but with Trip Advisor, you can get insider opinions on wait times, what hotels REALLY look like, tips on how to make the most of your time and more. You can use it ALL over the world to see what are the most popular attractions, parks, museums and things to do! I use it almost religiously to plan trips locally and abroad.
City Mapper – This nifty transportation app has a beautiful interface, it’s super user-friendly AND it can count your calories!?!? It KNOWS different cities, and can recommend ALL modes of transportation in a given city–it even knows the BIKE systems embedded within cities like BiciMAD in Madrid, Spain. Give it a try! You might find it better than other transportation apps you currently use.
DuoLingo – FREE language learning app, why not!? You’ll find that a lot of travelers have this app. It’s very easy and fun to use and you can learn multiple languages on different accounts in your app. For example, I’m going to Rome, Italy and Amsterdam very soon so I have accounts for Spanish, Dutch and Italian, all seamlessly switchable and holds your place. For more tools to learn languages, check out my other blog on language learning tips.
myTaxi – This is what it sounds like, a Taxi app. There are TONS of taxis in Madrid, and major cities, TONS. But sometimes you want to schedule someone to just pick you up for the airport at 4am or schedule a 5-seater van for a trip on the weekend. Or maybe you’re pre-gaming and need someone to grab you and your friends in 30 minutes or now and you don’t have time to head to the streets and flag someone down.
GoEuro – (EUROPE only) GoEuro is a convenient transportation app that shows you logistics such as fastest travel time, best way to travel and different prices. For example, on our day trip to Segovia, it suggested: flight, Taxi, Uber, BlaBlaCar and Renfe pricing with travel time included. Our best option ended up being the Renfe because it provided the best travel times. It’s almost like a travel companion with the answers for, “How should I get there?”
Bla Bla Car – (EUROPE as far as I know?) This is a VERY popular and CHEAP way to travel around Spain. Bla Bla Car is literally a carpooling system where you put the date of travel, and location and it searches for users who just happen to be traveling to your destination on those dates. I have SEARCHED for trips on Bla Bla Car; but I have not yet actually booked through Bla Bla Car but my friends who have used it enjoyed it and are still using it for CHEAP travel (plus it’s sometimes more comfortable and faster in a car)!
Don’t forget to leave me some love or questions and comments below–for more travel tips contact me on Instagram: @CravingCultures! I’d love to hear your opinions and travel stories! What apps do you rely on when you travel?