When I was travelling, I found that there were four travel apps that I couldn’t live without. Quite frankly, if I didn’t have them then I’m not sure what I would’ve done! I mean, I would’ve carried on but… yanno
Everywhere I went, I was so dependent on my smartphone and it really did help me out rather a lot. So, here are the four apps that I would recommend downloading before your trip.
Now, since I’ve downloaded maps.me, I’ve realised that you can use Google maps offline. However, I stuck with my old and faithful, tried and tested app which we really did love.
Essentially, it’s google maps, but it’s so handy and works completely fine without data. Just make sure before you arrive in a new place, you’ve downloaded that map area and you’ll need a wifi connection for that.
maps.me lets you pin locations. For example, we would always pin where we would arrive, such as Coron port, and then pin our hostel to see how far away it was. It will tell you in kilometres and minutes too. This is really handy when you’re haggling for a taxi, I would always be like, ‘I know it's 10 minutes away so how much?’ Ooh, you could feel the sass in the air.
It’s also really useful to have when there’s two of you sharing a scooter. Annie would always sit on the back with
maps.me and act as my sat nav. We’d still get lost because I’m an idiot. I would also add an extra 15 minutes onto all the estimated travel times as a rule of thumb, as some estimations are a little out. We found that the Indonesia maps were really accurate - the Philippines not so much but still did the job.
The other useful tool is that it has handy group search buttons. For example, when we were out on the scooter we’d search for the closest petrol station, ATM or restaurant. If you do happen to have internet it will show you the restaurants rating or redirect you to book a hotel that’s near. That’s pretty cool aye?
In fact, our whole sight seeing days would revolve around maps.me. It worked especially well in Ubud, Bali. We did a little research online of what was in the area, as well as using the group search button for ‘Sights’ and pinned a whole 2-day itinerary. Jump on a scooter and away you go.
The best part about it is that maps.me is completely free! No, this post is not sponsored by them, neither did I intend to make that last part rhyme.
If you’re like me and mathematically challenged, then currency converter will be your best friend. Plus, who can remember the conversions for currency anyway?
This is really handy when you first arrive in a new country to get your head around the local currency. I used this a lot at cash points when the machine starts asking if I want 120,000 rupiah or 1.5million rupiah and I’m standing there, mouth open not really knowing what to press.
It has literally every currency you can think of. It’s super easy to use and looks a lot like a calculator on an iPhone. It also has some handy built-in apps along the bottom too like a bill splitter and a calculator.
There’s not much else to say about this app, it literally does what it says on the tin. It’s also free. Like I’d pay for an app nowadays anyway.
Agoda. What a lovely, wonderful app this is. I mean, seriously, I think it’s fantastic! There’s not really anything special about it, you just use it to book hotels, guest houses and hostels… but I will justify my love for this app.
Firstly it has some rather cheap properties on here. It depends on where you are in the world, but I'm 87% sure you’d be able to find a bangin’ deal regardless of wherever you are. It worked really well in Indonesia and The Philippines.
I would sometimes sort the properties by price, however, a handy tip is to then sort them by rating and scroll through to find the cheap ones. One thing that I love about this app is that a lot of properties are a ‘pay when you get there’ sort of deal and you don’t even need to put down a deposit! I think that’s fantastic! Especially when you’re booking things under different currencies, or you want to leave money in your bank to withdraw so it’s not all going on accommodation. Plus, if you're splitting the cost with others you can all just throw in the cash when you get there!
But Ben, I hear you cry, you can do all this on booking.com. Why yes, I know that young one, but does booking.com give you coupons?! Yeah, I said COUPONS. I’m not actually sure if other websites do this, I’m sure they do, but apparently, I’m a complete Agoda advocate.
The more you book with Agoda, the more coupons you get! $8 off a booking of your choosing, 10% off the next time you book. Oh, it’s fantastic!
I’m sure there are other booking apps that do the same, but we genuinely found Agoda to be the cheapest, as in cheaper for a private double room than 2 beds in an 8 shared dorm. Fabulous.
Obviously, this app is also free. Although you might think it, Agoda did not sponsor this post.
Last but not least, my fourth and final travel app is Grab! Okay, it’s essentially Uber.
In fact, they do have Uber in most places that we visited. Australia, Indonesia, The Philippines and Malaysia all used Uber. However, a couple of things to note. I just could not get Uber to work in Indonesia, like, at all. I would request a cab and it would be arriving in 7 minutes, 9 minutes, then 4 minutes and then 10 minutes. It was a joke.
So I decided to holla at Grab and it was perfect! Granted, it isn’t available in smaller parts of the country, mostly just the main cities. In Bali, Indonesia, we took a Grab from Seminyak to Ubud which took 2 hours and it cost us 120,000 rupiah. So around $12 AUD, so like £8. You can’t beat that, can you?
Just like my favourite app, Agoda, Grab also offers discounts! In The Philippines, if you request a Grab in Cebu city and used the code, CEBU you got a 50 peso discount! You can’t beat a good discount code.
One thing to mention is that Indonesia hates Grab and Uber. There are signs up everywhere in protest against using them as it’s putting the original cab drivers out of business. Huns, we wouldn’t have to use Grab and Uber if your prices weren’t so high!
Grab is free to download and you can select to pay in cash so you don’t have to use your card. Perfecto!
So they are my four essential travel apps! Let me know if you download them and what you think. Also if you have any other handy apps that you use then please let me know so I can test them out!
If you haven’t already, then head over to my YouTube channel. I upload videos every Saturday filled with travel information, tips and tricks. Plus you get to see my lovely face so don’t miss out.