In an age when even the most tech-illiterate generation have smart phones (my Dad, for instance, doesn’t know how to exit the browser on my Mac but uses Uber), having the right spread of apps when you travel has become a crucial before-you-depart decision. When I make my way abroad, I make sure that I maximize storage space and have all the apps that I’ll need on the road by carefully examining what I want to be set in stone and what I am okay with leaving to that flighty temptress, Fate. For the solo traveler, the challenge becomes even steeper – not only do they have to go through the sometimes frustrating process of extensive trip planning, but they have to do it, well, alone. To lessen the stress of the process, we’ve picked out some of the best apps that every solo traveler should have in their back pocket:
Whether you need to find a place to stay, learn basic conversational phrases or pack like a pro, these apps are essential for the solo traveler to board the plane feeling fully prepared.
Boasting a network of over 500 boutique hotels worldwide, The Guestbook is the first hotel booking app that gives its users 5% cash back or 10% trip cash to be used on the site. If you’re looking to stay in brand-name hotels, this app isn’t for you. Meant to cut out the expensive middleman that most large hotels can afford to pay, The Guestbook only hosts smaller independent hotels – supporting local businesses and paying its users in one fell swoop! Perfect for solo travelers who’d like their budgets to spread a bit further – hey, if you can’t split it down the middle, might as well get some of your money back.
Surely, you won’t become fluent in French before your trip to the Côte d’Azur, but you can certainly sharpen your basics so that you can order your pain au chocolat stress-free. Of course, language learning app Duolingo pops to mind when you want to refine your foreign language skills, but have you heard of Memrise, the app that makes learning, dare we say it, easy? Their formula, they say, is a combination of science, fun and community – turning every learner into a teacher as well! Every solo traveler should know a few key phrases – make it easy and fun with Memrise.
Are you having trouble fitting your dreams inside your budget? Wherefor is the app for you – by simply inputting your budget, trip dates and number of travelers, Wherefor curates a personalized list of destinations that you can afford to visit based on flight and hotel data for the times you’d like to travel. This app is perfect for solo travelers who can’t rely on companions to split costs – therefore making their budget one that must be strictly followed.
Ever wished all your separate emails could be housed in one, easy to understand itinerary? Wish no more! With TripIt, you simply forward your confirmation emails to the app, where its technology analyzes and lays out the information in a simple and user-friendly manner. Your master itinerary gives you time breakdowns, directions, confirmation numbers, contact info, personal document storage and more… All in one spot and accessible even while you’re offline – nifty! The solo traveler on the go doesn’t have time to sift through eons of emails and papers, making this app integral for streamlined treks abroad.
If you’re anything like me, traveling to a new place can pose a serious packing problem. When you’re going to the beach, the mountains and the opera all in one trip, it’s hard to know what you should pack to keep yourself stylish and comfortable. Enter Pack Point. By having users select their gender, length of trip, destination, activities and time of trip, the app curates a personalized list of things to pack – pulling from weather forecasts and activities around the area. For the $2.99 premium version, Pack Point can even sync with other apps like TripIt or Evernote. Solo travelers will love maximizing every inch of their small suitcases with this helpful app.
So you’re already there and you don’t know what to do? Lucky for you, these apps help you plan your road trip, outdoor adventure or city wandering while you’re there – offering you cool things to do and hidden locals-only knowledge.
Making that solo road trip? Make it much more engaging with this awesome app! Roadtrippers is an app that curates the ultimate road trip – all you do is enter your start point and date paired with your end destination and date and the app gives you a map dotted with hotels, natural wonders, weird things to see and landmarks to check out on your road trip. Once your map is created, you can get even more specific, focusing in on things like camping spots, types of restaurants, shopping options and more.
Aiming to cover over 10 cities – pulled from both domestic and international locations – Detour is the app all of us solo travelers have always wanted. Using GPS, the app gives its users an audio guided tour, almost as if they were being led around a city by a local tour guide. As the traveler walks, the GPS tracks them, giving the user real-time information and history about the sights around them. Though the app is only fully operational in its hometown of San Francisco, destinations like Austin, New York, Berlin and Marrakech are in the works.
Yonder is a social app for the outdoor enthusiasts of the world. The purpose of the Yonder community is to both inspire and be inspired by outdoor treks made by the people in the city around you. Post a trail that you just mountain biked and see what other hikers and bikers are doing in your area – who knows, maybe you’ll find an even cooler adventure near you! Chat with other explorers and learn the tricky parts of their most recent ascent, connect with people around you to tackle that difficult climbing route or just see what the adventurers around you are trying – however you use it, the solo traveler will be ready to conquer the outdoors with this helpful app.
This app cuts through all the information that the world wide web offers and curates easy-to-implement city guides, neighborhood recommendations, places to be and things to do. Better yet, their guides can be downloaded for use offline and give their users helpful information like common phrases, local tips, personalized suggestions and city maps! With over 50,000 destinations, Triposo is a well-rounded app that offers its users something rare: actually unique tips and tricks.
Even solo travelers like to share their experiences with someone else every once in awhile. If you’re not already staying in a hostel, where it’s easier to meet new people, check out these apps that let you explore a city and its cuisine with a buddy that has the same itinerary as you.
Have you ever solo traveled to a new place and really wanted to do something, but maybe not alone? Adventurely solves that problem! Users create profiles then set up events that they’d like others to join in on. When others see your itinerary and want to join in, the users get matched and can chat in the app to see if they’d like to set up a time to meet. The app can be used for adventurous daters or solo travelers who’d like a roaming buddy to explore a new city with!
Skip the restaurant! Gnammo is a social network of sorts for dining with the locals. For an average cost of around $20, the solo traveler can attend a dinner hosted by a local and attended by a large group of many different people. Not to mention, the guests can all partake in an authentic meal provided by a real local. Like Airbnb, Gnammo hosts and guests get to rate each other – to ensure that both your cooks and tablemates are going to provide a pleasant experience.
When you’re traveling alone, you sometimes have to sleep with one eye open. With these apps though, you can rest easy knowing that if something goes wrong, these apps have your back.
This handy app lets its users access their home computers and laptops through their mobile device. Lost your passport? Need practical information? Forgot a document? LogMeIn fixes all of these problems by providing easy and quick access to your documents library back at home – wherever that may be.
Though it’s not fun to think about, sometimes traveling alone can put you in situations where you wish there was somebody by your side. With Companion, you can have someone virtually beside you. The app tracks your walk home and alerts a pre-set group of contacts if you drop your phone or start running. First, the app asks you if you are alright. If you fail to respond in 15 seconds, the app alerts your selected contacts. The app even has features that allow you to note if you’re feeling nervous (marking that area for the Companion community) and to call your local authorities.
Do you use any must-have apps while you’re solo traveling? Let’s talk about them in the comments!