Our Top Free Travel Apps

Antie taking a photo at Iguazu

Whilst we’ve been exploring South America, we have come to depend on a small handful of great apps. Some directly aimed at travellers and others that are more general.

Before you head off on your next travel adventure, we would definitely recommend installing these apps to help you along the way…

1. MAPS.ME

A good offline map is essential for travel (especially if you are anything like me and have a terrible sense of direction). WiFi can also be temperamental when you are travelling and therefore can’t be relied upon for directions. MAPS.ME is a fantastic app featuring detailed offline maps for all countries and you can download as many as you need. It is clear, easy to navigate and offers searchable points of interest as well as offline routes.

2. iOverlander

This handy app was recommend to us by a couple from the States who were driving from Seattle to Argentina. Although primarily aimed at travellers driving or biking, we found it a very useful tool to use whilst we were camping in Chile and Argentina. It has a great offline database including camping, hotels, restaurants, mechanics and much more. As well as including the listings, you can also read other peoples reviews and make your own, making you feel part of a connected and honest travelling community.

3. XE Currency

Keeping track of currency exchanges is always important, especially if like us, you are travelling to lots of different countries in a relatively short space of time. Although it is a tad depressing post-Brexit to see how much the pound has dropped in value it is of course necessary to keep on top of your finances and avoid being ripped off! During our trip we have been using XE Currency which is a handy converter calculating live currency and foreign exchange rates.

4. VSCO

Taking great pictures on your trip and sharing them with your friends and family at home on Facebook and Instagram is essential and now iPhones and Androids have such fantastic cameras. With a little help from a photo editing app your pictures will look like a pro. VSCO is a powerful little app and does a fantastic job of making your pictures look like they haven’t come from your phone but an extremely expensive camera. Time to get snapping!

5. Splitwise

When you are travelling with your partner or friends it can be tricky to keep track of money and who is purchasing what. To help avoid any awkward money conversations we would definitely recommend setting up Splitwise; a free tool to track payments where everyone can sign in. The only thing is when you are travelling to different countries, it doesn’t convert across multiple currencies.

6. Google Translate

To our shame, we Brits are notoriously bad at learning other languages. We have become such a lazy nation where we expect other counties to speak English. When travelling in South America, especially in Colombia and Bolivia, this is not the case and it is really helpful to at least have a basic understanding of Spanish. To help you along the way, Google Translate has an offline, downloadable service instantly translating words and phrases between English and over 100 other languages.

7. SpanishDict

This is the leading Spanish translator, dictionary and conjugator and a very useful app for those traveling around South America or Spain. It is often more clear and accurate than Google Translate and well worth downloading as an additional tool.

8. Booking.com

A fantastic app which is even more clear and easy to use than the website itself. It is a great way to check out hotels and hostels around the world and book them without having to pay a deposit. There are budget options available and also more expensive B&Bs or hotels if you fancy treating yourself. You might also be able to get a good deal if you’re lucky!

9. Airbnb

Castles, windmills, chalets, yurts, tree houses… Airbnb has endless possibilities for incredible accommodation around the world and is definitely up there as one of our must-have apps when we travel. Especially when you are in need of a break from hostels and fancy staying in a more homely environment. For couples travelling it is often either the same price or cheaper than getting your own room in a hostel.

10. TripAdvisor

We without fail always check out TripAdvisor reviews for accommodation before we book anything in advance. It is now the world’s largest travel site featuring millions of unbiased reviews. It’s also great for checking our restaurants, tours and tips on what to do in destinations. Basically a necessity for any trip you take!

11. Duolingo

If the likes of Rosetta Stone or taking language lessons are out of your budget, then Duolingo is the one for you. It is a good way to familiarise yourself with the language before taking a trip. It is free and easy to use and will hopefully get you chatting away to locals on your next trip in no time!

We hope you find these helpful. Leave a comment if you use any others on the road we might have missed.

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