People pointing at a map on a cellphone.

Advancements in technology have completely changed the face of travel in the past decade, and new travel apps are continuing to make booking travel, planning trips, eating abroad, splitting costs, and tracking your movements easier every day.

My favorite apps going into 2020 do all those things. From easily keeping track of who-owes-who what, to searching for restaurants, directions, and exchange rates entirely offline, these apps take the guesswork out of travel. 

It’s amazing how much simpler and more accessible travel is thanks to technology. 

1. Maps.me

Maps.me is a staple for frequent travelers. Even if your phone is on airplane mode and disconnected from wifi throughout the duration of your trip, you will still always be able to see exactly where you are and search for directions to any nearby destination. You can also save destinations (like your hotel or the train station) and get walking, biking, or driving directions between any two locations. 

Simply download the map for your destination(s) on maps.me before your trip to save yourself the worry of getting lost.

2. Happy Cow

Many countries’ restaurants don’t quite have the same level of concern for healthy or vegetarian/vegan eating as you may be used to at home. Happy Cow app has solved the problem of finding vegetarian-friendly or health-conscious restaurants around the world. Over 185 countries are currently included in their database with tips on finding healthy foods, juice bars, health stores, and more. 

3. Splitwise

When traveling with a group, Splitwise will save you the headache of figuring out who owes who, and how much. Whether you’re paying with cash or card, simply enter the amount plus who paid it each time you make a shared purchase. Splitwise will automatically calculate how much money is owed, and to whom, in order to limit the amount of back-and-forth Venmo’ing as much as possible. 

(Bonus travel apps: Venmo is a favorite for instant, fee-free money transfers. Between international accounts, Transferwise has the lowest fees and offers borderless accounts in order to hold money in different currencies.)

4. Polarsteps 

Polarsteps is a just-for-fun app that allows you to track the places you’ve been to. When you first join the app you can allow it to use the location of the photos taken in your camera roll to import past trips and get you started! 

Polarsteps will create “trip” entries for all your travels. You choose which photos to add and the app will tell you how many steps you traveled. It’s a great way to keep track of everywhere you’ve been and connect with friends to see which people you know have been to the same destinations!

5. XE

Xe tells you the exact currency conversion rate at any given moment (or saves the most recent currency conversion from the last time you were online). When you don’t trust your math skills, simply enter the price of something in the local currency and Xe will instantly tell you what it costs in U.S. Dollars. Remember to download a new currency while connected to data or wifi to be able to use Xe while you’re offline.

6. Skyscanner

What makes Skyscanner different from Expedia or Kayak is that Skyscanner is not an online travel agency. They aren’t trying to sell you anything. As a meta-flight search engine, Skyscanner is simply scouring the web, including every airline’s website and online travel agency, and finding you the best price for your flight. 

On top of that, they have invaluable tools like the “Everywhere” search which will show you the cheapest flights from your home airport and “Price Alerts” that can notify you via push notification when the price changes on a flight you want to take.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know what apps you can’t travel without! 

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About The Author

Danie is a full-time traveler and freelance travel writer. She’s been on-the-move since 2015 from Albania to Zambia (and 70+ others in between). She’s developed a very sophisticated algorithm that evaluates countries based on a thorough analysis of their wine, hot sauce, local friendliness, and how hard she happy-cries at their nature. You can find her portfolio at owentheglobe.com or her photos on Instagram @danieelizabeth

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