There are many well-known travel apps out there to help you make the most of your trip. We asked 12 Canadian travel experts for the apps they can’t travel without and compiled the list. Here are the travel apps they recommended to make your experience more stress-free, unique and memorable:
Originally from Toronto, Cristina travels the world in search of local culture, a good cup of coffee and social impact in the places she visits. She left her job in TV journalism for travel and hasn’t looked back! You can follow her travels at chasingtravel.com
City maps that work entirely offline. Download the city you want to explore before you go, and then grab your shoes and hit the city! One of the best features is the option to pin places you want to see on your route, plan to add to your itinerary for later, or have seen and just want to bookmark so you don’t forget when you return home. There’s nothing more frustrating than going back home and trying to recall the name of that restaurant you had an amazing experience at!
TrabeePocket allows you to prepare for the costs of your trip before you go, and then track your expenses while you’re on the road. It’s a great app for students, backpackers or travelers on a tight budget. It’s simple and easy to manage your traveling budget, add images to purchases so you don’t forget what it was for, customize categories and check your spending in your home currency.
Nora sold everything she owned in Toronto (including a financial planning practice) in 2006 to embrace her dreams of long-term world travel, and she’s been on the road ever since! On her website, The Professional Hobo, she teaches people how to travel full-time in a financially sustainable way.
Trail Wallet is the ultimate expense tracker. You can track expenses in multiple currencies, create custom categories, track your progress against your budget, and export the data to manipulate as you wish. Good financial management principles dictate that you must track your expenses in order to set and maintain budgets, and Trail Wallet will help you do it very easily.
Splittr makes recording and sharing travel expenses as a group an absolute breeze. At a quick glance, you can see who owes who in order to even up. Say so long to spreadsheets, invite your friends and everyone can enter in what they paid for. It works offline and in multiple currencies.
Ryan’s blog, Out With Ryan, focuses on LGBTQ travel and offers gay travel guides to destinations around the globe as well as lifestyle tips and advice.
Translate between languages by typing directly in the app or holding your camera over the text to view the instant translation. You can speak into the app and have it speak the translated text back. This app is handy for reading foreign menus, understanding museum exhibit descriptions or trying to ask a question. Of the 103 languages available for translation, 59 of them can be translated without internet connection making traveling around foreign countries lightyears easier than before.
iTranslate Converse turns your iPhone into a two-way translation device. The simple design enables natural conversations in 38 languages, and automatically detects the correct language between two selected languages for a fast and accurate translation. Simply hold the phone up to the speaker so they can talk into the microphone and listen to the translated reply from your phone’s speaker. It’s like having a hired translator in your pocket! This app is available for iPhones only with a free 7-day trial and $6.49/month thereafter.
Carol is a luxury travel blogger based in Toronto. You will usually find Carol exploring mountains, hot springs, spas, art and shoe shopping. She shares her experiences on her Wandering Carol travel blog which has won numerous awards and honours.
Explore culinary experiences with locals in 130+ countries. Enjoy dinner parties, cooking classes and more in beautiful homes and exclusive venues. Browse culinary events with our hand-selected hosts then select your favorite food experience and book a date that works for you. You can chat with your host directly before you discover delicious local food and meet passionate people for an unforgettable experience!
In 2011 Arnette embarked on an around the world trip that took her to 19 countries over 19 months. She started her Round the World blog upon her return as a permanent place to share her findings, personal experiences, travel tips and advice.
Forget rifling through your emails while on the road! Google Trips makes planning your trips easier by gathering all your hotel, car rental, and restaurant bookings from your Gmail so they are available in one place. You can also read suggestions on top spots to build a customized trip itinerary with saved places that you can view in Google Maps. View suggested trip itineraries with a visual map, travel times and attraction operating hours. Or look up attractions closest to your location (and whether they’re open) and read reviews on local favourites. Use of the app is also available offline.
An all-in-one travel app where you can book your flights, hotel and car rental. Unlike its competitors, this is a great app for researching flights and finding travel deals because it includes budget carriers. There are no booking fees or hidden charges, just the best prices for your travels.
Most people are familiar with Airbnb, but it’s a nice app to have on hand when you need a break from hosteling and would like to treat yourself to a few more comforts of home. If you are traveling in a group of two or more, Airbnb is often cheaper than staying in a hostel or hotel and you can find some really unique places to stay! Who knows, maybe staying in a beachfront cabin or cliff-side villa will be the highlight of your entire trip! Another relatively new feature is ‘Airbnb Experiences’ where you can explore a new region on a local-led excursion like hiking to hot springs or going on a brewery crawl.
This app is great for finding a last minute deal on a hotel. Plans changed? Check Hotel Tonight for a last minute reservation. Or skip the budget accommodation for a night and score a hotel deal! You can save your favourite hotels, manage your bookings and make reservations up to 100 days in advance.
Nine years ago Ayngelina decided to take a career break with a one-way ticket to Mexico. Since then her foodie inspired adventures have taken her to enjoy amazing dishes all over the world. She is currently based in Havana writing an independent travel guide to Cuba. Check it out here: Bacon is Magic.
Zapya is a handy app for transferring files without an Internet connection. No Wifi? No problem, transfer files between Andriod, iPhone, and PC without using mobile data. Transfer music files or share pictures with friends you meet while on the road. Using Zapya is easy and free!
While not in their hometown of Edmonton, Rhonda and Mike are out seeing the world one trip at a time! Their blog was born from Rhonda’s lifelong love of travel and desire to share beautiful imagery of the places she’s visited. You can follow their travels at travelyesplease.com
Calculate prices in different currencies on the go! Trying to figure out how much your train ticket is really costing you? Pop it into XE Currency Converter! Monitor currency rates and determine the best time to convert money for your travels. You can also use it’s mid-market rate as a benchmark when shopping for different currencies.
A Canadian gal that’s been bit by the travel bug. Lindsay is a graphic designer by trade but a wanderer by heart. Follow along as she hikes new trails, discovers waterfalls, and indulges in anything local from coffee shops to wineries at ivebeenbit.ca
Everyone uses Google Maps, but do you know about the offline maps feature? Download an entire area on your phone and never worry about losing signal or using data while traveling. Tap the three-bar icon when viewing the map region you want to download and hit ‘Offline Maps.’
Jenn is a writer, photographer, adventurer, and birdwatcher on a happiness mission. She is an explorer and passionate lover of home, a wildlife lover and advocate known as the go-to resource for all things wild in Canada. You can follow Jenn’s adventures at travelandhappiness.com
Have you ever been in a new country, saw a plant or animal you’ve never seen before and wondered what it was? iNaturalist has the answer! It allows you to take photos of the plant or animal and receive input on what it is from people all over the world. You can also open the map feature and see if the species has already been submitted in that location to get your answer right away. Wondering where you have a good chance of spotting those hard to find creatures like koalas? Just use the search feature and find out where koalas have been spotted before. Curious about what new animals are nearby, open the ‘explore’ feature and view the identified species nearest to you!
Candice is a traveling Newfoundlander and professional experience collector. Currently, she’s working for Nomadic Matt helping inspire others to travel the world on a budget. Check out her hilarious blog posts as she has a ridiculous amount of fun at freecandie.com
Skype is a handy app for calling friends and family back home while you’re traveling! You can make voice-only and video calls, or send chat messages, photos and videos from your day’s outing to update your loved ones. You can call one person or have a group call with friends all around the world. Skype’s ‘screen share’ feature is also handy for organizing travel plans with the person you are calling.
Nicole and Cam are a Canadian couple with two young boys who choose to make travel a priority. Their blog, Traveling Canucks is where they share their travel stories and tips they learn while balancing travel, work and family.
Make and retrieve your flight bookings, and easily pull up your electronic boarding pass at the airport. Get notified for check-in and boarding reminders, gate changes, flight delays, cancellations, booking changes and more. You can receive notifications in the app, by email or text message. Not flying with Air Canada? Every other major airline has apps that offer the same functionality.
Solo Traveler is a community where people who share a passion for traveling alone exchange tips, suggestions and encouragement. Janice publishes posts on solo travel, such as this one on their Top 5 Travel Apps.
For those long flights, train and bus rides, Audible is great for listening to books, audio-shows or original series. You can download your book offline, and the best part is that you save room (and weight) in your suitcase! Test out a 30-day trial and download your first book free to see if audiobooks are for you.
What about us? At Stepabroad we offer young Canadians work and travel experiences around the world. From architecture internships in Japan to working at a surf shop in Australia, we help Canadians create unforgettable travel experiences while obtaining work experience to help boost their career or fund their trip. Together our team has traveled to over 50 countries and so we’ve come up with a list of our favourite travel apps for enhancing your experience abroad:
Download maps for cities or regional areas on your phone and use them offline while traveling. Maps.me is different than Google Maps’ offline maps feature (which is better used for navigation while driving) as Maps.me shows you the names of businesses and whether they are restaurants, retail stores, banks, etc. In a new city and trying to find somewhere nearby to eat or grab a coffee? Open up Maps.me and scout out the shops near you. Their maps also show where parks and beaches are located, park benches, post boxes, public bathrooms, bus stops, even water fountains! For a traveler exploring a new city on foot, this app is a lifesaver!
A great resource for getting trip inspiration or finding unique experiences. You can search a destination and browse through expertly curated articles written by locals on top recommendations for specified topics, such as things to do, arts and culture or places to eat.
A fun and free language learning app that serves bite-size games to learn a language. Learn Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Turkish, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Polish, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Hebrew, Welsh, and English. Passing each level will become more and more addictive after each shiny medal of achievement you earn. 34 hours of Duolingo are equivalent to a semester of university-level education!
Better than your guidebook, Zomato is great for searching for local restaurants. Browse through menus, photos and user reviews to decide where to eat, then use the map feature to figure out how to get there. You can search by location, cuisine, name, and type of establishment. Or browse theme-based curated lists to find the best burger or top trending spots.
Having a hard time meeting locals on your travels? Meetup is a great way to connect with locals who share your interests. Browse through a variety of meets during a time frame that works for you, then request to join the Meetup and make memories (and friendships) that will last a lifetime!
With Uber now available in over 600 cities worldwide, check whether your destination city is on the list before you hit the road. It is super handy for catching a ride from the airport to your hotel or hopping a quick ride when your sight-seeing legs get weary. If you haven’t used Uber before, you simply create an account and add in your credit card info. When you are ready for a ride, type in your destination, select your service based on the price and watch your driver arrive on the map.
This is the ultimate app for backpackers and young travelers. Search for top-rated hostels in your destination and filter by geographic location, price and rating. When deciding where to book you can read reviews from other travelers who just stayed there to make sure it’s the right place for you. Each hostel is given a rating out of 10 based on factors like value for money, location, cleanliness, and atmosphere among others. View pictures to get a sense of the dorm rooms and common areas and read about the hostel’s features like on-site laundry or weekend pub crawls. You can create an account to make and manage your bookings right in the app.
Stepabroad gives Canadians, typically between the ages of 18 and 35, the chance to experience work and travel in four destinations around the globe. As one of Canada’s fastest-growing travel agencies based in downtown Vancouver, Stepabroad coordinates every aspect of the work and travel process.
We offer international internships and working holidays for young Canadians, providing the chance to gain the unparalleled growth and development that comes from travel – something that also stands out to potential employers upon their return. You can read more about us here!
Alison is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Stepabroad and loves sharing her passion for adventure to inspire others to travel. While in university, she took a life-changing summer trip to Australia on a Working Holiday and since then traveled extensively across six continents throughout her student and professional career.