Technology sure has made backpacking a whole lot easier - gone are the days of lugging around a heavy guidebook and finding yourself lost in the middle of an unknown city with unreadable street names and confusing intersections. Wi-Fi is readily available in most tourist destinations and most of us tend to get around with a smart phone in our pocket. As much as we love giving the old iphone and social networking a rest when we travel, there are a number of fantastic apps out there that can actually improve your travel experience. So here they are... the best travel apps. Did we mention that they are all FREE?
Best Travel Apps
1. Best App For Finding Cheap Food & Drinks? The Happiest Hour
This is one of the best travel apps for backpacking Australia! This FREE app lets you browse through all Drink, Food and Cocktail specials in and around your location. It is a great way to check out all of the local hot spots in every Australian capital city (and now, Auckland and Wellington). You can filter the search to show just Food or Drink. Tip: head to a cool part of the city and let the App take you on a Happy Hour bar crawl - great way to check out all of the hidden hot spots! (You may also like our guides to the best bars in Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane).
2. Best App For Long Bus Rides? Spotify
Spotify needs no introduction, but it is one of our favourite apps for compiling music playlists to chill out to on long bus journeys. You can also share your playlists with your travel buddies.
3. Best App For Free Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi Finder
Yes, you read correctly! This Free App will show you all of the free and paid public WiFi spots. The app is powered by Google Maps and scans your current location to pick up all available WiFi hot spots. You can filter the search to show just the free spots near you, as well as choose the venue type such as a cafe, restaurant, public library. The app works both online and offline and the best bit? It is available in 144 countries.
4. Best App For Finding the Best BYO Places to Eat? Zomato
For those of you who does not know what we mean by BYO... you're missing out on one of the god's greatest gifts on Earth (jokes). Australia's major cities all have a number of Restaurants that allow you to BRING YOUR OWN BOOZE! It's one of the best ways to enjoy a cheap eat and a night out while backpacking Australia. The Zomato App will allow you to browse through different Restaurants, Cafes and Bars to your liking. Choose your price range, desired cuisine, indoor or outdoor... the list goes on!
5. Best App For Exploring? Tripadvisor
The best way to gain tips, inspiration and information about each location you visit. Simply search by map or type in your destination to read advice and tips from other travellers that have already been there and done that!
6. Best App For Blogging Like a Boss? LiveTrekker
LiveTrekker actually allows you to digitally document your journey as you go - who needs to carry a journal these days anyway? As you travel along the Aussie East Coast or throughout the streets of Sydney, the live map actually records your route and stores it as you go. En route you can snap photos, take videos and write notes about each place you've visited. Cool huh? If you are an avid hiker, this is also a great way to trek altitudes and distances on your trek
7. Best App For Star Gazing? SkyView
Australia, and New Zealand, have some of the most amazing night sky shows on offer (especially if you head away from the city centres). Find yourself camping on the Great Ocean Road beneath a sea of awesomeness? SkyView allows you to simply point your smart phone to the sky and you will given an accurate reading of the constellations, planets and stars above.
8. Best App For the Tight Arses (or REAL Travellers)? CityMaps2Go
This Free App is one of our favs. It's basically an entire library of guidebooks that can be pre downloaded and saved to your smart phone, which means that you can access Maps, Destination Guides, Railway Maps (the list goes on), even when you don't have any internet!
9. Best App For Staying in Touch? WhatsApp
Although keeping in touch with your family and friends is quite easy to do these days via Facebook, WhatsApp is a cross platform messaging services that allows you to text and call your mates overseas for free. WOO! You can also create groups and send unlimited photos and videos - what better way to make your buddies at home jealous as you share your Aussie moments.
10. Best App For Converting Currency? XE Currency
The most accurate app for currency conversions. We won't go into details - it's simple. It's easy. It's a must.
11. Best App For Translating a Foreign Language? Google Translate
This App uses optical character recognition to translate everything from street signs to restaurant menus. Simply point your phone's camera towards the text you would like translated and let Word Lens work its magic. We do admit, this app can be the cause of a little laziness but it really does come in handy if you are learning English as a second language.
12. Best App For Finding Cheap Flights? Skyscanner
One of our favs for flight searches! You can pretty much find the cheapest flight to and from any domestic or international commercial airport. It's really easy to sort the flights by price!
So there you have it - the Best Travel Apps for Backpacking around the world!