Almost everyone has a smartphone now. Travelling has never been this easy with all the mobile apps that are on the market. It really made spontaneous travel a lot more convenient. I love trying out new apps. I am always seeking for new apps to test them out. Although I enjoy getting off the grid from time to time, I am still highly dependent on technology, especially when I travel!

Also, I only recommend stuff I used and love! All the travel apps I recommend below are the ones I have now installed on my phone. I use them often.

I have an iPhone 6, but all the apps work with Android, too (except Monny.)

This list is last updated on April 27, 2017.

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20 best free mobile travel apps

The 20 mobile travel apps I am recommending all have different purposes and come in six categories:


Adobe Photoshop Express

A fantastic app developed by the legendary Photoshop, and IT IS FREE. You can make quite detailed photo editing with this app. So far the most user-friendly one in the sea of photo editing apps. Download On iTune Now.

Foodie – Delicious Camera for Food

People have asked me why the food pictures I take seem so appetising. Their phone cameras just don’t do the tricks. Well, FOODIE is my secret! Dozens of in-app filters make the food on your table look super tasty! Download On iTune Now.

Instagram (Hey! Follow me @notesofjo)

Besides posting travel photos, I use Instagram to find travel inspiration as well. Searching the right #hashtag is very helpful when you know how to use it. Download on iTune Now.

Trip Planning


From what to do, where to go, to where to stay and tours, Trip Advisor has it all. It also provides valuable reviews from other travellers. I use it when I have no clues about the places I am visiting to get some ideas. Download on iTune Now!

Triposo – Your Smart Travel Guide

From time to time, I use Triposo to help me plan the most efficient route when visiting a new place. It works offline. The app crunches through millions of sites and reviews to give recommendations for more than 50,000 destinations worldwide. You can personalise your trip with things you are interested. At the same time, you can see other people’s personal guide! Download On iTune Now.

Rome2rio – Find out how to get from A to B

A great app for finding ways of transportation from any destinations to another around the globe. The app offers options including flight, train, bus, ferry, and driving time. It also helps you to estimate travel times and fares. Download On iTune Now.


My saviour when I need to look for trustworthy restaurant recommendations or a good place for coffee and dessert. If you’re looking for reviews of other types of businesses such as beauty salon or spa, Yelp is helpful, too. It’s available in many cities around the world, but I find it works the best in the US. Download On iTune Now.


Monny (iOS only)

An app I use daily, developed by a friend of a friend. You can create more than one account book in the app, and the layout is super cute! I use it to record my expenses and for budget control. You can see a report of your expenses by categories and by month. The budget challenge game inside really helped me to create a habit of tracking my expenses! (The irony is, I sometimes would think to myself: I am on vacation. Screw budgeting!) Download On iTune Now.

XE Currency Converter

This app gives you a clear overlook comparing as many different currencies as you wish at the same time. A very helpful tool especially when you are travelling to multiple countries that use different currencies. Now you can even send money to your friends and family overseas via the app! Download On iTune Now!



I haven’t attended any Meetup events actually, but it’s a cool app to see what’s going on in the city you are visiting or if you just moved to a new town. It’s ideal for expats. You can create your own meetup base on your interests to find your tribe, too. Download on iTune Now.


My favourite! I was a very active couch surfer for at least three years and made many great friends through Couchsurfing events. If you are a solo traveller and want to find someone to hang out with, almost all the major cities have regular Couchsurfing meetups. Download On iTune Now.

Flights and Accommodations


This flight search engine has remained my no. 1 for many years. I love how you can set your destination as “anywhere.” If you are flexible with your travel time, Skyscanner is a great app to find fabulous deals. Sometimes booking using the app is cheaper, too. The fare alert helped me to find an incredibly cheap fare from Shanghai to New York City. Download On iTune Now.

Kayak Flights, Hotels&Cars

This used to be my only go-to before Skyscanner came along, now I use it to compare airfare. I highly recommend setting a fare alert to track the price of your flight. It really helps you to score the best deal! Download On iTune Now.

Ctrip – Book Hotels, Flights&Trains

Ctrip is excellent if you are looking for flight and hotel deals in China. Train tickets are also available. Of course, it doesn’t only work in China. It works for other countries, too. Download On iTune Now. – Hotels and Vacation Rentals offers free cancellation for your reservations at any time the day before. They also don’t ask for your credit card number when you book. The accommodations I found here usually offer cheaper deals than other similar services. Use this link to book if you want to help me to get some reward credits! Download On iTune Now.

Or book directly here:


A decent app for finding hostels around the world. Though, not all hostels are on here. For example, I would still recommend you using or Ctrip if you are looking for cheap accommodation in China. Download On iTune Now.


It’s similar to Couchsurfing. You stay at a local’s home. Sometimes the host is not around, so you get the whole apartment for yourself. Sometimes you live with them for a couple of days. It’s a different way to travel in contrast to staying at a hotel or a hostel. We’ve stayed in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Taipei using AirBnB, and all our experiences were excellent. Download iTune Now. 

Navigations and Others

MAPS.ME – Offline Map with Navigation & Directions

Google Maps doesn’t always have the best accuracy (especially in China.) MAPS.ME is your other option. You can download an offline map for an entire country if you want, and it works in airplane mode. There are also tags added by other users to help you explore a place. Download On iTune Now.

Google Maps

I suppose most of the people have Google Maps on their phones, but did you know you can download offline maps? This is a great feature when you don’t have the internet on your phone while travelling, which happens all the time when you go abroad. Download On iTune Now.


You need this if you are travelling in China! The infamous Great Firewall of China blocks Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and anything that threatens their authority. The first month is free. ExpressVPN is fast and reliable. You can choose from the dozens of servers they have to offer. I recommend you to install it before you set your feet in China. Use this link to subscribe and get an additional month free! (And I get one, too. :-D)

I hope you find this list helpful to your future travel. Share if you think someone would appreciate this list. Comment if there are other free travel apps you love but is not mentioned. If you haven’t followed me on Facebook and Instagram, make sure you do!

3 Responses

  1. I was happy to see there were same apps as I´m using. (Since I´m a pen and paper girl, a bit old-fashioned when it comes to tech). I´m sure my husband would highly recommend Monny for me, let´s not tell him about it. 😉

    Thank you for sharing these Joanne!

    1. Hey, Hanna! You’re welcome! I’m happy to see you’re using some of these apps, too 🙂 Sometimes I prefer to use pen and paper, too. Relying too much on tech has its downside. You can hide this post from your husband. Haha!

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