Our favorite apps and websites for easy travel

You’re going abroad! Wait – how the heck do you do it?! When traveling, it’s easy to get anxious about things. A wrong turn here, a delayed flight there and, all of a sudden, you’re back at square one again. Yes, traveling can be stressful, but you have the power to ease stress as well. Here are some of our favorite apps and websites for easy traveling.

Transportation

SkyScanner

SkyScanner is a travel aggregator and metasearch engine. You enter where and when you want to travel somewhere, and the website searches the internet for the lowest possible fares. It also gives you the option to search for the lowest flights to a list of countries if you enter the dates you want to travel but don’t specify a destination.

Google Flights

Similar to Skyscanner, Google Flights is a flight booking service that searches the web for the most inexpensive airline tickets. When train tickets are available, Google Flights will display those as well.

KAYAK

KAYAK, my personal favorite, is also comparable to Skyscanner and Google Flights. If you’re looking for a place to stay, there’s an option to search for accommodation.

Eurail

Eurail is a company that offers a variety of travel pass options, all via train. This works well if you’re traveling around a geographic certain area of Europe.

Lyft

Lyft is a transportation service similar to your average taxi service, but with less expensive and more reliable prices. It’s nice because of the fact that you can call a driver right from the app. Many also say it’s safer because it’s regulated by ratings and background checks of the drivers.

Getting around

Google Maps

Google Maps is always a good idea. It’s a mapping service that works especially well when you’re in a city where the public transportation system isn’t the best, and you find yourself walking more often than not. After the route is loaded, you also can use the app offline, which is handy if you are without wifi or data.

Citymapper

Citymapper is a public transit and mapping service, and I’ve found that’s it’s the most accurate service. It truly works real time, giving you options for routes like the fastest or cheapest to wherever you’re going. You do need data or wifi to use the app but once your route is loaded you can view it offline.

Accommodation

Hostelworld

Hostelworld is a hub for all things hostel-related. It gives ratings and reviews of every hostel – ever (and definitely read the reviews before you book). You can book straight through the app and have the option to pay then or later on. It’s definitely my go-to when backpacking, as hostels are a great way to meet people from all around the world.  

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a service where people offer you a bedroom, a couch or a floor to sleep on for free! It varies from the average accommodation website because it houses a network of like-minded people. If you’re not necessarily looking for a place to stay, you still have the option to connect with someone.

Airbnb

Airbnb is an online marketplace where people have the opportunity to rent short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, homestays, hostel beds or hotel rooms. I love using this service when traveling in a group. It’s offers nicer places to stay (many are people’s second homes) and it’s an affordable option when you split the cost with others.

Tours

STA Travel

STA Travel is a company that offers cheaper transportation and accommodation fares for young people. If interested, there are specific “tour” options which allow you to choose a region a one of their planned trips. The company acts like a travel agent in a way.  

Free tours by foot

Free tours by foot are, well, free tours by foot. When you’re new to a city, free walking tours are a great way to see a city and meet people. Many hostels and travel companies offer these, so take advantage of them.

Communication

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a necessity when going abroad, especially if you’re trying to connect with locals. Interestingly enough, foreigners don’t use iMessage or regular text message. Instead, they use and cherish WhatsApp.

So, whether you’re studying abroad or backpacking for a bit, take these websites and apps into consideration, and you’ll be sure to be an efficient traveler. Have fun on your adventure!

Photo by Christian Zimonick

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