20 Best Free Travel Apps (Sorted by Categories!)

A person wearing a hat, scarf, and leather jacket holds a phone and stands on a path in a misty, mountainous countryside.

Hello reader, and welcome to my ultimate post on the best free travel apps! As an experienced traveler myself, I’ve tried dozens of apps to help me plan my stay and get around in different countries.

Today, I gathered the 20 best ones that I believe bring the most value for a traveler who needs to research destinations, book tickets, find restaurants, and use public transport during the trip.

To make it easier for you to find the apps you need, I sorted everything neatly according to categories! Most of the apps I mention below are completely free, but I clearly marked those that may have some in-app purchases.

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in!

Best free travel planning apps

Let’s start the list by exploring the best free travel planning apps.

1. Wanderlog

Screenshot of Wanderlog travel planning app interface showing an itinerary with location details on the left and a map with pinned locations on the right.

Wanderlog is one of the best all-around apps for planning trips! I’ve just used the Wanderlog app’s free version to plan my upcoming trip to Uzbekistan, and I loved how it lets me add my flight details, and lodging options, see a list of the most popular attractions, and add any attachments I want.

The app integrates with Gmail, so you can pull up any emails from your hotel, car rental agency, or any other important piece of information for easy access in the app.

The app pulls its data from Google Maps for recommended places to visit and navigation maps, so it does not offer anything unique in this regard. However, I did find that it offers more options to filter your search. For example, I could see the best cheap eats in Bukhara or the best photo spots in Samarkand, both of which will come in really handy!

Alternative: TripIt

2. Pinterest

A person holding a smartphone displaying the Pinterest welcome screen with "Sign up" and "Log in" options at a desk with a notebook, pen, glasses, and plant in the background.

Pinterest is one of my all-time favorite apps for tourism-related research! It’s your ultimate digital bulletin board where you can pin ideas for just about anything. Popular travel content includes boards with things to do, where to stay, itineraries, best restaurants, travel tips, and more.

Feel free to check our Miss Tourist Pinterest page for useful content!

Here’s a quick list of my favorite 3 uses of Pinterest for trip planning:

  • Create sections for planning specific aspects of your travel, like Rome itinerary, packing lists, budget tips, and more
  • Use the visual search to find similar content for additional travel inspo
  • If you travel with more people, share boards with them so everyone can add their ideas

3. Google Maps

A man in a car holding a phone with gps while driving

Here we come to the queen (or king) of travel planning apps! You’ve likely used Google Maps as a navigation app, since this is its main purpose. However, with a few small tricks, this completely free app can also serve as an invaluable trip planner tool!

There are really dozens of uses of Gmaps in travel, and you’re likely familiar with its basic functions so I’ll give you my quick top 5:

  • Find restaurants, attractions, and things to do: When you see a nice restaurant, monument, or museum while reading or watching a video about your destination, find that place on Google Maps, click on it, hit “Save,” and create a new list with it. Keep adding places you like, and in the end, you can make an itinerary out of them.
  • Check if a place is worth visiting: I do this both for choosing restaurants in my city and abroad. Read the reviews of the restaurant you want to visit. Does it have a good rating? Do people mostly complain or praise the place? If there are too many negative comments (I’d say if the rating is lower than 3.9), then there’s likely something wrong with the place that’s worth exploring.
  • Location sharing: You can use Gmaps to share your location with friends and family members scattered across the city, or with those at home for safety purposes.

BONUS: Talking of Google, here are 2 more apps from the tech giant you can use for your travels:

  • Google Travel – easy travel planner for exploring locations and booking flights
  • Google Earth VR (available on Steam) – one of the best free VR travel apps

4. GetYourGuide

A phone displaying the "Get Your Guide" logo is held in front of a screen showing various tourist attractions and destinations worldwide, including Niagara Falls, Versailles, and the Grand Canyon.

GetYourGuide is my favorite app for booking tours! This platform is made to help travelers explore the places they’re visiting by immersing in the local culture, exploring together with locals, going on cooking workshops, and booking just about any tour available in that specific place!

I’ve been using GetYourGuide for a while now, and I’ve got some precious advice for you:

  • Only book reputable tours that already have good reviews
  • Book in advance, especially the tours with a “likely to sell out” label
  • For popular destinations with many tours, sometimes the less popular tour will work better for your preferences, so make sure to check the description of multiple tours before picking the top-rated one. The price can vary as well.
  • You can use the site as an exploration tool only, to see what places are popular, then, if doable, organize a visit by yourself

Alternative: Viator

5. TripAdvisor

A person holding a smartphone displaying the Tripadvisor app in front of a silver suitcase and small plants.

Being one of the most iconic apps for trip planning, TripAdvisor really doesn’t need much introduction. Basically, it’s your all-in-one trip-planning app where you can find top-rated attractions, restaurants, tours, hotels, and vacation rentals.

The phone app lets you create a personalized itinerary filled with travel tips, which I find to be a great functionality!

PRO TIP: Did you know TripAdvisor has a forum? This place is a goldmine of information. You can check out the threads for your destination or even ask a question for recommendations and have them answered by locals or people who’ve been there! Very similar to Reddit and Quora.

6. Yelp

Glass storefront with three red "People love us on Yelp" signs displayed, reflecting trees from outside.

Yelp is the most popular app for exploring restaurants and cafés around the world! The app covers only 32 countries (across the Americas and Europe), so you may want to check if your destination is included.

From my experience, I’d say Yelp is the most popular for U.S. destinations! You can find top restaurants serving different cuisines, read reviews, check opening times, or see the services they offer (delivery, outdoor seating, etc.).

Navigation apps can help you get around in a new city, get real-time traffic alerts, look up the fastest public transport routes, or download an offline map. These are the best navigation apps out there:

7. City Mapper

Citymapper journey planning web page showing input fields for start and end locations, a 'Go' button, and an option to switch city to Istanbul. Icons for app download are displayed at the top.

CityMapper is the best navigation app if you’re traveling to Europe! They cover all major cities, plus a few worldwide, and everything from usability to design is flawless!

The app shows you the fastest route to get to a location, tells how long it takes by walking vs. bike vs. transport, and I love how it even says how many calories you’ll spend on the walk!

8. Moovit

Smartphone screen displaying the Moovit app page on the Google Play Store, offering bus times, train times, and live updates with an install button visible.

Moovit is a great app for tracking bus and train timetables worldwide. You just have to enter your starting location and destination, and it’ll let you pick a route you want (bus, train, taxi) and lead you to it. I love the live location feature for the buses, so you can not only see a real-time timer showing when the bus will arrive but also see it moving on a map!

I use Moovit a lot to get around Tel Aviv, and the bus timetables can often get hectic. I believe this is related to the destination more than the app, because buses in Tel Aviv are known for being late or not showing up at all. But I just thought it’s something to be aware of – even though most of the time the timetables are correct, be prepared to wait a few extra minutes for the bus to arrive.

9. Waze

A smartphone mounted on a car dashboard displays a navigation app directing to "Jalan Padungan." Multiple vehicles are visible ahead, and the traffic light is red.

Waze is a go-to navigation app for drivers! It offers real-time alerts, road conditions, route suggestions, and an up-to-the-moment map. The app also lets you download an offline map and is available worldwide, from Europe to Australia!

Since the app is based on its user community, the quality of the maps will naturally be better in places where more people use it. I recommend doing quick research about which navigation map is most frequently used in your destination so you can ensure the best user experience and get the best information.

10. Maps.me

A smartphone displaying the download page for the MAPS.ME app in the Play Store, showing the install button and app details on the screen.

Maps.me is the most often used app for offline maps! Me and my husband have used it for travels across Europe, and it worked seamlessly in France, Italy, and Spain. But you may wonder, why should I use Maps.me when I can just download an offline map from Gmaps?

Well, Maps.me’s central feature is the offline map functionality, while for Gmaps, this is just one of the functions. The offline maps in Maps.me are much more detailed. Plus, I’d say they work better for walking.

Best free booking travel apps

Whether you want to book accommodation or find the cheapest flights, these free travel apps can help:

11. Skyscanner

A person is holding the handle of a silver suitcase. A smartphone displaying the Skycanner app and a pink passport holder are placed on top of the suitcase.

Although not technically a booking app, Skyscanner is the largest online aggregator of flights that can help you find the cheapest options! I’ve been using Skyscanner for as long as I can remember, and it has helped me save hundreds of dollars on plane tickets.

The app is very user-friendly, you just have to pick a departure and arrival point, and the site will show you all the flights, direct or with stops, the price, and travel time.

As an experienced user, I can say that the prices shown on Skyscanner aren’t always 100% the same as when you head to the website of the actual airline to book. The difference in price can be due to recent price changes by the airline that Skyscanner hasn’t picked up on yet.

The app also helps you find car rental deals and book accommodation (they work together with Booking.com).

PRO TIP: This one’s for the adventurous spirits! Go to Skyscanner, enter the nearest airport near you, and then, for the destination, select “Everywhere.” You can select dates or whole months. Skyscanner will show you results for all destinations where you can fly to, starting from the least expensive one!

12. Hopper

A smartphone displaying the Hopper app logo lies on a world map beside a model airplane.

Hopper is an accommodation booking app with a focus on transparent pricing, and it mostly attracts budget-oriented travelers. For example, you can pick travel dates with the most affordable rates and book your stay then.

So, if you’re flexible with your travel schedule, it’s definitely worth using Hopper! They will show the best deals in green, while the most expensive rates are shown in red.

I’d never used or heard about Hopper before doing research for this article, and I’m glad I found it! They have this unique feature where you can freeze the price of a hotel for up to 21 days, which is a major bonus point compared to other large booking platforms!

13. Booking.com

Smartphone displaying the Booking.com header for 'Hotels & Travel' with navigation tabs for 'Stays', 'Flights', and 'Flight + Hotel', emphasizing the ease of searching for travel deals directly from the Booking.com app on a mobile device

Booking.com is the largest online accommodation booking platform in the world, and you may have even already used it before. I use Booking.com both for work and to book accommodation for my trips, and here are some insights I can share:

  • The more you book through Booking, the more you save later on. They have a Genius program for frequent travelers where you get cheaper accommodation, discounts, and other perks.
  • You can filter search results only to show accommodations that match your desired price range or any specific amenities you’d like (think 24-hour reception desk, spa, and wellness, swimming pool, airport shuttle, or all of these together).

Say you want to book a hotel in Rome in the city center for 4 people, under €150 per night, with breakfast. You can pre-set those filters for a super personalized search, and land a perfect deal!

From my experience, it’s best to book hotels with many reviews and the highest rating possible. I recommend you avoid those under the 8.2/10 unless there are no other options.

Sometimes, a hotel may have a lower rating and one dominant complaint from past guests. This complaint may not necessarily be a deal breaker for you, and then it’s perfectly fine to book a stay there. Also, a 9.0-rated hotel may have a complaint you’ll find unacceptable. So, regardless of the rating, I definitely recommend reading the reviews before deciding on a hotel!

PRO TIP: Here at Miss Tourist, we worked hard to provide our readers with a unique opportunity for a 4% discount for all bookings done via Booking.com! Save this link for any future trips, and start saving!

Alternatives: Expedia, Agoda (best for bookings in Asia), Airbnb (for vacation rentals)

Subscribe here to get up to 35% off your accommodation for your next trip!

Other useful free travel apps

Before we wrap up, I’ve got you covered with 6 more useful apps for various purposes of travel (ride hauling, eSIMs, connecting with fellow travelers, and more).

14. Uber – best free ride-hailing app

A person holds a smartphone displaying a rideshare app, with a map and pickup details on the screen, while sitting in the backseat of a car.

If you ever need a ride on your travels, Uber is a great app for it! It’s one of the most widely used ride-hailing services, operating in over 70 countries, mostly in North America and Europe.

The way it works is you submit a trip request, and a nearby Uber driver (they are all independent contractors, basically locals in the city) will see the request, pick you up, and drive you to your desired destination.

Alternatives: Lyft, Gett, Yangoo (check which app is most widely used in your destination and go for that one)

15. Google Translate – best translation app for international travel

A person holds a smartphone displaying the Google Translate app page from the Google Play Store, with various app details visible on the screen.

You’ve likely used Google Translate‘s basic features, but did you know the app can also help you communicate and basically translate every writing you see in a foreign language?

The useful tool available for the mobile app lets you capture a picture of a menu, street sign, or any writing in a foreign language and translate it back into your language!

Here’s a short step-by-step instruction:

  1. Open the Google Translate app on your phone. 
  2. Tap on the “Camera” button in the lower right-hand corner. 
  3. Select the language combinations you want.
  4. Take a photo. 
  5. Wait for the translation to be complete. 

Easy as that! This feature alone makes Google Translate one of the best apps for international travel!

16. ProtonVPN – for secure networking

Smartphone displaying the ProtonVPN app, highlighting its features: high-speed Swiss VPN, maximum security, over 1600 servers, and no restrictions. Options visible are "Create an account" and "Sign in.

VPN’s are a lifesaver when traveling! A Virtual Private Network (VPN) masks your browsing data so you can access restricted content and protect your privacy when in another country.

For example, when you use public Wi-Fi in an airport or a hotel, you’re basically exposing all your credentials to the network owner. A VPN encrypts your data so the local provider can’t read it.

ProtonVPN has a few free domain options you can connect to, but free VPNs will often use your data for marketing and other purposes. A paid VPN is the best here, and investing in it is well worth it, especially if you travel to countries with access restrictions.

Good VPN software will also ensure that you can use your bank account as if you were in your own country (many banks will block access to apps if you try to log in from another country!).

From my experience, and from the many online reviews I read, ExpressVPN is the best paid VPN on the market. They even have a free trial!

17. Meetup – for connecting with other travelers

Meetup homepage displaying text about making friends with shared interests and an illustration of people riding a multi-person bicycle. Includes buttons for joining Meetup and site navigation options.

Meetup is a great app that lets you connect with fellow travelers! Enter a destination and organize meetups and activities with people who share your interests!

During registration, the app will ask you to select your interests from a list, and it will use this information to connect you with the right people!

Some examples of groups include Women programmers, Nature photography, and Outdoor adventures.

18. National Park Service (NPS) – a guide through U.S. National Parks

Close-up of a National Park Service sign featuring a tree, mountains, and bison emblem mounted on a wooden board with a forested background.

The National Park Service, or NPS, is a single app that contains information about all 423 national parks in the U.S.! Some of the features include interactive maps with points of interest, entry fees, self-guided tour itineraries, transportation, and restaurants.

The offline use support can come in super handy when you’re visiting remote places that may lack signal!

19. Airalo – for buying eSIMs

Smartphone displaying eSIM service ads with the app "Airalo: eSIM Pocket Internet" highlighted and text "Discover eSIM App. Be in Touch When You Travel. Global Internet in Your Pocket." on screen.

Buying local SIM cards is slowly becoming outdated. There are now multiple eSIM online providers, with Airalo being my favorite one. You can get a plan for almost every country in the world and have your data all set up from the moment you land.

With Airalo, you won’t have to pay hefty fees at the airport SIM stands or spend precious time in local network provider stores in cities!

Staying connected with Airalo makes it possible to use free texting apps for international travel like Viber, WhatsApp, or Signal.

NOTE: You can use Airalo for free to find eSIM card deals for your destination, but you’ll have to pay for the actual eSIM plan!

20. Xe – best currency conversion app

A digital advertisement for the XE Currency app features two smartphone screens showing currency conversion and a QR code for app download. The app is available on App Store and Google Play.

Xe is the world’s leading currency converter app that also lets you transfer money in more than 170 countries and 65 currencies!

Of course, the biggest perk of using such an app is the possibility to track up-to-date exchange rates and ensure you don’t get overcharged for services!

The Xe app lets you monitor up to 10 currencies you want, curate your personalized currency list, and receive alerts for rate changes. That way you can transfer your currency when the rate is more favorable.

Alternatives: MyCurrency Converter (iOS, Android)

📸 Best app for tours:GetYourGuide
🏨 Best app for booking hotels:Booking.com
🚕 Best app for taxis:Uber 
📱 Best app for eSIMs:Airalo
🗺️ Best navigation app:Google Maps

Enhance your travel experience with the top travel apps

A person wearing a hat and sunglasses sits on a beach, looking at a smartphone. The sun is setting over the ocean in the background.

Dear traveler, this is about all I have to share with you regarding free travel apps! With all these great apps, you’re guaranteed to plan and get around on your trip hassle-free!

I know I’ve given you tons of options, but you definitely don’t need to use all of these apps. You can choose a few that satisfy your travel needs and just get the most out of them!

If you’re still confused about the right app for you, here are my 2 absolute favorites that I use for every trip:

  • Google Maps – the rich features make Gmaps a great app for navigation, planning activities, and researching places to eat and stay; easily one of my favorite apps for traveling abroad!
  • Skyscanner – probably the most cost-effective app because it can save you a lot of money on flight tickets

Did I forget to mention an important app for travel? Which app did you like best from the list? Feel free to drop me a comment below, I really want to know your experience!

Travel wise,

Darija


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