Learn how the technical world can support your travels, and allow you to expand even further.

Best VPN for Travel & Digital Nomads

Best VPN for Travel & Digital Nomads

In today’s interconnected world, where your digital data is your most valued asset and privacy and security are paramount, having a Virtual Private Network (VPN) has become an essential tool for everyone. Whether you’re jet-setting across the globe or working remotely from a tropical paradise, a VPN can safeguard your online activities, protect sensitive information, and even help you save money. In this guide, we’ll dive into the world of VPNs and explore the top options for young budget-conscious travelers, to help you stay protected online! Keep reading to find out the best VPN for travel!

Woman sitting and working at a cafe, protected online with a VPN

Table of Contents

Anything purchased through the links on this page helps me maintain this blog going. Thanks for supporting – Learn More.

Summary & Recommendation

1. SurfsharkOverall Best Travel VPN. #1 choice for No Trace Travel due to its low cost, high speeds, the most countries with server locations, and added features for a better experience. Stay protected online with Surfshark today!

2. NordVPNFastest Speeds Travel VPN. is a quality-assured option, a favorite of many due to its long-term success as a VPN service.

3. ExpressVPNMost Consistent Travel VPN. Reliable and affordable VPN with consistent speeds and reliability.

4. CyberGhostMost User-Friendly Travel VPN. Simple to use and consistent performance.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a service that encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a secure server, masking your online identity and activities. This encryption shields your data from potential hackers, cybercriminals, and even nosy advertisers.

For travelers, this means added protection when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks in airports, cafes, and hotels. Additionally, a VPN can grant you access to geo-restricted content, allowing you to stream your favorite shows and access websites as if you were in your home country, or any country of your choice (hello unlimited Netflix options)!

Who Needs a VPN?

Anyone who values their online privacy and security can benefit from a VPN, not just the IT nerds who actually know about the breadcrumbs you leave with every click. The advantages are especially pronounced for young budget-conscious travelers and digital nomads:

  1. Secure Public Wi-Fi Usage: When you’re on the go, you’re likely to connect to various public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN ensures that your data remains encrypted and safe, preventing potential cyberattacks.

  2. Bypass Geo-Restrictions: If you’re traveling abroad and want to access content from your home country, a VPN can make it seem as though you’re still there, granting you access to your favorite websites and streaming services. Every country has different online restrictions, a VPN can help skirt around those (in a legal way).

  3. Cost Savings: Many online services, including flight booking websites and hotel reservation platforms, often display different prices based on your location. By using a VPN to appear as if you’re browsing from a different country, you might unlock better deals.

  4. Remote Work Security: For digital nomads, a VPN adds an extra layer of security when accessing company networks or sensitive work materials from various locations.

Cost - Many companies offer their goods and services at a rate consistent with your location, meaning there are deals out there waiting for you in other countries! Use a VPN to see your savings potential.

Considerations To Choose The Best VPN For You

All VPN’s are not created equally – each offers a different combination of features and quality for a competitive advantage. Before looking into VPNs to purchase, it is important to consider what factors are the most important to you! 

By carefully evaluating these factors and assessing how well each VPN meets your specific needs, you can confidently choose a VPN that enhances your online security, supports your digital lifestyle, and aligns with your budget.


While budget is a key concern for many travelers, remember that a slightly higher investment can often lead to better security and performance. Consider the value you’re getting for the price, including features like security protocols, server options, and customer support.

Security & Reliability

The primary purpose of a VPN is to enhance your online security and privacy. Look for a VPN with strong encryption protocols, a strict no-logs policy, and additional security features like a kill switch. Prioritize reliability and a solid reputation in the industry.

Number of Devices & Compatibility

If you have multiple devices or are traveling with others, a VPN that allows multiple simultaneous connections can be a significant advantage. Similarly, consider the devices you’ll be using during your travels. Ensure the VPN supports all the devices you plan to connect, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

Server Speed & Locations

VPNs can sometimes result in slower internet speeds due to the encryption and rerouting of traffic. Look for VPNs that prioritize maintaining high speeds, especially if you intend to stream content, video call, or work remotely.

The more server locations a VPN offers, the more versatility you have in accessing geo-restricted content and maintaining optimal browsing speeds. If you have specific regions in mind for your travels, ensure the VPN has servers in those areas.

Read More - Once you establish how you will protect your data online, check out everything you need to know about International Phone Plans!

Option 1 - SurfShark

Surfshark is a versatile VPN option that offers a well-rounded set of features suitable for budget-conscious travelers and digital nomads, making it our #1 Choice for Travelers. It stands out with its unlimited simultaneous connections, allowing you to secure all your devices under one subscription. With a quickly growing network of over 3200 servers in 100 countries, Surfshark provides an amazing range of server locations for accessing geo-restricted content and maintaining good speeds.

Cost – $2.49/month for 2 years
Speed – 100+ Mbps
Servers – 3,200+ servers in 100 countries

Tip - Unlimited devices mean you can share the plan with your travel companions to save!

Option 2 - NordVPN

NordVPN is renowned for its strong emphasis on security and privacy. With a vast network of over 5000 servers in 60 countries, it offers a wide range of server options for accessing global content. NordVPN is a solid choice for users seeking advanced security features while maintaining good connection speeds. It also provides specialized servers for activities like streaming and torrenting.

Cost – $5.49 / month for 2 years
Speed – 100+ Mbps
Servers – 5,608 servers in 60 countries

Option 3 - Express VPN

ExpressVPN is a high-performance VPN option with a focus on speed and reliable connections. With 3000+ servers in 94 countries, it offers a broad server network for accessing content from around the world. ExpressVPN is particularly popular among users who prioritize streaming, as it provides consistent speeds and reliable access to geo-blocked content.

Cost – $6.67/month for 1 year (+3 months free)
Speed – 100+ Mbps
Servers – 3,000+ servers in 94 countries

Option 4 - CyberGhost

CyberGhost is known for its user-friendly interface and is a great option for beginners. With over 7300 servers in 91 countries, it offers an extensive server network. CyberGhost places a strong focus on streaming optimization, making it a preferred choice for users who want seamless access to geo-restricted content.

Cost – $2.19/month for 2 years (+2 months free)
Speed – 100+ Mbps
Servers – 9,438 servers in 91 countries

Summary - Best VPN for Travelers & Digital Nomads

Selecting the right VPN depends on your specific needs. Consider factors such as server locations (to access content from your preferred regions), speed (necessary for streaming and remote work), and ease of use. Each of these VPN options provides a range of features tailored to different requirements, ensuring that you can travel with peace of mind, knowing your online activities are secure.

In conclusion, a VPN is a valuable investment for any young budget-conscious traveler or digital nomad. Not only does it protect your sensitive information, but it also enhances your online freedom and opens up a world of possibilities. 

Choose a VPN that aligns with your travel needs, and embark on your adventures with the confidence that your digital footprint remains secure and untraceable.

Purchase an External Hard Drive before you go!
Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Technology, Travel Planning, 0 comments
Explained: International Phone Plans For Travelers

Explained: International Phone Plans For Travelers

No matter where in the world you’re going, it has become essential to stay connected to the online world too, for navigation and moving with ease. In this article, I will go over the things to know and consider when purchasing international phone plans for travelers, to keep you connected without paying more than you need. 

Changing to a phone plan that works where you are can be confusing, overwhelming, and can get extremely expensive if you don’t know what to look out for. Keep reading to understand the different digital elements at work and some of the best options to consider! 

Woman's hand holding an iPhone in a remote travel destination, with waves crashing in the background

Table of Contents

Will My Phone Work Abroad?

Luckily with the globalized world we are in now, there is a lot in place to make it easier for us to stay connected. This makes it easier to switch phone plans to fit where you are. 

However, there are some key definitions and things to understand to navigate the confusing language that phone carriers use so that you can pick among the best international phone plans for you!

Phone Plan Basics

A phone plan is a general term for the essential services of the phone, offering calls & texts, and/or data. They are not synonymous and one may be much more important than the other! 

It’s essential to know what services you need while traveling so you can get the right phone plan for you.

Almost every phone plan comes with a call & text plan, which is the allotment of minutes you can spend talking on the phone and the number of messages that can be sent and received within a specific time. 

However, this is not included in every travel phone plan, and almost always has limitations on international calls and messaging.

The data plan is set in terms of gigabytes (GB) for some time (10 GB/30 days) or it can be unlimited so you can connect without any limits! This is what connects you to the internet and allows the use of Google Maps, searching on a web browser, and using social media platforms. 

If a phone plan doesn’t include a data plan, then it can only connect to the Internet via WiFi (and hotspots). While Wi-Fi is great to stay connected and cut down on data plan costs, be sure to stay protected with a VPN for travel.

Mobile Technology - CDMA vs. GSM

When mobile communication was created and widely used in the 1980s, there were different technologies that dominated the industry, including CDMA and GSM. This is essentially the way that cellular devices (phones) communicate to get an internet connection- or frequency bands – associated with the second and third generation (2G and 3G). So, when your phone is on 3G data, it is either using CDMA or GSM technology.

CDMA phones can connect to CDMA networks, and GSM phones can connect to GSM networks. We can leave the specifics of how that communication works up to the engineers, and just go over which carriers use which communication technology.

Since the technologies are different, they aren’t always interchangeable. It’s important to know which technology your phone uses, and where that will and will not work. Newer devices are capable of working on both, so this shouldn’t be a concern for too many people unless your phone is older.

Unlock Phone

Many phone carriers “lock” a user’s phone so that it cannot be switched to another carrier. For example, if you purchase a phone with AT&T, it is ‘locked’ to the AT&T company for 60 days after purchase. This becomes a major barrier in switching phone plans while traveling but can be dealt with with a few steps. 

Historically, unlocking a phone while still under contract would have voided the contract, but most carriers have gotten away from this so you can take control of where you can use your phone, and with what company. Many companies sell their phones unlocked! The process depends on the carrier, and further guidance can be found from the experts here

*You cannot move forward with any of the international phone plans until your phone is unlocked!

International Phone Plans

Many providers offer international coverage, which may include the areas you’re traveling to. For example, many phone plans in Europe include coverage within the EU, and phone plans in the US often include coverage in Mexico and Canada. You should look at your current plan’s coverage to see what is offered because it might already be the solution you’re looking for! 

It is important to note that these international phone plans often limit you in data usage at 4G/5G rates, and then kick you down to 2G/3G. With everything, read the fine print to know what this is going to look like while in use, and understand if it will meet your needs!

When traveling outside of the regular coverage areas, many domestic phone plans have International Plans made for use while traveling. This is usually a daily fee for a certain amount of minutes/texts and data usage.

While this is a very convenient option, it can get ridiculously expensive, especially if you’re traveling for more than a few days. Keep exploring the best international phone plans that fit into your travel budget.

For example, in the US I used Verizon, which has international phone plans known as ‘Travel Pass’, where I could essentially have the same benefits of my plans at home anywhere in the world for an additional $10/day. This was useful for the first day that I landed since we didn’t have any internet connection to get to the bus stop and our Airbnb, but would have cost a fortune to use any longer. 

  • Great for short-term travel (< 3 days)
  • Most convenient
  • Contact with home country
  • Keeps home country phone number
  • Typically very expensive (roughly $10/day)
  • Cookie-cutter plans
  • Data limits
  • Limited texts and minutes

Check out this article to see all of the Essential Phone Apps for International Travel!

Local Physical SIM card

If you’re traveling for more than a few days, the recommended option is to go with a local SIM card. By purchasing a local SIM card for your destination, you essentially get a local short-term phone plan and a local phone number! 

There are a few considerations to make when going with this option. When you change your number, you no longer can send and receive messages and calls from everyone back home with your home country number, however, you can call and connect with the destination so you can call a restaurant or a taxi company.

Without a SIM card, your phone is essentially a camera that is WiFi-dependent for anything else! Most wireless providers offer various plans for data packages and length of time. This option makes it very affordable to select a plan that is specific to your travels and at a reasonable price. 

A SIM card can be physically inserted into your phone, and many newer smartphones have eSIM compatibility which can be purchased and installed virtually, so you’re ready to travel before leaving home!

Physical SIM

Historically, SIM cards have been physically inserted and removed from the phone, allowing it to change plans. To do this, a user would need to purchase a SIM card beforehand online or find a seller in the destination country to purchase a SIM, and manually switch it out. 

Most providers have plans specific to travelers (3 days up to a few months), so you can get the plan that fits your schedule and data needs. 

One major perk of getting a physical SIM is it can include call & text AND data (unlike an eSIM). While this is a relatively easy option, you may be stuck without data when you land in a foreign place if you didn’t set it up before you left! 

With some older phones, the physical SIM is the only option, which can be purchased online and shipped to you before you leave. Many major airports sell SIM cards (at a slightly higher price), or you can navigate to a local telecom store to start a new plan. 

Be sure to keep your original SIM card in a safe place so you can pop it back in when you return home and have your old number!

  • More affordable than International Plans with a domestic service provider
  • Customizable packages for specific needs
  • Transfers to a local phone number (SIM)
  • A lot of provider and plan options
  • Requires additional planning & activation
  • Transfers to a local phone number (SIM)
  • Risks non-coverage period if not purchased before leaving home country
  • Risks losing domestic SIM (your old number would be gone forever)


Luckily, newer phones have adopted an eSIM capability or electronic SIM. This allows the transition to international phone plans to occur online, and be activated when it is needed! eSIMs essentially work the same as a physical SIM with a few differences. 

An eSIM is purchased through a company that works with a specific provider. For example, you wouldn’t purchase an eSIM through T-Mobile, you would get it through a company like Nomad which uses the best local networks, like T-Mobile. 

*There are some settings to ensure you don’t get astronomical international roaming charges, by keeping all data restricted to the eSIM.

One major difference between a physical SIM and an eSIM is that eSIMs do not have options for call & text, since it doesn’t give you a local number. This is a data-only option! This may prevent you from calling local restaurants, a taxi company, or anything else in your destination country. 

An option to get around this issue is that local places are often on WhatsApp in many countries where tourism is popular. Or, you can get a Google Voice plan that ports your home phone number to Google, where you can make calls and texts from your home number abroad.

eSIMs are made for travelers, so the options are much more flexible and convenient for you! This includes regional plans that extend beyond a specific country’s connection so you can move across borders without worrying about your internet connection. 

eSIMs are virtually embedded into your phone, and use no waste, unlike a physical SIM which is packaged and shipped around the world!

  • Easy to purchase and install anywhere
  • Offers Regional & Global options
  • Keep home country SIM in
  • Easy to manage data usage from an app
  • Doesn’t include call & text (purchased separately)
  • More expensive than a physical SIM
  • Not available for all phones

How To Purchase an eSIM

Anything purchased through the links on this page helps me maintain this blog going. Thanks for supporting – Learn More.

With eSIMs, it is now easier than ever to update your phone plan to meet your needs almost anywhere in the world. Unless your travel requires a reliable way to call & text locally, an eSIM is the way to go. 

We have been traveling for over a year, and an eSIM paired with Google Voice has been our go-to option for international phone plans. Most places in traveled areas have WhatsApp, so we can stay in contact.

While the following list doesn’t include all the companies that offer eSIMs, they are the most popular with the best service options. This list includes Nomad, Airalo, and Holafly

Once an eSIM plan is purchased online, you will have an activation period where a QR code can be scanned, or a code entered online to activate the purchased data plan. The apps will guide you through the settings on your phone to help you switch your data plan from the physical SIM to the embedded eSIM so you avoid any unwanted roaming charges.

 All 3 of these companies have great apps for Google Play & iOS, where you can purchase and activate your plan, monitor your data usage, and manage your account. 


Nomad is a great option for travelers enjoying long-term stays since almost all of their plans are for 30 days, with the option to add additional data. This option also has regional plan options for APAC, Nordic, Oceania, and Europe, which can all be scaled up or down depending on needs. For example, the Europe plan can include either 25 or 35 countries so you can save money if you don’t need the full coverage. 

For additional savings, use the code TAYL58RX at checkout to save $3!

Nomad eSIM is a great option as a phone plan in Europe.


Airalo has a large variety of service options for over 85 countries globally. Through Airalo, you have the option of selecting a country-specific phone plan or one of their regional or global options depending on your travel schedule, including Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, LATAM, and MENA. While Airlo has a lot of plan options, it does NOT offer unlimited data plans. 

For additional savings with Airalo, use the code TAYLOR8492 at checkout to save $3!

Screenshot from Airlo phone application to demonstrate esim uses


HolaFly is a great option for any traveler who wants to have Unlimited Data while abroad. This is a great option for Digital Nomads who want to guarantee a stable connection or anyone who wants peace of mind while traveling! 

Unlike Airalo and Nomad, HolaFly doesn’t offer a Global coverage package, but there are country-specific and regional packages, with no difference in price. Since there is no difference in data allotments, the plans only differ in the number of days of coverage. 

Country-Specific eSIM & Regional eSIM Example

  •  5 Days = $19 USD
  • 10 Days = $34 USD
  • 15 Days = $47 USD
  • 20 Days = $54 USD
  • 30 Days = $64 USD
  • 60 Days = $84 USD
  • 90 Days = $99 USD

Summary - International Phone Plans for Every Traveler

Phones have become a necessary tool in this digital age, and they allow us to expand our experiences through research, documenting, and sharing our travels. International phone plans must be reliable and work for your needs.

No more rushing around from WiFi hotspot to hotel for a connection, or facing the slow-speed hotspots that are available. More enjoying the journey worry-free while staying connected.

 Luckily there are a few options to choose from to guarantee you’re connected no matter what. Although you can keep your domestic plan with International Travel add-ons, this option is expensive, which is why I recommend going with an eSIM or a local physical SIM. 

By going with the eSIM option, it will allow you to manage your data without any language barriers or delays, and ensure you’re getting the best deal for what you need! Although this doesn’t allow you to have a local number, by pairing the eSIM with WhatsApp you will have full connection to everyone and most local places too!

What will you do for your international phone plans during your travels? 

Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Technology, Travel Planning, 0 comments
Best Travel Apps Every Traveler Should Have

Best Travel Apps Every Traveler Should Have

There can be a lot to figure out to plan international travel. Luckily, most of us carry a computer in our pockets that helps keep us connected and prepared without all the stress and worry that can come with traveling. This list has the best travel apps to help you navigate international travel so you can move easily through the world, and focus more on experience than you do on planning

Although there are some regional distinctions like ride-share apps for example, which differ based on location, this comprehensive list will cover all the bases for international travel, transport, flights, accommodation, volunteering, and exploring! All while saving money along the way!

iPhone 13 showing various international travel apps sitting on a map of northern Italy

Table of Contents



WhatsApp is a communication-based app that allows you to call and message easily with any other registered number around the world. This is the best travel app for communication to stay in touch with your people back home and connect with new people you meet on the way without the charges from international fees or phone plans, since this app uses WiFi/data, so there’s no need for a specific phone plan or international minutes!

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google
Screenshots of WhatsApp application


TripWhistle is an ESSENTIAL app for anyone traveling outside their home country to help you travel safely, and unfortunately isn’t well-known enough! This app updates based on your current location, and provides emergency numbers for the police department, ambulance service, and fire department. 

It also syncs to your contacts to alert your emergency contacts if any of the numbers have been used and sends them your coordinates in case of an extreme emergency. This app provides a sense of safety and security while traveling, because no matter where you are, life happens, so stay safe!

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS

Screenshots of TripWhistle Application

WiFi Map

WiFi Map is a crowd-sourced resource of local wifi networks, the strength and reliability, and the necessary passwords to access them! This takes away the need to find a cafe and buy some coffee to get a connection when you can find a WiFi source almost anywhere! The best travel app for digital nomads, WifiMap has some additional features that have been extremely useful, including A VPN with PRO membership, eSIM options, World Clock, An Internet Speed Test, Tip Calculator to determine the appropriate tip amount to leave based on your location!

Cost: Free
Optional Membership: $6.99 USD/month
Available For: iOS and Google

Screenshots of WiFi Map Application

Google Translate

Google Translate has been the best translator app for most languages, with key features including voice detection and a camera function so you can translate anything you hear, see, or write without needing to type out words you probably can’t even pronounce! Google Translate has text translation for over 103 languages, 59 of which can be downloaded for offline use. Never get lost again with this quick and easy-to-use app!

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google

Screenshots of Google Translate Application

Currency Convert

For any international travel, there will probably be some confusing currency conversions. Currency Convert is your one-stop shop for over 160 currency conversions with historical data of currency trends, and an easy interface to add your most-used currencies for a quick comparison. This is the best travel app for frequent globe trotters who are in and out of different currencies often!

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google

Screenshot of Currency app from the app store to show the usability of the Currency app for international travel
Apple App Store

Google Maps

If you aren’t already using Google Maps, I’m surprised you’ve made it this far! This navigation resource provides directions between locations, with an unlimited number of stops in between on transit methods of car, bus, bike, plane, or even ride share through Lyft! From my experience, it has been extremely accurate in well-known areas, and as specific for bus and train connections.

Another great feature to help you stay organized with all of your destinations is the ability to create lists and save locations, so you can plan out your perfect travel route making sure to hit all of your must-see destinations. Since this app is so widely used globally, it has the most accurate information for locations operating hours, numbers to call, and traffic information, making it one of the best travel apps!

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google

Screenshots of Google Maps Application

Rome 2 Rio

Rome 2 Rio is an awesome travel app that helps you compare the different ways to get to your next destination, how much time it will take, and the approximate cost. Rather than looking at all of the possible transit methods from random google searches, this will give you a great starting point to know if you should be looking into a Bus, Train, Ferry, or Flight! From my experience, the app has been fairly accurate, but some additional research will be needed to book the actual travel to guarantee your transit. 

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google

Screenshots of Rome 2 Rio Application

While flights are usually the quickest route, they are also the most carbon intensive. Try to take the scenic route while a train or ferry to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling and save money!


As the most used ride-share app, Uber has created a presence that can help you get around in so many destinations. It operates in over 85 countries and supports contract drivers in the local area. Uber is reliable with outstanding customer service to help you get to your destination with confidence. Make sure to always verify the car you’re getting into! 

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google

There are often Uber alternatives used in some countries. This can include Bolt, Grab, Gojek, Lyft, and more! A quick Google Search will help you understand your best ride-share options. 

Screenshots of Uber Application

Via Michelin - Website

This one isn’t technically an App, but it is an awesome resource worth mentioning for anyone who is planning any type of road transport. This website is a trip planner, that allows you to set your destinations and any planned stops along the way while considering your vehicle’s fuel efficiency so you can calculate the total distance driver & how much you can expect to spend in gasoline and tolls. 

Cost: Free
Available: Here

Screenshots of Via Michelin Website
ViaMichelin Website

ViaMichelin calculates your assumed carbon footprint for each route so you can pick the least intensive way to get to your destination. It also gives a helpful tip how you can reduce your footprint even further!



Booking flights can be a bit overwhelming, with determining when to book, who to book through, and knowing that you’re getting a good deal. The fact is if you’re booking through an airline, you’re probably losing a lot of money! Skyscanner is a search engine system that scans the web for flight deals and shows you the cheapest options. 

It is a 3rd-party search platform, so once you select your flight you will be redirected to a booking agency to actually book the ticket, that way you have some stronger guarantees than if you’re using a smaller booking agency (like Hopper). Skyscanner also has a ‘Search Everywhere’ feature that allows you to search for your best flight deals that go anywhere from your home airport selected.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google


Lounge Buddy

LoungeBuddy is a must-have for anyone traveling by plane, especially if you have long layovers or extended travel and want someplace to refresh while you wait for your next flight. This app lists all available airport lounges that are accessible to you even without a first-class ticket! Most lounges do have an associated cost for entrance, but there can sometimes be free access that you want to take advantage of when you can.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS


Priority Pass

Priority Pass is the way to gain airport lounge access at over 1,300 locations in 148 countries globally. This app is NOT free to use, so normally I wouldn’t mention it, however, if you don’t want to purchase the annual subscription, there is free access with some qualifying credit cards. 

Priority Pass access is FREE with the following cards: Chase Sapphire Reserve, Platinum Card by American Express, Hilton Honors Aspire by American Express, The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant by American Express, Citi Prestige Card, and More! Check out the ‘Benefits’ of your Credit Card to see what perks are available to you!

Cost: Free with *certain Credit Cards (see above)
Subscription: $99/year + $32 per visit
Available for: iOS and Google



There is no better way to enjoy a local experience than staying in a local house or apartment. Airbnb is a verified service that allows residents to rent out their entire place or just a bedroom to travelers or anyone looking for a getaway. Read past reviews, get a full list of amenities included, and talk with the host 1:1 to make sure the stay is everything you’re looking for! 

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google


There is often a MAJOR discount for month-long stays which will be useful when you travel slowly through the world (if you needed any other excuse to extend your travels).


Hostelworld is an easy-to-use platform to browse all hostel availabilities in a given area based on price with reviews from previous guests from over 180 countries! The app has key information about the hostels and amenities provided, and after booking you can connect with other travelers that will be there also, so you can plan ahead and meet some awesome people. With free cancellation available for many bookings, this is a great way to guarantee you have a bed for the night at an affordable cost.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google

Screenshots of Hostel World Application


Hipcamp is like the Airbnb of the outdoors. This app offers home stays in places including cabins, yurts, and campsites for anyone looking for a few-night stay in a more remote setting (for much cheaper than an Airbnb too!). It is a great option for anyone looking to get into the outdoors, that isn’t afraid to rough it a bit without all of the amenities that come with a fully furnished house. Not to mention some of these locations are in really cool spots right next to a river, in a National Park, or with simply the best views. While this app is primarily used in the US, Canada, and Australia, many locations are popping up in Europe and Southeast Asia!

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google



Couchsurfing is a global community of hosts offering a place to stay in their homes to host guests from around the world while they’re in the area, for free!. This is a much more affordable and casual option than finding a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb, and has done extensive work to ensure the safety of the guests using the platform. Couchsurfing has historically been a free service to connect hosts and surfers, but they now require an annual contribution to keep the community active and moving forward. 

Cost: $14 USD/year
Verification: $60 USD (optional)
Available for: iOS and Google

Screenshots of Couch Surfing Application


WorkAway is the longest-running global volunteer platform, connecting travelers with hosts in over 170 countries. Through WorkAway, you can sign up for volunteer experiences where you can trade your time (at least 15 hours/week) for food and accommodation. This is a great way to meet other travelers, connect intimately with the local culture, and make a positive impact on the world by helping with SDG-supported projects. Manage your applications, stays, reviews, and more through the App so you never miss the opportunity to WorkAway!

CostFree App & host browsing. 
Optional Membership: $49 USD/year
Available for: iOS and Google

Screenshot of WorkAway app from the app store to show the usability of the WorkAway app for international travel

World Packers

Similar to WorkAway, WorldPackers offers work exchanges globally, offering lodging and food in exchange for volunteering your time to help with local projects. WorldPackers has been offering a solution for global travel and work exchange for over 9 years, with a thorough catalog of hosts and projects in over 140 countries! 

Cost: Free App & host browsing. 
Optional Membership: $49 USD/year
Available for: iOS and Google

Screenshot of WorldPacker app from the app store to show the usability of the WorldPackers app for international travel
Destination Exploring


AllTrails is hands down the best app for any person trying to get outdoors to explore. With filters to select trails that are dog-friendly, various difficulties, or key features that you’ll see on the trail, you are sure to access some awesome destinations by foot, bike, or horse! With photos and reviews, you know exactly what to expect on the trail, while being able to record and follow your progress on the real-time GPS locator. AllTrails is one of the best travel apps to get outside and explore your destination!

Cost: Free
Optional Membership: $30 USD/year
Available for: iOS and Google

Screenshots of All Trails Application


Meetup is an event-hosting platform where you can RSVP to gatherings around the world to meet locals and travelers in a variety of activities. Whether it is a snowshoe adventure in the Alps, SUP yoga in Thailand, or a local cooking class in Italy, you will find new opportunities to learn and meet other social people from all walks of life! Check out what is going on near you with the Meet Up app!

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS and Google


VoiceMap Audio Tours

For anyone trying to get some history lessons while you’re traveling throughout the world, Voice Map is one of the best travel apps to use, without tedious reading or joining a guided tour so you can learn and explore at your own pace. Voice Map has various walking tours available for cities in 63 countries that are free for download, with an offline map. Learn about the history that happened right where you’re walking, with tips on local experiences from the authors, historians, and novelists who created them.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases
Available for: iOS and Google


Summary - Essential Travel Apps

Traveling can be overwhelming if you think you have to figure it all out yourself, luckily there have been people doing this for centuries, and in our modern world of ease and convenience, it has never been easier to make all of your travel dreams come true with the help of the resources on this list of the best travel apps. 

There is no guidebook for what apps and resources you need to travel effectively, this is a list that will help you get started to cover all of your bases so you know what is available to you

What are some travel apps and resources you couldn’t get around without? Leave them in the comments below! 

Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Technology, Travel Planning, 0 comments