Back in ye olden days of travel, people actually had to take the time and energy to print out hotel confirmations and plane tickets. Like…on paper. They had to buy up-to-date maps and use potentially outdated guidebooks to find places to visit, eat, and stay. All that paper and printed information really added up and people had to lug it all around with them. Probably uphill and through six feet of snow. YUCK!
But nowadays, we have magical little devices called smartphones, and all those pieces of paper can be condensed into a smartphone, using apps to get the information needed.
There are a number of fantastic apps for travel that make things like planning, transportation, and finding great restaurants even easier! And the best part is, you don’t have to pay for access to many of these great apps! If you’re planning a trip to Europe and want to download some of the best apps, here are 20 helpful free apps for Europe travel!
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Travel Planning & Organization Apps
Travel planning and organizing an itinerary is not everyone’s favorite part of travel. Luckily, there are many apps out there that can help you stay organized and keep all your important travel information in one place. In addition, while you’re traveling in Europe, there is lots of information you’ll want to have quickly on hand, such as weather, language, and currency. Here, you can find all the best free apps for Europe to quickly access this important information!
For those of you (like me) who totally nerd out at the idea of a nicely organized travel itinerary where you can keep all your reservations and notes on things to do, this is the app for you! Or if you tend to be a disorganized mess, this app will help you as well. You can access TripIt both online and via mobile app. The two sync with your account, so you can access all your information through pretty much any device.
The free version of the app allows you to store information on flights, car rentals, trains, hotels, tours, cruises and more. You can store maps and directions so you don’t have to toggle between apps to find your way. And there’s a great Notes section, where you can keep all your helpful travel research!
One of my favorite features of this app though is the ability to send your itinerary to other people. My husband generally likes to have a copy of my plans while I’m away. And when I send my itinerary to my mom, I know it helps her worry a little less about me while I’m overseas!
I personally haven’t used this one yet, as I’m such a fan of TripIt. However, if you’re a big Google user, you may want to try out Google Trips for your travel organization. In addition to storing your reservation information, Google Trips is also a great tool if you don’t like to do much research before traveling. This app will automatically generate an itinerary for you based on your location. And if you don’t like what it generates, you can simply click and it will regenerate with new options.
Google Trips also includes helpful information about your travel destination including currency information, emergency information, and helpful transportation information. The only downsides to the app are potential privacy issues with Google tracking, and the potential for less information available for lesser traveled destinations.
Last year, TripAdvisor revamped its app to make it more user-friendly for travelers on the go. In addition to TripAdvisor’s huge database of restaurants, accommodations, attractions, and more, you can also follow your favorite travelers (including me!) and see what places they recommend. TripAdvisor is one of my favorite places to find budget-friendly eats while traveling, and can also be used for inspiration on things to do and where to stay while traveling.
Of all the free apps for Europe travel, this one is a must-have! Traveling through multiple countries in Europe means you will probably encounter more than one type of currency. It can be difficult to keep track of conversion rates in your head as you move from place to place. Luckily, this app makes all that super easy! You can store which countries you’ll be visiting right at the top, so when you plug in an amount, it will convert it to all the currencies you’ll be using on your trip.
READ » How to Pay for Things Abroad
This is an app that probably just comes preloaded on your smartphone. If not, you’ll definitely want to install it. Checking the weather every day while you’re traveling in Europe can help you decide what to wear, what kind of shoes you might need, what activities to plan for the day, etc. You don’t want to put on your cutest sundress and flipflops, only to be caught in a predicted afternoon rainstorm!
If you don’t like the generic weather app that comes on your phone, you can also try The Weather Channel app. Or, if you like a little more humor and pizzaz in your daily forecast try downloading the What The Forecast app!
Being able to use your phone for communication is really helpful when traveling in Europe. You may need it to help with foreign language translation, or you may even need to contact another person. Here are
This is probably the most popular translation app out there. It can help with translations for over 100 different languages. This app is particularly helpful because you can write, speak, or take a photo of written language to be translated. So, if you’re trying to speak with another person, they can speak into your phone’s mic and translate what they’re saying into English. Or, if a restaurant doesn’t have menus available in English, you can use the snap feature to help translate the menu.
WhatsApp is another widely used app for communication in Europe. This app offers free calls and messaging between WhatsApp users. So, rather than paying a fee for making phone calls and sending international texts through your phone, travelers download WhatsApp and use that to communicate with other people. The app uses WiFi or data to work. So if your phone provider does not offer free data while you’re abroad, make sure to turn your data off and use WhatsApp while connected to Wifi.
Travel Transportation Apps for Europe
Apps have made travel transportation much easier too! No more having to hail an expensive taxi and hoping they take you to the right place. No more showing up at the bus station and finding out you have to wait 6 hours for the next bus. And since there are so many modes of
This is one of my absolute favorite transportation apps. You plug in your starting location and your desired ending location, and Rome2Rio gives you all the different ways you can get there! Along with your transportation options, Rome2Rio gives you an approximate cost and time the journey will take. I’ve used Rome2Rio all over the world, and it’s one the best ways to find out how to get from Point A to Point B.
GoEuro works a lot like Rome2Rio, but it’s specific to Europe and European transportation. The app works closely with some of the top transportation retailers in Europe, like Flixbus, EasyJet, Deutsche Bahn, and more. You can compare several different ways to get to your destination, and even filter by price, time, and recommended journeys. But the best part is that you can purchase your tickets right through the GoEuro app, and download E-tickets to your phone!
It’s not my favorite form of transportation in Europe, but it’s cheap! And if you’re traveling Europe on a budget, you may find yourself on more than one Flixbus route. The official Flixbus App is good for booking seats, looking up routes, saving reservations, and downloading e-tickets. Having the app also allows you to get updates on the status of your booked routes, like information on delays and the location of your bus.
Uber and Lyft
These two apps are pretty much the same, so they’re getting lumped in together. These ridesharing apps work much like hailing a cab, only instead of it being a cab company, it’s independent people driving their own cars. All payments are done via the app, so you don’t have to worry about having cash on hand to pay the driver. But what I like is that the apps have a map tracking feature, and you can watch on your phone where you driver is taking you.
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This app is another form of ridesharing, but rather than summoning a driver like a taxi, BlaBlaCar is more used for connecting travelers for carpooling. If a local is planning on a road trip, travelers can ask to join them on the ride. Also, if you know when and where you need to go, you can post your transportation needs and people can decide if they want to take you. BlaBlaCar is typically used for longer journeys and is generally more about interacting with locals while getting a ride.
If you’re looking for a rental car in Europe, Auto Europe is one of my favorite companies to use. With their app, you can compare prices from multiple car rental companies, reserve a car, and download all your necessary paperwork onto your phone. It can also be used to contact the company in case of emergency.
Of course if you’re just looking to transport yourself via walking, it’s helpful to have a map. There are lots of different map apps out there, but I really prefer Google Maps. If you’re going offline, you can download a map of your area and use it while not connected to Wifi or a data plan. It’s also really useful if you’re driving yourself, as it helps you save money on a GPS rental
Accommodation Apps for Europe
Whether you’re a traveler who prefers an open-ended itinerary or a compulsive planner (me!) who makes all your accommodation bookings right away, you’ll definitely want some of these apps for your Europe trip! Accommodation apps make it easy to find places to rest your head for the night, and even save you money while you’re at it! Check out these great accommodation apps for Europe travel!
Looking for a place to stay in Europe and want a wider selection of hotels and properties to choose from? Booking.com is a good app to install. You can find some fairly budget-friendly places to stay, or if you’re in the mood to splurge a little, Booking.com has options for you. There are also lots of filters you can apply to your search based on your needs. You can search exactly for what you want in a hotel with Booking.com.
If you want to save a bit of money on your travels, or if you’re looking for a more social and communal style of accommodations, try booking a bed in a hostel. HostelWorld is a great app and one of the best resources for finding hostels in Europe. Hostels are an awesome way to make new friends during your travels and they often have much cooler community spaces and amenities than traditional hotels.
If you’re really on a tight budget, or you want more of a local cultural exchange in your accommodation, check out Couchsurfing! This is a community where locals offer their couches and extra sleeping space to travelers at no cost. Make sure to read reviews well and fill out your profile with as much information as you can in order to increase your chances of being accepted for a stay.
For a bit more privacy in your local immersion, check out AirBnb for accommodation in Europe. You can stay in a local’s extra room, or rent an entire apartment or house for yourself. AirBnb tends to give you a more authentic feel for a place than a traditional hotel. But do be careful as AirBnb is not technically legal in some places. Make sure to check on this before you book your stay!
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Food and Eating Apps
Eating can be a serious business when traveling in Europe. With so many amazing cuisines to try, you’ll want to download some helpful apps to assist in eating ALL the foods! In addition to TripAdvisor, there are some other great apps to help you find delicious food around you, and helpful apps to summon that food.
You know…sometimes you’re just going to be too tired to go out exploring for your next meal. Especially on rainy or cold days. This is where the magic of UberEats comes in. From the comfort of your room, you can order from tons of different restuarants around you, and that food will be delivered right to your hotel. Is it lazy? A bit yeah. But after being on a smelly bus for several hours and arriving at your hotel late at night…UberEats is a lifesaver.
GrubHub, Deliveroo, and Just Eat
Unfortunately, UberEats isn’t available in every city. GrubHub, Deliveroo, and Just Eat are a few other big food delivery companies in Europe that you can use your phone to order food. If you’re unsure, you can just google “Food delivery, [your city]” and see what apps are best for delivery at your location.
If you’re a bit more of an upscale eater, try downloading The Fork app. This app is not only good for locating the top restaurants in a city, but you can also reserve a table through the app. You can also find deals from time to time on The Fork, where you can eat at an upscale restaurant for up to 50% off your bill! If you’re a big foodie, definitely get The Fork onto your phone!
Different cities around Europe have their own apps which serve different purposes for travelers. Because the apps are different city to city, it’s difficult to list exactly which ones you should download. Many times you can Google “Apps for [city]” and find some great ones!
If you want to save money on your Europe travels, often the local visitor’s center will have its own app with tourist information and even coupons for attractions and restaurants!
Some bigger cities have apps where you can see the map of the city along with major tourist points.
Those who are more active, or who want to fit in a lot of sightseeing around a town may want to look up bike-sharing apps for their destinations. Lots of cities have bike rentals available for visitors, and you can make reservations through their app.
If you’re looking for more local interaction, there are meet-up apps you can download where friendly locals will offer to meet you for drinks, take you to great spots around their city, and share their local insight with you.
I often like to see if a city has a public restroom app. You never know when you gotta go, and it’s so helpful to have an app to tell you where the closest toilet is located- espceically in Europe when the bathrooms can be so hidden!
Another kind of app I like to find are
How to use your smartphone abroad
You may be thinking “Great! These apps sound perfect for my upcoming Europe trip! But how do I use my smartphone abroad without having to pay insane fees?”
There are several ways to go about using a smartphone abroad. The best way is going to depend on your current cell plan carrier and your willingness to be flexible.
First things first, you need to check with your service provider. I’m really only familiar with those in the US, so if you live outside of the US you’ll have to do a little research on your own. Both Verizon and AT&T have plans where you can use your same talk, text, and data in most of Europe for $10 a
If you’re not happy with the options given to you by your service provider, there are other ways you can use a smartphone abroad. You can purchase an unlocked smartphone (meaning it’s not attached to a specific carrier). Then, when you get to Europe, buy a European SIM card for the phone. This method can be cheaper, or about the same as working with your service provider.
If neither of these options
Smartphones make travel so much easier, and having all the best free apps for Europe travel will help make your European adventure a breeze! Save yourself some time and stop stressing about where to stay, what to eat, and how to get around. By using these apps you’ll get all the best information whenever you need it, and be able to really enjoy your trip!
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