Apps I Use as a Solo Traveler
There are so many apps out there that it can be overwhelming finding the right ones... And everybody knows Apple is stingy with their storage so we can't even afford to have apps just taking up space. When traveling, there are a lot of different ways to find flights, book accommodations, meet people and stay connected while out in these international streets. Here are some that I continue to go back to and plan to use in the future whenever the world goes back to *normal*.
Skycanner is my first stop when looking to book a flight. There are so many features in the app that make it my go to place when preparing to travel. First, is the Explore Everywhere feature. One of the best ways to find cheap flights is to be flexible. In the app, you can choose your departure airport and leave your destination open. The app will tell you the cheapest places to go domestically and internationally on your dates.
You can even take it a step further and leave your dates open too. Again, flexibility saves the coin. Being able to look everywhere at anytime can show you the best time to go to the destination you're looking for and even show you some places that weren't even on your radar. Places like Albuquerque (a place I want to go back to!) that aren't as popular as Miami and NYC could be the getaway you didn't know you needed. If you haven't opened the App Store yet to download Skycanner what are you waiting for?
My bestie. Airbnb quickly became one of my favorite apps because of the uniqueness and affordability. Hotels are cool and everything, but there’s something special about staying in an Airbnb because of the authenticity of each listing. I’ve stayed in a swanky basement apartment in Niagara Falls, a rustic home in Nashville, an apartment walking distance from the Coliseum in Rome, a photoshoot ready shared space in Seoul and countless others.
Accommodations aside, there are also Airbnb Experiences which allow you to connect even further to the location and locals. There are so many different (and sometimes weird) things you can find on Airbnb Experiences whether you're traveling or at home. I've only dipped my toe in the pool of possibilities with this aspect of the app, but when Miss Rona finally steps off the scene I'll be diving head first into this side of Airbnb.
We also STAN an app that is constantly evolving and improving. Airbnb just released their new updates to adjust to the new normal and with so many people entering the remote work world (like me)!
You can check that out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCjWjmOhQms
FOR MEETING PEOPLE:
Facebook may seem like an unusual one, but hear me out. There are so many resources available through Facebook when traveling or living abroad. Whenever I'm thinking about moving or traveling to another place I join a bunch of groups related to the location. There are groups for expats, solo travelers, singles looking to mingle, digital nomads, as well as things even more specific such as job boards and groups for people looking for legal advice. I kid you not. There is a Facebook Group for whatever you're looking for.
Joining Facebook Groups has allowed me to make friends, find people to meet up with while traveling, get advice from current and former expats, and everything in between. We're all just out here trying to figure shit out and Facebook can be a good place to get some of those answers or at least someone to go drink about it with.
FOR STAYING CONNECTED:
WhatsApp is my main source of communication with the world whether I'm at home or abroad. Imagine your phone, iMessage, FaceTime and Instagram Stories all in one place. That's WhatsApp in a nutshell. WhatsApp is the way people communicate all around the world because it's completely free and doesn't use a lot of data (unlimited data is a luxury). I first got put on to the app in 2015 from an international student at my university and never looked back.
When traveling abroad, the majority of locals will use WhatsApp (outside of countries that have their own apps like Korea and China) and it's internet based so you can use it on wifi even if your phone is on airplane mode. In my mind, having a bunch of WhatsApp stories to watch let's me know I'm really OUT HERE in these international streets.
This one is a frequent flyer on the must have lists for travelers and for good reason. If it ain't broke don't fix it, right? Google Maps has been my go to and the main thing that keeps this app ahead is the ability to still get directions when offline. When abroad, I look up my directions on wifi and then I'm good to go even if I disconnect from the internet. Route recalculation, who???
Google Maps also does a great job with public transportation which can be a lifesaver when you don't speak/read the language or flat out don't know where you're going. The app has helped me get on the right train, see what time the bus is coming and calculate how long of a walk I'm going to be taking. Per usual, Google Maps just understands the assignment and I highly recommend.
Before you suck your teeth, let me explain. Instagram is literally the one stop shop for everything you need for travel. There are COUNTLESS travel content creators all around the world ready to give you the inside scoop. From budget to luxury, quick trips to expat life, domestic to international, there is someone who specializes in the place you're trying to go. Supporting a creator will give you a more personable view on a location, experience, hotel, etc. Plus, you'll be supporting an actual person that is putting their time and effort into provide information for people just like me and you.
There are also so many pages for countries, cities, restaurants, museums, bars, and everything in between. My saved posts are all organized by country and US State because that's where I find so much good information. Again, travel content creators are out here putting in work and I love to see. There are also locals and other travelers that are tagging their favorite cafes and excursions. Instagram can literally be the one stop shop to plan an entire itinerary. I find more things to do, places to go, and food to eat on Instagram on a daily basis. Don't sleep on the 'Gram.
At the end of the day...
There are tools and resources out there for you to get all the information you need to book that trip. Plus, travel is becoming more and more accessible which means more people like you and me are out there in the world living our best lives. These apps help me when I'm out in the streets. What apps do you use for travel?