Traveling on a shoestring has never been easier. No matter how thin your wallet, you can plan your next trip from start to finish from your smartphone. Download these free apps to join the ranks of digital budget travelers around the globe.
Book your flight
The best budget travelers know flexibility is key to scoring top deals. Skyscanner knows it too. That’s why on its main website and mobile app, users can search an entire month for the cheapest fare, or even run a search for airfare to ‘Everywhere’ and go wherever their slim budget can take them. More mainstream flight aggregators like Kayak are worth a download as well.
Find a bed for the night
In the cheap accommodations department, Hostelworld is simply second to none. Search dorms and private rooms around the world from its mobile app to find beds on the go. There are so many options for hostels out there – from the stereotypical college backpacker dorm to family-friendly homestays with inexpensive private rooms – but if you absolutely must bed down in a hotel, try Hotel Tonight. At noon local time, unfilled rooms for that night are posted at steep discounts.
Get around town
Don’t worry Google Maps – you’re still the navigation king, but when people go abroad, they need a solid offline map option. Enter MapsMe. These free detailed city maps are best for obtaining walking directions to a specific predetermined location. Knowing where to go and how to get there will ensure you don’t panic and hop in a pricey cab. Want a map for less structured explorations? Try the crowd-sourced map-cum-travel-guide Triposo.
See the sights
No need to hire a tour guide. Download a TripAdvisor city guide for offline reference, or try out the Field Trip app. You’ll have top recommendations of things to do just a few clicks away. The best budgeting tips are often found on travel blogs. Save your favorite posts for offline reading with the Pocket app. Find off-the-beaten-path attractions with Like A Local, a fully offline crowd-sourced guide. Use Eventbrite or Gravy to find unique activities and events in your destination.
Find cheap eats
Reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Foursquare can help you navigate the sea of dining options in any city. Oftentimes, you can search within a budget category to find only the cheapest eats. Like A Local, mentioned above, also includes curated restaurant recommendations from locals. For recommendations of specific dishes, download Foodspotting.
Say hi to the folks
There are loads of free communication apps on the market for a quick ring back home. Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber can all facilitate calls to the family. Stay at a hotel or hostel with free WiFi so you don’t have to worry about paying any roaming data charges. Think nothing beats an old-fashioned postcard? Postagram lets you turn your own photos into postcards and send them home for just 99 cents a pop – far less than you’d spend on a souvenir postcard and international postage.