Digital nomads have special needs compared to your typical traveler. Countless travel phone apps claim they’re a miracle solution to scoring insane deals on your travel, finding places to stay, or translating on-the-go in foreign locale.
As full-time travelers, we’ve spent more than our fair amount of time on apps that crash, book fake reservations, or fail just when you need them. Whether you are an on-the-road nomad or you fly high once in a blue moon, there is an app for you!
Here are is our list of the 12 best travel apps for your digital nomad journey.
Skyscanner – Search flights across multiple sites
Skyscanner is a legendary travel app. This popular flight scanning site is a lifesaver for finding cheap flights. If you’ve never used a flight scanning site, you could be missing out on saving some big bucks. It can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Skyscanner finds and compares thousands of flights to find the best deal so you don’t have to.
- Book everything for your trip, from flights to transportation and hotels
- Find value flights comparing against tons of websites
- Explore inspirational destination packages with deals
Google Translate – Translate foreign languages
The chances are likely that you will eventually travel to a country where English will be limited. While smiling is a great universal expression, it can get a little awkward when you can’t communicate simple messages. Google Translate breaks the barrier between travelers and locals. The best part about this app is the voice feature that lets you talk in your native language and will translate into whatever language you pick.
- Quickly translate words or phrases from one language to another
- Draw characters, type or record speech
Duolingo – Learn another language
A great way to prepare yourself and learn some basic phrases is by joining Duolingo. This free and easy app can teach you a foreign language right at your fingertips. This is a fantastic option for those that want to learn a few basic phrases or if you want to learn a language.
- Tons of lessons based on mixed learning with image and sound
- 30+ languages to learn from with tiered learning systems
Roadtrippers App – Plan out sweet roadtrips
For all of you on-the-road digital nomads, this app is a must! If you are traveling by car in the USA or Canada, this app will help you take the beaten-down path and explore outside of the touristic hotspots. Essentially this app works as your local tour guide, taking you to hidden landmarks and mansions. This app is perfect for the adventurer nomad!
- Find hidden gems and roadside attractions around the USA or Canada
- Plot waypoints on your route to make the most of your trip
Loungebuddy – Land nice layovers
Long waits at the airport are exhausting. The food and drinks are subpar and overpriced, and finding a comfy seat where you can relax is nearly impossible. If you don’t have an expensive priority pass, then Loungebuddy is a great alternative. This app lets you check out the lounges in the location you are going to, and pay to access it right through the app. It is as simple as it sounds. As a digital nomad, this is ideal because the work-ability in these lounges is awesome.
- Create trips and locate lounges available
- Book access to lounges on-the-fly in-app
- Save money with memberships and premium programs
Available only on: iOS
Airbnb – Find places to stay
Airbnb is an excellent accommodation option for digital nomads. Staying in a hostel as a digital nomad can get exhausting– from hearing people snoring to a lack of privacy. I prefer to stay in a local’s house in a private room or better yet have an entire apartment to myself. The best way to score deals on this app is to book longer. Airbnb offers weekly and monthly discounts that can dramatically change the price. And if you recommend friends to use Airbnb you can get travel credit.
- Find and book travel experiences, organized by native experts
- Search and grab vacation homes across almost 200 countries
- Read travel guides for places around the world
Couchsurfing – Find last-minute places to stay
This app is great for those stuck in a layover and in need of a place to crash for a night or two. This community-based app relies on the generosity of strangers. Locals on this app offer a bed or couch for travelers to crash on. It can be a little competitive depending on the location, so the earlier you can request to stay somewhere the better. On top of that, this app also offers events that you can attend in your city!
- Meet travelers around the world and link up for events
- Locate hosts for your next destination
- Share photos and stories from your travels
Uber – Grab rides to and from
Depending on the country you are in, this may or may not be an option. It is widely available in the USA and several European countries. Using a ride-sharing service like Uber is my preferred choice budget and safety-wise. Using this app ensures that your ride is tracked, and you can even share your location with a friend.
- Grab rides from point A to B in major cities around the world
- Pay in-app with fixed cost decided before you ride
- Review system to qualify drivers and keep accountability
Hopper – Plan long-range travel
This nifty app helps you take out guesswork out of travel planning. With this app, you can figure out the best flights and accommodations to book. The algorithm helps you to figure out when the best time to book is. As a digital nomad, we have the flexibility to choose when we travel to a country. Using that opportunity to get the best deals is a smart decision!
- Search flights from multiple venues for killer deals
- Book, watch and track flight prices to troll for savings
- Schedule travel on calendars to catch notifications for deals
Google Maps – Find your way around
This is arguably the most essential app for all travelers. The best part about Google Maps is that you can download your area when you are connected to wifi, and use it offline when you are out exploring. This is great for users that do not have data.
- Get directions on foot, by train, or car from any place in the world
- Find local transit and routes to get around with public transportation
- Locate reviewed businesses and places to eat worldwide
XE Currency – Translate your bucks
This functional app will help you navigate the confusing currency conversions. While you can rely on your math skills, it can get a little dangerous in countries like Vietnam where the exchange rate is 1 USD to 23,206.96. If you get one zero off, that can make a really big difference. This app takes the brainwork out of tricky conversions.
- Live currency exchange rates with historical charts
- Quickly convert currency from one to another
- Send and receive money transfers in-app
Trip Advisor – Read customer reviews
Although this app has a bad reputation, and may not offer the best local experiences, it is still very practical to have on your phone. The reviews are helpful to know in advance if it is a worthwhile experience or a big bust. It is also one of the largest platforms with consumer reviews.
- Over 800 million reviews on flights, hotels, activities, restaurants
- Planning tool to help save money with bundle deals
- Killer tool to find tours, attractions and things to see on trips
Digital Nomad App FAQs
What’s the best app to find a last minute place to stay?
If you’re on the go and need a last minute place to stay, we recommend Airbnb. You can type in a location, sort by important must-haves (like AC, oof) and book from the phone. Some locations have required advances and rules, so be sure to check the fine print on each location before booking.
What’s the best iOS translator app?
Google Translate is by far one of the best developed, easy to use, and versatile phone translator apps on the marketplace. It’s available and actively supported for iOS or Android and works like a charm.
Type in language to translate, auto-detect voice and set a translate-to language in a snap. This is also one of our favorites to learn common phrases! Type in a phrase like “where’s the bathroom” and select a translate language. You can view how it should be spelled and listen to correct punctuation. So helpful!
What’s a good Android app to find things to do?
If you’re in a foreign place and have no clue what to do, check out the Trip Advisor. Trip Advisor has a huge community of travelers with detailed reviews on places to go, things to do, and stops to eat at. We also love the detailed itineraries, letting you quickly plan a whole day out in a few clicks. The itineraries consider travel time between locations, things to do seasonally, and everything in between saving you a ton of legwork researching.
What’s the best currency translator app?
Our favorite currency translator app on iOS and Android is XE Currency. With XE Currency you can quickly put in a base currency and translate to any other foreign currency. XE Currency keeps up with the latest markets to give you a fair market value to compare against when converting your currency in a foreign land.
What’s the best road trip app for Android?
Planning a road trip can be a ton of legwork researching the best route, places to eat and stay, where to gas up and where to milestone. Save the legwork with the mighty Roadtrippers app. Quickly plot trips from A-Z, find the best road-side attractions, sample the best local grub, and stay in the best waypoint stops have to offer.
Travel apps have the potential to save you a lot of time and money. There are excellent free or cheap resources that can enhance your nomad journey. These apps can break down language barriers, take the stress out of planning, and help you to plan a great budget trip. Now that you know which travel apps are worth downloading, get to it!
Didn’t find exactly what you’re after? Dig in deeper with our favorite digital nomad tools, including hardware and other software we recommend.