Here are the best iPhone and Android phone apps for backpacking. Make sure they are on your phone before you set off on your travels

Most travellers agree that the best way to explore a new location is to make the most of the advice coming from the locals or people who travelled there before.

Mobile technology has dominated every sphere of our lives; especially young people never separate from their smartphones. You definitely shouldn’t leave without your mobile when you go on holidays! If your wanderlust regularly inspires you to explore different corners of our planet (trust me, I know the feeling), you should definitely consider using mobile applications to make your trips more enjoyable and easier to plan.

Social media apps that focus on travelling help to connect travellers with locals, organize their travel, or share their adventures with other people. Most importantly, mobile apps offer access to plenty of valuable information that makes travelling all the more exciting and hassle-free.

Here are 5 apps that are designed to match the needs of travellers roaming the globe in search for unique experiences and stunning sights. Some of them are mobile versions of popular websites, others are uniquely mobile creations – but all have been created to cater to the needs of travellers on-the-go.

Related: See all travel-related app reviews

1. Rome2Rio (Android and iOS)

Rome2Rio travel app for the iPhone and Android phones

Rome2rio is an app version of the popular web-based trip planner that offers plenty of information about transportation modes between point A and point B. And now you can get it all in the form of a convenient mobile app.

It's enough to enter an address, town name or landmark as your destination and Rome2rio quickly calculates the distance and displays various travel options with estimated times and fares – for example, by flight, train, bus, ferry, bike or car.

I can't even recall how many times the app helped me to save time on journeys – and plenty of money as well!

Once you enter your route, you can see it on the embedded Google Maps and get a link to share it with other people on Facebook or Twitter. Rome2rio also displays alternative routes to help travellers make the bests choice when organizing their trip and match their needs or budgets.

Rome2rio pulls data from around 670 airlines, thousands of train routes from Europe to Asia, but also plenty of ferry routes and driving directions. All the airfare prices as provided by Kayak.com.

The app offers this information on a user-friendly and intuitive interface. Users aren't required to sign up to search for a route.

Rome2rio is an amazing app for those who are planning their trip or want to spontaneously visit a place while on route to their destination.

 

2. TripIt (Android and iOS)

TripIt is another fantastic app for those who are at the stage of organizing their trip. Travel planning is made easy here because users can create a comprehensive journey itinerary together with maps, directions, local weather information, and activity planning.

My fellow travelers use the app to share travel plans with each other via social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn – that's the easiest way to coordinate meeting points with other people in the traveling community.

TripIt pulls detailed itinerary information from various sources, among them car rentals, accommodation reservation and plane tickets. I like to sync my master itinerary with my calendar – one look is enough to know where I'll be headed the week.

To create an itinerary, all you need to do is forward emails from travel services and providers. The app will do the rest.

Users of TripIt often install TripClipper on their computers – thanks to the software, they can instantly save information displayed on a browser page to their TripIt account which they get when they register to the service.

TripIt is free in its Basic mode and includes functionalities like itineraries, directions and maps, as well as itinerary sharing. If you go for the Pro version, you'll get access to additional features:

  • alternative flight options
  • mobile alerts for upcoming journeys
  • travel points tracker
  • automatic sharing of your trip details

The Pro version is available in a 30-day free trial.

I travel quite often and find TripIt very useful for coordinating my itinerary. Having a master itinerary with all the information in one place helped me many times to easily share the essentials about my trip with family and coworkers.

 

3. Roadtrippers (Android and iOS)

Roadtrippers app for iPhone and Android phones

I love to use this app when I have no energy to plan a trip and just want to go and explore a new location.

It's enough to enter your location and destination together with dates of travel (and special interests) and voilà – you get a custom travel route! Roadtrippers will find anything from locally-known attractions to restaurants and museums that are must-sees in your destination.

I like to use that route as a base to which I manually add other locations and attractions I'd like to see. Every time I add a new element to my trip, the app updates and redraws my route for accommodate the change.

I can see my travel plan directly on Google Maps, search for local accommodation options, attractions and businesses, and calculate travel time and distance (together with fuel costs – just perfect for that dream road trip!).

If you're not sure about an attraction, you can instantly check the reviews on TripAdvisor which is integrated with the app.

The only problem with Roadtrippers is that it works great in the United States, but not so great in other countries. But if you're planning to travel by road in the US, Roadtrippers is a smart pick!

 

4. Vayable (iOS)

I'd miss out on a lot of amazing experiences if not for Vayable. The app helps travelers enjoy exploring new places with a selection of unique travel packages that include unusual activities that bring people closer to the local culture.

What the app basically does is connecting travelers to local experts. Users of the app can read feedback left by other people who visited these attractions and businesses. Vayable is an amazing source of insider knowledge about places ranging from New York to Fiji.

Trips are categorized into different types like urban, rural, political, art and culture, seaside, adventure, or outdoors.

Trying some of these activities brought me closer to the places I've visited – and I always returned home with my notebook full of fantastic stories!

Vayable has a very clear interface where all information is well-organized and easily accessible. You can sign up to the service through Facebook or by filling out the form with an email address and password. There are no subscription fees for using Vayable, but you'll of course need to pay for the trip that you book through the app. In my experience, they're almost always worth the money.

If you're looking for a new kind of experience on your next vacation, you should definitely have a look at this app. Instead of going for mainstream attractions, Vayable shows artisans, businesses and spots that allow travellers to get a glimpse of the local culture.

 

5. Wifi Mapper (Android and iOS)

No trip can happen without access to the internet. But if your data package is costly, you'll probably rely on public WiFi. And trust me, in some countries that could become a real challenge.

Knowing where to find free WiFi is key if you need to make your trip a success. How else will you find the best local restaurant or share your travel pics with friends?

Wifi Mapper shows all locations where users can find free WiFi together with the strength of the signal. The app is integrated with Foursquare to display reviews of the places that provide free WiFi too. You'll get even more information in user comments left next to each venue.

Related: 3 brilliant Android apps to track your walks, rides and hikes

Traveling with apps

There are plenty of apps today, which help us in every aspect of life.They have changed the way we do sports, the way we learn languages, the way we cook, and the way we travel. I can't imagine how I'd plan and carry out my complex travel plans without the help of these and other apps. My friends and I use them to organize all our trips now, and have never looked back.

What used to take a lot of time can now be accomplished in a couple of minutes. You'll no longer need to spend hours in front of the screen looking through flight comparison websites and calculating your routes on Google Maps.

Do you know any other essential apps for every traveller?

Let me know about your favorites in the comments section, I'm always curious to discover new tools that help travelers like me to make the most of their time while exploring a new location.


Author bio: Thomas Raynott is an app developer at Ready4s and an avid backpacker. Whenever he isn’t working on new apps he is planning his next escapades to exciting places in Europe and beyond.