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The 10 Best Solo Travel Apps for First-time Travellers (in 2021)

One of my biggest learning experiences from my time travelling was to have ALL the travel apps you need downloaded to your phone BEFORE you start your trip.

Unlike being at home, there’s nothing worse than needing to access or research something on your phone but don’t have access to the internet to use it. 

In this article, I’m going to share 7 of my favourite and BEST solo travel apps that I use when travelling around the world.

Some of them have saved me:

  • From getting lost
  • From peeing myself
  • When trying to communicate with locals
  • From losing all my photos
  • From overspending during my trip

And guess what! Most of them are FREE! 

So, without further ado, let’s get straight into it.

1) Maps.me (one of the most handy solo travel apps)

This app is my favourite travel app of the lot. I can’t tell you how many times this app helped me on my travels and got me out of sticky situations.

Unlike other Map apps, Maps.me doesn’t need data or Wi-fi to function on your smartphone.

As long as you download your maps beforehand you can:

  • Track your location
  • Work out how to get to and from your target destination
  • Discover places nearby (eg. attractions, food, sites, groceries, petrol, hotels, parking, police, toilets, etc)
  • Save/Pin locations you’ve visited or want to visit
  • Share your location with others (eg. For an Uber, Taxi, friends)
  • You can also download Travel/City guides (for an additional fee)

Maps.me also reduces your likelihood of getting negative attention from pick-pockets or locals because you look less like a “tourist”.

Seriously, nothing says “I’m a tourist and have NO idea what I’m doing” more than a person trying to decipher a map in public.

Keep yourself safe and give this one a go.

Solo Travel Apps: An example of how I used Maps.me

Solo Travel Apps: An example of how I used Maps.me

BIG APP TIP:

You MUST download the city maps you need with internet/ data BEFORE you need to use them without wifi. Otherwise it won’t work, and you’ll find yourself in a panic.

I suggest to either:

  • Download all the maps you need BEFORE you leave your hometown (keeping in mind that this will take up space on your phone).
  • Downloading your maps AS YOU GO. The best way to do this is using your hostel wifi before you leave for your next destination.

 Download the Maps.me travel app here:

Solo travel apps: Solo Traveller reading map

2) Trail Wallet (One of my favourite solo travel apps)

In my opinion, this is the second-best travel app for newbie travellers.

If you need to keep to a strict budget whilst you travel, have a tendency to overspend or just enjoy tracking your expenses (as I do), this is the best travel app for you.

Trail wallet is great because it allows you to create “trips” and allocate a daily or total budget to that trip.

For example, in my phone, I had separate budgets for the UK, countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The app allowed me to choose:

  • The relevant local currency for the location
  • A start and end date for my budget
  • To work from a daily budget or total amount

I could then add my expenses as I went, categorise them as desired (eg. food, transport, accommodation, souvenirs, etc) and see where my money was going.

At one point, I noticed that I was spending WAY too much on eating out. Therefore, I made the effort to cut back and allocate my money elsewhere.

Trail Wallet    Trail Wallet

Trail Wallet will give you an insight into how you’re average daily spending and monthly spending compared to your budget.

That way you can ensure that you don’t run out of money half-way through your trip.

Although, it may take some time to create the habit of entering your expenses as you go, once you start it actually becomes addictive.

I thought so anyway!

I promise you, tracking your expenses with the Trail App will help you significantly whilst on your travels, especially if you have a tight budget.

The app can initially be downloaded for free (for less than 25 transactions). But if you’re likely to enter more than 25 transactions during your trip, you’ll need to upgrade.

The premium version is only an extra $8 AUD, so is definitely worth the spend. 

Doing so gives you access to all the features and you get unlimited transactions.

Personally, I use the premium version when I travel and for $8 bucks spent, I feel it’s worth every penny.

Download the Trail Wallet travel app here:

 

3) Google Translate

There’s nothing worse or more stressful than landing in a new city unable to speak the local language and with no idea where you are.

It’s also inconvenient when you’re at the local restaurant but can’t read or interpret the menu because it’s in a foreign language.

Not being able to communicate can be really frustrating, stressful, inconvenient and time consuming.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

This is where the Google Translate App comes in.

Google translate

Simply choose the language you want, type a sentence and convert it into the local language.

Similar to the maps.me travel app, you can download the local language you want to your phone so that it will work whilst offline (no access to wifi/data).

You can also use the microphone option to record what you or the other person is saying, and it will translate it for you on the spot.

Download the Google Translate travel app here:

4) World Currency Converter App

Alike not speaking the local language, not knowing how much your money is worth in the country you’re travelling within can be confusing.

It can also make you an easy target to be taken advantage of or get ripped off.

The World Currency Converter App is a simple, easy and quick way to get an indication of how much something costs in the country you’re travelling compared to your home currency.

The app allows you to:

  • Set your default currency (eg. AUD)
  • Add frequently converted currencies to your favourites section for easy access
  • Convert from one currency to another in a matter of seconds

The World Currency Converter App is one of the best travel apps for first-time travellers because it is (with ads) and works when you’re offline (no internet or wifi needed).

At the time of this example below, you can see that $100 AUD = approx. $72.50 USD.

World currency converter

Download the World Currency travel app here:

5) Music Apps

Music is a kind of therapy for me when I travel.

Without access to my app of diversified music, I can easily feel lost and homesick!

Having the Spotify or Apple Music (Affiliate Link) Apps downloaded to your phone is a handy way to listen to your favourite playlists as you travel.

They can also help to provide comfort and entertainment when you feel lonely, homesick, whilst travelling between destinations or when you don’t have access to Wi-fi.

SPOTIFY

With Spotify, you can get a free version of the app, but OMG, the frequency of the ads in the free version really pisses me off. #cannotdeal.

There’s nothing worse than being on a roll and listening to your favourite playlist when you’re suddenly blasted with a loud, unwelcome and interrupting Ad.

Screw that.

In my opinion, upgrading to the premium version of Spotify for $11.99 a month to gain access to unlimited music with no ads is worth the investment.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for a Spotify subscription:

Aussies:

Students $5.99 per month for 1 account

  • Special discount for eligible students in university
  • Listen to music ad-free
  • Play anywhere – even offline
  • On-demand playback

Individuals $11.99 per month for 1 account

  • Listen to music ad-free
  • Play anywhere – even offline
  • On-demand playback

To check out the other Aussie plans available, you can click here.

USA:

Students $4.99 per month for 1 account

  • Hulu (ad-supported) plan
  • SHOWTIME
  • Listen to music ad-free
  • Play anywhere – even offline
  • On-demand playback

Individuals $9.99 per month for 1 account

  • Listen to music ad-free
  • Play anywhere – even offline
  • On-demand playback

To check out the other US plans available, you can click here.

Download Spotify Music here:

 

APPLE MUSIC

If you’re not a Spotify junkie like me, then Apple Music (Affiliate Link) is another great option to check out and has very similar pricing levels.

Aussies:

  • Students $5.99 per month for 1 account
  • Individuals $11.99 per month for 1 account

USA:

  • Students $4.99 per month for 1 account
  • Individuals $9.99 per month for 1 account

 

Spotify vs. Apple Music – Which is best?

If you’re unsure of whether you want to pay for an Apple Music subscription, you can always start with a free trial.

But you will eventually be prompted to pay.

Personally, I prefer Spotify, but my boyfriend prefers Apple Music.

It seems to be much of a muchness. I suggest trying both and see which one you prefer.

Download Apple Music on:

Download Spotify on:

Solo Travel Apps

6) Movie Apps 

When travelling alone, watching a movie or your favourite TV series can offer a great deal of comfort and entertainment.

There will be days where you simply need some alone time or time out to veg out and watch a movie.

Yet, when travelling, you can’t just flick the channel, put on a DVD or watch Netflix like you do with your home set-up.

Instead, you’ll need to download an app to your smartphone, iPad or laptop so that you can take your movies with you everywhere you go.

 

NETFLIX

If you have a Netflix account, you can simply download the phone app which will provide you with a simple way to get your movie fix whilst on the road.

If you don’t have a Netflix account, don’t worry.

You can sign up and create an account in a few minutes via the link below.

For a basic Netflix subscription, you pay approx. $11 AUD per month. For a standard subscription – $16, and $20 for the premium one.

If Netflix is something you’ve wanted for ages but you haven’t got around to doing, you can set up an account in a few minutes below.

Click here to learn more about Netflix

Download Netflix on:

 

APPLE TV+ 

You can also check out Apple TV+ as another alternative.

With Apple TV you can start first with a free 7-day trial to see if you like it. From there you can upgrade to a monthly subscription for $7.99 AUD or $4.99 USD per month.

What’s great about Apple TV+ is that you can get one year included when you buy eligible Apple devices.

However, I recently bought a Mac and have tried to find this option but haven’t been able to work it out.

If you’re a student and have the Apple Music Student Plan, you will get access to the Apple TV+ Subscription for free.

If you’re still studying at University or College, that’s definitely the way I’d go – a cheap and easy way to kill two birds with one stone.

Click here to learn more about Apple TV+ plans and prices (AUS).

Download Apple TV+ on:

 

Other Alternatives

If you’re not a Netflix fan, or don’t want to sign up for an account, there are other ways you can watch movies when you travel.

You can simply download movies to a portable hard drive (as I did).

Both of the hard drives I’ve used are Seagates (linked below). I used them to store my movies, Tv shows and also to backup my photos.

 

7) Flush – Toilet Finder App

There’s no worse feeling than being in an unfamiliar location with a desperate need to go to the toilet…

If you have a weak bowl and want to reduce your likelihood of peeing your pants whilst traveling, the Flush Toilet Finder App is awesome.

It’s free to download and works when you’re offline (no internet and wi-fi).

This means that you can find a nearby public toilet even when you’re mid-travels or moving between destinations.

The app has 190,000 public loos listed all around the world, including those with disabled access, a fee for use or restricted key access.

Download the Flush toilet app here:

8) Microsoft Onedrive / iCloud 

If you’re planning to take photos on your smart phone whilst travelling, it’s a good idea to back them up to the cloud.

That way if you lose your phone or it gets stolen, you won’t lose all of your photos and memories too.

The best apps that I like to use when I travel are Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud.

Both apps keep your photos and files backed up, protected, synced and accessible on all of your devices.

But, what are the prices?

Despite what you may think, they’re actually pretty reasonable.

Both Apple and Microsoft offer 5GB of FREE cloud storage for each user which is pretty awesome.

If you’re likely to need more than that, you can upgrade you accounts as follows:

iCloud Drive ($AUD prices):

  • 50 GB: $1.49 a month
  • 200 GB: $4.49 a month
  • 2TB: $14.99 a month

iCloud Drive ($USD prices):

  • 50 GB for $0.99 a month
  • 200 GB for $2.99 a month
  • 2TB for $9.99 a month.

 

Microsoft OneDrive ($AUD prices):

  • 100 GB for $3 a month
  • 1TB for $10 a month

 

Microsoft OneDrive ($USD prices):

  • 100 GB for $1.99 a month
  • 1TB for $6.99 a month

**All prices as at Dec 2020.

Solo Travel Apps for Beginners 

iCloud vs. OneDrive – Which is best?

It truly depends…

I used OneDrive on my iPhone during my travels. It was super easy to use, convenient and automatically happened in the background.

This meant that once set up, I didn’t have to think much more about it. Definitely worth the money spent.

Now that I have a new Mac Laptop, I have also started using iCloud.

So truth be told, I use both…

In my opinion, iCloud seems the easier choice for those who have Macs or iPhones, or who plan to backup sensitive data due to the 128-bit AES and TLS encryption.

OneDrive is considered best for users who are familiar with Microsoft, already have a Microsoft 365 Subscription or have an Android smartphone.

 

BIG APP TIP:

Regardless of the cloud app you choose, just ensure that you have the app set to backup ONLY when connected to wifi. Otherwise it will chew through your phone data like crazy.

Afterall, who wants to receive an overwhelming phone bill when travelling.

Not me, that’s for sure!

Best travel Apps for Solo Travellers

9) Rome2Rio

I relied so much on this app when I was travelling.

Rome2Rio is a great app to use when planning your trip because it gives you a good estimate of how long, how much and the different transport options available between destinations.

You can then click on your preferred transport option and it will take you through to the relevant website to book.

Even if you don’t book directly through the app, it is a good planning tool whilst travelling and can save you a lot of time researching.

Download the Rome2Rio app here:

10) The Meetup App

When travelling solo, there are times where you will feel lonely or homesick.

If you’re finding it hard to meet other travellers or locals whilst travelling, you should definitely download the FREE Meetup App to your phone.

The Meetup app enables you to join various groups depending on your interests and meet like-minded travellers/locals on your journeys.

Personally, I believe this app is best when staying in one location for a longer period of time compared to if you’re jumping from place to place.

You can also check out the following article, where I talk about how to meet people and make friends whilst travelling.

Download on:

 


In Summary:

So, there you have it:

10 of the Best and Most Convenient Solo Travel Apps I Use When Travelling.

Some of these apps have truly saved me from getting lost, overspending, reducing anxiety, improving communication and also reducing loneliness and homesickness.

My top 10 travel apps for solo travellers are:

  1. Maps.me
  2. Trail Wallet
  3. Google Translate
  4. World Currency App Converter
  5. Music Apps
  6. Movie Apps
  7. Flush – Toilet Finder App
  8. One Drive / iCloud to back up your photos
  9. Rome2Rio
  10. Meetup / Social Apps

If you’re getting ready to plan or depart for your trip, I encourage you to 100% download these babies to your smartphone before you go.

Seriously, most of them are free so what do you have to lose!

Have a great trip.

If you still need help with booking your trip, you can check out our mast summary and list of resources below.

Happy Travelling!

About Me Profile Image

Hey guys, I’m Ash & welcome to Adventure Travel Pro!

As a seasoned traveller, I share knowledge, advice and inspo for newbie solo travellers and thrill seekers.

Let’s get your adrenaline pumping. Click here to get start your journey!

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