Travel is all about trying new things and getting lost not to mention a bit confused. But now with the help of technology not every experience has to be quite such a steep learning curve. There are a wealth of well known apps that make travelling a cinch like Google Translate, Uber and TripAdvisor. Hell, how did we even know where to travel before Google maps?! Below are the must have top 10 travel apps for a trip to Europe.
1. Bla Bla Car
Bla Bla Car are a people powered car sharing network first created in France that have now expanded to 22 countries. With over 40 million members it’s essentially a glorified hitchhiking app with the added safety of verified users and reviews. Think the Air BnB of the motoring world.
2. Flix Bus
Want to know the cheapest way of getting between major European cities? A good old fashioned road trip of course! Flix bus coaches are usually pretty well maintained with a well established brand name and multiple departures a day. They are popular with locals and international travellers alike, though certainly not always the quickest way from A to B it sure is a bargain and a great way to take in the scenery.
Formerly Go Euro, Omio is the app for rail travel in Europe. Often cheaper than booking direct on the individual train companies website and with a simple design it makes comparing train journeys a cinch. Think Skyscanner of the train world, they also compare bus companies but the prices aren’t always the cheapest. Trainline EU is a similar app to Omio which can also be used to compare prices.
Some cities have great apps to navigate their own public transport systems like London’s Tube Map by TFL and RATP for getting around Paris.
Speaking of … Skyscanner is hands down the top go to app for flights in Europe. Compare prices on different dates at a glance and even try out the search “everywhere” function to randomly pick a European city at a ridiculously low rate. Click on the logo below to get started.
You can’t not mention Uber when it comes to travel in Europe. Although some cities have fought back against the taxi revolution banning Uber at different stages the stats speak for themselves. Since the company was founded in California in 2009 operations have expanded to 700+ cities. It’s no surprise why, gone are the days of horror stories of rip off taxis for tourists and worse. With a simple rating and review system they have revolutionised the act of jumping in to a cab worldwide and made it a safer place to boot!
6. Air BnB
A similar concept to Uber Air BnB let’s you book rooms dirctly through property owners. Anything from a room in someones chic Scandi house to an entire cottage in the Cotswolds can be found through the App. Slashing costs of holidays Air BnB has stepped up the competition for big hotel brands and hostels but is not without it’s negative impacts. Air BnB has been directly blamed for pushing up house prices for locals causing many to have no choice but move out of their own cities. Due to this there is a backlash particularly in places like Barcelona and Venice with some property owners disguising the fact their home is an Air BnB. One to be careful with, but in many places an invaluable tool for saving money on travel.
One alternative, and my go to app for accommodation, is the wonderful booking.com. It compares everything from top end hotels to private apartments and unique one off locations, just eat the filters to match your preferences. Use them enough and you will become a genius member, earning discounts and special bonuses. Use the ad above to get started!
7. Lime Scooter
Within the last couple of years it has been impossible not to notice a certain little brand popping up all over European cities. Lime is the simple idea of hiring out electric scooters on a pay by use basis. Download the app, find and scan a bar-code on a scooter, pretend to be able to read the instructions in whatever language of the country you are in, and off you go. Simple.
Pro tip- You actually have to push the first couple of steps from stationary before the battery kicks in (I learned that the hard way)!
The app can be paused if you want the scooter to remain locked while you’re checking out the sights and resumed when you’re tired of walking. Note old European cobblestoned streets and scooters without suspension don’t always make for a good time so choose your route wisely!
In a similar set up to the lime scooters Mobike is available is most major European cities with the added bonus of a seat, because it’s a bike… Be sure to check the local laws regarding helmets and bike lanes. And speaking as a driver of a large vehicle, please be careful of trucks and buses in busy cities.
9. Going to Italy?
Of course why wouldn’t you?! Further to all of these top tips for the best apps around Europe in general, Italy needs it’s own section as it tends to do things it’s own way. Uber is apparently now in Rome but I’m yet to be convinced, the metro is the best way to get around the capital. In Florence the app itTaxi is the only way you will get a cab without speaking Italian, they are not cheap but are standardised metered rates. Up in Venice, the water buses are the way to go the AVM Venezia app makes life a little less confusing. Water taxi’s are reserved for the well off. Ataf 2.0 is the app for local busses around Italy, buy tickets via sms otherwise you have to find a local tabac. It’s not wrong, it’s just different… It’s Italy!
10. G Adventures
From early planning stages and travel advice to booking a full on tour. G Adventures have a great app and is the way to go if you want to take the hassle out of your holiday while still keeping to a budget and giving a little back to the places you visit. Let someone else worry about how to navigate the streets of Rome! I can’t recommend this tour company enough, it’s not as cheap as backpacking obviously but that’s not the point!
Contiki are also a great tour provider and are the leading youth travel company in Europe if you are between 18-35. You might even get me as your driver!
Check out the app WifiFinder to make sure you can use all of these great apps while you’re away, or pick up a local sim that will work in multiple countries like Vodafone or Three’s UK data roaming sim.
About Lost Wanders
because we can't all travel all the time. Or can we?