Top 20 Free Travel Apps for Backpackers

Top 20 Free Travel Apps for Backpackers

In Latest Posts 2, Tips & Tricks by Erik24 Comments

Travel apps make traveling easier and who doesn’t want that when you are out exploring each day? Check out our complete list of the top 20 free backpacking apps for budget travel! 

Top 20 Free Travel Apps

#1. Maps.me

Here at DIY Travel HQ the free travel app we use the most is by far Maps.me.

Simply download the country you want a map for, and you have offline navigation by car or walking.

The map app is not as complete as Google for points of interest, but they have the majority of the ones we search for.

The best feature we found was the inclusion of hiking trails so you don’t have to book a tour for trekking anymore.

Maps.me App Logo

#2. Wikivoyage Application

Wikivoyage app is literally an offline travel guide for the world in your pocket.

You download all the content found on the website, which mirrors Wikitravel, and you can search almost anywhere you want to go without the internet.

We find the content especially useful for budget travelers since many contributors list the cheapest accommodation and transportation options besides things to do.

WikiVoyage App Logo

#3. Google Translate

Google Translate app is great for travelers visiting multiple countries that don’t speak the same language, or anyone linguistically impaired.

Download a language for offline use.

Translations work best from English, but you can get your point across for other languages.

Type or speak into the app for translations.

Google Translate App Logo

#4. XE Currency

It’s important to know how much items are really costing you when you visit a new country.

We find the app XE Currency does the best job with reliable exchange rates, conversion percentages, and historical charts to help determine when to make an exchange.

The only downside is that they limit the number of currencies to 10, but that shouldn’t affect most backpackers.

We also like the Exchange Rates app that has no currency limit, and also shows you examples of bills.

XE Currency App Logo

#5. SmartNews

SmartNews is a great app for travelers that have limited internet connectivity, and still want to keep up-to-date with the news.

Customize your selection with news providers and themed channels.

Refresh your news before you leave, and you have enough material to last all day. This is great for long transportation!

SmartNews App Logo

#6. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is great for researching locations, and their app is very intuitive.

You can also download large cities for offline use.

The downside is that users are ‘star happy’ and rarely give poor ratings.

If there are mixed reviews, or 4 stars or less, then the attraction is probably average at best.

Trip Advisor App Logo

#7. CouchSurfing

Couchsurfing has a great backpacking app that makes it easy to find hosts, meet-ups, or events.

Even if you don’t plan on Couchsurfing, consider using it to meet expats, locals, or other travelers to enrich your stay in a place.

Other notable accommodation apps are AirBnb, Booking.com, or your favorite hostel reservation website.

Couchsurfing App Logo

#8. Dropbox

Do you love to take pictures with your phone?

Back them up with the Dropbox app as it runs in the background when connected to Wi-Fi.

Many other apps also connect to Dropbox to back up your data, which makes this the most useful cloud storage app for the phone.

Also consider Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive as alternatives. These provide more storage for free, and are great for computers.

Dropbox App Logo

#9. Skyscanner

SkyScanner is an awesome travel app for finding the best prices on flights to a specific destination or ‘everywhere’.

Similar to the online website, refine your search criteria or search by month if your scheduce is open.

SkyScanner App Logo

#10. DuoLingo

DuoLingo is a perfect app for getting started to learn a new language.

Simply choose the language you want to learn, and start unlocking new levels.

New lessons require internet, but occasionally a few will be downloaded in advance for offline learning.

If DuoLingo is not for you, don’t fear as there are many other ways to learn a new language…

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Duo Lingo App Logo

#11. Brightest LED Flashlight

When you are traveling for a long time, there will be villages or remote islands without permanent electricity, and power outages.

You may not have your flashlight or head torch available, but you never leave home without your phone.

The Brightest LED Flashlight app also comes in handy for caves and any other dark areas that require more light.

Brightest LED Flashlight App Logo

#12. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is not high on anyone’s list, but a VPN is very handy.

Not only can you access sites from restricted countries, but you can also protect your sensitive information on unsecure networks.

While traveling, that is probably all of them.

Hotspot Shield App Logo

#13. Google Keep

The Google Keep app is perfect for taking notes.

Make a list, and check off each attraction you want to visit each day.

Did you see a souvenir you want to grab later, make a note of it in Keep.

It’s great for jotting down transportation times, and anything else.

It automatically gets backed-up to your Google account when connected to the internet.

Google Keep App Logo

#14. Wi-Fi Finder

The Wi-Fi Finder app does what you expect.

It finds open Wi-Fi networks for those times when your accommodation does not have any, or you just need to find out quick information.

Consider using Hotspot Shield when you find an open network as these are the least secure.

The database can be downloaded for offline use.

Wi-Fi Finder App Logo

#15. Pocket

Pocket is the perfect app for saving online material to read when offline.

If you are traveling to countries with limited, restricted, or expensive Wi-Fi, then save all the handy web pages for reference later.

Your normal web browser can probably perform the same function, but the Pocket app makes it easy to save and view in the future.

Pocket App Logo

#16. Prey Anti Theft

The Prey Anti Theft app helps locates lost or stolen phones.

We hope you will never have to use it, but it gives you remote access to your phone to erase data, take pictures of the thief, or use GPS to find your phone.

Once enabled, it hides in the background so no one knows the app even exists.

Your account allows you to connect three devices, so consider adding your laptop or tablet.

You can also try the Avast Anti-Theft app.

Prey Anti Theft App Logo

#17. Overdrive

Many people probably don’t know this, but you can get eBooks, and audio books for free from your library on the Overdrive app.

The selection varies by library, but there is usually something for everyone.

Reserve popular titles in advance while you read older books.

This requires having a library card before departing home.

Overdrive App Logo

#18. Travel Expense

Travel Expense is the best travel app for those just starting a long trip, overspending, or anyone that wants to keep track of their finances while traveling.

Choose your currency, category, and include any other notes you want.

Then you can see charts detailing how your money is being spent to make improvements if desired.

Travel Expense App Logo

#19. Travel Money

Travel Money is a similar travel expenditure tracking app.

The difference is this one keeps track of money for groups traveling together.

Simply enter the purchase amount, and how to divide the cost to find out who owes who money.

Travel Money App Logo

#20. Weather Underground Application

Nothing is more frustrating than unreliable weather forecasts when you are trying to plan your week.

We found Weather Underground to offer the most reliable weather predictions, and user friendly interface.

Weather Underground App Logo

Honorable Mention: Wikicamps (Australia and New Zealand)

It’s not free but for backpackers living out of a vehicle or hitchhiking, the Wikicamps app is great for finding free or cheap places to stay for the night, showers, and other necessities while on the road.

Other countries are still pending user input, but I can’t recommend these apps more highly for Australia and New Zealand.

Filter your requirements and find the perfect place to camp for the night.

You will make back the app fee the first night, and is the only app we have ever purchased.

Content is also downloadable for offline use.

* We hope you have found at least one new app to help you on your travels.

Let’s put technology to work for us, and not the other way around!

WikiCamps Australia App Logo
Planning a road trip or Europe vacation? No matter where you're going travel apps make life on the road easier and cheaper! Find out the best travel apps that you can download for free before you leave! #travelapps #traveltips #diytravel
Looking for the best travel apps? We've got 20 free travel apps which can be used offline. Find out which travel apps will make your travel planning easier! #travelapps #traveltips #diytravel
Travel planning is easier and cheaper with the help of travel apps! Check out our list of the 20 best travel apps, all of which are free and available for offline use! #travelapps #traveltips #diytravel
Travel apps make travel planning easier! Check out our list of the best travels apps and find out some of the top travel tips around! #travelapps #traveltips #diytravel

***The Final Word – There are many free travel apps to choose from, but we selected the ones that we use most regularly ***

What apps did we forget to mention or don’t know about yet?

Comments

    1. You are very welcome, Idriss. Some of the apps are popular, but very few people think about protecting their personal information or know about all the free offline apps available while traveling.

    1. You’re welcome NW Family Travel. It’s great for travel, AND everyday life as well. Some of the Top 20 apps are also great at helping you keep from going over your phone data limit.

  1. Thank you so much for this! I didn’t know about half of these and will be very useful on my journey through China and Philippines ! I will be sharing this 🙂 xo

    1. You are welcome, Jackie. If you still want to stay connected in China, then the most important app to download BEFORE visiting is a VPN such as Hotspot Shield. Otherwise, say goodbye to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Youtube, and many more websites while there.

  2. I am obsessed with Pocket. It is awesome! Just remember to sync before getting on the plane. I didn’t once and that sucks.

    I didn’t know Google had a note taking app. I am search of a new one so I will def. check it out.

    Thanks for the info!

    1. Good tip for Pocket, Sheila. Google Keep is great. I used to use an app called Inkpad, but this blows that away. It has nice design, easy use, and you can customize colors for organization.

  3. These are some great apps. The hubbs uses Duolingo to learn German and he loves it. I have to try out Maps.me because I love the hiking trail feature.

    1. The only problem I have against DuoLingo is that it isn’t fully offline. I believe this may be a paid feature though, or at least with similar apps.

      Maps.me is great for independent hiking. There really hasn’t been a time that it didn’t have the trail we wanted to hike yet. I’m surprised Google doesn’t have this feature, as Maps.me just pulls the content from an open source file.

  4. Such a great list! I definitely use the Google apps all the time, and TripAdvisor is helpful for searching up a good place to eat. Those expense tracking apps sound handy too, I’ll have to check those out. Thanks for this post 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Prortia. The expense tracking apps take discipline, but they make it as easy as possible.

      We haven’t actually used TripAdvisor for meals as we usually eat street food, or places that aren’t listed. Perhaps when we return to our normal lives. 🙂

  5. I cosign your recommendation for Overdrive, XE and Dropbox. For offline maps, I also like citymaps. And I also use the “convert” app which convert measurements like miles into kilometers. And if I’m in a city for any length of time, I’ll download their local public transportation maps and scheduled.

    1. Thanks for your input, Carol. I actually got into audio books because of Overdrive. Sit back and relax as someone reads to you during long transportation!

      The convert app could be handy for North Americans, but I now think in metric after so many years overseas. I have to reverse conversions when I go home. 🙂

      I’ll look into CityMaps, and local public transportation apps are very handy in large cities.

  6. Thanks for compiling and sharing the list most apps are very useful for anybody traveling

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the app list, Prasad. I find myself using them even if I’m not traveling. SmartNews is great for having a lot of news, but not having to use your data.

  7. I’m always looking for some innovative new apps so this is great. My all time favorite will always be XE.

  8. So when I saw the WikiVoyage, I was like awesome but the app is so big, it ate up all my extra space on my cell. I will have to wait til they condense that but what a great idea.
    I love google translate now that you can access many languages offline! It was a life saver while I was in Thailand in the rural parts with no wifi/signal and the locals spoke little English.
    Can I recommend another one that is just fun and cool!! Try the Sky Map app. Its an app that allows you to identify constellations! I love it for those nights when you are backpacking or just in a beautiful location and the stars/planets are showcasing themselves!

    1. I’m guessing you have an iPhone, and can’t expand your memory. 😛 It is rather large at around 500 mb, but useful when in internet poor countries, or staying at budget accommodation. I also have a 64 GB microSD card so space really isn’t an issue.

      It is helpful having Google Translate as a back-up when physical cues can’t express what you want to say.

      I have tried Sky Map, but it wasn’t for me. Over the years there have been numerous apps that I play with once, and then never touch again. My two most important apps for travel that I use everyday are SmartNews and Maps.me. Everything else is 2nd tier.

      Thanks for your input. I know those who are backpacking in New Zealand and Australia with a clear sky, and new constellations will enjoy the Sky Map app.

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