Best Travel Apps for Europe
my tried and true favorites
Traveling to Europe from the United States is something I’ve done numerous times over the past few years. As a result, I’ve amassed an arsenal of tools, tips, and tricks to make planning, getting there, and traveling through Europe a breeze. While many of these apps will work anywhere in the world, these are my top picks for best travel apps for Europe.
Hunting for affordable flights is one of my favorite pastimes and Google Flights is my secret weapon. I’ve never paid more than 500 dollars for a round trip ticket to my favorite European destinations. See prices and schedules for different airlines all in one place, and get notified when prices drop. I love exploring the map that shows prices for flights around the world. It’s also worth flipping through the calendar to see price points throughout the year. Typically there are cheap tickets available in the late summer months and during the winter.
Skyscanner and Kayak
I have signed up for just about every airline credit card and frequent flyer program under the sun – so I have miles piling up like crazy. AwardHacker is a great search and booking tool to compare mileage costs for different frequent flyer programs to wherever you wanna go!
Being an incredibly Type A person – there is nothing I love more than being organized. I started using TripIt last summer when my best friend and I took a two-week-long tour through France and Spain. We stopped in more than ten different cities, so you can imagine the amount of accommodation confirmation numbers, tickets, and schedules we amassed.
TripIt was a lifesaver. This app creates a schedule with transportation, accommodation check-ins and check-outs, and any events, tours, or reservations. The app can be set up to automatically sync with an email inbox so Airbnb confirmations, train tickets, tour schedules, etc. will be stored in the app. It makes it super easy to pull up addresses, reservation numbers, or check what time check-in is, in a pinch.
There is something I love about traveling far away and overseas. Yet there’s nothing worst than the 9+ hour time differences that always leave me super jet-lagged upon arrival. There is nothing I hate more than wasting a few days of each trip feeling groggy and exhausted. After my second trip to Europe, I decided to look into how to combat jet lag.
I’ve used the app Timeshifter for quite a few trips now and it’s been a great help with combatting jet lag. This app aids in avoiding jet lag by setting up a schedule that starts a few days in advance of your flight. It gradually adapts your bedtime/wake up time, to allow for a smoother transition across timezones. If you’re open to using caffeine and/or melatonin, there are also plans that incorporate them into your schedule. However, you can do it successfully without either, like me.
This is one of the best travel apps for Europe when it comes to booking trains, buses, cars, flights, and ferries. All the biggest transportation companies in Spain, Italy, France, the UK, Germany, Canada, and the US are available for booking on Omio.
I book all my train tickets and buses ahead of time via this app. It saves me the trouble of having to buy tickets at a busy train station and having to decipher confusing time tables. There’s lot’s of flexibility with using Omio. I’ve bought train tickets weeks in advance of my trip, as well as on the day of. There’s also an option to buy refundable tickets if you need to cancel last minute. It makes everything super convenient for scheduling, and price comparison between modes of transportation, companies, and departure times.
Citymapper was recommended to me by my cousin who lives in Paris, back when I moved to Italy years ago. When it comes to navigating, this has become my favorite of the best travel apps for Europe. Think Google Maps, but next-level detail, and information. Unfortunately, it is only available in some of the bigger cities in the world like Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, and Lisbon. Nonetheless it’s definitely worth checking out to see if your destination is available.
I especially love Citymapper for navigating the metro systems. The app gives you detailed instructions including which exits to use, transfer waiting times, even which car of the train is usually least crowded. Whether you decide to take a bus, train, car, bike, or just walk, it shows you exactly how far you’ll need to travel, how much time it will take, even how many calories you’ll burn if you choose to walk or bike.
If CityMapper isn’t available in your city, Google Maps definitely holds its own and is a good alternative for the most part. I always suggest downloading the map of your surrounding location just to make sure you have access to it even if you don’t have internet.
I actually learned about this service after I used BlaBlaBus for one of the legs of my trip through France last year. BlaBlaCar has come in handy for me when day-tripping to smaller towns that aren’t always very accessible. Sometimes these towns have very obscure train schedules that aren’t optimal for a short visit. I’ve used BlaBlaCar in Spain on a trip from Madrid to Ronda. However, it’s also available in more than 15 European countries.
BlaBlaCar is a carpooling app that allows you to find travelers driving to your destination of choice. A seat in their car can be reserved in exchange for sharing some of the expenses. Ladies, there is also a female-only option if you’d feel more safe riding with other women. A blue tick mark appears next to members who have verified their identity with a government ID. This is a great affordable option for transport if the place you want to get to isn’t easily reachable by bus or train.
Check Before You Go...
Uber is available in many European countries, but not all. Make sure to check ahead of time. Uber is available in Madrid, but not Barcelona, I discovered! I always prefer Uber for the most reliable service, but if it isn’t available there are always alternatives for booking taxis via an app. It’s best to book through an app to ensure you’re not overpaying, and you can have information on your location/route.
I have also used Cabify in Spain and WeTaxi in Italy. They are both workable, but the apps can be a bit buggy, and the service is not as reliable as Uber. Ride-share scooters (such as Lime) and bikes are also available in many European cities. My advice is to check ahead of time what the best means of transport are in your destination city.
Pretty self-explanatory, but downloading the Google Translate dictionary for the local language spoken at whatever destination I’m visiting is a huge lifesaver. That way you can translate without any internet connectivity. The camera feature of the app is also great for translating menus, signs, or written information – just point your camera at the writing and it translates automatically. Perfect when trying to decipher a tapas menu – the best ones typically don’t have an english translation!
A little tip – always reverse translate any phrases you look up, just to double-check. There are always things that get lost/changed in translation. Another translation app that I recommend for Spanish is SpanishDict Translator. It is a little more reliable than Google Translate for accurate translations, and also is a great learning tool for Spanish learners.
Looking for some tips to sharpen up on a new language before your trip? Check out my post on How to Immerse Yourself In A Language.
Of the best travel apps for Europe, Hostelworld is the key to making trips affordable for me. I’ve stayed at a huge variety of hostels during all my solo trips and I’ve booked all of them through Hostelworld. The reviews and rating system make it effortless to find quality stays. Typically I pay around 20-30 USD per night for really great accommodations. The best part is meeting loads of travelers from all over the world. This app also includes a translator that is handy if there are any communication blips while checking in, or meeting new hostel-mates.
Through Hostelworld I found my favorite stay in the world. If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, I can’t recommend We Love F*cking Tourists enough!
If I’m not staying in a hostel – I’m staying in an Airbnb. You can find super affordable and beautiful stays throughout Europe. I love staying in places hosted by a local. Often times they will hang around for good conversation and can recommend all the best spots to check out in town. I tend to stay in modest places but for a very good price. Here are some of my favorite stay from my favorite Europe destinations!
Planning travel to Europe and navigating the continent can be tricky at times with so many different languages, transportation systems, and countries to discover. Thankfully there are so many great resources out there to make sure your time adventuring is nothing short of incredible. Let me know if you try any of my picks for the best travel apps for Europe, and let me know if you have any other questions or recommendations! See ya over there 🙂
Pin This Post!
Best Travel Apps For Europe
Disclaimer: Some of my posts contain affiliate links. I will make a small commission if you click and choose to make a purchase or reservation, at no extra cost to you! Rest assured, I will only promote products that I love whole-heartedly and believe you will to!