Make Your Travel Easy: My Toolbox of Essential Travel Apps & Services

Whether you’re a frequent traveller or you’re about to embark on your first holiday, this resources page is designed to help you. It’s a collection of my favourite services and tools that I use regularly when travelling.

Booking Hotels and Accommodation

If I’m travelling through somewhere for a short period of time, I’ll tend to go for a hotel just because it’s easier to check in and check out when it suits you. I use Agoda to book my hotel stays, because I tend to find they have the best prices, especially in Asia.

If I’m staying a bit longer in a city, usually over a week, then I’ll look to get an apartment on Airbnb. If you click through from that link, you’ll get $20 off your first stay. I’ve stayed in an Airbnb apartment in Berlin for two months, about a week in an apartment in Amsterdam and I booked another one when I returned to Chiang Mai, while I was looking for a longer term apartment.

Getting Around

In Asia, I tend to use a mix of Grab and Uber, depending on which services are available in the city that I’m in. Grab have established themselves as the “Uber of Asia” in many ways, available in most cities across the ASEAN region including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. It’s my choice for transportation in Chiang Mai, as Uber isn’t available here at the moment. If you sign up for Grab using this link, then you’ll get a discount off your first ride.

I’ve used Uber in Thailand (Bangkok and Phuket), Berlin, Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, Adelaide and a number of other places while travelling and I’ve always found it works really well. Being able to contact their support team if you were unhappy with the route that your driver took is always good, because it gives you the peace of mind that you’re not going to get taken for an expensive sightseeing tour of the city. If you join Uber using this link (or enter code UBERKGAU when you sign up), you’ll get your first ride for free (up to a limit, depending on the local currency).

Also, it almost goes without saying – Google Maps is a must have when travelling these days. In a lot of cities around the world, it has public transport data, allowing you to navigate the city even cheaper than via Uber or Grab.

Organising Your Trip

I really like the free service that Kayak offer to help you manage your trip. Just forward all of your booking emails from your airlines, Airbnb or Agoda to [email protected] and they will arrange it all into a neat little view of your plans. You can share those plans with others, and they will keep you updated on any changes to your flights.

If you download the free Kayak app to your phone, you can also get that same travel itinerary on your phone and a very handy “taxi view” for the address of your hotel or Airbnb that is in large font and easy to show to your Uber driver.

Where to Eat?

When it comes to finding where to eat, I always rely on recommendations from the two most popular services in this space, Yelp and Foursquare. I have both apps on my phone and I’m always able to find the top places to eat and drink in a new city. Quite often, I end up finding amazingly good restaurants that some of my local friends in a city aren’t even aware of.

Navigating the Local Language

In a lot of the world, a bit of broken English and some miming is all that it takes to communicate your message and find what you’re looking for. At other times, you might get stuck and having Google Translate on your phone is a great way to communicate with foreign language speakers in order to find something a little more obscure or do something a little more difficult. It’s certainly helped me a few times when I’ve been lost and had no other way to convey my message.

Staying In Touch

While wandering the world, I use a combination of iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to keep in touch with people back home or around the world, as well as Skype on my laptop for those times when mum and dad want to see that I’m actually still alive.

Have I Missed Anything?

I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below about any other services or apps that you use, and whether you think I’ve missed anything from this list. See you on the road!

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