For most of us, our Smartphone has become our constant companion and we can’t imagine life without them when it comes to planning vacation. Travel apps are extremely useful for booking and managing a trip.
Travel apps help you with checking on visa requirements, booking accommodation, and last-minute flight changes. They navigate for you, make currency conversions and help you with language translations. Whatever you need when you hit the road, there is a travel app to help you with it.
With a huge selection of travel apps available for everything we can think of it is challenging to pick the most useful ones for our trip. Here are 12 travel apps you don’t want to miss when touring Canada.
1. Airline Apps
Whatever airlines you use to fly to Canada, make sure to download the travel apps of the carriers you’re flying with.
It is crucial to keep the Airline travel apps updated, especially the night before you start your trip. You want the newest versions of all the airline apps you’re intending to use. Always turn on push notifications so that the app is able to reach you.
With an airline app, you can book, change or cancel your flight, check in and get your boarding pass. It notifies you about your flight’s status, boarding times and more. On top of all that you can use your phone to scan a boarding pass, you will receive updates on your checked bags, changes in gates and any delays in boarding. I appreciate this service especially in winter when flights in Canada sometimes get cancelled or delayed because of severe weather conditions. With the airline app, I get notified before I waste my trip to the airport and I can book myself onto another flight.
Here you can check if you need a visa or health declaration for your next trip. If you do need a visa, you can get it with a few clicks. iVisa also helps with passport applications and passport photos and photo ID. No need to struggle with government forms, waiting in lines, or trips to the embassy. You can get your travel documents with a secure and 100% online application process.
Searching for cheap flights can be a time-consuming process. Try Hopper, the easy-to-use Hopper travel app that analyzes countless flight prices and lets you know if the time was good to purchase a ticket on a particular route. The app provides you with an estimated time frame for a potential price drop and suggests when you should book before a likely price hike. You can save the routes and you will be notified when the price goes down.
TripCase is one of my favourite travel apps. Much superior to any airline app, it’s more useful and faster. It acts as a trip manager where you can link entire bookings, including accommodation, car rentals and attractions. The mobile app does most of the necessary sorting for you and gives you a clear overview of your trip with flight information, hotel addresses, car rental reservation numbers, and more. The app is easy to set up. TripCase is a free travel app for iPhone and Android.
In Canada where cellular service is infrequent outside of towns, this free travel app becomes useful. Maps.me lets you download detailed, offline maps to your device and offers you turn-by-turn navigation for driving, hiking, or biking to a selected location. Maps.me is definitely one of my favourite travel apps. I use it when I’m on the road or when I’m at home.
This app provides city guides for most major cities in the country with additional features like sightseeing, eating recommendations and nightlife suggestions. It offers an offline map of Canada and offline city maps for all major cities and has a section with complete background information on Canada. The app works offline and is free.
Airbnb is known as a trusted community and is growing fast in Canada. With the Airbnb mobile app, it’s easy to discover unique places, meet the locals and save money on accommodation. Find a rental place just right for you, whether it’s a rustic cabin, a small cozy room in someone’s house, a yurt, or even a tree house. The app gives you access to a large variety of vacation home rentals, new experiences, and places to visit all over Canada.
Couchsurfing is an online community that connects travellers with locals for free lodging. The best part of the travel app is the new “Hangout” feature when you arrive in a new town. To use Hangout, simply turn on your availability. You can either start your own hangout by typing in what you want to do or browse the hangouts other travellers have already started in the area you’re at.
You don’t need to use Couchsurfing for finding accommodation while travelling instead you can use the Couchsurfing app to meet up with people and make new friends.
Whether you’re road-tripping or live in Canada, this app is a must and is a money saver. GasBuddy locates gas stations near you and shows you prices, sends you price hike alerts and the app notifies you about deals. (Canada and USA only).
If you’re travelling to Canada and you don’t speak English, Google Translate is a good app to have on your phone. Speak, snap or type anything and the app will instantly translate to English or French, or any other language you want. The app offers many additional features including instant camera translation and can be used offline as well. It’s like having your own personal interpreter along and it helps with any language barrier you come across.
Converter Plus is an easy-to-use unit converter, currency converter and calculator with the most extensive list of currencies and units in hundreds of categories. It also comes with many preset calculators like mortgage, loan, tip, fuel consumption and many others for everyday problems.
This is another app I’m using a lot. It lets you send money, receive payments from abroad, check exchange rates, pay bills or send money home. Wherever you are, you can do all with the Wise. Using Wise you save on transfer costs and you don’t get charged hidden fees. You can open a multi-currency account and get bank account details in nine currencies, or keep money in your account in 50+ currencies.
Whatsapp messenger is one of the best apps to stay connected while travelling. It connects through WiFi so it’s free to use and you don’t have to worry about roaming charges. The app is a great texting platform for sharing information, photos and videos while you’re travelling and is widely used. On top of that, the app lets you make long-distance phone calls for free, as well as video calls.
Keep your family and friends up-to-date with travel pictures. Quickly shoot a picture with Instagram, choose one of the filters to make it special if you like, and then share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
When it comes to photo editing, Snapseed is the app you want. The free photo-editing app is available for Android or iOS. You can take photos in the app and edit them, or edit photos already in your camera, including photos in JPG and RAW formats. Try it out and learn how to use it. It is pretty easy to get started.
This prey anti-theft app manages your digital accessories and lets you track and find your phone, laptop, or tablet even after they have been stolen or lost. It lets you retrieve photos remotely, wipe data, and prevents future loss by locking devices from across the street or across the world.
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Yrene lives in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and has travelled the world. Yes, that's me, an Entrepreneur, wilderness nut and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places. I write about things I love. Mostely.
It was good to meet you on my way up through BC! I am excited to read on your travels! You really have inspired me on my journey too!
Hello Jamie, I hope your trip to Alaska is going well. I’m happy to have met you as and thanks for the kind note and all. I wore the cool socks on my hike to Jaffrey Lakes near Pemberton a while back and was thinking of you. Please stay in touch, maybe I will see you in California!
Delphine du Toit
Hi Yrene, in your very helpful listing of useful apps for travelling you missed a critical one – probably because we developed it after you created the list. AutoWIKI is a location aware (GPS-based) audio (Text to speech) mobile app that works anywhere there is Internet and data access. We’re also working on developing offline packages for the areas where there is no coverage. It’s a Canadian product, co-creators live on the east and west coasts, so our data base is quite heavily populated with stories about places, people, events and things in the Maritimes and in Vancouver. In addition to our own database we draw on several other publicly accessible sites e.g. Wikipedia and several others, including First Nations land acknowledgements. We’ve tested it in 53 countries (English, French and Japanese), and on a road trip from BC to Nova Scotia. Please visit our website and contact me for more information. AND please download it and try out AutoWIKI – it is designed for road trips but is great in downtown areas for walking or cycling, – there’s lots of data and things to see and do
Thanks for the information. I did notice that your app is still a BETA version but I will download it and check it out.