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Budget-Travel : Best Travel Apps For Europe

If you've got Europe in your travel plans, be sure to know these must-have travel apps. They're designed to maximize your time, minimize your expenses, and have the best travel experience.

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By Eglė

Published: Sep 25, 2023 min read

Budget-Travel : Best Travel Apps For Europe

During my past year backpacking across Europe, I understood that some travelers need to pay more attention to several apps that are game-changers for budget travelers. These apps have been my favorite tools, assisting me in everything from snagging affordable tickets and uncovering local dining gems to discovering cost-effective activities. My motto is "sharing is caring," so I assure you'll also be happy to read about the best travel apps for Europe.

My Gems - Best Travel App to Enjoy For Europe:

  1. Skyscanner
  2. Google Flights 
  3. Omio (formerly GoEuro)
  4. Rome2Rio
  5. FlixBus
  6. BlaBlaCar
  7. CityMapper
  8. Google Maps
  9. Uber
  10. Bolt
  11. RatePunk
  12. HostelWorld
  13. Too Good To Go
  14. Tandem
  15. Trail Wallet
  16. Timeout
  17. Free Tours
  18. GetYourGuide
  19. Tripline
  20. Revolut

1. Skyscanner

Why it's a favorite: Finding the best flight deals.

As someone who traveled on a budget, Skyscanner was my go-to for its extensive search parameters and ability to compare prices from various airlines. Its "Everywhere" feature was particularly intriguing when I was unsure of my next destination.

2.Google Flights

Why it’s a favorite: Finding the best flight deals.

Navigating the sea of airlines to find the perfect flight can be daunting. While Skyscanner was my initial choice due to its "Everywhere" feature, Google Flights quickly became another favorite. With its intuitive interface, it gave me insights into the best days to fly by showing price trends. Additionally, its 'Explore' option often inspired me when I was undecided about my next European destination. Together, these platforms ensured that I was always getting the best deal and flying efficiently. Few months ago, I shared Google Flights Guidance so people could efficiently navigate this tool. 

3. Omio (formerly GoEuro)

Why it's a favorite: Navigating transport systems.

Omio streamlined the process of finding the best transport options, whether by bus, train, or flight, making inter-country travel in Europe a breeze. It was the first app I used for my first backpacking trip in order to find the most affordable price for buses.
Omio elegantly simplifies the maze of choosing transportation - be it trains, buses, or flights - into a single platform, making inter-city travel planning straightforward and efficient. Whether I was plotting a bus from Frankfurt to Barcelona, Omio provided a comparative lens on schedules, prices, and durations. The intuitive interface made bookings swift, and the inclusion of e-tickets in many instances removed the need for physical prints, making travel truly modern and eco-friendly. Additionally, with real-time updates and alerts, I was always informed about any schedule changes or disruptions. Omio took the guesswork out of European transit, allowing me to focus on the journey and the memories, rather than the nitty-gritty of transportation logistics.

4. Rome2Rio

Why it's indispensable: Comprehensive route comparisons at your fingertips (yes, similar to Omio)

One of the frequent challenges faced while traveling is figuring out the best way to get from Point A to Point B. Enter Rome2Rio, a travel planning tool that provides various transportation options between two destinations. Whether it's by plane, train, bus, ferry, or car, Rome2Rio lays out all possible routes, complete with estimated costs, durations, and schedules.

Using Rome2Rio on my European adventures was akin to having a personal travel agent in my pocket. Inputting a start and end point gave me a visual layout of the journey, allowing me to weigh factors like cost, time, and convenience. Especially in Europe, with its dense transportation networks, Rome2Rio helped uncover routes I hadn’t even considered.

For travelers who enjoy flexibility and informed decision-making, Rome2Rio is a must-have tool. It removes the guesswork from travel planning and ensures you can craft a journey tailored to your specific needs and desires.

5.FlixBus

Why it's a favorite: Extensive network and wallet-friendly prices.

When traveling through Europe, buses might not always be the first mode of transport that comes to mind. However, FlixBus offers competitive rates, often undercutting trains and flights. Moreover, they often have sales and deals, allowing you to snag tickets for just a few euros. But don't be fooled by the low prices. The buses themselves are modern, equipped with free Wi-Fi, power outlets, and comfortable seating. Some longer routes even offer in-bus entertainment systems akin to what you might find on planes.

With its signature green fleet, FlixBus has an expansive network covering thousands of destinations across the continent. From major metropolises to smaller towns, it's likely that FlixBus has a route that fits your itinerary. Using the app during my travels was a breeze. Its clean interface allowed me to quickly book tickets, reserve the seat,  check bus schedules, and even track buses in real-time.

Beyond just the tangible features, FlixBus also emphasizes sustainability. Their long-distance buses are among the most eco-friendly modes of transport, making it a great choice for the environmentally conscious traveler. 

6. BlaBlaCar

Why it's a favorite: Cost-effective and eco-friendly ridesharing.

While trains and buses are fantastic for intercity travels, nothing beats the authenticity of sharing a ride with a local. Enter BlaBlaCar, Europe's leading carpooling platform. The premise is simple: Drivers heading from one city to another offer empty seats in their car for a fraction of the cost of a train or bus ticket. As a traveler, this provided me not only with an affordable travel option but also the chance to engage with locals, understand their perspective, and even grab some travel tips that aren't mentioned in guidebooks. 

The app is incredibly user-friendly, allowing you to search for routes, check out driver profiles, and even see reviews from past travelers. The "BlaBla" in its name signifies the chat level of the driver — from "Bla" (someone who's more silent) to "BlaBlaBla" (someone who's quite chatty). This feature ensures you know what you're getting into, especially if you're in the mood for some conversation or would rather enjoy the scenery in silence. 

7. CityMapper

Why it's a favourite: Seamless urban navigation 

Navigating bustling European cities can sometimes feel like deciphering a complex puzzle. That's where CityMapper comes into play, streamlining the urban travel experience. CityMapper is a dynamic public transit and mapping service tailored to make metropolitan travel as effortless as possible. Covering a multitude of transport modes, from the simplicity of walking to the intricacies of train timetables, the app provides comprehensive guidance for your journey.

A feature I particularly treasure of this app is the ability to save routes offline. By searching my intended route while connected to WiFi, I can conveniently access the details later, ensuring I remain on track even in the absence of data connectivity.

CityMapper's extensive coverage encompasses numerous cities, not just in Europe but globally. For many travelers and locals alike, it's lauded as the premier map application for European escapades, offering a seamless blend of accuracy, efficiency, and user-friendliness.
 

8.Google Maps

Why it's a favourite: Best mapping and navigation, full of local insights

Google Maps is arguably the quintessential travel companion in today's digital age. No matter where you find yourself on the European continent, from the narrow alleys of Venice to the sprawling boulevards of Berlin, this app ensures you never truly feel lost.

While its primary function is providing accurate mapping and navigation, what sets Google Maps apart is its exhaustive database and plethora of auxiliary features. Whether you're driving, walking, cycling, or using public transport, Google Maps offers real-time route guidance, constantly updating based on current traffic conditions and transit schedules.

Google Maps served not just as a navigator but also as an invaluable local guide. With its detailed user reviews, ratings, and photos of establishments, I could swiftly ascertain the quality of a nearby café or determine if a particular landmark was worth the detour. The 'Explore' function is particularly useful, highlighting local attractions, eateries, and events based on your current location.

Another aspect that I found especially handy was the offline maps feature. By downloading specific city or region maps while connected to WiFi, I could navigate confidently even in areas with spotty data reception.

While other apps might offer specialized features for particular cities or modes of transport, Google Maps brings the entire world, including the diverse landscapes of Europe, to your fingertips. Its universal presence, consistent updates, and integration of local insights make it a must-have tool for every traveler.

9. Uber

Why it’s a favorite: Great interface

Uber has truly revolutionized the way I travel. Whether I'm in my home city or exploring a new destination in Europe, Uber remains a familiar platform for hailing rides on the go. It's a relief not to grapple with language barriers when trying to get from point A to point B. The app's transparent pricing, route tracking, and rating system provide additional layers of comfort. Another plus? The cashless transactions eliminate any currency conversion hassles, especially helpful when I'm hopping between countries. For those nights when I'm unsure about public transportation or simply want a direct ride back to my accommodation, Uber is my trusty fallback.

10. Bolt 

Why it's favorite: Rapid, reliable, and cost-effective urban transportation

Originating from Estonia, Bolt has redefined urban transport across many European cities by offering an affordable and efficient alternative to traditional taxis. Its user-friendly interface makes hailing rides straightforward, with transparent fare estimates ensuring no surprises. I've frequently relied on Bolt during my European travels, especially for those spontaneous moments or quick, direct routes. Also, not every country supports Uber, that's why you always should have the Bolt app. Beyond its convenience, what sets Bolt apart is its commitment to carbon neutrality, adding a touch of eco-friendliness to my journeys.

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11. RatePunk

Why it’s a favorite:  Ultimate Hotel Booking Companion

In today's vast digital landscape, multiple online travel agencies constantly claim to offer the "best hotel prices." But the truth? The price they quote often hinges on the commission they receive from hotels, resulting in fluctuating prices across platforms. This disparity means searching manually for the fairest deal might feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Enter RatePunk, a revolutionary browser extension that transforms this tedious task into a seamless experience.

With RatePunk, once you land on a hotel's booking page, the extension automatically springs into action. A pop-up reveals the prices across various booking platforms, detailing potential savings with near-perfect accuracy. This ensures you not only save money but precious time too.

But the benefits don't stop after booking. Even with your reservation locked in, RatePunk remains vigilant. It continuously monitors your booking, and if a price drop occurs before your check-in, it promptly alerts you, offering an opportunity to rebook and bank those extra savings.

And if that wasn't enough, RatePunk introduces a rewarding cashback system. By booking through participating providers via the RatePunk extension, you stand a chance to accumulate RatePunk coins based on your total booking value. These coins remain pending until your stay concludes, post which they're confirmed, translating into tangible cashback.

Besides assisting in snagging the most economical deal, RatePunk also guides you in selecting the ideal hotel. It offers summarized reviews, a comprehensive rating system, and highlights essential hotel features. This ensures that whether it's a brief weekend escapade or a prolonged vacation, your accommodation choice is impeccable. It works on Airbnb too. 

P.S. I didn't include other online travel agencies (OTA) such as Booking, AgodaExpediaKayak, Google Hotels and others, cause each of us has our favorite. At the moment, my favorite is RatePunk. 

12.Hostelworld

Why it's a favorite: Affordable accommodations (if you're into hostels).

Navigating the vast array of accommodation options in Europe can be daunting, especially when you're on a tight budget. That's where Hostelworld shines as a beacon for those inclined towards hostel stays. Yes, this type of accommodation is not for everyone, but sometimes even hostels have single/double rooms. 

One of the significant advantages of Hostelworld is its community of travelers who leave reviews and ratings. These insights offer a glimpse into the actual hostel experience, beyond just the promotional images and descriptions. You can learn about the cleanliness, safety, atmosphere, and even tips on the best rooms or beds. Moreover, hostels are inherently social accommodations. They often have communal areas, organize events, or even offer group tours. By using Hostelworld, you can find places known for their vibrant communal vibes, ensuring that even if you're traveling solo, you won't ever feel alone.

13.Too Good To Go

Why it's a favorite: Combatting food waste while enjoying discounted meals.

In a world where food wastage is a mounting concern, Too Good To Go offers a win-win solution for both consumers and businesses across Europe. Too Good To Go addresses a significant problem: food waste. By connecting consumers with restaurants and stores that have unsold food at the end of the day, the app plays a pivotal role in reducing the amount of food that ends up in landfills.

For the savvy traveler, this app provides an opportunity to savor dishes from cafes, bakeries, and even high-end restaurants at a fraction of the regular price. It's a delightful surprise every time you pick up a "Magic Bag" – you never know exactly what you'll get, but it's always at a discount.

The app's design is intuitive. After setting your location, you can quickly browse participating businesses nearby, see pick-up times, and reserve your order with a few taps. Payment is secure and straightforward within the app. The main drawback - it does not work in every country. 

14. Tandem

Why it's a favorite: Language exchange and making friends.

Most of the time, if you travel solo, you’ll want to meet somebody to hang around. In this case some of my friends use Bumble, while I prefer Tandem. It is more than just a language-learning app; it's a global community that bridges cultural gaps. People from various corners of the world come together with a shared goal of enhancing their linguistic skills. The platform facilitates genuine connections, as it's rooted in mutual benefit: you teach a language you're proficient in, and in return, learn from a native speaker of the language you're eager to grasp. I made several friends by offering English conversations in exchange for practicing my French or Spanish. And, I’ve met them when I visited their countries. Beyond the language exchange, these interactions often led to deep cultural exchanges, giving insights into local traditions, cuisines, and daily life. The friendships I forged on Tandem not only improved my language skills but also enriched my understanding of the world.

15. Trail Wallet

Why it's a favorite: Budget tracking.

Traveling in Europe presents a spectrum of experiences, from affordable hidden gems to luxurious world-famous spots. Tracking money spent requires diligence, and that's where Trail Wallet shines. This app is tailored specifically for travelers, ensuring that even when caught up in the excitement of exploring new places, one doesn't lose sight of their financial boundaries. Europe can get pricey, and to ensure I stayed within budget, I used Trail Wallet. By simply inputting my expenses, I could easily monitor my daily spending, set daily or trip budgets, and even view which categories (like food, transport, or entertainment) were consuming the most. Its user-friendly interface and visual graphs provided a clear overview, making the often daunting task of budget management feel almost effortless. The peace of mind Trail Wallet brought allowed me to enjoy my European adventure without the looming worry of overspending.

16.Timeout

Why it's a favorite: Local insights and event discovery.

Exploring a new city's vibrant culture and pulsating rhythm requires more than just a map; it demands insights into its daily happenings and hidden gems. Timeout seamlessly bridges this gap, acting as an urban explorer's compass, pointing towards the most intriguing events, dining spots, and experiences tailored to each city's unique character. With cities like Europe's bustling capitals constantly evolving, it's easy to miss out on spontaneous events or newly opened venues. Timeout ensures that I'm always in the know. By offering expert recommendations and up-to-date listings, it has consistently introduced me to unforgettable experiences, from hole-in-the-wall cafes in Paris to avant-garde theater in London. The app's intuitive design allows for quick searches, and its curated content guarantees quality. With Timeout, my urban adventures are always enriched with local flavor, ensuring every trip becomes a collection of memorable experiences.

17.Free Tours

Why it's a favorite: Authentic local experiences without the hefty price tag.

Traveling is as much about understanding local cultures and histories as it is about sightseeing. Free Tours offer travelers a chance to delve deep into a city's soul, guided by locals who are passionate about sharing their home's stories. While wandering through Europe's cobbled streets and historic squares, I often found that the most memorable insights came from these tours. (You must take a walking tour in Lisbon). They provided a raw, uncommercialized perspective that standard tours often miss. The "pay-what-you-feel" model ensures accessibility for travelers on all budgets, allowing everyone to appreciate the experience and then contribute based on their capacity and perceived value. 

18.GetYourGuide

Why it's a favorite: Simplifying discovery and booking of unique experiences

Every destination has its highlights, but often, the most memorable moments come from experiences curated with a traveler's interest at heart. GetYourGuide serves as a comprehensive platform, connecting explorers with local tours, attractions, and activities tailored to diverse tastes and preferences. With with app you can basically buy a ticket to every famous museum or attraction. Its easy-to-use interface provides detailed descriptions, user reviews, and crisp photographs, ensuring informed decisions. What sets GetYourGuide apart is the convenience of instant bookings, digital tickets, and organized schedules. It means I could focus more on enjoying the journey rather than logistics. 

19.Tripline

Why it's a favorite: Visual itinerary planning and sharing.

Journeying through multiple destinations demands not just passion, but meticulous planning. I love to do it myself, but some of my friends prefer Tripline. Tripline takes the often overwhelming task of itinerary creation and transforms it into a visually delightful experience, allowing travelers to map out their adventures step by step. Europe, with its dense tapestry of cities and cultures, presents the perfect canvas for Tripline users. By plotting your journey on the app, you can easily visualize routes, durations, and stops, making the process more tangible and manageable. Tripline's interactive maps allows you to zoom into specific regions, ensuring no hidden gem went unnoticed. But beyond personal planning, what truly sets Tripline apart is its community aspect. You can share your itineraries with fellow travelers, get feedback, or even inspire someone else's journey. It's not just about mapping out a trip; it's about crafting a story and sharing that narrative with a like-minded community. Tripline ensures that every journey, from its inception to its culmination, is a beautifully chronicled adventure.

20.Revolut

Why it's a favorite: Seamless international financial transactions and travel budgeting

Revolut changed the game by offering a platform that effortlessly combines banking, currency exchange, and budgeting tools, tailored specifically for the global traveler. As I traveled through Europe, the app became an indispensable tool, providing real-time exchange rates, allowing me to spend in local currencies without exorbitant fees (that was amazing), and offering instant payment notifications to keep track of expenditures. Beyond just transactions, Revolut's built-in budgeting features and analytics provided an insightful snapshot of my spending habits, ensuring I remained within my travel budget. Its security features, like the ability to instantly freeze and unfreeze the card via the app, gave an added peace of mind.

Did I forget to mention something? Please, drop the comment below, or simply share your favorite app…

Sep 25, 2023

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