My 5 Favorite Travel Apps
1. Happy Cow
As a vegan who loves to travel it is not always easy. I've certainly made a misstep or two as language barriers can sometimes be hard when ordering vegan food. In the future I will definitely be brushing up on how to ask for no dairy and no meat as the word "vegan" is similar to the word for vegetarian in many languages. HappyCow is a great app for finding vegan restaurants nearby to you anywhere you are in the world. It has a location tool that finds fully vegan restaurants and restaurants with vegan options near you. You can also use it to plan where you are going to eat on your trips ahead of time and you can save your favorite restaurants for easy access and directions. I used this app to find many of the restaurants I ate at while I was in Ireland. See what I ate in Ireland at the link here.
Couchsurfing is such a cool app. I just discovered it this year as I was looking for budget friendly ways to see Ireland. In a way it is a Facebook for travelers. It is mainly used to find locals that are accepting visitors into their homes free of charge. The ideology behind it is that if you were ever in my area I would be happy to lend my couch to you and visa versa. It is definitely a cool app for finding likeminded positive people with a desire to travel. You can add friends just like on Facebook. You can notify the app is you are seeking a host in a specific area or accepting guests. Some people may question the safety of this. As a woman it is important to keep yourself out of compromising situations, however each host has the opportunity to get verified through the app and travelers who have stayed with a host can leave ratings and reviews on their page. If a host is verified and has positive feedback it will give you piece of mind that it is safe to stay with them. Although in some areas I bet you can find hosts on short notice it is much more effective to book your hosts before you travel. A lot of them are eager to meet new people, show you around their areas, and may even offer you a ride of some sort so definitely look into it. Even if you aren't inclined to couch surf get this app anyways. You can search events near you as well as request hangouts with any travelers nearby looking to socialize.
Hostelworld is a great app. It is a quick and easy to use booking service for hostels accessible right from your phone. In Ireland I wanted to go to the Cliffs of Moher so I downloaded this app and searched for hostels in Galway. I booked the first one that came up, Galway City Hostel, at an affordable rate for a few nights. I loved it there. It was clean and I felt very safe. You needed a passcode to get in the front door, a separate key to your room, and they gave me a lock to borrow to secure my belongings. I booked my tour to the Cliffs of Moher directly through their front desk, they were super friendly and helpful. The common area also had a very cozy vibe with lots of blankets, pillows, and a community kitchen. I made some great friends at this hostel who where happy to explore the city with me and grab some pints at some fun local pubs. I later discovered Galway City Hostel is the top rated hostel in Ireland and its not without good reason. It was the highlight of my trip and I ended up extending my stay by a night because I just couldn't leave.
Duolingo is a fun and free language app! Admittedly I have just recently downloaded it but I am going to be using it to brush up on my high school Spanish before visiting Guatemala in May and to try and learn some Italian before visiting Italy in June. I am so glad I have the opportunity to travel and I want to start holding myself more accountable for expanding my language skills. Duolingo uses quick and fun lessons so you can use it casually whenever you have some spare time.
Tinder. Yes, tinder. Too many people are ashamed to admit they use tinder. However it is definitely not "just a hookup app." Actually many of my friends are in succesful relationships off of Tinder but that is besides the point. Tinder is a great social app to use while traveling. While in Galway I was traveling alone. I used Tinder to find friends to go out with. I put in my bio that i was traveling and wanted to experience some of the nightlife that Galway had to offer and then I just starting swiping right on everyone. For this use you could adjust your preferences to include both genders if it does not already and you can find more people this way. I got a flood of messages from people who were willing to meet up and show me the area. As always be safe and smart. If you get a weird vibe, don't meet the person. Make sure to always meet people in a public place where lots of other people will be, such as a restaurant, coffee shop, or bar. Galway was a very safe city so I didn't mind using Tinder this way. Me and my friends that I met at Galway City Hostel met up with three Dublin locals who had road tripped out to Galways at a bar called The Quays. We had a blast and later on they showed us on of their favorite local clubs, Roisin Dubh, that stayed open later than the bar we were at. Using Tinder social is also good for meeting people while traveling. My roommate and I made friends with two lovely guys from Sweden who are on internships in Providence by using tinder social. Tinder social is great because there isn't any pressure about the hookup stigma that follows regular tinder matches. It is just about meeting and going out with new people who you might not have normally met.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and learned something from it :) Wander often, wonder always