13 Free Must-Have Travel Apps For 2020

by Sasha Selkirk

Gone are the days of crumpled up paper maps and hastily scrawled messages on the back of postcards.  (which inevitably never actually make it to a post box until you’re already home!) It’s all about travel apps! We belong to the technology generation and although (most of us) remember life before our smartphone, we have evolved into digital dependency – especially when it comes to travel.

What’s that? Google it. Where am I? Google maps it. What are the best travel apps for 2020? Ask the Guidebook. Here’s the definitive list of what travel apps you need for travelling in 2020:




Welcome to a world of Wi-Fi-less mapping. If every traveller downloaded this app, we’d see a lot less backpack clad freeloaders hovering around Starbucks trying to get up Google Maps. Download the maps in advance to access them offline off the grid.



This is the best flight tracker I’ve come across – and it’s free! The app tracks the real-time flight status and location of your flight, which is super handy for when you’re picking up a friend or delayed yourself.




For long-haul travellers, this app is revolutionary. I can see the raised eyebrows of budget-savvy readers but, in actual fact, purchasing one-time lounge access for long layovers is often the most economical answer. Complimentary food, comfortable rest and – the crème-de-la-crème – a shower! LoungeBuddy tells you the price, lets you know which credit cardholders get free access and lets you book passes. Simples.



I’m the laziest traveller. In fact, I rarely plan anything past booking my flight, but for those that tend more to method than madness in their travels, this travel itinerary app is unbeatable. Create and share an itinerary, track your spending and sync it with your calendar.




With over 30 languages available, duolingo is one of my favourite language learning apps. It’s true, you won’t find yourself fluent using the app alone but it’s a great way to keep up your practice, stay motivated and build your vocabulary without it being a chore.



Uber isn’t just for late-night stumbles home and oversleeping on a workday. The app operates in over 60 countries and 400 cities worldwide. It’s a great way to get around an unfamiliar city – especially if you don’t speak the language! If only it had been around when I was in China…




If you’re travelling in a group, this app lets you keep tabs on who got what. Gone are the days of splitting bills and counting coins, Splitwise keeps score of the spending as you go and then you can settle up any difference at the end.


Caxton FX

I swear by my pre-paid travel card: you get the best exchange rate, free withdrawals and the security of knowing that, should something happen, you only have a small amount of money on the card anyway. With the app, you can reload as you go – monitor your spending and carry only what you need. I use Caxton, but I hear good things about Revolut and Starling too.


XE Currency Exchange


Ever blundered off a long-haul flight groggy from jet lag and bleary-eyed from chain-watching movies for the last 10 hours to find out your taxi driver only takes cash? You find yourself faced with the decision of withdrawing 50 of the local currency or 5000 and no idea if the latter will make you a millionaire or not even cover a trip to the public toilet. XE is your lifeline at the ATM and your phone-a-friend for that “exceptional price” at the local market.


BBC Weather

Brits love a good natter about the weather, and on holiday it’s even more vital than ever to be in the know. Plan your itinerary around the forecast by keeping an eye on the app.

Pic of cristo view from google drive

5 hours of steep inclines and treacherous trails later, it was all worth it for that incredible view. Guess I should have checked BBC Weather first….


Google Translate

There’s a reason Google is well on it’s way to world domination…this app is pure genius. Use the microphone to record the phrase you need translating or capture the text with your camera.




Keep in touch with the friends you make along the way because if you’re not already in a WhatsApp group together, are you even friends?  With 1.5 billion users globally, WhatsApp is the world’s most popular instant messaging app, connecting people from 180 countries and supporting 60 different languages.



WeChat is China’s equivalent of the above, but with ten times more functions. Always one step ahead of the technological game, the Chinese don’t exchange numbers anymore – they share QR Codes. WeChat is used for everything and anything: checking out at the supermarket, paying for taxi & getting into the underground.


It’s a New Year and time for new adventures so let’s get packing. Passport? Check! Wallet? Check! The best travel apps for 2020? Check!  

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