Travelling can be a wonderful mind-expanding adventure, but it also comes along with its own unique set of challenges, like figuring out exchange rates, staying within our budget, keeping documents organised and safe, documenting our trip to preserve our memories and so on.
Fortunately for us, in this digital age, there's an abundance of free apps at our disposal to help cut through some of the trickier aspects of travel.
Use the World Explorer app to prepare for your next trip. Covering a large part of the globe, the app uses text and images giving you a good overview of the monuments and places you can look forward to visiting in your chosen destination.
It also provides links to more detailed info.
- Over 850,000 rated points of interest to discover in English
- Geolocation for instant information on what's nearby
- Convenient search for almost everything in the world
- Distances given in both miles and kilometres
User myralw61 says:
“For travel, or if you’re simply interested in learning about the demographics and points of interest of a particular place, this app works! It has a blend of text and pictures with lots of links to get further information if your inclined.”
Keeping an eye on the weather when you’re travelling is a must. Even in perpetually sunny places like the Caribbean, you can’t take good weather for granted, and knowing that a sudden deluge is on the way could save you a wasted trip to the beach.
Luckily, this free app Weather Live Free provides you current weather conditions and forecast wherever you are.
- Weather forecasts and local time for multiple locations all around the world
- Search for a specific location by postcode, post code, latitude/longitude, IP, place name
- Live weather scenes reflecting real-time weather conditions
- Adjustable layout to check basic information or use advanced settings
User BrandieLWoods says:
“This app is great! I can get on my computer and instantly know what the weather is going to be. I have no idea how the $2.99 would be any better, since I LOVE this as a free app.”
It's easy to overspend when travelling, so keeping on top of the finances is critical.
The BudgetTail Light app is a simple way of keeping track of what you spend and what you have left, all at a glance.
- Transactions organised in groups of payees or categories
- Finance chart of accounts based on the upcoming scheduled transactions
- Import bank statements from all popular formats
- Payment reminder
- All your finances in a glance
User SKCDH says:
“I need a simple and easy to use finance apps and finally I found this one! So easy to use and very helpful, thank you! I can review and tracking all my finance!”
Find.Exchange Currency Converter is a must-have app when travelling across countries that use different currencies.
This app gives real-time world currency exchange within a browser so you fully understand how much you’re spending.
- Access to 160 world currencies
- Live exchange rates are refreshed every 3 to 5 seconds
- Set alerts for specific currencies
- Calculate multiple currencies at once
User TravelheadK says:
“A converter that is easy to understand and easy to use.”
Successful travel requires good organisation and Evernote is the perfect tool to help you keep organised.
Store scans of important documents such as passports, driver’s licences, tickets and itineraries, just in case you lose the originals.
You can store a number of file formats such as PDFs of the itinerary, details for transportation and accommodation, web clippings, photographs or whatever else is useful to you—and then organise these in searchable notebooks and checklists that can be automatically synced between a computer and mobile devices.
- Everything you store in Evernote is searchable including pictures and annotated images
- Share the documents with family, friends, coworkers all in one app
- Gather, capture and store thoughts and ideas for the trip
- Clip and organise content from the web
"An amazing software for the Mac! I'm able to sync my notes both from my iPhone and iPad to my Mac, without any difficulty!”
6. Day One
Evernote can be used as a travel journal, but for the sole purpose of documenting a trip Day One is better.
Essentially a dedicated journaling app, Day One uses a clean, distraction-free interface that makes it ideal for logging the most cherished experiences from your trip. The good thing is that you can add photos to the text.
- Entries organised in calendar form
- Metadata automatically records location, time & date and weather
- Syncs across all devices
- Export options make it easy to share journals
- Ability to print journals with Day One Book
User 4bic says:
“It brings the joy of writing to life that I look forward to jotting down whatever I need. I love it for the way it’s beautifully designed and easy to start using.”
Chances are you’ll be taking a lot of photos on the trip, and chances are you’ll wish to transfer them from an iPhone or iPad so they don’t suck up all the device memory.
PhotoSync is a great way to transfer, back up and share the photos you take on an iPhone or iPad to a computer, ...and it does so via a Wi-Fi connection.
If you edited photos on a computer that you want to save to the camera roll, you can transfer them from the computer directly into the camera roll or selected album on the iPhone or iPad.
- No cable or iTunes needed
- Transfer photos and videos by drag & drop
- Copy, share and back up an unlimited number of full resolution photos, HD videos and RAW files
- Create folders on an iPhone or iPad for photos to be transferred to a Mac
User Mistachesta says:
“I had issues with PhotoSync initially and contacted the developers for support. A response came immediately and with precise, helpful advice. The problem was with my router and not the app but I was supported all the way through until the issue was resolved. Everything works brilliantly now and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a simple photo transfer solution between iPhone and Mac.
Road Trip Planner LITE is a great tool for those planning a road trip.
First, choose the map you want to use from Apple Maps, OpenStreet Maps or various other maps, then place route pins to plot a route and POI (Point of Interest) pins to mark points of interest along the route.
Add details such as arrival and departure dates and times, addresses, images, activities, costs and phone numbers to the pins for each location you plan to visit.
Add, remove or rearrange the pins in any order you wish and search for places such as restaurants or hotels near each pin.
The only thing the paid version of this app can do that the Lite version can’t is save files.
- Route pins and routes can be exported as GPX files that can be imported by many GPS devices
- Trips can be viewed between devices by using the Road Trip Planner Viewer app
- Share the planned trip with others who can make changes as needed
- A to-do checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything
User LordNorth says:
“This LITE version is very useful to me because I can share my trips with others who want to view all the details including the itinerary, the map route, the activity details, the contact information and notes, etc. Be sure to check out the included tutorial. The developer responds quickly to questions and suggestions.”
It can be very disorienting when travelling far away from home, and one of the things that can be a challenge is figuring out what time it is in any of the countries where you have family, friends or colleagues.
With the Hours app, you can display clocks from any of the time-zones where you have important connections on your computer and avoid the embarrassment of calling loved ones or colleagues at two in the morning.
- Quick access from the menu bar
- Add or delete as many cities as you want
- Easily rearrange your cities by drag and drop
- Display AM/PM format or 24H format
User DoodlePad says:
“I downloaded this a few minutes ago, simple interface, good feature set. Love the slider so I can slide over to a future time and see all cities change with me.”
And now for my personal favourite, Postcard, a simple app for creating emailable postcards from your own photos or images.
What makes this app so charming is that not only can you send personal photos from your travels, but you can also create your own stamp from your photos.
The app automatically updates the postmark, and you have the option of adding the name of the city or country you’re visiting to the postmark.
User Cham_Eli says:
“Lovely way to make customised postcards. All you need is two pictures and your message. Awesome.”
Well there you have it, the ten most useful free Mac apps for travel enthusiasts currently to be found in the App Store. If you have a favourite that I haven’t mentioned, please drop a mention in the comments.