In December, I took a big step that a lot of young people in Ireland have been doing in the past few years. I quit my job, packed up, a went to Australia for a year. For those of you who are thinking about it, I can tell you that yes, it is scary but so worth it. After 3 months, I’ve been to some awesome places. I’ve found a decent paying job, and most importantly, made some great friends.
 
But all this wouldn’t have been possible without technology. How people back in the day did this without it amazes me. So I’ve put together a list of travel apps that won’t only help you travel Australia, but most of the world.

Google Maps

This one is arguably the most obvious and essential of travel apps. Yes, it comes pre-installed on Android, but you can delete it if you need a bit of extra space. You will use this almost every day on your travels. It shows the quickest routes to get to places whether it’s on foot, by car, or by public transport. Recent updates added taxi services like Hailo and Uber in certain countries. Google Maps also gives you times for trains and buses so you get to your destination when you intend to.
maps and the best travel apps
The best feature is WiFi downloads. In the hotel, you can download the map data for a massive area so a lack of data can’t stop you. If you need a bit of extra space, delete a couple of other apps you don’t need. First head on the block might be Play Newsstand, Play Games or Play Movies and TV. But do not touch your precious maps, the most essential of travel apps.

WiFi Finder

If you’re like me and go travelling with a locked phone and can’t get a SIM card, this app is a God send. It is extremely difficult to find free WiFi in Australia. The restaurants don’t give you WiFi. The bars don’t give you WiFi. My own job with a company who sells WiFi doesn’t give you WiFi. Having WiFi is the only way I can contact people right now, generally through Facebook. So this is a handy app to have, especially if you’re travelling alone. It is also is compatible in 144 countries. Some iPhone users might have spotted this appearing in the Facebook app.

Zomato

Again, I can’t speak for all countries, but Australia is a very, very expensive place. If you’re going out for dinner, for a main course alone you’re looking at over $30. A full meal for 2 it’s easily over $100. For a pint in most places, you’re looking at $12 give or take. So let me introduce you to Zomato, another God send, particularly for us Irish. Zomato gives you a list of BYOB restaurants in Oz. That’s right, you can bring your own beer to restaurants. Land in, order your food and crack open your bottle of beer or wine you bought in you local offie. The savings are obvious as the offie is usually half the price you’d pay at most restaurants. Zomato offers different cuisines, indoor, outdoor and price range. And it also gives you rating system and reviews. If you like dining out, Zomato is your best friend.

Tripadvisor/AirBnB

Two similar apps here which can be particularly handy for the backpackers out there. These apps give you a selection of accommodation available at your destination. You’ll also have prices, ratings and reviews at hand. Even if you are coming over for a year, it’s still nice to have these handy if you plan on a few weekends away in Australia. Or if you decide to get a flight to Vietnam and do a Top Gear job on a couple of bikes through the country. Which brings me to my next app.

Skyscanner

There are some decent deals out there for flights if you’re willing to look hard enough. Skyscanner does all the work for you. If you’re travelling Europe, you could get from one country to another for under €100. Same goes for Asia. And if you’re in Australia, getting from Perth to Brisbane can cost you almost $300. Booking a few weeks ahead could save you a decent few quid. Travel apps that save money are great

Instagram

If you are going to go to all these places, you might as well make a few people jealous while you’re at it. You can put up your pics, daily stories and even live stream on your feed. Throw in a few hashtags and who knows? You might become one of those people who starts getting paid to travel the world. My username is Deanahern92 if you want to see what you’re missing out on.

Mobile banking app

The last thing you need is to run out of money from reckless spending while seeing the world. All those landmarks, new restaurants and buying $12 pints add up. This is handy to keep track of your funds and apply for emergency loans if it gets to that point.

drunk ATM usageSpotify

This one I can’t stress enough. Getting to Australia is no walk in the park. I had an hour long flight to a Heathrow, a 13-hour flight to Hong Kong and a 7-hour flight to Perth. I didn’t think I’d make it there alive knowing I had a 7-hour flight ahead of me after a 13 hour one. Granted, there are films on the flights. But a lot of travelling involves long bus journeys that don’t give you the luxury of movies. Also, if you plan on interrailing or backpacking, music can be a release from the loneliness you can feel. Spotify is a game changer. Which brings me to my next and final app.

Netflix

Since Netflix has now given us downloadable movies, this is possibly the very best travel app out there. Netflix can be a life saver on those long bus trips. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury of this on my way over. But if you plan on taking a trip anytime soon, make sure you load up on a few films and series. Don’t get me wrong, travelling is fun, but it can be boring. Having shows to watch could be the difference between you going home or keeping the party going.
 
So there you have it. The best travel apps to make sure you don’t end up in the fetal position on a side street in Indonesia asking for your mommy to send you funds to stay in a bug ridden hotel for a night.
 
But in all seriousness, coming to Australia is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. If you’re stuck in a job that you hate, finished college and want to find yourself, or need a break from the same old clubs and pubs you’ve been going to since you were 18, just do it. Don’t think about it. Save some cash, quit your job or take some time off and pack up your things and go. As I said before, I’ve made some great friends. I’ve been on secluded beaches on islands I didn’t even know existed and snorkelled with clown fish. I can go to a different beach every weekend within an hours drive. And I’ve a freakin’ pool in my back garden.
 
I can finally say, ‘I’m living the life.’