We live in a mobile world saturated with apps, and while not all of them are actually worth investing your time (or money) into, there are quite a few that can actually help you save money and travel better. These travel apps do everything from tracking your travel expenses and unearthing deals on hotels and car rentals to helping you skip the line at immigration or find the cheapest gas to fuel up your car.
We’ve put together this list of our favorite travel apps designed for travelers who want to save money and travel smart.
For the flexible or last-minute traveler, HotelTonight offers incredible deals on hotel rooms for same-day bookings (as well as bookings in the near future). The savings can be significant and every listing has photos and traveler reviews so you know exactly what you’re getting for the price.
If you’ve got a long layover or need somewhere to crash for a few hours during the day, the Dayuse app lets you access a selection of hotels where you can book a room with up to 75% off an overnight stay. You pay by the hour, and cancellation is free up until the last minute.
Roomer offers hotels at discounted rates up to 80% off. On the flipside, the app also allows you to sell off a nonrefundable hotel reservation, so if you’ve booked a room you’re no longer able to use, give Roomer the details of your booking, and they may be able to resell the room so you don’t lose (all) the money you’ve paid.
Airbnb lets you book accommodations from a roster of over four million vacation home rentals in more than 191 countries. You’ll often find incredible accommodations ranging from villas to apartments to yurts for a fraction of the cost of a hotel booking and you can choose from the entire home or a private room in a shared space.
Hostelworld is hands-down the best tool for searching hostel dorm accommodations and private rooms around the world. The app lets you search for hostels using a wide range of filters, including price, location, and ratings.
Couchsurfing (staying for free on a stranger’s couch or in their spare room) isn’t for everyone, but proponents of the community often recommend it as a great way to meet locals—while saving a lot of cash on accommodations. Couchsurfing often isn’t just about the free room; it’s also a sort of cultural exchange between guests and hosts so some degree of interaction is expected.
Mint is one of the best free money management and financial tracking apps. It tracks all your info from your bank accounts, credit cards, bills, and investments in one place to show you where your money goes and how you can spend and save better.
Ibotta makes it easy to earn cash back rewards on almost every purchase, including everyday essentials like groceries. You can use Ibotta if you’re shopping, traveling, dining out or making in-app purchases, and you’ll see the cash back in your account.
Acorns automatically invests the spare change from all your purchases with round-ups (rounding your purchase to the nearest dollar) or recurring investments. Your money will go into a diversified smart portfolio built by experts so it’s an easy way to invest small amounts that can have a big impact over time.
RetailMeNot finds printable coupons, gift cards, and online discount codes in over 35 categories—including everything from food to travel. It has cash back savings and a handy “Near Me” feature to find deals close to where you are, even as you’re traveling (where available).
Digit helps you save money, pay off debt, and meet your financial goals (i.e. that international trip) by analyzing your daily expenditures and then moving the right amount of savings into your Digit account. You don’t even have to think about it; in a matter of months, you’ll have cash banked in a way that doesn’t disrupt your lifestyle.
XE is a currency exchange app that lets you calculate prices with the currency converter and monitor up to 10 different currencies of your choice. You’ll have a better understanding of what you’re spending and whether or not you’re getting ripped off in currency exchanges, plus you can use the app offline.
Trail Wallet makes it easy to track your expenses while on the road. Organize your expenses by trip or month, set a daily budget, add your expenses (you can scan your bills and receipts), and then review how you’re doing with the app’s insightful breakdowns.
Tripcoin works much the same way as Trail Wallet by making it easy to record and track expenses throughout your trip. It also comes with a handy currency conversion feature that automatically converts each amount you input based on your location.
The incredibly handy Gasbuddy app lets drivers find the nearest gas station with the lowest-priced gas. Even using this app day-to-day could save you a few hundred dollars per year on gas if you drive frequently, and that’s a lot of vacation savings.
Turo is a car-sharing marketplace where you can book a vehicle from a local host in the US, Canada, the UK, or Germany. It’s an affordable alternative to traditional car rental services, plus they also offer some unique wheels (like sports cars and campervans).
Getaround is another peer-to-peer car-sharing app much like Turo, but providing on-demand rentals by the hour or day. It’s great if you only need a car for day trips but don’t want the hassle of multiple trips to the car rental office. It’s currently available in six US cities.
Zipcar is another car rental service that lets you locate vehicles in your area to rent by the hour or day in the US, UK, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Iceland, Turkey, and Canada. Gas, insurance, mileage, and parking is included in your reservation so there are no surprise fees and it’s easy to have the car only when you need it.
BlaBlaCar is a global long-distance carpooling service that lets you ride along with a driver who is going the same way and contribute to gas expenses. It’s a more modern, safer, and more convenient version of hitchhiking, and you might make a buddy in the process.
Lyft is a ridesharing service that lets you request a ride straight from the app, get picked up by a trusted community driver, and then get dropped off at your destination at a more affordable rate than a taxi. Note: Lyft is only available in the United States (at the moment).
Uber is the pioneer of ridesharing apps and is arguably more popular than Lyft (perhaps because it’s global). It’s particularly handy while traveling because you can track the route via the app so you never have to worry about a driver trying to take you the long way for a higher fare.
MyTaxi is Europe’s biggest licensed taxi app (available in 100+ cities, including many where Uber doesn’t operate), allowing you to book, track, and pay for a taxi directly in-app. You can book in advance and get fare estimates for your journey.
With Rome2rio, simply input your starting point and end destination (whether it’s an address or a landmark) and you’ll instantly get results for all your best travel options—including plane, train, car, bus, or ferry—so you can compare time and costs for various options.
Transit is an incredibly comprehensive real-time transport app for finding the best route around a city. The design is beautiful and you can select which types of transit you want to see (only subway, for example) to remove even more clutter. You’ll even get upcoming departure times for metro lines near you, without ever having to tap a button.
Cabify is another ridesharing app with all the same features as Lyft and Uber, but with some pretty nifty personalization options: you can select your music, ask the driver to open the door for you, and request air-conditioning (a little high maintenance, maybe). It’s available in Portugal, Spain, and some Caribbean and South American countries.
You guessed it: Bike Share Buddy is a bike-sharing app. It helps you quickly find bike sharing stations in 45 countries around the world.
SpotHero makes it convenient to find and reserve parking in major US cities by giving you insider access to thousands of garages, lots, and valets. Plus you can save up to 50% off by booking in advance.
MiFlight lets you know how long the security line is at over 100 of the busiest US airports and an additional 100 airports globally. The app collects data from users and is pretty accurate within a few minutes, so you’ll know if you really have to the airport three hours before your flight or if you can wait a bit.
Mobile Passport allows US citizens and Canadian visitors to submit their passport and declaration forms to US Customs and Border Protection via the app rather than filling out traditional forms. From there, users can access expedited Mobile Passport lanes, which can be significantly shorter than the general queue.
Maps.me is a free app that functions similarly to Google Maps and other mapping software. However, its big perk is that it has entirely offline maps with incredibly detailed turn-by-turn navigation. No cell data required!
WiFi Finder gives you access to more than two million hotspots worldwide. All you have to do is type in the address—whether it’s a cafe, airport, restaurant, etc.—and the app provides the rest, when available (it’ll even give you the login info if the network is protected).
With Splitwise you can share bills and IOUs with others, like household bills with roommates or group vacations with friends. If you’re traveling with others and sharing the cost, it’s an easy way to make sure everyone pays up fair and square without making things awkward.
PackPoint is a packing app and packing list builder that gives you solid recommendations on what you need to pack based on your length of travel, your destination, and your planned activities. You may need to tweak the list a little, but it’s a great starting point to make sure you have what you need but aren’t overpacking—and can thus save on checked bag fees.
Honey is a browser extension that helps you save money by finding the best deals and discount codes. You just browse and shop and usual; if there’s a discount code out there, Honey applies it and you save on everything from household goods to hotel rooms.
Order delicious takeaway straight to your door with Uber Eats app, available hundreds of cities around the world. If you’re traveling and looking for something local but are short on time, this is a great way to try some local flavors that don’t come from hotel room service. Note: Many countries have their own local delivery apps as well.
Meetup lets you search for events and activities organized by locals happening in your destination. All you have to do is request to join a group (whether it’s travel themed or a local interest group, like craft beer lovers in Paris), and then you’ll be notified of any planned meet-ups, many of which are free.
Skyscanner is one of the most popular flight search engines, and this app lets you easily find flights, hotels, and car rentals all in one place. You can search and compare fares across the cheapest days and months, and book right from the app.
Kayak’s app covers it all: flight, hotel, and car rental searches; travel alerts for when your itinerary changes; price alerts when you track a route; and a flight tracker to track the status of any flight.
Hopper analyzes billions of prices every day to predict future airfare and hotel prices. If you search for a trip and then use the Watch feature to track it, you’ll receive notification when the price drops.
AirHelp helps you fight for compensation when your flight has been delayed, canceled, or disrupted. Scan your boarding pass or flight documents, and AirHelp will take your lawful claim to the airline to figure out the rest (for a small cut, of course).
Scott’s Cheap Flights isn’t technically an app; we provide an email subscription service that send amazing flight deals right to your inbox. Our team of flight experts spends hundreds of hours every week finding deals departing from airports around the world. Premium members receive all our best deals, including mistake fares, but we never clog your inbox with less-than-fantastic deals. Our members save an average of $550 per ticket.