Best iPhone Apps for Europe Travel Spotted by Locals vs TheFork vs GoEuro ... and 3 more
Edited by Jasmin, ramkrit, Eng, Maria Quinney
When traveling abroad there are a few basic apps everyone should have. Skype and WhatsApp help you stay in touch with people back home for virtually nothing. WiFi Finder directs you to Internet hotspots so you can save precious data. XE Currency provides you with up to date exchange rates and an easy to use conversion calculator. Kindle keeps all of your books in one place so you can travel light. ICE (In Case of Emergency) consolidates all of your medical data and lists emergency contacts so you have a lifeline should an accident happen. And Google Translate can ease the challenge of language barriers; its ability to translate from speech and text in images is especially useful.
While the above apps are essential for covering your bases, the 6 apps below will help further enhance your European travel experience. They'll optimize sightseeing time, get you the best deals on local cuisine, and maybe even make you feel like a true local.
Method 1: Spotted by Locals
- 1How it Works. The app that helps you experience Europe just like the locals do. It offers guides to 41 cities that don't focus on the same old tourist attractions but unique, insider curated tips on the coolest places to visit instead.Advertisement
- 2Pricing/Upgrades. The app is free to download but each city guide is $3.99 a piece.Advertisement
- The guides are written by actual locals who update and add to their selections regularly.
- Guides are divided into 10 categories (arts and culture, bars, cinema, relaxing, restaurants, and more) which is sure to appeal to just about anyone's particular interests.
- If using the app online you can get detailed directions from point A to B, but the rest of the app's features work offline too.
- No need for GPS either, but when using it the app can let you know what hotspots are nearby.
- Every suggested location has photos and a review.
- Save locations to your list of favorites and find them again easily in the future.
- Each guide offers 5 free tips before requiring purchase so you can try before you buy.
- Guide updates are free.
- The pay-per-guide model may not be ideal for people traveling on a budget.
- If you have to limit yourself to offline use, finding the locations may prove tricky.
- 5Verdict. Spotted by Locals is perfect for anyone hoping to avoid the crowds and overpriced everything at major tourist attractions. The app can give long-term visitors a sense of familiarity with their new surroundings and offers those with only a limited amount of time to see a new city in a distinctive and unique way. Download here.
Honorable Mention: Sidekix is a free app that's quite similar to Spotted by Locals. It's navigation-based and creates walking routes centered on what activities you'd like to do along the way. It can guide you from point A to point B while directing you towards the best coffee, food, shopping, etc., along the way. Sidekix is still relatively brand new and, as it's not yet widely available in European cities, it didn't warrant top pick status. Keep your eyes on this app's updates though, as it's price tag alone may soon help it surpass Spotted by Locals. Download here.
Method 2: TheFork
- 1How it Works. With over 40,000 restaurants to choose from, TheFork app helps you find a great place to eat no matter what you're in the mood for. Simply allow the app access to your location and it will show you all the great cuisine nearby.Advertisement
- 2Pricing/Upgrades. Free.
- Read reviews and view photos from other app users who have actually dined in these restaurants.
- See chef's suggestions, menus, and average price points for each location.
- Offers suggestions based on what's historically popular and on what locations currently have the best deals.
- Every booking earns you points (Yums) that go towards discounts on future bills.
- Reserve your table for free directly from the app and get confirmations via text or email.
- Many of the restaurants partnered with TheFork offer discounts that can be as much as 50% at select times.
- Some content, like reviews and descriptions by fellow users, has not been translated to English.
- 5Verdict. TheFork is certainly not the first app of its kind but with its focus so heavily on European cities, it's a must-have for traveling there. Thanks to the clearly labeled price points and the fact that many restaurants offer exclusive deals to the app's users, TheFork makes a great choice for European travelers on any budget. Download here.
Method 3: GoEuro
- 1How it Works. GoEuro is the quick and easy way to search train, bus, and flight schedules for all across Europe. Compare prices and trip lengths and book your tickets all in one app.
- Search by starting and destination points, instead of by method of travel, and the app will create multiple route options for you to choose from.
- Travel times to and from a mode of travel (to and from the airport for example) are configured into your route times. Sometimes a 1hr flight seems quicker than a 4h bus ride until you realize you're much further from the airport than the bus depot.
- Partnered with over 450 train, bus, and flight companies.
- Provides subway maps for select cities.
- Mobile tickets are available offline.
- Pay with a credit card or PayPal.
- Add all of your applicable discount and membership cards to your profile in the app.
- No booking or other hidden fees.
- No option to transfer a mobile ticket to another traveler's device.
Method 4: Journi
- 1How it Works. Journi helps capture the highlights of your vacation and turns them into a story; it's a journal, diary, and blog all in one. Add photos and notes to your trip's timeline and share them with friends and loved ones, or the world.
- 2Pricing/Upgrades. Free, with optional in-app purchases to add one-time special moments (flights and weather) to a journal. There's also a Premium membership option ($9.99/month, $39.99/6 months, $54.99/year) where you get unlimited access to those special moments features, as well as iCloud storage, and uploads of high-resolution photos.
- Unlimited photo upload.
- Categorize your moments by food, nature, accommodation, shopping, and more.
- Pin events on the map to see everywhere you've been in just a glance.
- Different sharing settings allow you to keep journals private or only accessible to selected people.
- Share your journi via Twitter and Facebook or send the web link to whomever you please.
- Optional widget for the Today page makes adding new moments quick and easy.
- Add to and edit your journals without an Internet connection; the app will sync with your online journal once you're back in range.
- Share a journi with fellow travelers so you can collaborate on the story together.
- Search other people's journeys to get inspired.
- Optimized to be easy on battery life.
- You cannot rearrange photos out of their chronological order.
- 5Verdict. Journi is for travelers who need something more than what Instagram and other social media platforms can offer in terms of documenting vacations. It's like a modern-day scrapbook for creative travelers. Journi feels particularly well suited to someone traveling long-term and looking for an easy way to update people back at home. Download here.
Method 5: Moovit
- 1How it Works. Moovit combines every mode of available public transit for more than 1200 cities worldwide to help find a route that's best for your travels ahead.
- 2Pricing/Upgrades. Free.
- Search any transit line near you and get info on stations and routes.
- Receive personalized routes by specifying details like "minimize walking time."
- Live step-by-step directions for each leg of the journey. Each section is timed out so you know how long you'll be walking, riding, or waiting.
- No need to constantly check the app while riding in a vehicle, as you'll get alerts when you've reached your stop.
- Real-time bus/train arrival times (where available) so you can avoid lengthy wait times at a stop.
- Download maps for use offline.
- Optional widget for the Today screen.
- View transit lines as a PDF file.
- Includes information of bike shares where available.
- Using both public and crowd sourced data, Moovit provides constant updates to reflect service changes and delays, or station closures.
- Save your favorite locations and frequently used transit lines for easy future access, and automatic updates on any service alert affecting your favorites.
- Moovit's crowd sourced data is still a little lacking, but that's likely a reflection of the app's relative newness.
- 5Verdict. Navigating an unfamiliar transit system can be frustrating and time-consuming, but those problems disappear with Moovit. Having a map is great, but a map with updates about schedule changes is invaluable when you're in unfamiliar territory. Taking public transit isn't just the cheaper way to get around, it's also the most authentic way to experience life in another city. Download here.
Method 6: StopJetLag
- 1How it Works. As the name suggests, this is an app to help curb jet lag. It provides you with an hour-by-hour schedule for ideal rest and meal times, as well as when to avoid or seek out sun exposure based on your trip's details.
- 2Pricing/Upgrades. Free.
- Takes your normal daily routine into account when organizing your plan.
- Provides details on how to get started on combating jet lag from the moment your trip begins.
- Suggests the optimal moment for you to switch into your destination's time zone.
- Each itemized suggestion comes with detailed notes.
- While the design is nothing to rave about, the interface is easy to navigate and the itemized, color-coded plans are simple to follow.
- Everyone's body is different so there's no guarantee this approach will work for you.
- 5Verdict. Despite the uncertainty of this app working for everyone, it's free to use and there's really no harm in giving it a shot. If you're only spending a short time overseas, anything that can help optimize your travel time is worth looking into. Download here.