For many Australian expats, a great deal of travel is simply part of the expat experience, and for many, this means a great deal of time spent at airports and onboard planes. Whether you’re travelling for work or holiday, living in Singapore or elsewhere as an Australian expat, or you’re living in Australia but travel regularly, I’ve put together my top 10 list of apps to make your travel experiences that little bit more seamless and enjoyable.
1. XE Currency – Ideal for currency conversion on the go
If you want to quickly convert currencies as you’re travelling, XE Currency is ideal. It also allows you to download the currencies that you’ll need on your trip before you go, so that you can then use this information offline as well just in case you don’t have data roaming or wifi on your trip. One important aspect to keep in mind is that FX rates can shift quickly, particularly for more volatile currencies, so having a currency conversion app as part of your travel toolkit is a great move.
You can download the app here – https://www.xe.com/apps/
2. Airbnb – Great for non-hotel accommodation options
Of course, no travel app list would be complete without the mention of Airbnb. For many cities around the world, there may not be an accessible or affordable hotel in the location that you’re after, but Airbnb may be able to solve this for you. I’ve personally used Airbnb in many locations including Washington DC just recently, and found it much nicer, more spacious and more affordable than the hotel options in the same vicinity.
You can download the app here – https://www.airbnb.com.sg/mobile
3. TripAdvisor – An excellent source for on-the-ground reviews
We live in a world with social proof for most aspects of our lives at our fingertips via our mobile device, and TripAdvisor is a perfect example of this. Whether you’re looking to stay in a hotel, dine at a certain restaurant, or visit a local attraction, I would always check out TripAdvisor first for any inside tips. This could be what times to visit, when it’s too busy, when you’ll get the best view or any other item that you can learn from others who’ve already been on the journey.
You can download the app here – https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tripadvisor-hotels-restaurants/id284876795
4. Google Translate – For rapid translations on the go
Type in the foreign text, take a snapshot of a sign in a foreign language and translate it – this is a great app for regular travellers, and is particularly helpful for understanding signs through airports and train stations. We’re very interested to see how this app continues to improve over time with the addition of new features.
You can download the app here – https://apps.apple.com/sg/app/google-translate/id414706506
5. Google Maps – For getting around the city
Before I head overseas, or at least once I reach the airport, I will always make it a point to download the map data for the city I’m heading to. This way, even if there is no wifi or I don’t have data roaming turned on, I can easily navigate my way around the destination city. I also find it useful to download the map data from the airport to the city I’m travelling to, just to avoid being ‘taken for a ride’ by a friendly taxi driver.
You can download the app here – https://apps.apple.com/sg/app/google-maps-transit-food/id585027354
6. Uber – Transport alternative to the local taxi options
Uber is widely available in many cities around the world, and is often a cheaper option than the taxis. I always prefer the fact that the price is often set and avoids the unpleasant surprise of the driver deciding to take you on the scenic route to your destination. I recognise that Uber is not available in every location, so I would always make it a point to check out which ride-sharing alternative is alternative at your destination city, and download the app before you get there.
You can download the app here – https://apps.apple.com/sg/app/uber/id368677368
7. Priority Pass – For a more enjoyable airport layover
Priority Pass has over 1,200 lounges across the world, and I find that there is an option at most airports that I personally travel to, with Perth being a frustrating exception. There are many credit cards that provide complimentary Priority Pass cards, such as the Citi Prestige Card, American Express Platinum and Centurion, as well as a number of others. You can also purchase membership directly through Priority Pass. If you travel regularly, this can be particularly useful to grab a bite to eat, have a shower and freshen up between flights or simply having a quiet place to work or take a call at the airport. Once you’ve got your membership, you can download the app to save your digital card, as well as search which lounge options are available at the airport you’re travelling to.
You can download the app here – https://www.prioritypass.com/en/member-support/apps
8. SkyScanner – A global, cost-effective flight search tool
SkyScanner can be an excellent tool to search for flights via most airlines. SkyScanner is an aggregator, which means that you can make a booking across multiples airlines and providers in one step, which can save a lot of time and messing around. I would always recommend checking out multiple aggregators, and even checking what deals you can access direct with the airlines, but I do find that SkyScanner tends to be the most consistent with competitive pricing.
You can download the app here – https://www.skyscanner.com.sg/mobile
9. Netflix – Entertainment on the go
If you’re travelling on a low-cost carrier that doesn’t provide in-flight entertainment, or you simply travel so frequently that you’ve already seen everything that you want to watch on board and have to wait until next month for it to be refreshed, Netflix is the answer. With a diverse range of content, plus more importantly providing the ability to download content to watch offline, Netflix can be a great way to keep yourself entertainment on those long flights.
You can download the app here – https://www.netflix.com/app
10. Pocket Guide – Your digital tour guide
Each time I visit a new city with my partner, we always check if there is a free walking tour in that location run by the team at freetour.com. The fact that it’s free is a bonus, but that’s not the key driver here. Often they’re run by people who’ve moved to the city, fallen in love with it, and found out everything there is to know about the location, which makes them an excellent guide. Pocket Guide provides a brilliant alternative to this. They have around 150 cities loaded so far, which you can download and follow the pre-loaded walking tours. It’s a great way to really experience a new location without simply blindly wandering around looking at buildings, statues and other landmarks with no idea of their meaning.
You can download this app here – https://apps.apple.com/hu/app/pocketguide-audio-travel-guide/id422547188
If you’re using an App that has helped make your travel experience easier, let me know, I’d love to add it to the list so that we can help other travellers.
To Your Financial Success!
Jarrad Brown is an Australian-trained and qualified Fee-Based Financial Planner with Australian Expatriate Group of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd providing specialist financial advice and portfolio management services to Australian professionals in Singapore. Jarrad Brown is an Authorised Representative of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd – No: 200305462G | MAS License No: FA100035-3
Australian Expatriate Group is a division of Global Financial Consultants in Singapore providing specialist advice to Australians living abroad.
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*Please note that Jarrad Brown is not a tax agent or accountant and none of the content outlined here should be taken as personal advice. You should consult your tax agent and financial adviser to review your current personal finances and financial goals to consider whether this strategy is appropriate for you.