Guides

9 Essential Apps For First-Time Travellers

Brought to you by Qantas Frequent Flyer

You don’t have to wait for your pay to come in before booking your holiday. Why not use your Qantas Points instead? That way, you can avoid the wait.

It should come as no surprise that international travel requires some major preparation. Sure, buying your flights and mapping out your itinerary represent the bulk of it, but once those are done, there’s still a lot to tackle. You need to think about how you’ll be getting around, how you’ll be paying for things, and, most importantly, how you’ll get online to post all those envy-inducing travel snaps you know you’ll be taking (hello, roaming!).

Luckily, mobile apps tick a lot of those boxes and we’ve found nine of them that are the handiest. For newbie international travellers or travel vets, these are the ones to download before you head off.

#1 Lightroom CC

First up, an app to help with said travel photos: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC. It’s a free photo-editing app with upgrades available to buy. You’ve probably heard of it already because all the influencers are using it to sell their “presets’ – AKA customised filters. But it’s also got lots of cool editing tools on its own, like a Grain effect that makes photos look old-timey and Vignette to give your snaps a darker or lighter, professional-looking edge.

Download it for Apple or Google Play.


#2 Google Maps

Phone with app

Image: Enrique Alarcon

There’s a very good chance you already have navigation app Google Maps on your phone. But, in case you don’t, download it now. Because regardless of whether you have an overseas trip planned or not, it’s a mighty useful app to have. You can use it both to find your way by foot or car, as well as by public transport in most major cities.

As an added bonus, it also tells you what eateries and attractions are nearby and what time they close.

Download it for Apple or Google Play.


#3 Google Trips

Another handy Google app is Google Trips. The app pulls reservation confirmations from your e-mails, lets you add in other elements of your trips, and then spits out one comprehensive itinerary for you to use. That means no more digging around in your e-mails for your hotel booking or dinner reservation – they’ll all be in one spot. Plus, the app also suggests day or half-day trips and nearby places to visit and eat at.

Download it for Apple or Google Play.


#4 Airbnb

Apartment

Image: Filios Sazeides

Renting an Airbnb can not only save you heaps, but it can also give you a more authentic look at a city, town or village by letting you stay in a residential area. That, coupled with the fact that you might even get to meet your host and learn some local insight makes staying in an Airbnb a no-brainer.

Even better, Airbnb properties aren’t limited to just rooms, houses or apartments – you can stay in treehouses, abandoned railway carriages, or even castles. Talk about a memorable trip!

Download it for Apple or Google Play.


#5 Uber

Though Uber isn’t available everywhere in the world yet (it’s only a matter of time!), it’s certainly worth downloading the app before you go and checking if it works in your destination when you arrive. With fares tailored to your vehicle type and whether or not you want to share the car with fellow passengers, it makes getting around heaps cheaper and more convenient.

Another plus is that you won’t have to bother paying in local currency – the payment can come directly from the card connected to your account.

Download it for Apple or Google Play.


#6 Qantas Cash

Exchanging money can be a huge hassle, but using Qantas Cash makes it that much easier. You’ll need a Qantas Frequent Flyer number to sign up for it, but once you’ve got that, you can get the card and download the app for easy overseas payments. You can load up to 10 foreign currencies, lock in good exchange rates, avoid fees, and even earn Qantas Points when you use it.

Download it for Apple or Google Play.


#7 Shazam

Phone with app

Image: Rawpixel

When you’re travelling, you’re going to be hearing some good tunes. You might hear them coming from a café as you walk past, or from a nightclub’s speakers at 3am. Either situation isn’t ideal for going around and asking people what the song you’re hearing is called. That’s where Shazam comes in. Record a few seconds of the song on the app, and it’ll identify it for you. Also very handy is the fact that the recording part works offline.

Download it for Apple or Google Play.


#8 WhatsApp

With more than a billion users worldwide, it’s likely someone you meet will want to connect with you on WhatsApp. It’s an app that works just like text messaging, but without any overseas data fees. Tour guides often use it to get in contact with guests and tour groups use it to share photos and keep in touch.

Download it for Apple or Google Play.


#9 bSafe

This app’s a must if you’re travelling to a country where you’re concerned about safety. BSafe can activate a loud alarm by voice command should you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable situation or automatically switch on a live video streaming should you want to show your friends and family what’s around you.

On the less extreme end, it can let your close ones know when you get home safely by tracking your location.

Download it for Apple or Google Play.

(Lead image: Aleksander Vlad)

Make data abroad a breeze. Sign up to a selected Vodafone Red Plan and you’ll be able to use your phone in 80 countries for just $5 extra per day. Plus, you’ll earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points if you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer member.

Visit vodafone.com.au/plans/qantas for terms and conditions and to find out more.