My most helpful free travel apps

I have to be honest with you: Traveling, and especially traveling solo, requires a lot of planning for me, before-hand and during the trip. I myself like to stay on top of all bookings and reservations, but I also hate to carry my Macbook with me all the time. This is why for my last trip I started to look into apps for my iPhone and/or iPad. Today I’ll share with you my most helpful free travel apps, i.e. the apps that helped me to stay organized in the past.

My Most Helpful Free Travel Apps

1. Airline apps

Airline Apps are simply convenient for me since they allow me to look up my flight info, access information on any airports and let me check in on time or choose my seat. So far I have used Air France, Fly Delta, KLM and Lufthansa on various occasions. All of them have worked just fine and proven to be very helpful when I was already stressed out and had to hurry between connecting flights. Can you guess how often I have to check which gate I need to find when I am tired?!

2. AirBnB

AirBnB LogoAirBnB is an awesome App that is just so easy to use! It lets you check for accommodation, look at pictures of the listings and you can book directly and stay in contact with your future host. If you want to book via AirBnB or already have a booking then this is really one of the must-have travel apps! I sometimes use it to just look for dreamy accommodation that I would like to stay at some day.

3. Hostelworld

nps6tqk5A must-have for all budget travelers in my honest opinion. I have booked most of my hostel accommodations via hostelworld so far and while I prefer to actually book via a computer, I love the app to have all infos such as room type, check-in dates and the address at one place. It will also alert you after your stay to leave a comment and rate the hostel so that other people can check ratings before they book.

4. guides by Lonely Planet

guides_icon2x-iosAs a huge fan of and believer in the Lonely Planet Guides, this is an app that I found out recently about: It features different city guides that you can download to have them available offline. When I started using the app, the list of cities was quite small, but it keeps growing. They even ask you to send in your recommendations on which city guides to add next! There are many more features like saving sights to a list or calculating a budget that this app offers!

5. Google Maps

unnamedOccasionally, my sense of direction is totally off and I tend to get stressed out when I feel lost in a new city. As fun as it can be to get lost at a new place on purpose: Being lost with all your luggage on your way to the hostel or while looking for a place to be, just sucks. This is where I rely on Google Maps. If it needs to be, I just follow its directions, track myself or use it to find public transportation.

I’m aware that there are many more apps out there, that others recommend in their posts. Most of them I have tried at home but actually never used them on a trip. Some I simply find confusing or it turns out that you should upgrade to some paid content. These five apps are basically my essentials, especially on trips on my own.

Now share with me: Do you have any apps that I should absolutely try? Which are your essentials  or do you always bring your laptop? I’d love to hear from you!

Travel Dreams – Future Destinations

Where would you go if you could choose anywhere in the world? What are your possible future destinations?

Travel Dreams - Future Destinations. Where would you go if you could choose right now? What is on your bucket list? |

As always I have been well for three months after I arrived back in Munich. Now my wanderlust is back!

Possible destinations on my list include:

  • Canada

Canada has been on my bucket list for a while now. It’s close enough to the US so that I could do a short stopover and see some friends. I also always wanted to combine a trip through its beautiful nature with a tour of the cities Vancouver, Toronto, Montréal and Québéc. Canada sounds like an awesome mix of nature and city sightseeing for me. I even read about taking a train from one end to another, with some stop overs of course!

  • Japan

I’m the girl who always said that she never wanted to go to Japan. I simply wasn’t interested for a very long time. Now, after sharing an office for over a year with my colleague, my opinion slowly changes and I’m becoming more and more interested. Look at her blog and you’ll know why! The language barrier still scares me a bit – as well as my total ignorance of Japanese culture and history. I should maybe start reading up on that before I even think about going!

  • New Zealand

Most people dream about going to Australia once in their life. For me, this is New Zealand. I’ve been reading books set in New Zealand when I was younger and I’d love to see it for myself now. Plus, as far as I know, New Zealand has no poisonous animals! I’m very much scared of snakes and spiders – one of my must-do’s before each trip is to read up what could kill me – so I’d be probably more relaxed.

  • South East Asia

Been there, done that, one could say. But then South East Asia is so much larger than I ever imagined. I have been to Thailand and Malaysia for a month each and it has been great. It’s cheap, so a perfect for backpacking and being on a budget, the food is amazing and you are able to find your own mixture of traveling and relaxing on one of the many beaches. I’d probably try to go to Vietnam next time or Cambodia! What do you guys think?

Which one would you choose if you had to? I’m trusting my luck and will keep my eyes open for any cheap flights. It’s still a long time until 2018 when I’ll hopefully be free to wander anywhere I want, without a PhD thesis sitting on my back. It’s also nice to dream and research for places whenever I get frustrated or bored at my desk.

Stay tuned for any updates!


Hostels and traveling on your own…

When you are travelling on a budget (and let’s face it – who isn’t) and on your own, you will soon find out that the biggest obstacle is to find a place to stay. A place where you feel safe, where you can enter the bathroom without feeling the urge to clean it…
For me, it seems that with the years going by, I find myself longing for clean and quiet spaces. When I think about my first trips, I didn’t care much about anything. All I wanted was a bed in a reasonably clean hostel, no matter how many people I had to share my room with. On my trip last year, I struggled a lot with finding the right living arrangements. One option was choosing a hostel which I decided to do in New York City and Boston, my first stops on the trip.

In New York I lived in a nice little hostel in Chelsea. I had been staying in a hostel before, but it had been located further north in Manhattan and this time I wanted to be more in the South. To choose my hostel, I always use websites like or I simply look for reviews on google. For me it is important to now what other people had been saying. The hostel in Chelsea was all in all ok, it was reasonably priced for a place in New York, the staff was nice and they offer smaller rooms and free breakfast. It is located in a quiet street with a lot of shops and cafés in walking distance.

In Boston I chose to stay in a youth hostel which so far has been my best experience in a hostel abroad. The youth hostel is located in the Theater District/ Chinatown, so most sights are in walking distance. Also, there is a Panera right next door 🙂 The hostel has been built only a few years ago, so everything is quite modern and new. The staff is nice and helpful as well and they offer a lot of activities like tours to a brewery or to museums.

All in all, I prefer staying in hostels over a hotel. It is good to catch up on sleep after a long flight in a hotel, but hostels are always more fun as you can meet so many people from so many different places!

I like to get away…

… I like to fly away…

Lately I have begun to look for cheap flights to the USA again. Up to know I always just booked what I needed without really worrying about how prices change. Don’t get me wrong, I always used those search engines for cheapest flights and then chose the cheapest price that sounded reasonable to me. Not too many lay overs… not too long flight time… if possible no lay over at Heathrow or if so, enough time to change flights… you get the gist.

In May 2014 I will be going to Pittsburgh for my friend’s wedding (yay, sooo excited!!!) and I plan to make a holiday out of it. I haven’t been on one in years and I haven’t been back to the US in (then) five years. It seems to me flight prices are a bit like stock market. They might drop for a few days or not. Since I am not totally fixed on dates (I could plan my holiday either before or after the wedding and didn’t talk to my employer yet), I plan to play the flight stock market a bit.

That’s why I registered with skyscanner. It’s a pretty cool tool that lets you look for flights first and then offers to send you an email on a daily basis with the new cheapest price. I have typed in 4 different cities now (Pittsburgh, Boston, New York, Baltimore/ DC) since I actually don’t care where I go to as I want to rent a car anyways. And it doesn’t even spam you with four different emails, but combines the 4 searches which makes it easier to compare prices. I’m excited to find out how the prices change over the next few weeks and will probably report back how that went. Hopefully prices drop a lot until mid-November (when I really, really want to have it all sorted out), so that I can get a great deal!