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!

Happy in Hipster Portland

I have been remarkably busy here in Hipster Portland, hitting my pillow always around 10PM and being asleep within a few moments.

Portland is as the title of this post suggests a very hip town. I don’t think that I have ever seen so many vegan/organic places or a food aisle that long with just organic products. I’m still very fond of supermarkets, there is a Trader Joe’s nearby that I will probably visit tomorrow to buy snacks for my long train ride.


Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day with some other people from the hostel watching the Euro Championship. I hated to see Germany lose against France but also felt it coming during the game. Nevertheless, we had a good time. Portland is famous for its microbreweries, so we watched in a local pub. I didn’t try the beer though as it was noon and I had planned to do more sightseeing later.

Powell’s book store

Unfortunately I only made it to Powell’s Bookstore that day. Powell’s is this huge and very famous bookstore with the size of a block (imagine a Karstadt full of books). They actually give you a map for that place as it is oddly sectioned. It took me a while to navigate and after looking for one book for half an hour I asked someone and was handed actual directions! Very friendly staff! I then had to turn around because it started to rain and I hadn’t brought my umbrella (silly me, I was so sure it wouldn’t rain).

Street markets

I later went to an art festival in the Pearl District with my roommate Julia. This time with an umbrella. Rain in Portland is different from rain at home, very often just a light warm drizzle. Still it becomes annoying after a while.

weird ice cream flavors

Later that night, I joined a group of people to this very special ice cream place where they have all those funny flavors such as olive oil or cinnamon snickerdoodle. It was a very nice dessert!

My day today started a little late, I had just installed Pokemon Go and I am already really addicted. Most of this morning I had to catch Pokemons and level up! It is so much fun!

Portland Art Museum

I then walked over to the Portland Art Museum to get my dose of culture. It’s a neat place, they have a wonderful collection of Native American Art which is of course new to me, but also a smaller collection of European Art (that is on display). The Modern Art is in a connected building which I didn’t expect to be that big. I only took some pictures (plus that very weird selfie).

The rest of the day was spent on a major shopping walk though I ended up ordering half of it on Amazon (thanks Prime!). TBC tomorrow when I hopefully will know more about nice boutiques!

Portland is very very lovely, I like it a lot and would have rather stayed here longer than I did in Seattle. People are so friendly and some actually say hello on the streets.

I will now go on and relax a bit. Maybe catch more Pokemons!

Talk to you soon!


Munich’s Best Observation Deck

Hello dear fellow travel aficionados!

As mentioned in my little recap for 2015, I had my friends visit me in Munich in April. You all might have already experienced the same thing: We travel to see different cities, but when it comes to the one we live in, we just don’t do the usual sights. I mostly tell myself: “Oh, those crowds, I’ll do some other time!” So with my friends here for a few days, I had to quit the excuses and dig into my knowledge of great places in Munich. And Munich certainly has a lot to offer. One of my favorite places to get an overview of the city is the clock tower of St. Peter…

The Catholic church with its tower, called “Alter Peter” in Munich, is the oldest church in Munich. It is located very close to Marienplatz, Viktualienmarkt and all the other well-liked places in the city. The tower has a height of 91 meters and thus offers a great view all over Munich (you can go up to 56 meters).

We were quite lucky to choose such a clear and sunny day in April and the sky certainly was showing off with all those little white sheepy clouds. Check out some of my pictures below!
As for more details: You’ll have to pay a small fee to go up (as far as I remember 2 Euros) but it’s worth it and it is supposedly open year-round. The steps are quite steep, all 306 of them. Make sure to look out for people coming down, too.

We actually spent almost 45 minutes up there, taking pictures and walking around on the observation deck. It’s a convenient place to point out sights if you don’t want to take a longer tour. Also, it is right next to the Rathaus and the city center so you won’t have to walk far for the best view in Munich. Afterwards make sure to get some delicious food at Viktualienmarkt!

Until then,


Taking a train ride

Even though it was the smallest part of my travels, I decided to devote a post to the train ride from New York City to Boston.
During my time in Ohio in 2009 I was never able to travel anywhere by train, mainly because the railroad seems to be a dying way of transportation. I also had heard a lot of unpleasant stories on American trains which I hardly could believe having been a victim of the DB (Deutsche Bahn) far too often.

So I decided to take the train from New York City to Boston because I didn’t want to rent a car in Manhattan that would be parked in Boston for days because I was going to stay there. Amtrak was really cheap considering the distance and the fact that I was not able to use a discount. I booked the ticket online and printed it. When the day came, I was really nervous and went to the train station way too early. Of course the train was late, too (no explanation why) but that felt a bit like home. I was able to wait inside. What’s confusing is, that when the train arrives, you have to storm to an exit where your ticket is barely glanced at and then you can go down stairs and enter the train. That one wasn’t full, so I was easily able to find a seat and enjoy the view. All the waiting and the stress of boarding in the end was absolutely worth it, as the way from New York City and Boston leads along the coast. As the weather was nice and sunny, I was able to enjoy the view and catch up on some reading. There is free internet on the train, they even tell you when to get off!

The quality of my photos is really bad this time, but when you travel, you sometimes travel fast 🙂

While I was looking out the window and saw the small villages and larger cities fly by, I knew for certain that I had to go back and spend more time at the beach. I feel like I’m a sea person, whenever I am near the sea, I feel free!

5 things to bring with you on a roadtrip…

Probably the most exciting thing of last year’s trip was the fact that I was going to rent a car on my own and drive a lot – also on my own. Most of you might know that you have to be 25 to rent a car in the US or you will have to pay a fee to ensure them that you’ll bring back the car in one piece. So obviously the last time when I was still under car-rental-age, I was not allowed to drive the rental. Picture my excitement this time! I seriously love driving, especially when it is an automatic car! I started planning my road trip almost right after I had booked my flight and I also rented the car at that time. However, there are still things that I couldn’t totally prepare for, some of them I even had to learn the hard way. Read about my “5 things to bring with you on a roadtrip”:

1. Bring your own GPS!

I know most rental car companies offer them in addition to the car, but bringing your own GPS ensures that it is updated and has all important addresses pre-programmed. Insert all the places that you want to stay right away, as that will save valuable time. After most days I didn’t feel like sitting on the bed and type in my addresses for the next day, when there is either so much going on around you or you are simply dead tired and you just want to go to bed. I used my old TomTom that I bought in 2009 and updated the maps for USA and Canada beforehand when I had enough time at home. It cost me around 25$ and an evening of installing, but I had a GPS that I (kind of) trusted and knew how to work with.

2. water, water, lots of water… and snacks

It’s really important to stay hydrated while driving and always have a bottle of water next to you. I started driving in Boston after a few days exploring the city with a bad sun burn and just my luggage on me, no water, no snacks. The thing is that you will have to focus a lot on the road and on the unfamiliar car so that you forget to drink and eat or that you are hungry in the first place. It’ll hit you the moment you leave the comfy air-conditioned car… so stock up on your supplies!

3. Music

It’s nice to travel alone but it can also get really quiet in that car when there is no one to talk to. I enjoyed listening to the radio for a while but when you drive longer distances you’ll notice that the channels change a lot and you’ll probably get annoyed as well of the static sound echoing in your car. So it’s a great idea to make your own CD beforehand, and that will even increase the excitement!

4. Knowledge of traffic rules

Brush up your knowledge of the local traffic rules and look up how to react in certain situations. The first minutes after renting the car, I met a school bus on the road and I actually had forgotten that it is a big NO-NO to drive past it when it stops. Everyone honked at me and scared me so much that I almost drove into a fence. I felt like I would get arrested after that, so that was terrifying! Avoid that by spending 10 minutes before the trip googling traffic rules!

5. Lots of money… cash and credit card

Even though gas is a lot cheaper in the US, a road trip can still get pretty pricy after a while. So try to calculate beforehand how much you will have to spend on gas and make sure to have enough money on your credit card. Also, try to find out how much you will have to pay on tolls. I actually had to leave the interstate in Manhattan during rush hour and drive through some really sketchy neighborhoods in order to find an ATM because I had only 3 $ left. The next toll bridge ended up costing 17 $ so I was actually glad I did find an ATM. Try to plan ahead and maybe ask some locals about how much it will be!

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!