We live in a highly connected modern world. This means there is technology to make every aspect of our lives easier, more fun, or more efficient. Today our phones have more processing power than the computer that landed humankind on the moon 50 years ago. In fact, your smartphone has 100,000 times the processing power than the moon landing computer. We wield pretty powerful little devices and they come with a plethora of apps that make all aspects of life better from banking, to entertainment, to health, and more. Travel is, of course, no exception. With so many apps to choose from, you might not know where to start when deciding which apps to choose for your next gay travel adventure.
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My Favorite Apps for A Gay Travel Adventure!
Don’t worry too much about deciding right now because as you travel, you’ll discover which apps work best for you and your own gay travel adventure. To get you started, I’ve come up with a list of 15 apps you should go ahead and download right now to prepare for your next gay travel adventure. Not all these apps are gay-oriented so they can be used by anyone and they are all extremely useful while your galavanting around the world. Most importantly, these apps will help you make the most of your trip and some may even inspire you to travel more. That’s all that really matters. Check them out!
This is an obvious travel app. Most of us don’t come equipped with a never-ending supply of maps and directions implanted in our heads. When we visit other countries, we often have no idea where we are going or how to get there. That’s where Google Maps comes into play. You’ve probably all used Google Maps before but just in case you haven’t…this app is a maps application. It is one of the best maps apps out there and direct you to pretty much any destination…even the most obscure. One of the things I love about Google Maps is that it will tell you transit information for buses, trains, ferried, and even the metro. This is only available when using the app connected to Wifi or cellular service of some sort. If you need to use the app offline, you can easily download maps ahead of time.
If you are a gay man then you definitely know all about dating apps such as Grindr and Scruff. You probably know that these apps aren’t really for dating and more for looking for naughty fun. But did you know these apps are actually a great way to get information about a city or region from locals? When you visit places that lack gay bars and such, the best way to find out where LGBT people hang out is to log onto one of these apps and ask someone. Even if you’re in a city with a huge gay nightlife scene, it’s good to ask someone local to learn where are the best places. Scruff even has a feature where you can ask someone local for information. They’re called Ambassadors and usually are really helpful. Scruff also features lots of gay parties and other events based on location. These apps are a great way to take your gay travel adventure up a notch.
While this might not be the best app for travel related needs, it is certainly chock full of travel inspiration. You can follow some of your favorite travelers to get inspired to hit the road on your own gay travel adventure. It’s also a fun place to document your own travels and life. I will say, I’ve used Instagram to learn about new destinations and off-the-beaten path places. You probably already have this app so it’s simple to use it for travel too.
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This is one app on my list that you might think is a stretch but I assure you it is not. Personally, I don’t like carting around a lot of documents in printed format because I almost never need them. So DropBox is a great way to store all your emergency such a copy of your passport, insurance information, photo copies of identification, and confirmations from hotels and airlines. It’s all stored in the cloud by this file sharing app and if you need it, you can access it immediately as long as you connect to WiFi or have a cellular signal. I use it to store my photos as well so that my memory cards don’t get filled so quickly. And your files are accessible from your phone or a computer. It’s a perfect way to access everything you need while you’re galavanting on your gay travel adventure.
WhatsApp is a great way to stay connected to people back home or folks you meet on the road via text messaging while you enjoy your gay travel adventure. Basically the app allows you to text message for free as long as you are connected to a WiFi signal or it is using your phone’s data plan. Why not just use your text messaging plan? Well, most phone carriers charge high international rates for text messages that are sent or received. Some even charge per recipient meaning if you send one texts to 3 people then you are charged 3 times. WhatsApp takes the hassle and overcharging out and as long as you connect to WiFi then text messaging is free with WhatsApp.
I personally love Airbnb which is a service that allows you to rent rooms in people’s homes or entire homes often for a fraction of the cost of a hotel. I’ve used Airbnb quite often during my own gay travel adventures and had mostly good experiences. There are stories of people being discriminated against by hosts because they were gay or lesbian and Airbnb implemented a zero tolerance for discrimination. It means hosts are not allowed to discriminate and if they do, they’re listings are banned for life. It is rare that discrimination occurs but it does happen. Although, I’ve never experienced discrimination from any of my Airbnb hosts.
Airbnb also offers a range of experiences through their website offered by local people. I’ve taken tours in Barcelona, ridden horses in Cuba, and even learned about history in Mexico through Airbnb experiences. The website and app are totally worth giving a try because it’ll save you money and offers some pretty unique lodging and experiences.
If you’re a little on the wall about using Airbnb because you don’t want to deal with the risk that a host might give you the boot for being gay then Misterbnb is perfect for you. This app and website offers lodging just like Airbnb but primarily to gay men. That means if you book a room or home through Misterbnb, your hosts definitely knows you are LGBT and you are not going to get kicked out or have your reservation canceled for being gay. Of course, anyone can book on Misterbnb but you just have to be open to LGBT+ people as many of the hosts are also LGBT+. You’re sure to feel safe during your gay travel adventure using Misterbnb.
Personally, Hipmunk is my favorite airline flight search tool as it is connected to the Google Flight Matrix and always seems to find the lowest prices on flights. It also has the cutest little chipmunk mascot who pretends to fly as it searches…what’s not to love? But in all seriousness, the tool is great for searching for the lowest priced tickets. Once you find the ticket you like best, you can click the link and Hipmunk transfers you to the website where you can make your purchase.
While Hipmunk is my favorite airline flight search tool, Skyscanner comes in at a close second. I find Skyscanner to be super useful when searching for flights in Europe. At least that’s what I use it for. It allows you to search up to 1200 sites at once to find the cheapest airline tickets. Once you do, you click the link and it compares sites for you. Then choose your tickets and Skyscanner will transfer you over to the correct place where you can make your purchase. Easy!
While Facebook Pay is neither travel focused or an app, it is definitely a pretty great service for travelers. You can use it using the Facebook Messenger app. While in messenger, just find “$” icon above the keyboard and tap it. Enter the dollar amount you want to send and tap “Pay.” The money will be transferred from your bank account directly into the bank account of the receiver pretty instantaneously. I know I’ve received payments through this service and the money is in my account within seconds. Of course, you have to connect your bank account and if you have a problem with your data being harvested and such then maybe this isn’t for you. But if you’re traveling and find yourself in a bind, it is really nice being able to get money extremely fast.
The XE Currency app is as simple as they come. Simply download it and you’ll have access to up-to-date currency exchange rates on the go. The app provides currency rates for 60+ countries and allows you to track up to 10 currencies at a time. You’ll never wonder how much your spending again while in a foreign country because you have that information at your finger tips.
To me, this app is indispensable when it comes to travel because I always give myself a budget for every trip and I try not to go over that budget. Expensify makes it really simple to track your expenses. You can use it’s scanning feature to scan receipts or you can enter the information manually. It also allows you to photograph each receipt which means if you lose them you have less to worry about. The app lets you enter your expenses in the currency of the country you are visiting and then automatically converts it to US dollars which is an awesome perk.
An obvious app to have on your phone for travel is some sort of translation app. I use Google Translate because it is easy to use, costs nothing, and is fairly accurate. There are plenty of apps out there for translation services so choose your fave and keep it on your phone. It makes life a lot easier when you have an urgent need to use the toilet but don’t know how to say it in Romanian or something.
For this one, I am not necessarily recommending any specific app because there are hundreds and it simply depends on your personal preference for airlines and hotels (mine are Delta and Hilton). Make sure you download the app for your preferred airlines and hotels because it makes check-in easier and sometimes there are perks to having the apps. It’s all about convenience. You should also make sure to download the app for whatever airline you’re flying with at the moment so you can use the services offered by the app such as purchasing hold luggage, check-in, and flight updates.
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What are some of your favorite travel apps?
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