I joined the smartphone club somewhat adamantly last summer. I must say, there are so many apps that make finding vegan food and good accommodation or finding other people to eat/cook vegan food with quite simple! Call me converted, life is now way easier than it was pre-smartphone.
Here are some of my favorite apps I find useful for traveling below in so specific order:
1. Foursquare (free)
Maybe this one is obvious to some, but for years I thought foursquare was just an obnoxious app so my friends could spam my Facebook with all the places they’ve been. You know, “Katie checked in at TGI Fridays!” *kill me*. I was wrong! One day while bored and playing around with my apps, I discovered the search feature and…voila! With foursquare you can search your area for keywords such as vegan, soymilk, wifi, craft beer, etc. and any places where someone has mentioned that word in the comments will come up. You can also see pictures, which is really useful when you’re trying to decide if the cafe seating is adequate for that 3-hour work session you have planned. The list feature is also great, where you can check for lists others have made or create your own. For example, I’m following the “Vegan Berlin” list. I also like that it reorganizes all your lists to put the closest at the top always. Definitely one of my most-used apps now!
2. Dict.cc (free)
I’ve been using this website since I was studying German in 2010 and then I realized they also have an app! It is a dictionary with lots of language combinations. I have it for German and Hungarian, so it even has the more rare languages. What’s great is you can download the dictionary for the languages you want and use it offline. Then you can look up the things you don’t understand without lugging around phrasebooks and a dictionary. It even has slang, just download the languages you want! Great for translating when you’re abroad and there is no English menu! It will also pronounce the word for you with recordings from native speakers.
3. Happycow – Veg Travel Guide for Vegans & Vegetarians ($2.99)
Maybe another obvious one, but worth mentioning regardless! Happycow is perhaps the biggest lists of vegan and vegan-friendly places all over the world. You probably use their website, but the app is also handy! I like that it lets you save places you’re interested in to self-created “trip” folders, it makes organizing all my wandering food lust much easier!
4. Zombies, Run! ($3.99)
Since I travel so much, I’m on the constant search for portable exercise options. This was recommended to me by a friend and I love the idea. It’s motivation to run by sending a hoard of virtual hungry zombies after you. It’s a running game with a story and game aspect, you collect badges and save people as you run and can compare stats with your friends as well. Very portable, a bit strange, it’s maybe the only thing that makes running seem somewhat appealing to me. Their motto is, “Get Fit. Escape Zombies. Become a Hero.” Um, yes please? I plan to test it on my summer American trip.
5. Airplane Yoga ($1.99)
I am really bad at sitting still, I admit it. At the end of a yoga class when you’re supposed to lay down and relax all I do is fidget. Thus, sitting in a plane for 5+ hours kills me every time and I always leave the plane with a sore back and neck. I think this is a really good idea for an app! At the very least, it’s something else to do on the plane. There is also a “lite” version that is free if you want to test it out first. The app has 18 seated and 9 standing poses that are illustrated and contain both text descriptions as well as audio recordings of how to enter into each pose. Additionally, 13 of the 24 poses are demonstrated in short video clips.
6. Meetup (free)
Great for finding like-minded people and fun events. I mostly use the website, but the app is great for on the go. Often you can find vegan and vegetarian meet-ups here. I’ve gone to blogger meet-ups, queer groups, language exchanges, women in tech meet-ups, hiking, biking, bouldering, freelancer meet-ups and cooking groups. I’ve even seen board game meet-ups and every business niche is in there too. Good for meeting your people when you go to a new place, or even for mixing it up in a city you’ve lived in for years.
7. VeganXpress ($1.99)
This one is for all those living in or traveling in the United States. As you may know, there are not many specifically vegan spots lining the highways and when taking a road trip or traveling for business with non-vegan colleagues sometimes you just have to make it work. This app is a guide to what’s vegan at popular chain restaurants and fast food places. From Qdoba, Chipotle, CPK, TCBY, Panera to Taco Bell, this app has you covered and saves you from interrogating the cashier about every ingredient in the food yourself and even covers alcohol.
8. Evernote (free with premium option)
Evernote is an app and computer program that lends itself well to planning for travel. In fact, they even have a page about how to use Evernote for travel on their website. In short, Evernote lets you take pictures or “clips” of websites, travel guides, etc. and save them to folders for your trip, you can also forward emails with important hotel and flight confirmations, etc., keep track of your budget, make a packing list and create a shared notebook to share important information with your friends whom you’re traveling with. I especially like the web clip option, as I often read a lot of little tidbits about good vegan spots, events or things to do on blogs online months before I leave for somewhere. I always say I will remember, but of course I don’t, so it’s great to be able to just clip the bits about my desired destination and have them all grouped in one place for me! I also like that in syncs between my phone and computer so no matter where I do my research it ends up in one place.
9. Hostelworld (free)
Great for looking up and booking hostels on the go when you don’t have a computer. I use this a lot for those times I spontaneously decide I want to go somewhere. It’s easy to just type in the destination and see what the options are for hostels all in one place, to check if there is a hostel with a kitchen, etc.
10. V-cards (free)
This app contains a comprehensive description of veganism in over 70 native languages. if you’re at a restaurant where there’s a language barrier, you can just show your server the screen set to the V-card in the appropriate language and voila! They now know what you can and can’t eat in their own language. So useful.
This is a companion app to Roadtrippers.com, a trip planning site in the USA. Content is currently for USA and Israel only, but they say Canada, UK & Australia are coming soon. There are over 200,000 places in categories such as diners, offbeat, breweries, campgrounds, filming locations, hotels, scenic points, and more. It even says on the app page that it help you find “folk art and weird places”. Right up my alley. Not specifically vegan, but it will be a really useful app for my big American roadtrip this summer as you can save your favorite places to ‘bucket lists’ or use the directions feature to get instant turn by turn navigation.
Roadside America ($2.99)
Another American-focused one, sorry! We’ve all heard about the crazy American roadside attractions, right? Well this helps you find them and read reviews! You can check a map or list for what oddities are near you or ahead, wherever you travel, search by attraction name, zip, address, or browse by city and explore 70+ categories (ex., Atomic, Music, Celebrities, Tech, Zombie Army). From Route 66 classic attractions, tourist traps, bizarre eateries, mystery spots, gravity hills, caves, natural and unnatural wonders, the app has you covered. It also has “field reports” by travel gurus who’ve been there and a sunset alert to let you know your last daylight photo opportunity. Love it!
Workout Trainer (free with paid in-app purchase options)
This was recommended to me by another friend who travels a lot of work when I mentioned I’m looking for portable exercise options besides regular running. You can download ALL sorts of workout routines starting from just 5 minutes. Also has a social media aspect if you choose. Everything from yoga to running to “office stretch” moves to “back pain relief” or abs workouts. I like the sheer amount of material here. There is lots of free stuff in addition to the paid options.
Yoga + Travel (free with additional in-app purchases)
Another yoga travel app, but this one isn’t focused specifically on airplanes, though the sequences are specifically tailored to help you stay relaxed and loose in the areas most affected by travel and it’s designed more to allow you to take your yoga practice with you on the road. The first sequence is free to download so you can see if it’s a good fit for you, after that there is the option to buy additional sequences with different themes. More portable fitness!
If you use the Couchsurfing website, it’s also good to have the app. The app is definitely not as good as the website and is missing some features, but the basic search and couch request features and messages are there. Good if you want to meet other vegans or vegetable enthusiasts during your travels or to stay with Just search the keyword “vegan” or “vegetarian” when you’re doing a couch search.
Not a member yet? Sign up via this link to save $25 (€18) on your first booking. If you haven’t heard of AirBnB before, it’s great for the solo or group traveler and I have rented others places and also sublet my own place via this website. It’s a platform where people can rent their extra rooms, whole flats or extra properties they own to travelers. You can stay generally a day or two up to a month or two. Great to get a more authentic feel of a place and to make sure you have a kitchen, for cooking up your own vegan fare collected from that awesome local market? Way cheaper than staying in a hotel. If you’re afraid booking someone’s flat, don’t worry, all the money goes through AirBnB and the host doesn’t get paid until after the first full day you’ve been there (this prevents any fake scam listings). Just be smart and don’t ever wire the full amount before you arrive outside the website (duh). There are some really cool properties on there too, for example I’m eyeing a hippy bus rental in New Orleans for this summer.
Have you tried any of these apps? If so let me know your favorite features in the comments!
Have a go-to app you love while traveling I don’t have listed here?! Please comment and let me know which! I am always on the lookout for useful apps!