Pack to Backpack

Backpacking around the world!

Top mobile apps to install when you go backpacking

Navigation and maps

Having an offline map when you are in a new city is very helpful. allows you to download offline maps for specific cities and it is totally free.

Exchange rates converter

If you travel for a longer period and you change countries every couple of weeks, you want an app that helps you remember the exchange rates for the local currency. You don’t want to get ripped off when exchanging money. On my Android phone I am using an app called Easy Currency converter. It works offline as well.

Language translations

If you go off the beaten path in some exotic countries, you might need some help with the local language. I find Google Translate app very useful when translating menus, signs or labels just by taking a picture of it. You need an internet connection for this to work, but the words translation works offline if you have the language downloaded.

Places reviews and recommendations

Tripadvisor was the app I used to find restaurants or local attractions. However, I never found it trustworthy and the sorting/filtering functionality was quite bad. More recently I installed Google Trips and I find it great for finding local restaurants and tips for each city. It also works offline.

Booking accommodation

Hostelworld is the app I use to book the hostels I stay in. I also used Agoda because it allows you to pay online by card and sometimes I found the prices on Agoda cheaper than Hostelworld.

Photos storage and backups

Backing up your photos is very important and the best way to do it is by using some online storage service. Dropbox is a good candidate for that, but I find it a bit expensive and I recently switched to Google Photos. It is free if you don’t want full-sized photos and it has some cool features like location tagging, automatic movies and animations creation.


Having a VPN app installed on your phone is helpful in some countries where the internet is controlled and regulated. It is also good if you connect to public hotspots and you want some privacy. I use OpenVPN to connect to a personal server

Downloading movies

You can install uTorrent for Android or iPhone and download for free all kind of documentaries. It is good for those rainy days when you don’t want to leave the hostel. It works well with OpenVPN.

Video player

If you want to watch movies on your phone or tablet, you want a good video player that supports all kind of codecs. I am using MxPlayer for Android and so far I am happy with it. The free version is full of ads, but you can probably get rid of them by paying for premium. Another player I tried is VLC for mobile, but it didn’t work well for me.

Phone calls

I am using Hangouts Dialler from Google to make local phone calls using the internet. This is an alternative to Skype, an app that I don’t like. When I speak with my family I usually use Whatsapp or Hangouts, but sometimes you need to call your bank or a local business/hostel and you need a cheap way of doing it.

Money transfer

If your wallet (or someone’s else) gets stolen you should have a way to transfer some money for cash. It happened to a person in my hostel and I was to help her using Paypal. You can try a bitcoin app as well.

Code generator

If you have 2-steps login for gmail or facebook, they usually send you a code on your phone to be able to login. If you have a foreign SIM into your phone, you won’t be able to receive the code and hence not able to login on a computer. Using Google Authenticator solves this problem and it works with other websites, not only gmail.

Travel with no worries

If you travel for a long period and on a different timezone, keeping in touch with your close family might not be that easy and they might get worried quickly. Safemeup solves this problem by tracking your location and let your family can see where you are traveling. This way they won’t bother you with calls and messages. Give it a try. Android only.


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