Every destination has an assortment of touristy attractions, but for those of us who want to travel like a local, sometimes we need a little help tapping into the local culture. Travel apps have revolutionized the way in which we connect with local cultures. So whether you’re trying to overcome a language difference, want to shop where the locals do, or want to swap stories over a home cooked meal, here are 7 travel apps to help you travel like a local:
I’ve blogged about this app before, and I can’t sing its praises enough. Learning a local language opens the door to so many opportunities for the culturally curious traveler. Duolingo is a free app with well over 70 million users around the world. Not everyone has an affinity for language but Duolingo has a “tree” like method, so once you gain a foundation in one skill set, you move to the next level, building on everything you’ve learned . If you’re going to use a language app, this is the most effective (iOS & Android).
I don’t mind getting lost, but looking lost? No thanks. Covering more than 30 of the world’s largest cities like London, Barcelona, Vancouver and Boston, Citymapper offers up journey planning information that Google doesn’t provide – It’s highly detailed. This app includes transit disruption alerts, real-time departures and cycling routes to help you travel like a local (iOS & Android).
I just recently discovered this app, and I can’t wait to start using it. Withlocals connects travelers with local cooks, tour guides and activity experts throughout Southeast Asia and a few cities in Europe. From learning how to make a traditional Porto tile in Portugal to experiencing a home cooked meal in Thailand, the opportunities for cultural enrichment are endless. As an advocate for responsible travel, I truly believe the key to tourism benefiting a community is by supporting the local economy as much as possible (iOS & Android).
Ever been on a volunteer travel project or organized tour? All those life-long friendships, shared experiences and of course, amazing photos to bring home. But getting your hands on those photos often means either nagging your new found friends for their email, or waiting months on end for them get home and tag you into their Facebook or Instagram pics – The Groupie app allows your friends (and family) to share photos in real time so you never miss a moment! Forget Dropbox (sorry guys), Groupie is simpler, faster, and offers more privacy than conventional social media channels (iOS & Android).
What would a cultural travel experience be without trying out the local food scene? You can wander the streets aimlessly, trying to eat where the locals do, or you can invite yourself to dinner! Eatwith is a meal- sharing travel app that connects hungry travelers with locals who’ve opened their kitchen. With more than 500 chefs, and enough satisfied guests to make you wonder why you ever dined out in a restaurant, this is a truly awesome way to travel like a local (iOS & Android).
You’re probably wondering why an app that manages your sun exposure will help you travel like a local – Because nothing screams tourist like strolling around town looking like a quivering, overcooked lobster. Sun exposure differs around the world, depending on what hemisphere you’re in and of course, your skin tone. You simply input your skin type, and the app does the rest. Of course, you can help out your cause by wearing sunscreen, throwing on a hat, and staying hydrated (iOS).
Finally, the travel industry gets it – Local travel tips give way for the most rewarding travel experiences. I travel like a local with the Localeur’s great nightlife, shopping, food and culture suggestions. Contributions can only be made by local residents and suggestions are either upvoted or downvoted by travelers (much like Quora). Just a sidebar, I’ve personally been to a number of restaurants downvoted by fellow travelers and haven’t agreed, so take reviews with a grain of salt (iOS & Android).
Do you have some suggestions for travel apps that help you travel like a local? Share below!