About The List.
You don’t need a phone or apps when you are bicycling and you shouldn’t rely completely on them (you never knows what happens to your phone). This post is about the 10 apps that we use the most during our cycling trip. It doesn’t matter if it is for finding accommodation, checking the weather or even just having fun. It is just our personal list and maybe you can get some inspiration from it.
Our list of apps in order of what we use the most. Our full explanation (for those who are interested) is below.
Good accommodation is important during every trip. You want to have a good place to sleep whether it is a campsite, hostel or hotel. In this section, I will explain a little bit more about what options you have and when we use it.
When we are out in nature we try to (wild) camp since that is the most fun to do anyway. For wild camping, I found the app iOverlander. You will see all the places on a map that marked by other users as good wild camping spots, often with extra information (water available, good view and so on). I have played around in the app but didn’t check out any spot for myself. That is on my to-do list. Campings we usually find through google maps but be sure to check the reviews of the camping.
The best way to get to know a country is to stay with the local people. My most-used apps for this are Couchsurfing and Warmshowers. In my blog post ‘Meet the locals‘ I already wrote about those communities. Their website and app work pretty much the same. Both are quite easy and straight forward to work with. We usually stay with locals in bigger cities and towns. In the middle of nowhere, it is harder to find hosts exactly where you want.
We try to avoid hotels and hostels as much as possible but sometimes there is no other option or you just want the extra comfort for one night. In most of our cases, we use Airbnb for a payable warm bed but if there are no rooms available (which happens sometimes, since we don’t plan so much ahead) then we use sometimes Booking.com or Hostelworld.
When you are cycling the weather forecast is quite important. Not only for your clothing but also to plan your rest days or even not to cycle on the worst days. When you are prepared, there are no surprises. Of course, the weather forecast is never 100 percent correct but you have at least an idea. We also combine and check two different apps and follow the one with the worst prediction. One of the apps we use is Windy. As the name says, it gives a lot of information about wind which is super handy for cyclists. It also has a forecast but it is less detailed. Our more detailed forecast we check at The Weather Channel. With those two apps combined, we have a pretty good idea about what the weather will throw at us.
When you travel through countries with a different currency then you are used too it can be hard to have an overview of what everything costs or what you spend. We use Xe Currency to quickly convert any type of currency to another one. It seems a bit silly and it might be not necessary but it saves us time and we don’t need to calculate constantly our expenses. It makes our lives a little bit easier.
Food can be expensive in some countries and then TooGoodToGo can become very handy. Also, you will prevent food waste when you use it! Different shops, markets, restaurants and so on that made too much food or have unexpected extra that they will need to throw away can put their food on this app with a huge discount. No food gets thrown away and you save some bucks! That is what we call a win-win situation.
As a bonus, I want to talk about geocaching. This is not really a useful app for during the cycling itself but it can be a lot of fun. Everywhere in the world, there are hidden caches (boxes, containers) placed by this community that can be found. A cache always contains a logbook and sometimes also some little goodies (trinkets, coins or so on). The caches are often hidden at places of interests (good view, historical place,…) and often there is some explanation in cache info. You will find places only locals know or get information about the place without having a guide. I like to think about it as a huge adventure (like pirates looking for treasure, arghh!) where you try to find as many caches as you can. I love it. It may be not for everyone but if you have the time, you should give it a shot.
There are many apps that you can use and I described probably only a few of them. You should try out and see what fits your needs the best or just use nothing. There are no rules. A map of the area and a compass can work just fine and even necessary! I hope I gave just an insight into what is possible and what you could use.
What is your favorite app for on the road?