9(ish) Apps for the Travel Runner

“There’s an app for that.” Who recalls this classic saying? Bonus points if you can remember where it came from without Googling it!

Apple coined this phrase with their commercial for the iPhone 3G in 2009. Apps were still new around that time, but today, they’re ubiquitous. Phones, tablets, computers, and even TVs are running apps.

Each year, the total number of app downloads increases by over 10 billion. In addition, as of early 2020, there were almost 9 million apps in the world. Coming from a person who develops apps (none that you would want to use), much of these apps aren’t worth your time.

So, what apps benefit this lifestyle? You don’t have the time to sift through all those apps and find what works for you. But, apparently, I do. A fact that makes me unsure if I should be proud or ashamed. Regardless, let’s dive into the different apps for the Travel Runner.

Strava

Strava is a key app for the Travel Runner

This app is no mystery to anyone who runs frequently. Strava is arguably the biggest and most popular running-specific app.

Strava does an impressive job of combining the best elements of a workout app while also incorporating social features that you want. It’s like a sports Facebook (minus your Uncle Freddy sharing political posts and his mystery cures).

In addition to providing a user-friendly interface, the app is excellent for connecting with other runners, finding new routes, as well as observing your training performance over time.

It’s the Swiss Army knife of running apps—complete with the corkscrew and bottle opener.

Download Strava:

Wikiloc/AllTrails

Wikiloc is a great app for the Travel Runner because it helps you find nearby trails quickly and accurately.

I listed these two together because they’re both going to work similarly. You can see more about these apps in my write-up here. However, all of these apps will be great to find trails, regardless of where you are in the world.

Strava is my go-to for finding and creating routes, but most features are hidden behind a subscription wall. So, unless you’re a premium Strava member, it won’t be the best option.

However, AllTrails and Wikiloc are chockfull of existing routes that users have created, and, best of all, most of the features aren’t hidden behind a paywall!

Both services are easy-to-use and will have you out on the trails quickly—even if you just landed.

Download Wikiloc:

Download AllTrails:

Google Maps/Maps.Me

Maps.Me is an app for the Travel Runner because you can navigate an area—even when you don't have internet.

Everyone knows Google Maps. We all use it frequently, and it helps us navigate our surroundings and occasionally into some unexpected terrain.

It’s a great tool to have, though, as a traveler. With the ability to provide walking directions to that delicious taco restaurant or to the nearest attraction—we use Google Maps a lot.

Another fantastic option, however, is Maps.Me. This app is crucial if you’re a traveler or a runner.

When flying into a new country, you obviously don’t have cell service working yet, right? Sure, maybe you can buy a SIM card at the airport, but what if you’re only visiting for a short time? Do you really want to fork out money for a SIM card you may not need, especially when you’ll only need data to navigate?

Enter Maps.Me. The app functions entirely offline, and you only have to download the area map for the place you’re visiting before you leave. Once you have that downloaded, the rest is simple.

If you want turn-by-turn directions, it offers that. Want to find attractions, restaurants, and more? Maps.Me serves that up for you. It lets you narrow down what you’re looking for by category to find the best hotel, restaurants, or even the nearest ATM.

Plus, if you’re a trail runner, Maps.Me is a great resource to find trails in an area you’re visiting. Since the app is open source and lets users contribute to the map data, trails you otherwise would have been oblivious to are marked clearly for you. A dream for trail runners!

When I travel, I use both apps in tandem. Both offer benefits for a Travel Runner. And, besides, you can never have too many GPS apps, right?

Download Google Maps:

Download Maps.Me:

Skyscanner/Hopper

Hopper is going to help you find cheap flights. Definitely an app for the Travel Runner

If you’re someone who travels as a lifestyle, then finding cheap flights will be a necessity. Even if you’re flying first class, saving a few bucks is never a bad thing.

Since Google Flights inexplicably doesn’t have an app, it’s not added to the list. I use these two apps —Skyscanner and Hopper— to find and book flights and use them to compare with Google Flights.

Skyscanner is a bit more well-known than Hopper and is an excellent resource to find flights. It has a simple app interface to make it easy to compare flights and to save/start building your trip. Plus, it’s straightforward to compare flight prices on the surrounding days using their chart feature.

Hopper, on the other hand, is a bit lesser-known. This app has a unique feature. It analyzes past years’ flight price data and the trends of prices to predict what they will do.

So, when you search for a flight then “watch” it, you will receive notifications and predictions when the price will drop or go up. When the price is at a level where it’s not predicted to drop anymore, the app will let you know that and will recommend that you book.

While not consistently accurate, it is just following an algorithm of past trends. After all, it does help snag some pretty good deals. A few years back, a flight to Denver I was following dropped to $45 from Pittsburgh, which was even lower than the app had predicted.

With these two apps, you’re going to cover most of your bases and find some fantastic deals.

Download Skyscanner:

Download Hopper:

Down Dog Yoga

Yoga is just a good activity to do, and Down Dog Yoga is perfect for that.

Whether you’re just hopping off a flight or just getting back from the trail, a good stretch will do you some good.

Down Dog offers a paid and a free version. With the paid version, you’ll get access to more types of yoga and have more customization options.

For me, the free version was just fine and provided enough variety that I wasn’t getting tired of the sessions.

In addition, it allows you to choose how long, what type, and what area you would like to focus on while stretching. It’s been an invaluable tool for making sure I stick to a stretching routine, which is essential if you’re running and traveling a lot.

Avoid stretching while traveling and running often, and you’ll be feeling a bit wound up in no time. Even 10 minutes is going to help keep you loose.

Download Down Dog Yoga:

Airbnb

Airbnb will help you find accommodation and connect with locals. A great app for the Travel Runner.

I’ve never been much of a hostel person. I don’t care for partying or the dorm aspect. Also, I travel with my girlfriend most of the time, and we enjoy the privacy of the places you find on Airbnb.

If you’ve never used Airbnb before, then it’s never a bad time to start. I’ve used Airbnb for most places I’ve visited, and it’s provided an outstanding experience each time.

If you get the right host as well, they’ll often be willing to recommend or even join you for activities. There’s nothing quite like having a local that can direct you to the lesser-known places in an area, and occasionally join!

Download Airbnb:

Audible

Audible provides excellent listens for all your long trips or runs.

I love reading, and it’s been a part of my life since I was a child. However, I don’t always have the time to sit down and actually read a book. And, I’ve found the process of reading is the perfect NyQuil for me, as it usually causes me to doze off.

Enter audiobooks. Audiobooks have become my primary way of “reading” books. The ease of putting one on and still doing other activities has become more important in my life.

This is especially true for my runs. Not only is my run my means of getting exercise, de-stressing, and just enjoying nature, but it’s become the primary way that I stay on top of all the books I want to read.

Have a two-hour run coming up? That’s two hours of listening to Bill Gates talk about how we’re heading towards a climate catastrophe if we don’t change some things.

Maybe not the best example to use (especially while you’re running in a forest), but it demonstrates the point. Combining two activities you love makes each more enjoyable.

Not a fan of audiobooks? Then podcasts can make a great replacement. I’ll typically have to flip a coin before listening to one of my favorite podcasts or listening to a gripping book.

Download Audible:

Trail Wallet

Trail Wallet provides an easy way to track your expenses on all your trips. That way, you can view how you're doing on your budget with a quick glance.

This is an app I’ve only recently discovered, but I instantly realized how important it is for travelers.

Not wildly different from other budgeting apps, the trip-specific features and the ease of use drew me in. It’s just a quick tap to keep track of all your expenses while on a trip, and it gives you a moment’s glance of where you are on your budgeting goals.

Most other budget apps I’ve used are clunky and have you clicking through menu after menu trying to find what you’re looking for. Trail Wallet understands that its best use is giving you the quick and easy access you’re looking for, then getting out of your way.

Download Trail Wallet:

  • iOS
  • Unfortunately, the app is not available for Android. However, there are similar apps listed on the Google Play Store.

Charity Miles

Charity Miles is a fantastic app to help contribute to a good cause—simply for doing something you already do. By running, and getting some pledges, you can earn money with your legs.

Regardless if you’re a frequent runner or not, you should be using this app. It’s not a unique app, by any stretch of the imagination. However, its ease of use is the main factor for why I use it.

I’m already running regularly, so why not put those miles to use for something better than just my health?

By signing up, choosing a cause, and then getting some people to pledge money, you can have your miles work towards making a better world.

There are many charities to choose from—I chose Pencils of Promise—that you can have the money go to. So, why not do a little good for others while you’re doing some good for yourself as well?

Download Charity Miles:

These are the apps that I use the most in my lifestyle, and I’ve found each of them invaluable. I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me. Let me know in the comments what types of apps you use/prefer, and why.