Keeping track of your finances while travelling is something many travellers (including myself) struggle with. Being able to keep track of your finances and allocate certain amounts of money to different expenses (food, buses, etc.) will make it easier for you to travel cheaply, and therefore travel longer. Also, keeping a note of how much money you’ve spent and on what will make it easier to spot if you’ve been a victim of any kind of fraudulent activity. So, here are the best backpacking apps to help you budget while you’re travelling.
1. Trail Wallet
Trail Wallet has become one of the most popular budget backpacking apps, and for good reason. It was created by a couple who spent years on the road, writing for their blog at the same time.
There’s something reassuring about using an app that was designed by people who would actually benefit from using it, and Trail Wallet is certainly that.
The purpose of the app is to make budgeting and expense tracking extremely quick and easy for backpackers. You can arrange your travel expenses by month or individual trip. You can easily add to it as you incur costs on your journey. The app will then automatically update your budget for you.
The thing I like best about Trail Wallet is the pure simplicity of it. I used to track all my expenses on an Excel document. It was just a bore having to go back to my room and update my expenses and track where I was spending the most etc. Using Trail Wallet makes it much easier and quicker. The app is also free for your first 25 items, so give it a go!
Tripcoin is another fantastic choice for backpacking apps that help you budget.
The best feature with Tripcoin are that it works without an internet connection. It also automatically converts your expenses in different currencies to your home currency. Oh, and it’s completely free!
Other than that, there are other cool features such as geo-location which allows you to track your spending by country, daily reporting and the ability to export your data to excel or google documents.
It’s a really clever app, and laid out in a very modern, effective way. Considering it’s free I would definitely suggest giving it a try. For most people, it will help fulfil all their budgeting needs. The only issue is that there currently isn’t an Android option. Although, I’m told they do have plans to develop an android version in the near future.
While the other budget backpacking apps on this list work perfectly for individuals, they don’t really help if you’re travelling in a group and sharing expenses around. That is where Splitwise comes in.
This backpacking app helps you keep track of how much other people owe you, and how much you owe them. It does also work well for individual budget tracking, but it’s ideal for those of you who are not travelling alone.
Having travelled around Asia with a couple of my friends, I can tell you that when you’re all paying for different things every day for months at a time, it can be hard to know how much exactly everyone owes each other. I was unaware of Spiltwise when I went to Asia with my friends. I’m sure it would’ve saved a lot of hassle if I’d used it!
Again, it’s free to download so I’d suggest at least giving it a go. It’s also available for both Apple and Android users.
4. XE Currency
This app has saved me a lot of headaches while backpacking. Before I’d heard of this app, I would have to convert the prices I was getting in one currency into my home currency in my head in order to determine how much something cost. This is pretty easy when it’s a simple exchange rate, but when you’re travelling all over the world you come across some complex calculations. Get it wrong, and what you think is a great deal might actually be a huge rip off! My girlfriend managed to pay $10 for a coconut in Vietnam, for example…
XE Currency app is very much a ‘does 1 job and does it very well’ kind of app. It allows you to quickly and easily work out currencies on the go. Saving you time and potentially money as well. It’s free to download, and available on both Apple and Android devices.
I mentioned this is my article about backpack cheaply. In my opinion TransferWise tops the list for must-have backpacking apps for travel.
It’s actually a lot more than a budgeting app, it’s a travel debit card that allows you to withdraw funds from ATM machines anywhere in the world with no added fees. It can also be used as a payment option in it’s own right, and even has a contactless feature.
The benefits to this are obvious, as you can almost act like you’re at home, using your bank card for payments in bars etc., and also for cash withdrawals at ATM’s.
Your account is managed through the TranferWise app, where you can upload funds from your bank account into your TransferWise account, and then convert it within the app to whichever currency you wish.
Getting a TranferWise account is completely free, and something that I highly recommend if you want to travel smart.
When it comes to premium budgeting apps, you can’t really beat Spendee. This is a very powerful app that comes with many useful features that makes it stand out from the competition such as syncing with your bank account and crypto currency accounts.
While there is a free version, I would say that the app is only worth getting if you’re prepared to pay for the premium version, as that is where the bank sync etc. comes into play.
If you’re like me and not willing to pay for a budgeting app, then Trail Wallet or Trip coin might be better backpacking apps for you.
But, if you want to take your budget tracking to another level and are willing to pay the small $22.99 annual subscription, Spendee is your best bet.
A final alternative – Trabee Pocket
Trabee Pocket is another great free budgeting option for travellers. It’s features match up well with the other free options on the list. It has multiple currency support and breaks down daily, weekly and monthly reports. It also lets you upload photos and notes to each entry, helping you remember each individual spend.
I haven’t actually used this app before, but I’m including it because I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Some people prefer the way this app is laid out, some don’t. Ultimately, it’s another solid budget backpacking app that you could try.
Which of these backpacking apps should I get?
Other than TransferWise (which everyone should use), the right backpacking app for you depends on the type of traveller you are.
Travelling alone, looking for an easy solution?
You should look at Trail Wallet, TripCoin and Trabee Pocket. All 3 of these apps have great reviews and should serve you well. The one that’s right for you really comes down to which one you like the feel of best. They’re all free to download, so I’d suggest downloading all 3! Have a play around with each one and decide which is your favourite.
Travelling with a partner or group?
As I mentioned, getting lost in how much you all owe each other can become a real pain, and lead to unnecessary arguments on your travels.
If you’re going away with other people, whether it’s your partner or your friends, I’d recommend the SplitWise app. Use it properly and it should help you keep track of your own finances, and your financial position within the group.
Looking at premium backpacking apps for budgeting?
The Spendee app, specifically the premium $22.99 annual option, is probably your best bet. The ability to sync to your bank is really useful, as is the crypto currency sync (if you use these).
I would suggest that you give one of the free apps a try first, though. This is because they all do a fantastic job, and you might find that you don’t need those premium features after all. That said, $22.99 per year is a steal if it gives you what you need for your travels.
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