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9 Must-have apps for every backpacker in Australia

One of the most important items I brought to Australia is my iPhone. From snapping pics of my favorite memories, navigating new transportation systems, finding things to do, staying organized, and keeping connected, the digital age of traveling makes my life as a backpacker a whole lot easier. With the click of a button, I can keep in touch with friends and family back home, as well as new friends made on the road. Over the past five months, I’ve downloaded and deleted a host of various apps that were supposed to make my life easier.

Beyond the basics that nearly everyone has, such as Instagram, Google Maps, a calendar app, and the app for their bank, these are the top nine apps that I consider essential for your trip around Australia.

1.0 Hostels Australia

Download this app to save $3 per night at some of the BEST hostels in Australia, including Wake Up! Sydney, Wake Up! Byron Bay, and Bondi Backpackers. Not only that, but when you book with the Hostels Australia app you can get drink discounts and access to exclusive events as well.

2.0 Hostelworld

Curious how clean or social that hostel right by the train station is? Hop on to Hostelworld to read reviews from real backpackers and view ratings in categories including location, cleanliness, staff, facilities, atmosphere, security, and value for money. You can even filter your search based on what’s important to you. My top three factors are cleanliness, atmosphere, and location. Why waste time at a dirty, boring, unsafe hostel when you could check in at Wake Up! Sydney right across from Central Station? Book direct to save and get a free coffee voucher at Roy’s Café!

3.0 Kayak or Skyscanner

Planning my trip to the West Coast and around the Outback has turned out to be a lot more expensive than I anticipated because of the expensive flights. Apps like Kayak and Skyscanner have become my best friend. They scan the internet for cheap flights, let you choose flexible dates, and will send you alerts to notify you if the price on a flight drops. Sometimes specific airlines, such as JetStar, will have flash sales that only last a few hours. That’s how I booked my flight from Sydney to Perth for $109 instead of nearly $400 on other websites!

4.0 Happy Cow

In the middle of nowhere on a near-deserted road on the drive back from Grampians National Park near Melbourne, this app helped me found a massive vegan burger at a little cafe. Happy Cow is my BBF when I’m hungry (and verging on hangry) and want to find somewhere veg-friendly to eat. With options to search by location and filter for different diets and restaurant types, you’re guaranteed to find something crave-worthy anywhere in Australia.

Image: Folk Byron Bay (@elizabethcouse_)

5.0 Eat Club

Eat Club is a must-have for anyone living in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, or Adelaide who fancies huge discounts at restaurants and cafes. As I write this sentence, I could walk five minutes from Wake Up! Sydney and get 30% off pho or a burger! Roy’s Café at Wake Up! Sydney even has deals posted so keep an eye out! Check it out.

6.0 Adobe Photoshop Express

If you’re anything like me and take nearly 1,000 photos a month, you’ll want a way to edit them on the go to highlight your experiences. Adobe Photoshop Express is the best mobile-friendly way I’ve been able to enhance my photos and edit the small details. From covering up a zit to changing the white balance, it’s easy to use and the results are beautiful.

7.0 Adobe Lightroom

Often used in conjunction with Photoshop by instafamous people, Lightroom allows you to create your own presets to build a coherent look on your Instagram account. I’m still learning how to use this app, but there are useful tutorials on YouTube. Think of photoshop as the bandaid and Lightroom as the filter for your photos.

Image: Melbourne, Victoria (@clint.images)

8.0 Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed is your catch-all for memes, funny tweets, restaurant recommendations, quizzes, and news. A few months before I began traveling, I followed Buzzfeed Australia on Facebook. Reading the articles about Aussie food, slang, popular restaurants, and beautiful locations inspired my travels and helped me acclimate to my new environment. Buzzfeed has country-specific pages for places all over the world and I couldn’t recommend following them enough!

9.0 Transportation Apps

Crazy enough, I just learned two days ago that not only does Sydney have its own transit app, but most places in Australia have their own transit-oriented app! In Sydney, download the Opal app, in Victoria download PTV, and in Brisbane download MyTransLink. Although you can use Google Maps for real-time data on busses and trains, it becomes less accurate the farther away from cities you get.


Every backpacker seeks a unique experience in Australia, but I hope these apps are as helpful to you as they have been to me! What are your favourite apps to use when travelling?


by Janine Denney-Mazzilli

Hi there! My name is Janine and I am a self-professed, travel obsessed foodie from Seattle. I recently graduated the University of Washington and I’m now living my Australian dream on a working holiday! Follow along on @janini133

apps, backpacking australia, travel tips australia

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