After traveling in Sri Lanka for a month, I have had some trial and error with my whole adventure. Through my experience, and chatting with other travelers, I have cultivated a list of the best apps to download to make your trip run a little more smoothly:
This is an app that allows you to download a map of whatever area you are in for offline use. Maps.me gives you the capabilities to type in and search different directions without wifi or data. It does use a lot of battery (just as a forewarning) but it is super helpful for tracking how close you are to a train station or how far you need to walk to your next restaurant destination.
Pick Me is like a ridesharing app for Tuk Tuks around the cities in Sri Lanka. It gives you the best rates of Tuk Tuks that Sri Lankans are charged, not tourist. You will need a working phone number to register for this app. Pick me only works in the larger, more populated cities of Sri Lanka, like Colombo and Kandy.
The Sri Lanka Train Times app gives you timetables for different cities you would like to travel between. The app will give you the most up-to-date train schedule. This is super helpful for planning transit between different cities. I recommend arriving at the station 15 minutes before the departing time. The biggest tip for Sri Lanka is be relaxed with the scheduling. There is not a lot of structure with transportation so arrive to each train station with an accommodating attitude.
This is one of my favorite travel apps. Rome2Rio lists all the different methods of transit available including the estimated prices and duration of transit for the cities you would like to travel between. I also recommend this app to compare modes of transit. As Sri Lanka does not have a lot of structure to transportation, the app cannot offer exact time tables, but it is fabulous in other countries.
I have used this app all over the world to book different accommodation. As one of the most popular resources places use to list their accommodations in this country, you can easily compare, book, and ask questions for many different hotels, hostels, resorts, ETC.
AirBnb is a really cool resource to find eclectic, unique types of accommodations more than just your hotel or hostel options. Here you can find different jungle tree houses, campervans near waterfalls, and authentic guest houses all over Sri Lanka. In addition to accommodation, Airbnb also offers different experiences you may book, like a guide, cooking classes, meditation sessions, etc.
Tripadvisor is great for recommendations on hotels, restaurants, spas, and souvenir shops. The app allows you to search for restaurants using many different categories such as cheap eats, local cuisine, fine dining, etc. I typically use it for restaurants, as I find Sri Lanka a bit overwhelming at times to walk down the street and mosey around to find a spot to eat. I have been steered in the right direction for my dining choices thus far.
8. Google Trips
Have you ever arrived in a city confused on what to see and too exhausted to spend time researching? This is the app for you. Google Trips gives you different itneraties of all the attractions and adventures to do in the city you are in. There is a wide range of options, depending on the city and how long you are planning to stay there. You can also use this app to plan a day out or just to double check you didn’t miss any hot attractions in your area.
Sri Lanka was just named Lonely Planet’s destination of 2019. If you are traveling to Sri Lanka, you have to fly through Colombo, as it is the only city with an international airport. The Lonely Planet app offers a downloadable guide of what to see and do in Colombo. This will be helpful for the beginning or end of your trip, since you must visit Colombo to enter and exit the country.
Uber is only available in Colombo, but it is useful for ordering a taxi to or from the airport at a reasonable price. There is an option on Uber for Tuk Tuks as well. This saves you from negotiating prices as soon as you stumble off the plane.