After spending the BEST 8 days in Morocco with my closest girlfriends for an epic Bachelorette party, I’ve got fresh experience with the best group travel apps. It was organized perfectly by the Solo Female Travel Network and, of course, pre-trip tasks and itinerary were powered by YouLi. Plus we were experiencing the new YouLi trip mobile app. That meant all my friends had the right insurance, packed the right things, had the cash they needed and knew where they needed to be.
Since no single app does everything, here are three mobile apps we think are essential to group travel and easy to use, just like YouLi.
1. Guru Maps: Get lost and still get back to the riad safely
Sure, getting lost is part of the fun, but not if it makes you so scared you don’t leave the riad! I’ve mostly used Guru Maps for trekking, but it also works in cities.
If you’re worried you’ll get lost in the souks of Marrakech while dodging aggressive hawkers, be sure to download Guru Maps (and the country you’re visiting) before you go and track your path even without a network connection. For those of you who thought turning your phone to airplane mode blocked tracking, be ready to feel surveilled. But hey, that’s the price of digital bread crumbs!
In the example below, it might look messy, but you can change the color of each line so you know which line is from which trip and you can see your blue dot so you are on the right track as you retrace your steps. We stayed in the lovely Riad Maialou, beautiful and exceptional service!
When we first got there I thought I’d never find my way back to it again, so many twists down tiny lanes! But with Guru Maps I never worried about getting back and happily explored the medina without a guide. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it is easy to use.
2. Splitwise: Because no one in Morocco has change for your 100 durham bill
We figured out pretty quickly that the ATMs give you 100 and 200 durham (or MAD) and the sellers in the market don’t want to give you change for that 12 durham thing you just haggled for. Some of them are just playing and if you press them, they will give you change, others are genuinely out. So when you are in a group, that means someone ends up paying for a few of you at once and everyone promises to settle up later.
Of course, in Moroccan souks, you aren’t getting receipts, so you all better have a great memory, OR, you better get Splitwise. It works offline while you are out and then syncs up when you get online. It even has a handy feature to “simplify debts” which took us all a bit to get our heads wrapped around but basically means that you do less transactions and everyone gets what they are owed in the end.
Everyone was raving about how easy it was to keep track of our shared expenses so we didn’t waste time fighting for change.
3. GIF Toaster: Those bus rides are long, but animated gifs bring hours of joy
We all love animated gifs, they entertain us on our feeds and no one really knows how they are made. So when I turned our silly photos into animated gifs while on our long bus rides between Marrakech, Fez and Chefchaouen everyone thought I was a graphic wiz!
By the end of the trip, everyone in the group had been “Giffed” and we couldn’t stop giggling. My secret: GIF Toaster. And yes, the $2 for the pro version is totally worth it, but the free one gets you pretty far. It’s really easy, all you have to do is grab two photos taken close together and you can whip up a funny little animated gif in seconds. It works offline and saves to your album, then you can pass around the phone on the bus or wait for network to post into the group chat.
I made 14 of them in total, all very funny inside jokes, so I’ll just share my “professional” one so you get the idea.
The pants were haggled for in the souks of Marrakech, the scenery is classic blue city of Chefchaouen (you’ll have to go there to learn how to say it properly). Dance moves are ALLL mine.
As a group leader, it was a great way to lighten the mood and keep the group laughing together.