Best Travel Apps for San Francisco

san francisco

The following is a guest post by Lena Perry.

San Francisco is a massive city – in fact, it’s the second largest city in the United States. As one of the top tourist destinations in the world, San Fran has a buffet of options for any kind of traveller.

While riding the cable cars is all well and good, sooner or later you’ll want to do a bit more than that… and this is where your smartphone comes in. There are countless apps that are useful for the budding San Francisco traveller; take a look at these must-have apps for you trips to The City by the Bay.

The Weather Channel App

The Weather Channel app is something you can’t live without. There are just some places you can’t explore in the rain. Be aware of the forecast (which will be a bit different to the rest of the state, as San Francisco is California’s westernmost point with a generally cooler vibe). Plan activities suited to the weather. If you find tomorrow is going to be a little overcast, maybe it’s time to explore Haight – Ashbury instead of trekking across the Golden Gate Bridge. But don’t let the weather be a dampener on your day! And remember to dress for the climate, with all the goss you need right at your fingertips. All free!

Packing Pro

The landscape here is very different from where you might normally spend your nine to five in an office space in North Sydney (if you’re a Sydneysider like myself). It’s an entirely new place where you can experience entirely new things. But before you can head out the front door and catch a cab to the airport, you’ve got to get your packing sorted. $2.99 is a small price to pay to have all your lists together in one place thanks to Packing Pro. There are even suggestions for extra things you might have forgotten- to add to the ones you’ve placed to your own customised list. Edit it however you like, using old lists as templates. It’s an easy way to monitor everything that goes into your suitcase.


Citysearch is again totally free: your guide to knowing where to eat, drink and shop in San Francisco. This is about searching the new city for all the local hot spots. Using GPS and quick category searches, you can immediately find out what businesses are nearby. That means you have instant access to some of the coolest bars in the city, including relative unknowns. It’s easy, it’s fast, and there are reviews and ratings, maps and deals for you to check out too, just in case you needed convincing.

More Apps of Note

  • San Francisco Transport Map (FREE) — Metro map for the city.
  • San Francisco WiFi ($0.99) — Find cafes and restaurants and other hotspots that offer free WiFi.
  • Taxi Magic (FREE) — So you can book your taxi online via the app.
  • San Francisco’s Chinatown ($1.99) — Explore Chinatown with the help of this app with tips, photos, insight.
  • San Francisco’s Best Coffee ($1.99) — Go on a coffee tour with this app and its list of 70 of San Fran’s best coffee locations.

Now with all the hard work done, don a smile and meander the city streets. You might discover something you never expected, whether on the island of Alcatraz, in Chinatown, or down at Fisherman’s Wharf.

About the author: San Francisco might just be Lena Perry’s favourite US city. She can’t wait to go back. Guest post brought to you by TGC.

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Gear We Use


Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.

Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.

Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking! – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions


  1. Megan E. says

    Good start, some others that I used a ton while there recently:

    Muni (transportation system app with maps, times)
    HopStop (another transport app)
    iBart (another transport app for subway)
    NextBus (another transport app/website)

    Also, if you are visiting, be aware that the bus is a great way to get around, but it does take awhile and it doesn’t wait at stops, so be there early!

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