A Complete Guide to Travel App Development (Process + Cost)

With the escalation in technology, the world is becoming a smaller place. Travelling is much easier than ever before. So, are you planning on travel app development for your startup or travel business?

Well, you are on the right path at the right time. The industry is booming and it is the right time to make your place in it. Going mobile is something that travellers are expecting from you if you have a business based on travel and tourism.

In this blog, we have provided a complete guide on mobile travel app development. We have mentioned points like the benefits of investing in travel apps, how to make a travel app, basic and unique features to consider for travel apps development, monetization strategies and much more. For your consideration, we have also added a list of best travel apps in the market currently. We have also mentioned their pros and cons to help you understand what users are expecting from your travel app. You will also understand which best travel apps you will be competing with and market your app accordingly.

Keep reading the complete guide for more information. And if you are looking for a particular section, then you can check out the content sections by clicking on the [More] button below for the index.

We understand all the reasons that are stopping you.

Does the travelling industry seem too saturated? Well, saturation is a mind-made concept. This saturation denotes activity, the market is active. We’ll show you in a while.

Is there already a lot of competition? Worried about competition from the best travel apps like Expedia and Hopper? Follow our guide and you might just beat them in the long run.

How would you retain the clients? By creating apps for travel with unique features. Read on to find out which features we are talking about.

Instead of focusing on saturation in the market, let’s talk about the current status of the travel and tourism market. Through this, you get to see the promising trends that the travel and tourism market has been showing and its future. Seeing the bigger picture will aid you in understanding what are the benefits of investing in travel application development for your travel business.

What is the Current Status of the Travel and Tourism Industry?

The travel and tourism industry is vast. Here are some statistics and data on this industry:

  • According to Statista, the revenue in the Travel & Tourism market amounts to US$711,944m in 2020.
  • It is projected to show an annual growth rate of 4.0% from 2020 to 2023, resulting in a market volume of US$801,657m by 2023.
  • The market’s largest segment is Hotels with a market volume of US$383,081m in 2020.
  • In 2016, the global revenue for the online hotel and travel booking segment was US$178.8 billion and it is expected to increase to $288 billion in 2021.

Just being in the travel sector is not enough. You also need to compete with the big names. For that, you need to make use of the latest trends. We are talking about creating a mobile travelling app. In this blog, we will discuss why and how to create a travel planner app that helps you grow your business more efficiently and quickly.

Why Focus on Travel App Development?

As per a report from Statista, 230 billion mobile app downloads appeared worldwide in 2021. If we talk about the travel app category, it ranks at the 12th position and has a 3.26% share contribution in the report of most popular app categories in the Apple App Store.

Mobile app downloads worldwide

Source: Statista

Still unsure? Here are four more reasons for getting into the travel app industry.

  • The number of downloads in the travel app is estimated to reach $145.80 million in 2023, as per Statista.
  • The total revenue in the travel app segment is expected to show annual growth with a CAGR of 11.05%, resulting in $507 million by 2026.
  • 52% of travelers expect to be able to communicate with a travel brand using text or messaging.
  • Out of the surveyed travel brands, 92% believed a mobile strategy is critical to the future success of their organization

Without further ado, let us start discussing the steps of travel mobile app development. Go get a notepad and a pen.


How to Create a Travel App [Step by Step Guide]

There are 6 simple steps that would lead to successful travel app development. Here is how they go.

  • Step 1: Defining the objective for your app
  • Step 2: Researching the market
  • Step 3: Deciding the features of your app for travel
  • Step 4: Hiring travel app developers
  • Step 5: Discussing and developing
  • Step 6: Promoting your app to travel

So, while thinking about how to create a travel app, the first step is to define your objective. What value do you want to offer from your travel app?

Step 1: Defining the Objective for Your App

The first step is deciding on the type of app for travelling. If you want it to be the best app for travel you must define the objective that your app is focussed on.

You may choose whether you want an app for travel planning, a travel guide app, a hotel booking app, an app for backpackers, a transport app, or any other type. The features and functionality of travelling apps depend on the type.

Step 2: Researching the Market

The second step of travel booking app development is market research. Now that you know the aim of your app, you can now start researching it in detail.

The best way to do this is by discovering the best travelling apps in your niche. Learn their features and functionality, what is unique about them and what they are missing. You can do this by downloading these best travel mobile apps.

Also research on the audience’s response toward them. This will help you give some perspective on what you need to do to be better than your competitors.

Step 3: Deciding the Features of Your App for Travel

Before you create a travel planner app, take a little time to contemplate the needs of your travel app. Decide the features that are absolutely necessary to prove the best service for your users.

It is preferable if you do it by studying similar apps in your niches and noting down the features that caught your eye. By doing this, you will understand what your users want and how you can convince them to switch to your loan app.

Step 4: Hiring Travel App Developers

Now that you have an MVP design in your head, you can start looking for good travel app developers. We would suggest you hire a mobile app development company rather than freelance developers.

A company has a more professional work environment. Further, there is a whole team dedicated only to your project. This team comprises of-

  • Project manager
  • Mobile app developers
  • UX/UI designers
  • Quality analysts

Always go for an experienced company that knows what it is doing. In fact, checking out their previous work on the basis of quality won’t hurt at this stage.

Want to Hire a Travel App Development Company?

Let’s talk. Get a free consultation to discuss your project requirements.

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Step 5: Discussing and Developing

After hiring the developers, you need to explain your needs to them. An experienced developer would understand even if your idea is not very clear. He might even suggest some important changes and additions to your project.

After discussing the best plan of action for your project, the development begins. Here is the mobile app development process that our developers follow at our mobile app development company. This process has been set in place after years of experience. However, this is not set in stone. Being in the technological industry, we understand we have to keep updating it on regular intervals to ensure that we keep improving. Take a look at the table below to understand the process better.

Development Process
Stage 1Wireframing
A business analyst team prepares a blueprint structure for all the app screens. This team creates wireframes to explain the flow of the screens, features, and specifications.
Stage 2Designing
The designing team will complete the travel app design with perfect graphics, colour schemes, and iconography to make it appealing for end-users.
Stage 3Development
Now, the developers actually build the app by generating code using programming tools like compilers, interpreters, debuggers, etc. Programming languages such as C, C++, Pascal, Java, and PHP are used according to the type of app.
Stage 4Testing
A quality analyst team checks each and every feature of your developed application, ensuring to make it is bug-free.
Stage 5Deployment
It is the final stage of the process. At this stage, the developed app is deployed to your server and released on the App Store or Play Store, making it available for your end-users.

Step 6: Promoting Your App to Travel

We can’t stress enough on the importance of this step. Any app, no matter how unique and feature-rich, can not be successful if you do not promote it on the appropriate platforms.

You need to market your app in a way that the target audience becomes aware of its existence. For instance, you can get a travel blogger to promote it or publish advertisements in newspapers.

To help you with the third step, we have compiled a list of basic features as well as a list of unique features that will prove beneficial for your travel app development.

5 Basic Features to Consider When Making a Travel App

Basic features for travel app development


  1. Travel planning: This feature of a trip planning app lets the users plan their trip in an orderly manner. The users can search for a destination, schedule their trip, get travel tips, get information about activities, and e-tickets with this feature.
  2. Navigation and maps: No matter the type of travel app, this is one basic feature that is common in all. Travellers feel safer with Apple maps or Google maps integration as they won’t get lost during their travel.
  3. In-app booking: This feature allows users to make bookings for hotels, flights, trains, cabs, etc., on the go through a single app. Including deals and offers will give your app an advantage over others.
  4. Reviews & recommendations: Users look for reliability when booking a hotel, transport, or other travel-related services. Reviews and recommendations will help them with it. You can’t create a travel guide app without this feature.
  5. Local information: The users will love to explore the regional delicacies, famous local markets, and much more. Your app can provide information about these. Further, local emergency contacts should also be available in your app.

4 Unique Features to Consider When You Create a Travel App

You can include all or some of these unique features to give your app precedence over other travel apps in the market. Take a look before you begin your travel app development.

  1. Backpacking Features:

    Backpacking apps are in trend these days. Backpackers need economical travel options, prefer reasonable stay and transport, and other unique solo travelling needs. Your app can help backpackers with-

    • Booking reasonably priced accommodation and transport
    • Finding indigenous places and delicacies
    • Finding the local utility stores even in suburbans and rural areas
    • Translating the regional languages and dialects
    • Connecting with other backpackers for tips or meeting
    • Informing the backpackers about any weather alerts
  2. Expense Tracking:

    Most people find it difficult to track their expenses while travelling. Your app can work as an expense tracker app that helps them keep tabs on their spending and reimbursements.

  3. Currency Converter:

    While travelling to other countries, most travellers tend to make mistakes while making payments as they underestimate or overestimate the value of the currency. In such cases, a feature that converts currency in real-time is a bliss.

  4. Voice Search:

    60% of travellers would be open to using a chat platform to search or book trips. Voice search is bound to make it even more desirable. Why wouldn’t people like to just tell Siri or Alexa to make their bookings?

Want to Develop a Travel App With Unique Features?

Get in touch with us today with your requirements.

You can build a travel app even more appealing by using the latest technology in it. Take a look how.

Using the Latest Technology in Travel App Development

  1. AI and ML


    AI and ML in travel app development
    People are usually eager to get more and more discounts when they are travelling or planning a trip somewhere. Best travellers apps these days use artificial intelligence and machine learning in their software. The machine learning algorithms help travellers by detecting the best time to book a flight or hotel.

    Travellers would love to have recommendations as to where to visit next and what they would like based on their preferences. Moreover, 65% of travellers would provide personal details if it resulted in a more personalized experience.

    Apart from this, AI is used for AI chatbots. These bots are often used for providing round the clock customer service to the buyers.

    Not just chatbots, AI and ML are powerful technologies that benefit travel apps tremendously. These technologies are implemented for recommender systems, sales optimization, cost optimization and fraud detection as well. All of these areas help improve your sales and marketing efforts, thereby leading to a better turnover and financial improvement.

  2. AR and VR

    AR and VR in travel app development

    Travel management apps offer a unique and interactive feature that lets the users go through a virtual tour of the place or hotels so that the users can make the right decision. This tour requires Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies. AR and VR in travel apps also let the users point their smartphones at buildings, monuments or special tourist spots and learn more about it in real-time.

    With beacon technology and push notifications, travel businesses like yours can increase their marketing capacities and see more conversions through their app for travellers. There are many more opportunities to be discovered and implemented in mobile app development in the travel and tourism category with the help of augmented reality and virtual reality. However, the day isn’t far where most apps will integrate some form of AR and VR in their mobile apps.

Suppose your travel guide app is ready. Now what? It comes down to business. How will you make your venture profitable? We have some monetization strategies that you can use.

Monetization Strategies for Your Travel App

  1. Advertisements

    This is among the very common app revenue models. You can advertise hotels, restaurants, events, amusement parks, and other places on you app.
    These advertisements can generate income as you are providing them with a platform to connect with the users.

  2. Hotel Listing Fee

    If your app is a hotel booking app, then you can also charge a hotel listing fee from the hotels that want to be listed on your app.

  3. Commission

    You can also make a deal about commission with restaurants and hotels that are listed. Every time a booking is made via your app, some percentage of the amount can be levied as commission.

Want to Know a Custom Travel App Development Cost?

Talk to our app consultant for cost estimation.

Are you wondering about the competition in the market for your travel app? Asking yourself the question, “What is the best travel app?” Well, we understand that you may want to see who your competitors are and how well they are performing in the market. For this very reason, we have made a list of 5 best travel apps below. We have also mentioned the features, pros and cons for each app. We believe that this will help you understand what types of travel apps are doing well in the market and how you can create a travel app that is on par with them.

5 Best Travel Apps for Comparison

Name Of The AppFeaturesPlay Store LinkApp Store Link
  • Alerts about traffic, police, hazards
    or obstacles
  • New route suggestions to reach
    destination quicker
  • Integrated music apps
  • Estimated time of arrival
Play storeApp store
  • Search flights
  • Integrated calendar
  • Buy tickets
  • Get price alerts
  • Watch and wait for flights
Play storeApp store
  • Listings for hotels, places, flights
    or restaurants
  • Save ideas
  • Make bookings
  • Post reviews
  • Upload images
Play storeApp store
  • Filter-based search
  • Favourites
  • Booking
  • Reviews
  • In-app chat
  • Navigation and directions
Play storeApp store
  • Search for events around you
  • Filter by category, keywords
    and popularity
  • Save events
  • In-app discussions and messaging
  • Switch between locations
Play storeApp store

We have these same apps in detail below along with their pros and cons, do take a look to understand if these apps would be worth your time.

  1. Waze – App for Travellers to Navigate Traffic in New Cities

    The thing about Waze is that it aims to help people feel at home even if they are in a new city. This is a great app for travellers who like to go on roadtrips or for those who rent vehicles after going to a city. Waze shows the users all kinds of traffic information like traffic jams, diversions, restaurants or gas stations along the way. It also shows short cuts and alternate routes to help users reach their destination faster.

    Waze app for travelling

    Source: Waze App

    • Gives alerts for potholes, vehicles on the shoulder and other hazards
    • Integrated music apps help users listen to their favourite songs without leaving the app
    • Users face GPS connectivity issues, rendering the app useless
    • The navigation voice sometimes skips directions due to glitches
    • Inaccuracy at high speed
  2. Hopper – App for Travelling and Flight Booking

    All of us love discounts, right? Hopper gives travellers just that. It tells the users exactly when to book a flight to get maximum benefits. Hopper also tells the users all the details and breaks it down in a non-complicated way to ensure that you are able to check all information before booking a flight ticket. One of the best app for travel deals, Hopper is rather useful for frequent travellers.

    Hopper app

    Source: Hopper App

    • Get the cheapest flight rates
    • Easy to use
    • Colour-coded monthly calendars for ease of usage
    • Longer customer response time
    • Often users don’t get the “watch” option and the app takes them straight to buying
    • Option to sort by time and date has been removed
    • Limited features
  3. TripAdvisor – Largest Travel Platform

    When TripAdvisor first started out in 2000, it wasn’t a site for swapping reviews. Instead, they focused only on information obtained from magazines, news portals and other such sources. With time, they grew their brand and improved many different aspects of their website. By launching their own travel app, they made it easier for people to access their platform via smartphones.

    And despite everything, this app for travellers still has some pros and cons. Take a look at them below.

    Tripadvisor app

    Source: TripAdvisor App

    • Has over 8.6 million listings which are really helpful to travellers
    • Sends price alerts
    • Allows users to create custom trips or tours
    • There is no way to figure out which reviews are genuine and which ones are fake
    • Not as advanced as other booking websites
    • Some users have reported issues with screen rotation
    • Users often find the UI difficult to understand


  4. Airbnb – Vacation Rentals Booking App for Travellers

    Airbnb was founded by two roommates who were renting out air mattresses because they were broke. The founders went on to turn the simple concept of Airbed and breakfast into a global travel revolution.

    The privately held company now has over 7 million listings of lodgings in 220+ countries from all around the world.

    Airbnb app

    Source: Airbnb App

    This is one of the best apps for travellers who are looking for lodgings other than hotels. It helps people get new experiences and experience a city while living with the locals. There are both pros and cons to every app, we have mentioned the same for Airbnb below:

    • Free listing for the hosts
    • Protection from guests and hosts
    • Lets travellers enjoy local experiences
    • Potential damage to both the hosts and the guests
    • It isn’t legal everywhere
    • Users complain about glitches in the map mode for listings
    • Hosts often get notifications but there are no messages when they check the app
  5. Meetup – Find Events in New Cities

    Meetup began in 2002. It helps users connect with each other and find new events to attend. A user simply has to sign up and select some categories that they are interested in. After that users can join groups and get notifications for events happening around them.

    Meetup app

    Source: Meetup App

    • Users find nearby events and workshops of their interest
    • Free of cost
    • Easy to use
    • Too many pop-ups because of glitches in the app
    • The Android version of the app has too many bugs in it
    • Safety concerns since users are meeting strangers
    • Potential inadvertent costs

FAQ for Travel App Development

  1. How much does it cost to make a travel app?

    The travel app development cost depends on a number of factors such as features, functionality, inhouse or outsourced development. Software companies fall in the range of $5,000 to $50,000 and charge differently depending on the type of travel app you want to create.

  2. How do travel apps work?

    There are many different types of travel apps available in the app stores. Some of these are used for booking flight tickets, some for hotel bookings, others for trip planning and some more that can do about everything at once. So travel apps usually work on the basis of their functionality and purpose and every travel app can work in a different way than others in the category.

  3. How to make a successful travel app

    For successful travel app development, it becomes important to follow certain things such as:

    Step 1: Define the target audience and the type of travel app you want to develop.
    Step 2: Hire developers from a reputed travel app development company.
    Step 3: Collaborate with hosts and launch the app.

  4. Is there an app to map out a road trip?

    Roadtrippers is one of the best travel planning app for road trips with your friends or family. The app helps you discover new places around you that are not so mainstream. The app also has some pre-made trips but most people prefer to customize their own trips as per their preferences.


Let’s Start a New Voyage

We hope that after reading this blog, most of your queries about travel app development have been solved. If there are any other questions like how much does it cost to develop a travel app, how long does it take to make a travel app, or how to create an app like Airbnb feel free to ask us.

We are an app development company based out of Canada. We are known for our building fully-featured apps for web, Android, and iOS platforms. Our user-friendly UI/UX designs have fetched us client appreciations every time.

Just fill-up the Contact Us form given in the footer and one of our sales representatives will contact you within 48 hours. We also provide a free of charge 30-minute consultation with our technical experts who would be happy to provide a quote for your project.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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