Is Wanderlog Worth It? Trip Planning App Review

The trip of a lifetime. I’m just back from a stunning 15 days in Japan. It was all planned at relatively short notice for a trip that includes a 14-hour long haul flight. Because it was all last minute, I busted out the spreadsheets to get the trip itinerary organised. It was one of those moments where I thought “surely there’s an app to help with this”. There is. It’s called Wanderlog and it made my trip to Japan so much easier.

What is Wanderlog?

Wanderlog is essentially a calendar for your holiday. As I mentioned, I’d started planning my holiday in spreadsheets. Tracking dates, transfers and even exchange rates. But as the plans got tweaked and moved around, the spreadsheet started to get messy.

After moving my plans into Wanderlog, it became so much easier to plan the trip. The app integrates with Google Maps which gives you an incredible map view of your trip on a daily basis. This was incredibly useful for me given I would be touring Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Arima. With so much moving around in different cities, even extended stays in sprawling cities did little for my familiarity with the area.

A sample daily itinerary

The ability to overlay a daily itinerary onto Google Maps gave me an extremely helpful visual method of planning the day. Starting from the hotel, I could plan a looped route around the city in different clusters. Grouping sights and attractions close to each other and making the most of my time in certain areas. I also liked being able to make general lists of things I wanted to check out. I had lists of sights, attractions, bars and restaurants that looked great. They weren’t part of any days plans, but I could see them on my map so I could dip into these spots when I was in the area or within a Metro stop of one.

Just one of the amazing sights Wanderlog let me squeeze into my Japan trip

A couple of years ago I went to Korea. It was the last big holiday I went on without using Wanderlog and in hindsight I feel like I wasted a lot of time mainly because I didn’t have that sense of what should be done at the same time based on travel times and proximity.

Green markers were on the daily itinerary. Yellow markers were bars I was interested in checking out.

Arguably one of the most attractive elements of Wanderlog is that the app offers a massive range of features completely free. One of the biggest premium features you must pay for is offline access to your itinerary. But with EU roaming and relatively cheap eSIM plans easy to organise before you travel, I don’t really see this as a deal breaker.

That said, I was so massively impressed with Wanderlog while getting the holiday planned, I did wonder if I did ask myself if Wanderlog premium might be worth it. I opted for the 7-day free trial to test things out.

Wanderlog’s Premium Features

Wanderlog costs about €60 per year and you can only pay for the app annually. That’s a substantial outlay for an holiday planning app before you leave the comfort of your own home. But what do you get?

Offline Access to your Itinerary

As I mentioned aleady, you do get offline maps. This wasn’t a massive selling point for me in Japan. I had already loaded my SIM Local plan onto my phone and had data from the moment I landed in Tokyo. Japan is an expansive country, but I still don’t recall ever being out of coverage and wishing I had offline access to my plans.

AI Assistant

What kind of service are you offering these days if you can’t plug AI into it. Once you go premium, you can unlock Wanderlog’s AI Assistant. As you plan your trip, you can ask the virtual chat box for local tips and then save these recommendations to your daily plans. To be honest, this wasn’t for me. I just rather go do my own research and add things that appeal to me whether I’ve found them from travel guides or YouTube videos.

Route Optimisation

By using Wanderlog at all, you’re already optimising your route. You can cluster attractions together based on how much you want to do in different areas divided by day. If you are a Wanderlog Premium user, you can go one step further. Just bundle everything into your daily itinerary and hit “Optimise”. Wanderlog will then cross reference what you want to fit into one day and give you the most efficient way of getting your day done, including travel times.

I did use this once or twice, but found that I could manually do this pretty easily too. A nice idea, but I’m looking for things to justify a hefty subscription cost. This isn’t the feature to do it.

Export to Google Maps

Being able to export my travel plans to Google Maps, at first, seemed like an absolute winning idea. But it was completely useless. I’m not sure it actually worked. It seemed to me that Wanderlog shares the locations to your Google Maps account in a certain way so that they can take it back when your subscription expires. I could be wrong, but that’s the impression I was left with.

What ever way they’ve worked this up, exporting was of no use to me.

What I will say is that Wanderlog itself as an app is so incredibly well designed and useful, that this was a feature I didn’t miss. I’d open the app when it was time to move to the next item on the itinerary, and just tap “Open Directions in Google Maps”. It worked so well that I was left wondering why I’d ever need to export to Google Maps. Which again left me wondering how I could justify a premium subscription.

Gmail Scanning

Now we’re talking. Slight privacy concerns aside, you can connect Wanderlog to your Gmail with a premium membership. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but there are a lot of emails you have to handle with a big trip. For Japan, I was juggling flights, hotel bookings, train tickets, bus tickets, event tickets and countless other little bits and pieces. While I had the trial active, anything I was booking automatically got pulled into Wanderlog.

The app was pretty smart to recognise what was related to the trip. It uses confirmation emails and dates from the trip to make accurate assumptions that the booking you’re making is related to the trip your taking. Once items are imported, you can check they are correct and add extra details if you like. If the app misses something, you can also upload at attach files and documents. This is a premium only feature.

I liked this feature. But the common thread continues. Would I pay for this at all, let along pay a substantial fee.

The Verdict: Is Wanderlog Worth Paying For?


It pains me to say this because I appreciate that Wanderlog is an absolutely fantastic app. It truly contributed to one of the best holidays I’ve ever been on and I’m not so sure that trip would have been so enjoyable without Wanderlog either. I understand that apps like this have to make money, which Wanderlog does from subscriptions and booking affiliations. It seems a simple business model, but I really struggle to see how I could justify the massive price tag.

Perhaps worst of all is that Wanderlog suffers from it’s own excellence a bit. The freemium features of the app are frankly more than enough to plan a great holiday and a world apart from the hardship of planning everything in a spreadsheet or a Word doc.

I can’t help but feel Wanderlog would be a much easier sell if the price model was monthly and cheaper. I would have considered €60 if it was a lifetime license, but recurring annually at that rate is just too much.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been so torn by a review. I absolutely recommend Wanderlog, but just cannot for a second recommend premium.

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Founding Editor of Goosed, Marty is a massive fan of tech making life easier. You'll often find him testing something new, brewing beer or finding some new foodie spots in Dublin, Ireland. - Find me on Threads
wanderlog-review-is-premium-worth-itThe app is really nicely designed with just a few niggles around how fast it loads at times. Can feel a little laggy, but it is carrying out complex jobs. The free functionality is excellent. The functionality wrapped up in premium is underwhelming. I love this app and if you're into planning organisation, it's really cool! Value for money is the obvious weakness. Free offers some of the best value I've ever seen in an app. But if you pay for Wanderlog, you'll be left disappointed. Stick to free and be happy.