14 Useful Travel Apps to Download Today
Essential apps to download before your next adventure
It seems scarcely believable nowadays, but once upon a time – and not all that long ago, folks – people actually used to plan, book and go on holiday…without their smartphone!
This shocking revelation may come as quite the surprise, but thankfully there is no need to suffer in such a way nowadays. Not only do our mobiles provide us with a convenient escape to the sanctuaries of YouTube and Spotify as we await take off, but they are also the perfect all-in-one travel companion.
There are thousands of travel apps available to download, allowing you to do everything from book hotels and flights, to compile To-Do lists on the move.
Here are 14 of the very best that you should download before your next trip.
We’re going to assume that on your travels you’re going to be on a plane at some point. In that case, the Skyscanner app is an absolute must. The daddy of all flight aggregators, it is not too much of an exaggeration to say that Skyscanner has revolutionized trips abroad. Pick any two places and a travel date, pop them into Skyscanner’s niftily simple search engine, and it will pull in all the flight schedules and fares it can find from travel companies worldwide. Perfect for finding a bargain flight, it also tracks fluctuations in prices very accurately.
Choosing a single accommodation-booking app from the many options available was a tough choice – honourable mentions have to go to budget accommodation specialists HostelWorld and home rentals pioneers AirBnB. But it is hard to look beyond Booking.com, where you can earn cashback on all completed stays! With over one million hotels listed in 96,000 destinations, you are almost guaranteed to find a room wherever you go and however late you leave it. Add in user reviews, paperless check-in, instant no-fee-up-front reservations and loyalty deals for regular users, and you can’t really go wrong.
3. Trip Advisor
Want to read what other visitors have to say about a particular hotel? Looking for opinions on the best restaurants in town? Want advice on quirky things to do and off-the-beaten-track places to visit? Trip Advisor is the go-to place for user generated travel advice, reviews and opinions. And despite a reputation for over exuberant honesty in some of the opinions shared, it has become the world’s biggest travel site thanks to the sheer volume of contributions it attracts. If you want to, you can also use it to book hotels online.
4. Citymaps / Citymapper
Ok, we’ve cheated a bit here – these are two different apps, but both are essential for different reasons. Citymaps is a wonderful mash up of a navigation tool, user generated city guide and social network – think a Trip Advisor built around an interactive map interface. Citymapper, on the other hand, is much more a navigation tool designed specifically for big, sprawling, complex cities. By simplifying views, offering a journey planning function and live links to public transport information, it is the ideal companion to stop you getting lost in a big new city.
Though Duolingo is not a genuine replacement for language tuition as such, it is a remarkably easy-to-use app that allows users to grasp the basics of any language. The app ‘gamifies’ the learning process, allowing you to stay afresh on grammar and vocabulary so that you can get right down to exploring the moment you arrive at your destination. The best part? It’s completely free. *reads iPhone screen* Bellissimo!
6. XE Currency Converter
Ah, the good old currency converter – a staple among travellers for decades. The popular XE mobile app has been downloaded over 20 million times and offers a ton of features, many of which are business-orientated. But for the regular holidayer, the fact that the app is able to convert every single world currency is by far the most useful. Worried about using up mobile data on the go? It functions offline by saving the latest updated rates, so you needn’t fret.
Walking is always a good idea at the time, isn’t it? It seems fun, especially if the weather is nice, and remains a great way to see parts of a city that you might not have otherwise. The problem with this, though, is that you are a tourist, and have no real idea where you’re going. Getting lost is really tiring; public transport is too confusing, and local taxis are, typically, quite expensive. Uber, which allows you to hail a cab directly from your phone, provides extremely competitive rates and, crucially, enables seamless fare splitting if you’re in a group.
Ok, here’s the idea: instead of reading a guidebook as you wander around a new place, what if you had an audio guide relaying information through your headphones on-the-go? Using information gleaned from the internet, HearPlanet does just that for all the attractions you visit. If you purchase the premium version, the app will even work offline so that you don’t have to circumnavigate to public Wi-Fi spots.
Even if we say so ourselves, the Quidco app is super useful for upcoming travels – both abroad and in the UK. You can earn cashback on a whole range of categories, including: flights and hotels; packages and adventures; and, magnificently, exchanging currency. All this cashback does mean that you’ll have more funds to spend on sangria, and that can only be a good thing.
Familiar with the feeling of stricken panic when you rifle through a wad of confirmation emails to find out when your coach leaves the airport? WorldMate is the answer to your problems. Forward confirmations for flights, trains, coaches, hotels and trips to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the clever WorldMate app will put together your very own trip itinerary. Sorted.
When it comes to sharing holiday photos with friends, we all know about staging a cheesy selfie or doctoring a pretty landscape picture to rake in 11 Instagram likes. But what about a platform that shares every photo you take on your trip, in real-time, warts and all? Tripcast is certainly an interesting concept in creating a travel journal – followers have to sign up before a photo is posted, and every time you use your camera, there it goes!
There is nothing clever or fancy about TravelSafe…but it is one of the most practical and useful apps that you will ever take abroad. Essentially, the app gives you a directory of useful emergency numbers that you might need – hospital, police, ambulance, and so on- for the country you visit. The premium version, which comes at a small cost, will also provide embassy and consulate details.
If you’re anything like your friends at Quidco, then you’ll have forgotten an essential holiday item on at least one occasion. Creating a packing list is useful but fairly tricky, which is where Packpoint comes in. The app looks at the weather forecast for your chosen location, asking you to select from a list of activities that you’re likely to partake in during your travels. Based on these selections, it then intuitively offers up a list of items that would be handy to take along with you. If Packpoint suggests something that you don’t like – perhaps a pair of lime green Crocs, perhaps not – then you can remove from the list as necessary. Use the share function to show off your awesome organisational skills with friends.
An absolute must for all the sun worshippers out there! This amazingly clever piece of tech will calculate the UV index wherever you are, and by asking you to input your skin type and sunscreen factor, it sets a timer to tell you when you a further application is needed. Don’t forget to do your sides.