The 9 Most Useful Apps For Travel
The 9 most useful apps for travel -
There are lots of apps on the market that target the digital savvy traveller. However, we have found that most of these tend to be quite gimmicky and not particularly helpful. Very often we have downloaded an app used it once, never to open it again. We have compiled a list of apps that we find genuinely useful when on the road…
This is hands down the best app to use when travelling. Unlike other maps and navigation apps you can download a whole country or city and then use the downloaded map when offline. This means you don’t have to worry about expensive roaming charges or locating a decent Wi-Fi connection. The map uses OpenStreetMap, a tool that allows users to edit and add new navigational information (a little like Wikipedia). This means that the street maps have lots of good local business recommendations. The app has proven to be a life saver when hiking, often offering detailed maps of quite remote areas. Overall it is a great alternative to Google Maps, that can be used offline.
Cost: Free for basic access. Full access from £9 a month
Wherever you are going, it is always a good idea to learn a little bit of the local language. Although we are far from polyglots, learning the basics of a new language can be very fun and practicing using apps is a great way of building confidence before speaking to locals. When you think of language learning apps, the first to come to mind for most travellers is Duolingo. Whilst we love Duolingo and definitely recommend this app as a supplementary language learning tool, we much prefer Babbel. Although Babbel isn’t free, there are lots of features that make this app worth the small investment. Babbel’s lessons can be downloaded, so each section can be completed offline. This is perfect for long bus rides or flights, a feature that other language learning apps don’t tend to have. Babbel’s lessons are also structured so that you learn conversational skills, rather than individual words or phrases. It effectively teaches you how to structure conversations right from the start, so you can start communicating in a language almost immediately. It also offers grammar lessons. These can be skipped if conversation is your only ambition, but we found these lessons really helpful. Spanish is the most developed course on Babbel but you can choose from up to 14 languages in total.
This app acts like a digital PA and is incredibly useful for keeping travel plans, bookings, itineraries and transport details organised and easily accessible. The app is linked to your email address so that online bookings are automatically stored onto the TripIt app as bookings are made. Any other travel plans can be forwarded to email@example.com and these again will automatically be stored on the app. This mean you don’t have to look through your email inbox or keep printed copies of travel plans. The app also sends travel alerts, for instances like flight delays or cancellations. All the information can be accessed offline, which is great if you need quick access to an address or flight number. You can share access to your trip information with other users, so that loved ones back home can track your plans and route.
4) Amazon Kindle
If you have an e-reader you will already know how convenient it is to have all your books stored on one device. If you are a backpacker you will also know how inconvenient it is to carry loads of electronics. This free app means that you can read books on your tablet or phone, so you don’t need to pack an additional device for reading. You can also download books, so you can read offline which is very useful for long journeys. I once left my kindle on a night bus and this app meant that I didn’t lose any of my books. I could continue reading with no interruption on a different device.
Skyscanner and Kayak are great…Hopper is better! Not only does Hopper let you book the cheapest available flights, it also tells you when to book them. Flights naturally fluctuate in price and Hopper advises you when to buy. If the app says wait, you will be sent a notification as soon as the flight drops in price. This super smart app has access to a massive archive of flight data and so the predictions are said to be 95% accurate. If you are booking a trip ahead of time, this app can save you hundreds.
Undoubtedly the biggest platform for traveller reviews, the Tripadvisor app is super helpful when looking for anything from street food to fine dining, a basic hostel to a 5* hotel room. The ‘near me’ function means that you are always able to find recommended restaurants, places to stay and things to do within close proximity. With over 500 million reviews from travellers, it covers pretty much everywhere on the planet, making it the most useful app for reviews in every county you visit. The forums can also be a really useful place to find answers to specific questions from fellow travellers.
7) Google Translate
When venturing to countries where you aren’t fluent in the language Google translate is an absolute must. You can type words, speak into your phone’s microphone or even take a photo of text to get immediate translations into over 100 languages. Whilst long translations aren’t always perfect, Google is continually improving the accuracy of the translations it produces, so the tool can be very useful when language learning and mastering pronunciation. You can download a language and use the app offline, so even if you are stuck without internet you don’t have to be stuck for words.
When travelling long distances listening to podcasts is a really good way to pass the time. Podcasts are also a great way of researching where you are going. There are some really good travel related podcasts out there. We tend to listen to these when en route to a new place. The best podcast player is Stitcher. You can listen to live radio as well as recorded podcasts, create your own playlists and share your favourite episodes with your social media followers, all with a very user friendly. interface. Stitcher also allows you to search for individual episodes as well as shows, which makes finding great content really simple.
9) XE Currency
Mental arithmetic isn’t fun…fact! Keeping track of exchange rates and spending can be a real headache, particularly when travelling through multiple countries. XE currency is the simplest currency exchange app to use, allowing you to keep up to date with live rates of every currency. Like most of the apps on this list it also has the functionality to be used offline.