13 Travel Apps that are Genuinely Useful
In a world of app stores, crammed to bursting with useful and useless alike, it can be easy to fill up a smart phone with apps that promise the world and deliver nothing more than a dead battery. Below is a list of genuinely useful apps for the tech-savvy traveller, taking you right through from the plan to the journey.
TripIt is perfect for hassle-free itinerary management; it pulls information from all your confirmation emails about flights, accommodation, car hire, concert and day trip bookings into one simple, easy to navigate and read itinerary that you can share with your travel party. You can even view the complete itinerary offline, perfect to avoid hefty roaming charges.
TripIt is available for free on Android and iOS, with premium TripIt Pro also available.
LiveTrekker allows you to record your travels and experiences and share them in real time. The app allows you to build a digital, editable scrapbook as you go, letting you store pictures as well as a written journal to document your adventure with such detail you couldn’t forget it if you tried. The app can track you as you go, creating a route on the map so you can look back and see exactly where you've been, whether it be an idyllic city break or an adventurous mountain trek. It can even be utilised in offline mode and synchronised when you have access to the internet to escape roaming charges.
A personal LiveTrekker account is available for free on Android and iOS. Premium business accounts are also available.
Citymapper is Google Maps for the astute (and fun) city traveller. Used by tourists and commuters alike, it provides real-time departures and disruption alerts as well as cycle and walking routes. The app is perfect for city breaks with full coverage in 39 cities (and counting!). Set the app up with your must-see attractions before you go and ask it to get you there from wherever you are. You can even meticulously plan days out before you even leave the hotel. Also, if you're curious, the app will let you know how many calories you burned, how many trees you preserved and how much money you saved if you decide to reach any of your destinations on foot or by bike.
Citymapper is available for free on Android and iOS.
HERE WeGo is a simple, lightweight city travel companion, with support for over 1,200 cities in 120 countries worldwide. It provides you with detailed turn-by-turn route planners for a wide range of transport options, and the maps can be downloaded for fully functional, offline use. It even provides indoor maps for certain public buildings! HERE WeGo may not be quite as robust as other mapping apps with less fancy add-ons and features, but it is the perfect no-frills or fuss mapper.
HERE WeGo is available for free on Android and iOS.
If, like me, you pack seven books but only one pair of socks for a four-day city break in Barcelona, you may find this app very useful. With Packpoint, you tell it where you’re going, how long for, what you’ll be doing and it extrapolates a list of things it thinks you’ll need. It’ll even check the weather forecast for you so you know how to prepare. The list is easily editable if you really do need all seven of those books or you won’t get through all the jeans it wants you to take. Packpoint Premium is also compatible with TripIt to create a personal packing list based on your itinerary.
Packpoint is available for free on Android and iOS with Packpoint Premium available for £2.33 on both platforms.
If you’re travelling abroad and you’ve got plenty of notice it might be worth getting to grips with some language basics before you head off. Plenty of language apps are available and offer a variety of depth depending on what you’re after. We love Duolingo though - its complete service is free and will guide you through different levels of difficulty before allowing you to progress. The focus of Duolingo is teaching words and grammar through a variety of mini game-like tasks, which make it even more enjoyable.
Duolingo is available free on Android and iOS.
For on the go translation, Google Translate is hard to beat. But while the app can be used to aid you in learning a new language, its usefulness really shines when it comes to day-to-day quick translation while travelling. The app utilises your camera so you can just point it at a menu or a sign and have your confusion fade away with an instant translation.
Google Translate is available free on Android and iOS.
XE.com is the go-to website for currency conversion and its app is no different. While the app provides tonnes of business-related information, its most useful function for the busy traveller is its ability to convert any currency worldwide. The app will also function offline by saving the last updated rate for you, just in case you get stuck somewhere with no connectivity.
XE Currency is available free on Android and iOS.
While many bill-splitting apps exist Splittr is the one geared for travelling. The simple, easy-tose app allows multiple people to input data in as you go through a meal, adding who paid what, and, at the end, tells you who owes what. If your trip includes multiple destinations and currencies, Splittr will work it out without you having to do any conversions yourself.
Splittr is available on iOS for £1.49.
Circa is the travel app for people that have been so many places that they just don’t know what time it is anymore! It lets you track multiple time zones at once so it’s easy to make connections with family and friends in various destinations without accidentally calling your mum at 3am.
Circa is available for free on Android and iOS.
Bad weather can spoil a perfect trip, unless you plan your activities around it. AccuWeather is one of the furthest-reaching weather apps, available in over 100 languages and used by 1.5 billion people worldwide. The app will provide general long-term predictions as well minute-by-minute precipitation forecasts.
Accuweather is available for free on Android and iOS.
When you're travelling, it's likely you're going to have plenty of downtime, which translates to hours upon hours of needing to entertain yourself. When it comes to music, there are plenty of ways to listen on the move, but for streaming songs and storing playlists for offline use, there’s nothing better than Spotify. As well as music, Spotify also supports podcasts and while the options aren’t endless there are still plenty to choose from.
Spotify is available for free and as a premium subscription and Android and iOS.
Speaking of Podcasts, they are the perfect way to fill free time while you’re travelling. SoundCloud and Stitcher Radio both provide a multitude of podcasts to choose from and your choice between apps may simply depend on who supports your favourite creator. However, it's worth considering that SoundCloud relies solely on streaming so might be no good if you’re avoiding roaming charges, while Stitcher allows you to sync up playlists for offline listening.
Both Stitcher Radio and Soundcloud are available for free on Android and iOS.
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