When I took my gap year after school, I barely had a voice phone that worked abroad; now, we all have iPhones and iPads and there is WiFi even in the most remote areas. Although this prevents us from ever being truly disconnected, it does mean that we have access to a host of tools that can make our travels easier or keep us entertained on long journeys. Here are ten of my favourite travel apps, all free (although some have paid versions that let you go ad-free or give you additional features) – please share your personal suggestions in the comments below!
1. TripIt is a great way to keep track of all your travel plans. Just forward your hotel and flight bookings to a simple email address and they’ll all be kept in one place – so you’ll never have to go searching through all your emails to find your flight number or arrival time.
2. Kayak and/or Expedia will give you a quick overview of which airlines fly to your chosen destination and help you find the cheapest flights. Then I tend to do the actual booking via the respective airline website.
3. TripAdvisor is a comprehensive source of reviews of hotels and restaurants, as well as top sights and things to do. The “Near me now” function is great when you’re looking for somewhere to have dinner tonight.
4. Booking.com is my favourite site/app for booking hotels. It’s very intuitive and full of images, maps and reviews to help you decide on accommodation, whether you’re looking for a 5-star hotel or a simple B&B. (It’s less good for hostels, for which I rather use something like hostels.com, hostelworld.com or hostelbookers.com.)
5. XE is a simple app that gives you a quick conversion into your chosen currency, to help you get a handle on local costs when you arrive in a new country.
6. Trail Wallet is useful if you really want to keep track of what you’re spending, letting you enter each and every dollar that you spend and even creating pie charts so that you can see if most of your money is going on food, drinks, or souvenirs.
7. Kindle – While a lot of people bring their e-reader when travelling, you may prefer to bring less gadgets, and the Kindle app is a good compromise that lets you read all your downloaded e-books on your phone. Even better if you have the new 6 plus!
8. Audible – Audiobooks are a genius way to keep yourself entertained with minimal effort, whether you’re lying on the beach, sitting on a bus, or driving cross-country. Audible offers a number of different subscription options depending on how many books you get through…
9. Touchnote – If you’re like me and too lazy to make the effort to buy a postcard and stamps and then find a post box, this is your app. It let’s you create personalised postcards or greeting cards with photos from your own album, and your in-app purchase includes postage for extra convenience.
10. Star Walk – Not exactly a necessity but one of my favourites: hold up your phone to the sky and it will tell you what constellations, satellites and meteors you are looking at in any given location.
So what have I missed? What are your favourite apps that you can’t live without while you’re on the move? Share your tips in the comments below!