When you’re exploring an unfamiliar city, it can come in handy to be armed with the best information and tools to make your trip as stress-free as possible – even better if they can all fit in your pocket. So we’ve narrowed down the top 13 apps you need, from a packing planner to a translator, and even an app that tells you how much to tip.
Let the adventures begin…
BEFORE YOU GO
“Searches hundreds of other travel sites so you don’t have to”
What does it do? Kayak allows you to find flights, hotels and car rentals all from one app. It searches through websites like Booking.com, Expedia and Orbitz to find you the best deals. It’s even got a bot on Slack, acting like a virtual travel agent to help you book your trip.
Why you need it. It’s your one-stop-shop for holiday planning with an easy to use website and app. The flight booking section is well organised, showing how often a flight arrives on time and the number of seats remaining.
“The world’s travel search engine”
What does it do? This easy-to-use app aggregates fares and times from airlines across numerous travel sites so that you can find the best deal, at a time and airport that suits you.
Why you need it. Skyscanner is the best way to book a flight as it shows real-time results of prices on available flights, which means that you can compare prices across airlines. It also shows routes and schedules, so if you don’t mind a longer flight with a stop-off you could grab a real bargain.
“The #1 award-winning travel planning app”
What does it do? Create packing check lists with the help of the expert list-making tool for suggestions based on your gender, whether you have children, temperature and the destination you’re packing for. It even considers food prep and whether you’ll be able to wash your clothes.
Why you need it. Never forget to pack anything ever again. Featured pretty much everywhere from The New York Times, to Conde Nast Traveller, this app isn’t short of praise. It’s really helpful, and better than scribbling a list on a piece of paper because you can share the list with others and set alarms for reminders.
“All your travel plans, in one place”
What does it do? Forward all your confirmation emails for flights, trains, hotels, restaurants and activities to the master Tripit email and it will convert all your emails into a single, interactive itinerary to save to your phone, so you know exactly where you need to be and when.
Why you need it. Don’t waste time trawling through emails and trying to find all your documents and reservations, Tripit saves all your important information in one place, just like Homelyfe.
“Top mobile app for flight tracking and exploring airports”
What does it do? A personal flight assistant that splits your flight into four stages: check-in, boarding, take-off and landing, giving you a trackable timeline and sending you notifications on any flight changes. Our favourite part is the airport information, including maps, facilities (such as phone charging stations) and estimated times for check-in, security and passport control, based on user reports.
Why you need it. Described as “the perfect companion for anyone taking a flight,” it is an easy to follow flight planner and a great way to organise your travel and time spent at the airport. The in-airport guides are really handy to look at before you go away so you can work out how far in advance you need to be at the airport.
“The comprehensive global trip planner that helps you get from A to B worldwide.”
What does it do? A comprehensive trip planner that can help you plan a journey anywhere in the world. Just enter your location and destination and it will provide you with flight, train, bus, ferry and driving options, along with estimated travel times and fees.
Why you need it. Aggregating information from over 4,800 transport operators in over 158 countries, Rome2Rio is handy not only for planning long-haul journeys, but also the little trips in between: getting from the airport to your hotel or a day trip to a nearby town.
“Convert every currency on-the-go”
What does it do? Access live exchange rates, view historical charts and calculate prices all from your phone or tablet.
Why you need it. Thinking about buying that souvenir but not sure how much it really costs when you factor in the exchange rate? Check it out on your phone right there and then!
“Share cafes and their wifi speeds”
What does it do? Quite simply, this app tells you the cafes in your vicinity that offer wifi. You can get more specific and find out wifi speeds and networks, seating configurations, power outlet availability, printing facilities, directions and opening hours, plus user reviews and rating. It can even connect you to certain wifi networks instantly!
Why you need it. We’re all used to asking “Do you have wifi?” when we get to a café, restaurant or hotel to avoid those pricey roaming charges when we upload our best snaps to Instagram, but with this app, you’ll never have to ask again!
“Translate between 103 languages on-the-go”
What does it do? When offline the Google Translate app can translate 52 languages via text typing. It also has an instant camera translation tool so you can translate signs, menus and instructions just by taking a photo on your phone. Or if you’re having a conversation and need a translator, you can use the microphone for speech translation. You can then save key phrases for future reference.
Why you need it. Perfect for translation on the fly. Can’t understand road signs? Take a photo and get a translation. Don’t quite understand what someone is saying to you? Record it on your microphone and read the translation. Never let a language barrier get in the way again.
“Free language education for the world”
What does it do? Learn a new language with gamification built in. Duolingo helps you learn over 22 languages in a fun and interesting way through speaking, listening, translating and multiple choice challenges.
Why you need it. Impress the locals with your linguistic skills by brushing up on your French, Spanish, Italian (insert relevant language here !) before your travels. The more you learn, the less you’ll have to use Google Translate! Plus the lessons are addictively fun.
SOCIAL & DINING
“Finding the best culture, daily”
What does it do? Time Out is well known for providing guides to cities, and the app gives you everything from the magazines and books on your phone. Discover new places to eat and drink with curated lists of great restaurants, events, bars and things to do in over 35 cities.
Why you need it. Time Out isn’t just for London. Use the app to find the best restaurants and things to do in major cities across the world from Accra to Washington DC. As well as reviews you can get daily deals on meals and drinks and create shortlists before you travel to help you plan your excursions.
“A social network for travellers”
What does it do? Described as “Tinder for travellers” by the Telegraph, Travello is a great way to connect with fellow travellers in your area. You can discover meet-ups near by, find people who will be in the same place as you at the same time, update your social feed with what you’re up to on your travels and join groups that match your interests. It’s a real community for like-minded, adventure-loving people.
Why you need it. Great if you’re travelling solo and want some company, or if you just like making new friends. The meetup and interest group features are also great for finding niche activities and interesting things to do.
“Easily calculate restaurant tips and split the bill on your phone”
What does it do? Not only does Tipulator help you work out the percentage you need to pay but also informs you of tipping etiquette in various countries, avoiding any awkward situations.
Why you need it. It can be hard to know how much you’re expected to tip in different countries. Tipulator will save you from any embarrassment when you pay the bill by advising what is expected in different cultures and help you work out the percentages for precise tipping.