Get app-happy, adventurers… with these top travel apps.

By Kimberley Bailey
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There are so many apps on the market which can help you save time, money, & face both throughout your trip.

Here's a pick of some top apps out there right now for you lucky travellers. Just don't be that person who’s on their phone all the time. No one likes that person. 

Once upon a time wild and rugged travellers would pack their compasses, maps, guidebooks and leather bound notepads in their bags to set off to exotic worlds, with adventure in their minds and bravery in their hearts.

Now we’ve got apps.

Technology - especially mobile phones - has improved travel experiences immeasurably over the past few years. There are so many apps on the market which can help you save time, money, and face both throughout your trip and during the planning stages before it.

Before you go…

Hopper

Why do I need it?

Everyone hates feeling like they've missed out on a window of opportunity to get the ticket for their flight at its lowest price. I’ve made numerous deals with the devil to ensure I’m getting the best deal.

What does it do?

Hopper has uber clever software that tracks the fluctuating prices of flights so that the app can predict when the best time to buy your ticket is… and then it’ll alert you to do so! No more tarot readings, rune rituals or human sacrifices necessary.

Notable feature

The app will break down everything you need to know about your flight and airline policies over things like cancellations, baggage allowance, and seat selection.

Cost: Free

 

Skyscanner

Why do I need it?

Because who on earth wants to check a bunch of different websites for flights?

What does it do?

This app doesn’t only scour the web for you but it offers you the most affordable, most direct, fastest or best-value-for-money flights gliding all across the globe!

Notable features

Depending on how flexible you are you can select the cheapest months to fly via the Skyscanner calendar (which is great if you just want to get away this year) and, if you’re feeling really intrepid you can just select your outbound destination, choose ‘Everywhere’ and see where the cheapest places are to fly to within the dates you’ve chosen.

There’s also a ‘Top Deals’ section which shows you the, well, top deals from the airport nearest to you.

Finally, you can set up alerts direct to your phone with any and all price changes so you can keep up to date too.

Cost: Free

Kayak

Why do I need it?

For the same reasons you want Skyscanner.

What does it do?

This app works in a very similar way to Skyscanner so really it’s just a matter of preference. Like Skyscanner it searches a bunch of sites for the best flights, hotels, and car rentals for your needs.

Notable feature

Kayak also has exclusive deals that you won’t necessarily find elsewhere. Price alerts are available with this app as well.

Cost: Free

 

Packpoint

Why do I need it?

Because if - like me - you would rather plough rusty nails though my eyes (note mild exaggeration) than sit down and meticulously organise what you should pack.

What does it do?

Once you’ve input the dates and location of your trip and the activities or events you’re likely to take part in into Packpoint, the app will propose a list of items that you should take.

Notable feature

Packpoint will look at the weather forecast for the dates  dependant on what you’ll do there and what the weather forecast is for those dates. There’s also an option to share that list with your mates if they’re struggling too.

Cost: Free (Premium £2.33)

 

TripIt

Why do I need it?

Because it’s like basically having a PA for your trip. It’ll consolidate all of your bookings, track them and create a simple itinerary for you.

What does it do?

Tripit will snoop through any confirmation emails you have (flights, hotel bookings, car rentals, tours… whatever) and will track these and all of the admissible information to organise it into an itinerary for you in its app interface (which is really easy to get to grips with).

Notable feature

You can choose whether to set it up so Tripit has access to your emails automatically or you can forward on all the relevant mails to the Tripit inbox. At the very least you can keep all of your travel documents in one place.

Cost: Free (for TripIt Pro: $49 a year)

While you’re out there…

Maps.me

Why do I need it?

You’ll be able to navigate and create routes anywhere in the world.

What does it do?

This app allows you to download maps from any part of the world and navigate and track your routes with inbuilt compass and your GPS. It also comes with pre-programmed places of interest and categories so you can easily find a restaurant, hotel or bar without doing your own search

If I could be the public ambassador and advocate for any app it would be Maps.me. Truly a blessing from the angels.

Notable feature

Once you’ve downloaded the map of the region you’re in, it all works offline! Amazing.

Cost: Free

 

Splittr

Why do I need it?

Because if you’re travelling with some pals it’s almost impossible to keep track of who is spending what on who and who on what (confusing already, eh)... so it might be worth downloading Splittr to avoid any awkward confrontations and have a handle on any money owed to one another.

What does it do?

Splittr works in a pretty simple way; each time someone pays for a hostel or picks up the bar tab or puts the whitewater rafting trip on their card then you just input the value, the attendees and the payees and there you go: a breakdown of who is owed what. Of course you can do this over any length of time and, providing you keep updating it, no one should be shortchanged.

Notable feature

It works across all currencies and even mixes them! Kaching.

Cost: Free

Only available on iOS

Google Translate

Why do I need it?

So you can understand things like menus, road signs and market stall placards instantly!

What does it do?

This well-known app scans any text in another language and translates it straight away. This doesn’t mean you shouldn't at least attempt to exchange a few words in the language of the country that you’re in but if you find yourself in a situation where you simply can’t understand where you’re going, what you’re buying or what you’re eating then this app is seriously helpful.

Notable feature

You don’t need to be connected to the internet to use the translation function

Cost: Free

 

Hostelworld/Hostelbookers

Why do I need it?

Because doing all the leg-work to find a good accommodation in each country or town you’re visiting is for chumps.

What does it do?

Any of these apps are brilliantly easy to use and each of them have a staggering number of hostels across the globe signed up to their database (for example Hostelworld searches through 33,000 hostels at the tap of a button).

Just select your check-in and check-out dates, the number of people, the number of beds and the type of room… and bam.

Notable feature

You can filter your search according to what you’re most interested in; star rating, price or location. And you can also have a gander at the reviews of each accommodation.

Cost: Free

 

XE

Why do I need it?

If you’re travelling to more than one country working out the currency can get super confusing. It pays to know how much you’re paying for lunch or your taxi ride. No one likes to be ripped off.

What does it do?

This app is a currency converter in its simplest form. Visually it’s not particularly striking but it does the job!

Notable feature

It’s updated all the time and it’ll keep stock of the most up to date rates so even if you’re offline you can access them.

Cost: Free

Skype

Why do I need it?

It’s very possible that you could be in a bind or need to get in touch with your bank, a hostel, or that tuktuk driver you promised you’d use. And even if you have Whatsapp or Viber (for talking to your friends or worried parents) you’ll need to make actual calls.

What does it do?

So just top up your Skype account with a few quid, connect to the wifi, and away you go - free to call whoever you need.

Cost: Free

 

Are we missing any other brilliant travel apps? Share your favourite apps when travelling below.

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