When there’s an app for everything, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. So to help our fellow globetrotters out, we’ve put some of the most popular travel apps to the test. Read on for our top 10.
Pay the bills, check train times, complete your weekly shop…it seems like you can do pretty much anything on a smart phone these days. And organising a trip abroad is no exception. In fact, a recent TripAdvisor survey revealed that a third of Britons used a mobile device to plan their holidays in the last year. Whether you’re after a bit of help with packing or you want a hand choosing where to go for dinner, there’s an app for the job. Here are the ones we reckon you should put to the front of the download queue…
Packing Pro: £1.99
If you’re the kind of person who leaves your packing until the 11th hour, then arrives at your hotel only to find none of your clothes match and you’ve forgotten vital items like underwear, a toothbrush, or your children, this app is a lifesaver. You can create your own list of things to pack, and it’ll send you helpful reminders. Alternatively, just tell it where you’re going and how long for, and it’ll do all the hard work for you, creating customised lists of what to take
Hotel confirmation, car hire details, flight reservation info…sometimes it can feel like you’re carrying a forest’s worth of paperwork in your hand luggage. This handy app does away with all that, acting as a digital filing cabinet. Just forward on all your different confirmation emails to your TripIT account and it’ll collate them all into one easy-to-read itinerary that you can sync with your phone’s calendar.
FlightTrack Pro: £6.99
There’s nothing worse than rocking up at the airport ready and raring to go, only to find your flight’s been delayed for 3 hours. With this app, you can stay one step ahead of the game. It provides up-to-the-minute flight times and delay information, and even gives you terminal and gate numbers. It’s got more than 5,000 airports and 1,400 airlines listed, so wherever you’re going in the world, you’re sorted.
We’ve all been there. You’re on holiday and you’ve found a dress/pair of earrings/bottle of rum that you just have to have. First you rack your brains trying to remember if it’s 0.8 euros to the pound or vice versa, then you use your GCSE maths skills to attempt the mental calculations. At the end of it all, you’re still not sure if you’re getting the deal of the century or being completely ripped off. This essential app does all the sums for you and uses live conversion rates, so it’s completely accurate.
Whether you want to find the best seafood in town or you’re just looking for the closest place to grab a beer, Yelp’s got the answer. It uses GPS to search for restaurants and bars in the local area, and lets you filter them by things like price, cuisine and popularity. As well as giving you all the necessary details – addresses, phone numbers, opening hours and the like – it features customer reviews and photos, so you can make sure you’re not getting a dud deal.
Google Translate: FREE
Trying to decipher a foreign menu is a bit like a game of Russian roulette. Get it wrong, and you could end up with a bowl of snail casserole when you were expecting a plate of chicken. With Google Translate, you can type a foreign phrase into your phone (or attempt to pronounce it into the mic) and it’ll give you the English translation in a jiffy. It offers text translations in 58 languages and verbal translations in 23.
Avoid the dreaded lobster look with this nifty app. All you have to do is enter your skin type and the sun cream factor you’re wearing, and it’ll use the info – along with the UVI rating of the place you’re in – to work out how long you can stay in the sun for without frying. You even get a countdown timer to let you know when to reach for the bottle of suntan lotion.
Give your holiday snaps that je nais se quoi with the app that everyone’s talking about. With the help of some clever digital filters, it transforms photos from plain to picture-perfect at the touch of a button. Better still, it lets you upload the finished results straight to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Flickr – so you don’t have to wait until you get home to show off your tan.
Google Goggles: FREE
This app will turn the most novice sightseer into an architecture expert. Point your phone’s camera at the object of your admiration and – as long as the building is well-known enough – the app will fire up the relevant Wikipedia articles. And if you want to really show off, do it on the sly – no-one will have any idea you’re bluffing.
Trip Journal: £1.90
Forget photo albums and scrapbooks – this is the future of travel diaries. The award-winning app uses Google Earth to track your journey, geo-tag your photos and create maps of the places you’ve visited. You can also pen blog entries and upload videos, then share them on social media sites. It keeps everything stored, too, so you can use it again and again.
What travel apps do you swear by? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Author: Samantha Shillabeer
Published: June 7, 2012
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