The smart traveller knows that when you’re in a foreign land and you don’t speak the lingo, smartphones are worth their weight in gold. But whether you’re a seasoned traveller or you’re a cash-strapped student planning an awesome gap year, there are so many travel apps out there it’s hard to know which ones are worth downloading. Here are 5 travel apps that have saved my ass on quite a few occasions and that I wouldn’t embark without!
Sometimes your organizational skills don’t really match up to your travel ambitions. Multiple flight and hotel bookings, along with Google Map route maps can plague the life of the traveller and become just too much to handle. That’s where TripIt is here to ensure that you can travel far and wide without the organizational hassle and potential for missing flight connections or losing room booking codes.
The app collates all important emails regarding flights, accommodation, travel routes and more into a separate, personalised digital itinerary for your travels, which means that you’ll never have to have go through a mad scramble in your inbox to find that all important flight connection again. All you need to do is forward all important emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and the app takes care of the rest, simple!
Available: iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows
Free Wi-Fi finder:
Having a dependable internet connection is absolutely vital to the modern traveller, otherwise how else are you meant to find your way to an underground station in Rome, or to that elusive bar in Prague a friend told you about? But finding an inexpensive tariff whilst travelling from country to country is pretty much the holy grail of smartphone travel, that’s where the free Wi-FI finder can be a lifesaver.
Whilst free Wi-Fi hotspots won’t guarantee you the fastest connection, you can’t be too picky when you’re in an emergency. The app couldn’t be easier to use, just fire up the app and free Wi-Fi connections in the area are displayed instantly.
Available: iOS, Android
There are literally a ton of translator apps on the market but these are only useful if you know the word that you want to translate. What if you need to describe something quite technical and you’re scrambling for the right words in English? Before you get lost in 7 different possible Arabic translations for “bandage”, use the Image It app to break down the language barrier in seconds by simply showing a small pictogram of what you need.
Languages available so far include German, French, Arabic, Japanese and Cantonese, and with more than 400+ images sorted by categories including health, food and so forth, you can say goodbye to flipping through your dictionary under a streetlight in Macau just to find (and mis-pronounce) the Mandarin for “shoelaces”.
Available: iOS, Android
If you’re anything like me, where half of the fun of travelling is spent planning your trip beforehand by immersing yourself in travel guides. If so, then the Everplaces app is right up your street. Everplaces gives you an insider’s look to places such as New York, Berlin and London that go beyond what the travel guides would tell you. In short, the app shows recommendations left by travellers for restaurants, hotels and more in all major destinations, and enables you start creating your personal travel itinerary in seconds and share it via the usual social channels.
What really sets Everplaces apart is their tailored travel guides to the world’s most exciting cities written by locals, which curate the best bars, galleries, café houses and much more. These guides contain Google Map locations of the cities’ best spots, ratings, and tips from seasoned travellers that will help you soak up the best that is on offer in as little time as possible.
The sleek design, dead-simple interface and top-quality recommendations make this app a real treat. Another plus side of this app? It makes you look extremely cool when you’re showing off the best bars in town to your co-travellers.
Price: Both the basic community app and specialised travel guides are free
From the daddy of travel websites, TripAdvisor Mobile manages to not only allow you to view their almost behemothic amount of customer reviews on everything from famous landmarks to holiday packages on your phone, it also enables you to contact hotels and flight operators directly for info on bookings that are advertised on the app. The site is used by travellers from all across the globe and as such pretty much every travel destination you can think of has been reviewed.
TripAdvisor Mobile isn’t the only app on the market offering travellers reviews and accommodation info of course, but it’s the real scope of data on hand that’ll get you out of trouble when it’s getting dark and you’re trying to find a hostel in the mountains of Nepal.
Available: iOS, Android, Nokia & Windows
These are just a few of my favourite apps that I never set off on my travels without, what are your must-have travel apps?
Bio: Written by David Sumner, travel junkie and app-fan living in Übercool Berlin. Hit him up on twitter (@davidrmsumner).