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Essential travel apps!

There was a time when travelling involved a lot of paperwork. Thankfully, we are in the 21st century, which means no more travel agents, no more printing off endless reams of documents, and no need to plan in advance. All you need is some mobile phone apps and you can go ahead and plan, arrange and book everything quickly and on the go:

Preparation

  • Travel List

Travel List lets you plan your itinerary, create packing lists and set up alerts to remind you of those easily forgotten last minute additions. No more forgetting your phone charger or pills.

£1.99 from App Store

  • PackPoint

PackPoint basically takes the thinking out of packing. Enter your destination, the duration of your stay and the activities you have planned, and let PackPoint do the rest. The app generates an interactive list of what clothes, accessories and essentials you will need to pack for your trip. Right down to how many pairs of pants.

  • Google Trips

Google Trips is a one-stop travel planner app. It allows you to save details from your Gmail account such as flight details and boarding passes, hotel bookings and rental car reservations, alongside places of interest and nearby attractions, all in one place. The better still it is all accessible offline and the app is free.

Flights

  • Skyscanner or Kayak

Both very similar, Skyscanner and Kayak are free flight comparison apps that show available flights and prices. Both allow the user to set up alerts for price changes, and Skyscanner has the nice ‘everywhere’ search function for when you need inspiration.

  • Hooper

Hooper is a level above other flight comparison sites showing you the current price of a flight, the predicted price increase and when it may happen, as well as if a non-stop flight would be cheaper or more expensive.

  • Flight Aware

FlightAware is a flight tracker app. It provides real-time updates of flight progress and delays for commercial flights worldwide. No need to have all the different airport websites saved, this covers all airports and flight providers.

Accommodation

  • Booking.com

Booking.com is a travel search engine for accommodation reservations all over the world. Many of its listings operate on a reserve-now-pay-later basis and Booking.com guarantees to have the lowest price or it will refund the difference. The more you use it the better the discounts get. After a few bookings have been made you will qualify for genius discounts which can offer up to 10% more off the price of a listing, late check out and free arrival drinks.

  • Airbnb

The same principle as Booking.com but with actual peoples homes, Airbnb is a must use for anyone who wants a real taste of life in a foreign country. You can have entire homes to yourself or just a room depending on how you feel. Some of the properties allow you to pay on arrival and others require payment in advance.

 

Exploring

  • CityMapper

CityMapper is the only app you need if trying to navigate one of the 36 cities it currently covers. No more separate underground map, bus timetable and location app. CityMapper can tell you how to get from Sydney Opera House to Bondi Beach, how long it will take to go from the Trevi Fountain to the Colloseum, and what bus to take to get to Trafalgar Square.

  • Foursquare

Foursquare is a local exploration app that lets you see what restaurants, entertainment, shops and other things of interest are in the area around you. It bases its recommendations on user reviews, the time of day and your previous reviews on places. Plus, instead of longwinded reviews Foursquare encourages short tips and tricks.

  • Google Maps

No 4G? No problem! Google Maps is still one of the best apps to have on your phone thanks to its offline navigation service. As long as you load in your journey and press start whilst connected to the Internet you will be able to follow your journey route all the way to completion without any data.

 

Extras

  • Whatsapp

The most widely used, free messaging app, Whatsapp is the only way to communicate anywhere in the world. Send pictures, messages and make calls through Wi-Fi without the need to change SIM cards or pay for a contract.

  • XE

XE is a free currency convertor that has an accompanying app. Updated with real-time exchange rates it allows you to pin your favourite currencies and compare the rates of exchange against each other.  

  • Google Translate

Google Translate offers basic translations in over 100 languages. Although it is not completely infallible when it comes to grammar and colloquialisms, it is a lot better then nothing when you are looking at a menu written entirely in Vietnamese.