The Best Free Travel Apps
Booking a holiday can be overwhelming – particularly when you’ve got a big journey on the cards. Enter modern technology: some of which can help alleviate stress, before and during your trip. We’ve scoured the interweb (namely the Android and Apple app stores) in search of the best free travel apps to cover those trip essentials and help you eliminate any holiday woes.
Before you go
For most packing is a chore. It’s usually last-minute and the chances of you forgetting something amid organising flight tickets, passports, visas – to name a few – are pretty high, even if it’s just a pair of socks or pants! Packpoint will not only provide you with a list of those essentials, but it also helps you organise what other bits should go into your suitcase based on the type of trip, the duration and the weather at your destination.
Of course one of the most important things to pack is your travel money. With the XE Currency app you can convert every world currency, as well as setting live monitors for specific countries. The app has had over 20 million downloads and still has a four-star rating: so we reckon it must be doing something right.
Emergency information isn’t exactly the most thrilling of topics – let alone something you want to be worrying about while you’re on holiday – but it’s certainly important. Allianz’s TravelSmart app gives you immediate access to medical information in your destination, so you can look up local hospitals and medicines before you’ve even left the British tarmac (and while you’re away too).
And speaking of tarmac: everyone needs a Flighthero! Or we certainly think so. This handy flight-tracking app provides real-time flight status information, letting you follow your flight before you leave your home, at the airport and even when you’re sat on the runway. Its detailed flight board includes arrivals and departures, airport traffic delays and weather forecasts.
When you're there
USA, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa… these are the realms of the road trip. If you’re planning to get behind the wheel on your holiday, don’t waste time pouring over maps or money forking out daily rates for a sat nav in your rental. Instead download the open-sourced MapFactor: GPS Navigation app. It provides turn-by-turn GPS mapping in nearly every continent and relies entirely on GPS, so you don’t have to worry about racking up the data roaming charges that most phone-based sat navs do. It'll help minimise the time spent in the car getting lost too and maximise the time spent out of it, exploring the wilds.
Prefer public transport to car hire? The Moovit app works in nearly 600 cities worldwide, finding the best bus, train or subway routes for your journey as well as providing live arrival and departure times. It even lets you know which stop to get off at, so you won’t accidentally end up on the opposite side of the city.
Whichever metropolis you decide to explore, it’s always handy to have a guidebook in your bag. You don’t need to cart around a weighty tome though: just your phone will suffice with one of TripAdvisor’s city guides installed. From New York to Budapest, there’s a different app for each city. Every download includes information on local restaurants and attractions, self-guided tours, how to create a GPS-based travel journal and of course, thousands of user reviews.
A guide can’t tell you everything though – which is where Wikitude comes in. This augmented reality app uses image recognition to help you explore the globe through your phone’s built-in camera. Just point it at the building or landmark you want to identify and Wikitude will oblige.
Spending your days outdoors: exploring city streets, trekking mountains or simply relaxing on sun-bleached sands? When you’re preoccupied by new sights, sounds and smells, it’s easy to forget about the UV rays that are beating down on you. Take away those sunburn worries with the Sunscreen Reminder Pro. It allows you to schedule reminders every two, three, four, five or six hours, giving you a nudge when it’s time to reapply your sun protection.
If you miss your reminder and need to visit a chemist for some after-sun (or a bar for a slightly stronger prescription), use Google Translate to make sure you’re asking for the right thing. Boasting over 90 translatable languages, this valuable software helps you converse naturally and translates using your voice, camera, keyboard or handwriting. Even better, it doesn’t need an internet connection so can be easily deployed on the move.