Tuesday, 31 July 2018

10 of the Best Apps for Travellers - Don't Leave Home Without Them

I’m constantly searching for better apps for travel, from trip building to flight alerts to what’s around me and most of the time I find myself returning over and over again to the same ones because they do such a good job.  They make life so easy that you won't be able to imagine how you did without them in the past.

There are multitudinous travel apps - these are my all time favourites, with No 1, Tripit, being at the top of the list for good reason.

Tripit

Tripit
– I’ve written about Tripit before and wouldn’t go anywhere without it.  Tripit is designed to be your go-to place for all your reservations and places you’re visiting, and is particularly useful if you’re going on a trip that involves many stops, different places to eat and hotels, trains and planes.

Whereas originally you had to do all the information input manually, now you can just forward your confirmation emails from hotels, airlines, places to eat and taxi bookings and they will automatically update your Tripit feed.  Another joy of Tripit is that you can update it from your PC, laptop, tablet or mobile and it’ll sync to all of your devices. 

Be aware that around 80% of my travel emails go straight through, there is still the occasional need to put something in manually.

Tripit also stores past trips so you can look up where you’ve been before, a particularly good restaurant for example, and remind yourself of when you went and where it was.




Microsoft to do is a brilliant list making app.  It too me a while to get used to 'My Day', where you put all the things you want to do today (inevitably) and which you can move to tomorrow's 'My Day' - if that makes sense, if you haven't managed to get something done.

Where packing is concerned for someone who makes regular trips, or if you're packing for others as well as yourself, a packing list is invaluable, and you'll want to remember the essentials on it every time you go somewhere.  Create different packing lists and store them here, it beats writing stuff down any day.  Then use it for any other lists you may want to keep.  And your shopping list.

There's no limit to the number of lists you can create, and you can input reminders as well.


Google Translate

Google Translate – Visiting a country where you don’t know the language?  Google Translate couldn’t be simpler to use.  Just download the app, input what you want translated and select the languages.  You can even use Google Translate when you’re offline by downloading an offline translation file.  Available for both iPhone and Android

Kayak

Kayak – If you have dates in mind and want to check flight prices then Kayak is your next best friend.  Select your destinations and dates, filter by the number of stops and set up price alerts.  Then you can see immediately who’s offering what price.  You can also book hotels and sync trips using Kayak but I tend to use it for flights more than anything else.  Once you’ve found a good deal you can click straight through to book.

Hopper

Hopper – Hopper is an excellent app for predicting flight prices throughout the year as it colour codes the calendar to show you the cheapest times to go.  You can also set up price alerts here and have it watch particular flights for you.  Where flight predictions are concerned I usually use a combination of Kayak and Hopper plus the site for the airline I want to use if I have a favourite.

App in the Air

App in the Air and Flight View Elite – Having tried a couple of flight tracking apps these are the ones I now use all the time.  It’s easy to put in your flights and the flights of friends and family, and get notifications of delays and also to sync flight bookings straight from your emails so you don’t have to enter them individually. 

Flight View

For Flight View Elite there is a small fee for the Elite version which gets you your notifications whereas with App in the Air there’s quite a hefty fee.  I originally said that I was going to decide between these two apps but it's difficult - I like the design of App in the Air, but the functionality of Flight View Elite, with it's lower priced 'Elite' version, is more useful.

Around Me

Around Me – This is a seriously good app which, once it has your location, will take you straight to the nearest ATM, Cinema, Coffee Bar, Hospital, Hotels, Parking and more.  Just make sure you set your Location Services (within Settings-Privacy) to ‘While Using the App’ or it’ll drain your battery faster than you want.

Maps Me

Maps Me – This excellent app gives you detailed worldwide mapping from cities to islands and countries you may have never visited before and all offline.  Just make sure you download the map for the place you’re visiting before you go then you’ll have directions and route planning at your fingertips always.

XE

XE – This essential currency app will give you hourly market rates for your selected currency.  Use this not just for travelling but to compare with the rate you’re offered when you need to buy currency abroad.  You almost certainly won't get the consumer rate, but you can get a good idea of where the rates are going and you can input a rate alert to tell you when you reach your desired rate.  Hopefully.

All these apps are available on the app stores for both iOS and Android and once you've started using them you won't want to be without any of them.....

This post has been updated in July 2018