If you want your trip to be an adventure – but one that’s not too adventurous to the point that you might get lost either in trouble or in some strange foreign land, as you pack your bags, why not make sure your smartphone’s loaded with travel apps you can use along the way? There seems to be an app for everything, as you’ll soon find out! Here’s a list of our favourite 10 travel apps, most of which are free to download…
Google Maps. Free for iPhone and Android phones, this app is an old and much-used favourite and provides you with traffic updates, public transit, city tours with 360-degree street views, plus a voice-guided, turn-by-turn GPS navigation support system. While on the road, it can even detect delays up ahead due to heavy traffic, accidents or ongoing construction and offer an alternative quicker route. An absolute necessity, especially when driving in busier countries.
Google Translate. Free for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry, the app translates phrases into more than 60 languages. For 17 languages, you can speak your phrases and hear the corresponding translations spoken back to you. In 24 languages, you can listen to your translations spoken aloud and you can also display translations in full-screen mode to make it easier for others nearby to read. It also supports translations from less popular languages like Yiddish, Czech, Tamil, Telugu and Latvian, among others – very handy when you want to avoid those awkward traveling moments!
Field Trip (by Google). Free for Android and iOS moile devices, this app helps you look for sites of interest around you, based on categories you select and your location. It pops up cards on your phone when you’re near something interesting. If you’re driving and have a connected Bluetooth audio device, it’ll send you alerts instead. Field Trip taps into recommendations from Thrillist, Zagat, Sunset and other travel and lifestyle publications. It also taps into Songkick and Flavorpill to help you find local music, perfect for when you want to immerse yourself into the local culture.
Wi-Fi Finder. A must for all bloggers, freelancers and travellers who get the shakes when they go without the internet connection for too long! This app is free for iOS and Android mobile devices and will handily point out all the nearest Wi-Fi hotspots on its built-in map. It also has a Wi-Fi radar, which can show you which specific Wi-Fi connection is closest and strongest – a life saver!
XE Currency. Free for iOS and Android mobile devices, this very handy app is capable of converting every world currency – seriously, if you can think of it, it will convert it! The app can also function offline by saving the last updated rates. It has other business-oriented features, such as rates for precious metals and historic currency charts (because you never know when you might need them)!
Trip It. Another app which is free for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad and Windows Phone 7, this awesome mobile trip planner app shows at a glance all your trip details, including flights, hotels, car, map, directions. You can use it to sync your travel plans with your online or mobile calendar, share itineraries and (if you’re the type who likes to keep everyone updated) post travel plans on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – phew!
Kayak. We love Kayak! Free for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad, and Windows, the famous travel comparison site has been handily condensed into app form. It provides a fast comparison of hundreds of travel sites on your mobile device, with features that include comparing flight, hotel and car rental deals; booking your accommodation; tracking flight status; managing itineraries and accessing airline numbers and airport information.
GasBuddy. For road trip lovers every where (which includes us)! This is free for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Web, Windows Phone, and simply but extremely handily helps you find the nearest gas station by location and price, so you can even save a few pennies while you’re at it!
Gogobot. Not nearly as robotic as it sounds, this social travel app (which is free for iOS and Android mobile devices), helps you find places to stay, eat, and play based on information, ratings and photos uploaded by other users. With it, you can explore an area ahead of time and save points of interest to a list in the app, so now there’s no excuse in ending up at a lame attraction or terrible restaurant again!
Hotel Tonight. Free for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, this app lets you search for hotels that desperately want to sell unbooked rooms, usually at a bargain price. We seriously couldn’t do without this one!