Ten Top Travel Apps

Ten Top Travel Apps

What did we travellers do in the old days - all of about eight years ago - before travel apps arrived on the scene? We had to cart around atlases and dictionaries, try to figure out how much that cup of coffee was costing in real money, and rely on guidebooks to provide us with a museum's opening hours or tell us where to eat. Long live the travel app, and technology. Less adventurous? Maybe. Making life easier? Definitely. Here are ten of the best travel apps around, in strictly alphabetical order.

With over 7,000 (and rising) maps of cities, towns and regions, all of which you can download in advance, this is one of the best map apps around, though CityMapper is also excellent but covers fewer destinations.

We always use GasBuddy when we're in the USA to find the best gas prices in town, and on road trips it's invaluable and can save you a lot of money.

For travelling in Europe this is hard to beat as it allows you to compare prices on flights, trains and buses, using data provided by all the major transport companies such as Eurostar, National Express, SNCF, SNCB, EasyJet and others. You can then book tickets too.

What did we do in the old days? Buy English-French/German/Spanish/Dutch etc dictionaries, lug them with us and then spend ages looking up the words you wanted - which half the time weren't there anyway. Now Google Translate does an infinitely better job with over 90 languages and using image and audio options as well as the written words.

This fairly new app hopes to combine the brevity of Twitter with the breadth of TripAdvisor, allowing you to not only save your own Pearls (like a great cafe, bar or museum) but tap into other users' Pearls from places around the world. You can build Pearls into Guides (e.g. Great New Orleans Eats), then share your Guides and use other people's Guides both to plan a trip and report back on great discoveries.

As a travel writer I'm always organising itineraries which combine flights with driving directions, maps of hotel locations, restaurants, museums, notes from local people and notes to myself. With an app like Tripit you just email the information to the app and it collects it all together in one place so you no longer have to juggle sheets of paper or rely on your memory. TripCase is another app that does a similar job.

It's come in for some flak but there's no doubt the Uber service has made life simpler for travellers who no longer have to roam the streets looking for an available cab, but can instead sit in a bar or restaurant till their cab turns up at the door. And no worries about tipping or being fleeced in foreign cities.

If you like your food then VizEat is the app for you. It goes beyond recommending off-the-beaten-path eating places and allows you to make contact with local foodies in over 100 countries and arrange to eat with them in their homes, or tour local markets, learn to cook local dishes and other foodie experiences.

Find free WiFi in most countries of the world, with over 2 million WiFi hotspots listed, including passwords where needed. Help save on those roaming charges for accessing all these apps you're now carrying around with you.

We've been using the XE Currency website for years on our desktops, so it's a no-brainer to carry the app and be able to keep an eye on currency fluctuations and also quickly convert local prices into your own currency accurately rather than with a rough guess.

The Author

Mike Gerrard is an award-winning British travel writer who also spends half the year travelling in the USA from his home in Arizona. He co-edits the 101 USA Holidays website.


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