The internet and smartphones, and in particular the rise of apps, have made many aspects of travel so much easier. Most phones these days have a long list of features straight out of the box which help a lot, such as a clock, alarm, compass, calculator, weather information and so on. There’s no end to the additional apps available for download, but with such a wealth of things to choose from, things can get a little bit confusing. Keep reading for some suggestions on some of the best smartphone apps for travellers.
• Before You Set Off: There are various apps which can help you to book and manage your trip, from your seat on a flight to your hotel reservation. Skyscanner is a brilliant price comparison website and app which allows you to compare airlines and find cheaper times of day to travel. The airlines themselves have their own apps, which will allow you to search for and book flights, manage your reservation and track your flight before you board. Non-airline specific flight tracking apps are also available which you can use every time you travel regardless of who you’re flying with. Kayak is a free example.
• Once You’ve Arrived:
Transport –Getting around is obviously an important thing to consider, wherever you’re travelling. Most major European cities’ transit networks, including the London Underground and the Paris Métro, have several apps, official and unofficial, containing maps and route planners to help you plan your journeys. MetrO is a free app which will help you find your way around public transport in no less than 400 cities around the world. Weekly updates ensure that the information provided is as current as possible.
Food – Among the greatest delights of travelling is sampling the local cuisine, and there are several apps that can help with that as well. Online reviews are an increasingly important factor in choosing where to dine out across the world, and this has translated into the world of apps, with most of the big review websites having their own. TripAdvisor and Yelp are both free, and give you access to millions of reviews at the touch of a button. This applies not only to restaurants, but to hotels and tourist attractions too.
Medical – mPassport provide city-specific apps which allow you to search for medical, dental or health care and find them using geolocation. You can book and pay for appointments, find medications, find English-speaking doctors, or even translate medical terms and phrases. These are paid-for apps, but given they provide such a potentially important service, it must be worth it.
Translation – A variety of translation apps are available which can prove to be incredibly useful when you don’t speak the language of the country you’re in.These include free ones such as Google Translate, which allows you to type or speak a phrase for an instant translation, or more advanced paid apps. Lonely Planet Audio Phrasebooks, for example, allow you to hear how a phrase is pronounced at the touch of a button, while the brilliant Word Lens allows you to just take a picture of a foreign phrase and it will instantly translate it.