11 essential travel Apps for your holiday

Aussies take around 750,000 overseas trips each month – we’re seasoned travellers. But with travel comes the difficulty of making sure everything is organised perfectly, and even the most frequent flyers can do with a bit of extra advice in this area. Thanks to the digital world we live in now, organising your travels is easier than ever. Apps can be a great source of advice and best of all, they won’t add weight to your luggage. Here are 10 essential apps to take on a trip with you on your travels.

1.    Travel list

(iOS)
Travel list helps you pack for your trip by assisting you in creating a packing list, in order to ensure that you don’t leave anything behind. It lets you set reminders for things you need to pack at the last minute, such as toiletries, and also has an in-built calendar to help plan every stop of your trip.

If you’re someone who regularly forgets things when it comes to packing, then this or similar apps are perfect for you. Unlike many of the apps in this article, Travel list is not free; it will cost you $1.99. However, this could more than cover the cost of leaving your socks at home!

2.    Trip Advisor

(iOS, Android, Windows, Nokia)

Trip Advisor is the world’s largest travel site, operating in 45 countries and reaching 340 million users a month. It is a necessity when you’re going out – whether it is a big holiday, or just thinking going out to eat in a new restaurant.

Want to go somewhere? Chances are that someone has already been and left a review on Trip Advisor.

The site is based on user-contributed reviews on almost every place you could think of going. Many places garner both good and bad reviews, which can make it a bit confusing, but it’s definitely worth consulting.

You will need an internet connection for booking flights, hotels or activities through the app; however, there is offline access to maps, reviews, and photos for over 300 cities around the world.

3.    Airbnb

(iOS, Android)

This might be an obvious one to include in the list, but it is just so important to have.

Rather than booking an expensive hotel or staying in a backpackers’ lodge, you can stay with locals in their home, or rent any type of accommodation on offer in your location – whether that is a van, a castle, a yurt, a home, or even just a couch.

There are options for any budget and accommodation preferences, and while it requires a little more self-administration than most bookings, you get to live with real people who know your location better than you do.


4.    WhatsApp

(iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Windows, Symbian)

Even though you’re away, you’ll still want to keep in touch with the important people in your life. Instead of paying loads of money for international calls just download WhatsApp.

It is a cross-platform that allows you to call and send texts as long as you have an internet connection.

You can call anyone except the emergency services using WhatsApp; they recommend that you seek alternative means of contacting emergency services if you need them.

5.    Rebtel

(iOS, Andriod)

Like WhatsApp, Rebtel is an app used for international communication, but rather than sending messages, it focuses on calls. Rebtel’s competitive advantage is that it charges the standard rate of your local service provider without charging you the exorbitant data roaming fees you usually have to pay, even without a Wi-Fi connection.

You only have to pay $1 per month for this service after a 1 year trial, so Rebtel offers superb value for money for those who want to regularly call their friends and family back home.

6.    Entrain

using phone at airport(iOS, Android)

Developed by some bright sparks at Michigan University, this app uses your travels dates and destinations to work out when you need to sleep and stay awake.

The aim is to reduce jetlag as much as possible by adapting your circadian cycle in advance. The app tells you when to adjust light levels throughout your day in order to get your sleeping cycle on track efficiently, so then you can make the most of your holiday.

7.    Free Wi-Fi finder

(iOS, Android)

Given that people tend to rely on Wi-Fi in order to contact people back home without spending their life savings on data roaming, finding free Wi-Fi while out and about can be crucial. That’s what this app is for. The latest version of the app contains over 550,000 free and paid Wi-Fi locations worldwide.

It does so by scanning for Wi-Fi hotspots around you anywhere in the world and can filter them by location and gives directions there based on your location services. If you’re not interested in chewing through your data, then this is the app for you.

8. Google Translate

(iOS, Andriod)

Want to order a coffee in Germany? Or read a street sign in Moscow? Or just understand what the taxi driver is saying? Google Translate can help with that. It’s the closest thing to the Babel Fish (for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans) that we’ve ever managed.

Google Translate has real-time speech translation functionality as well as word lens function (for those pesky street signs). It can’t yet translate all languages, but it’s on the way with 90 currently under its belt.

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9.    iStone Travel Translation

(iOS)

Like Google Translate, iStone is a translator, or to put it more accurately, a phrasebook, containing over 300 popular daily phrases from 12 different languages, such as ‘thank you’, ‘good morning’ or ‘where might I find the bathroom?’ While it does have less content than Google Translate, the phrases it contains are more accurate than its Google counterpart and is more useful for specific situations.

iStone is free to download, but more phrases and languages can be purchased in-app. At the moment, the 12 languages currently in the app are as follows:

  • English
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • German
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Thai
  • Russian
  • Arabic

10.    Foodspotting

(iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry)

Foodspotting is a visual guide to good food and where to find it. Rather than just reviewing restaurants, users can also rate and recommend dishes within the restaurants, as well as seeing what other ‘foodspotters’ and experts recommend wherever you go.

Since Foodspotting was launched in 2010, over 4 million dishes have been spotted around the world. If the dish you’re looking to eat isn’t in the app’s database, then you can add it yourself, to assist the next lucky traveller who comes to the same destination as you.

Foodspotting is free to download and also has a companion website.

11.    ICE

(Andriod)

ICE is concerned with your health while you travel, and has you covered in the case of an emergency. This app keeps details about any medical conditions you might have, as well as:

  • Your doctor’s primary contact details
  • Other emergency contact numbers, such as family members
  • Your insurance information
  • Any medications you need to take and allergies you have
  • Special instructions you wish to provide

For easy access in an emergency, this app can be accessed even if your phone is locked, which will save you having to give someone your password if you are unable to do so. It also translates your stored information in 10 different languages. Because of these important features, it will set you back $3.99, but this could be a small price to pay for your health or even your life.

Of course, using apps won’t guarantee a perfect holiday, and you should never rely solely on technology for your holiday – your own intuition can be more beneficial in most situations!  However, if you’re travelling to an unfamiliar place or just like to make sure everything is organised, then definitely think about downloading some of these apps. There are countless more available as well depending on your needs, so look around to find the ones that suit you. You never know when they might come in handy!

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