Summer’s on its way and we’re thinking about our hols. As self-confessed smartphone addicts, we’re always looking for ways to brush up our travel toolkit with a few handy apps.
There’s no escaping the fact that we’re glued to our phones wherever we go – from a night out in Manchester to a trek up to Machu Picchu. But it’s not always about getting that selfie, our smartphones can be seriously useful tools.
Passport, wallet, phone: check
Any avid traveller or holiday-goer will be familiar with the above. Our passports and wallets are essential for successful vacationing. And now our smartphones are integral to the process, too. I mean, what did we actually do before GPS? Here are five apps we recommend downloading if you’re taking a trip this summer.
The worst part of going on holiday is packing. Or unpacking. Anyone else text friends and family to ask for a list of things they might forget? Well, we can stop rubbing their faces in it now and download an app to help us out. PackPoint is great for holidaymakers who want to alleviate a little bit of that pre-trip stress. The app is extremely easy to use and has loads of clever little features built in. We love it because:
- It has weather data built-in to be specific to your holiday dates
- You can input the activities you’ll be doing for tailored recommendations
- You can save and share the packing list for other members of your entourage!
It’s pretty much built-in to our DNA as humans that we’re really bad at choosing where to eat. You’re in a new place, stomach growling and bickering with your other half about who’s got the hotel room key – the last thing you want to add to the mix is making a decision about today’s eatery of choice. Zomato is spot-on for solving this issue. Simply input your current location and get access to hundreds if not thousands of local food joints, as well as your favourite chains for when you’re feeling homesick. Here’s what to expect:
- We recommend this especially to those travelling to the US as that’s where Zomato has the most coverage
- Food outlets are listed by cuisine type (burgers, pizzas, cold sandwiches), nationality (Japanese, Italian, Greek) and occasion (brunch, nightlife, grab-and-go)
- Star ratings and reviews are left by other Zomato users to help aid your decision
Bonus app: If this sounds up your street but you’re a vegetarian or vegan, try Happy Cow for strictly veggie-friendly recommendations!
3. Apple Maps
Okay, hear us out. This may seem like a pretty basic recommendation but it really is one of the most efficient ways of navigating around a new place. There are countless map apps out there that claim to be innovative and better than the last but in our opinion, Apple Maps top them all. Sorry Android users, Google Maps is a good substitute though! Here’s why we’re sticking with the status quo when it comes to getting around a destination:
- The familiar iOS user interface makes us feel a little more comfortable in alien surroundings
- Find recommendations for nearby corner shops, cafes, takeaways, you name it…
- Works in over 56 countries – including China! Plus, place/street names are usually always translated
- You can even navigate your way around airports and shopping malls!
- Remembers where you’ve parked your car if it has Bluetooth capabilities
- Stores hotel locations from your email bookings and Wallet
If you tend to get flustered with managing all your different emails and bookings, TripIt is the app you’ve been hoping for. It’s like having a little assistant in your pocket. All you need to do is forward any confirmation email you get to firstname.lastname@example.org and everything will automatically show up in a neat, organised itinerary, inside the app. No more faffing about trying to download emails with no WiFi while the receptionist is forcing a smile. We’ve all been there.
- The Pro version sends you updates on gate changes, delayed flights and airfare prices – it even tells you when to leave to get to the airport on time!
- It works across all devices: your phone, your laptop, your Apple Watch
- The free version is super handy so if you don’t want to pay, we still recommend it
You don’t need to waste time typing google.translate.com into your browser anymore, simply download the app to instantly dissolve language barriers. No-one does it better! The Google Translate app can translate around 100 languages from all four corners of the world, so there’s no need to feel out-of-touch, wherever you may be. There are loads of great stand-out features, with these being a few of our favourites:
- You can download dictionaries for offline use when you’re out in the sticks
- Get text translations with the intelligent camera feature that can readily translate signs, menus and packaging
- The two-way speech mode allows you to have a fully translated conversation with someone who doesn’t speak your language and vice versa
And there concludes our top five travel apps for smarter, more efficient holidays. Do you already use some of these? Have you got any other favourites? Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation! ✈️