I must admit – I’m a little bit of an app junkie. I’ve got one for everything (my phone is a bit like a swiss-army knife for software) which has made my life insurmountably easier, especially when travelling.
So, to help you along on your merry travels, I’ve chosen a select few of my absolute favourites that I think’ll become permanent fixtures on your screen. You may have come across some of them already, but if not then I urge you to download them ASAP before your next venture.
Here it is: My top 5 travel apps
Citymapper is an app which provides a public transit and mapping service, and is the first thing I download whenever I get a new phone – I’m honestly not sure I could travel without it! The app amalgamates information from all urban modes of transport, including buses, trams, trains, tubes and ferries. Walking and cycling routes are also covered and, because of its expansive coverage, it can be vital in navigating large, busy cities.
Another useful element of the app is that it enables you to select a route to your destination via a particular mode of transport. Once you have selected a transportation method, the app shows you more information regarding that route, such as the departure time and the cost of the fare.
In addition to this, there are a ton of extra features, such as being able to track the distance your journey has covered or the number of calories burnt whilst walking or cycling. The ability to share your location via Whatsapp, SMS or email is also a feature, which makes it incredibly handy when you’re meeting people and need to let them know your estimated time of arrival. You can even use the app to save the location of your accommodation, ensuring that you never get lost!
As of the date of this post, Citymapper has 39 cities covered, but they’re working on updating the app to include more.
Every day, millions of people fly from one part of the world to another. But as numbers of flights increase so can the number of delays and unexpected changes to our travel itinerary. SeatGuru can help with that. The app features seat reviews, a map of the aircraft seats and a colour-coded system to identify the best and worst seats on a plane.
It’s an app that’s got your back when it comes to planning flights, as SeatGuru alerts you to any changes that have been applied to your flight – something that airlines aren’t legally required to do. This means that those seats, which you stayed up until midnight to score in advance, could have been lost. But, with SeatGuru you can salvage any changes and ensure you still ride in comfort!
There are even more features available with this app and, as the parent company is TripAdvisor, I can only imagine that it will continue to go from strength-to-strength.
This app is perfect for when you’re looking to communicate and don’t know the local language, because it works in a multitude of ways.
You can speak directly into the phone and it will translate your spoken words into any other language. And, if you think that’s incredible, then you’ll be amazed by the fact that it can translate text from images. Simply open the app and select this option, hold your phone up to a street sign or shop window and then the translation will magically appear on the screen.
Google Translate also works offline, which is incredibly handy when visiting countries with high data-roaming charges. You can even save your favourite translations – simply download the dictionaries and they’ll be there for you to use whenever you need them!
Uber is an app that has people divided in their opinions. On the one hand, it takes away business from locals but, on the other, it’s an incredible app that has worked hard to safely transport people between destinations. For me, it’s an app that makes my trips incredibly easy. All it takes is three taps on your phone and a driver will be there in mere minutes to collect you, which is a godsend when you travel with as much camera gear as I do!
The Uber app is also directly synced to your bank account, so if you don’t have any cash on you at that moment you need not worry. This is incredibly handy when travelling abroad as you don’t always have the local currency in your pocket. In addition to this, the app stores all of your trip details to your account. This makes it incredibly easy to track expenses because it provides you with an email receipt of both your journey details and payment.
For those who have travelled abroad, I’m sure you’ve noticed that taxis aren’t always the safest mode of transport. Old vehicles which don’t have seatbelts are commonplace but with Uber your safety is in good hands because 95% of Uber’s fleet are either new models or have just been incredibly well looked after.
In addition to this, you can also share your location with friends and family to be tracked in real time. Plus, in the event that something should go wrong, you have quick access to the vehicle’s registration number, the driver’s name and their ID, so it’s easy to identify them should you ever need to.
Whilst Foursquare is last on this list, it’s by no means my least favourite. It’s great for finding new restaurants, bars, clubs and general points of interest. Each time I visit a city, I open the app to see what’s around me and what people have said about their experience there. Whether good or bad, 98% of the time the reviews left by other people have been accurate.
Foursquare is one of those apps where the people really make the place, so when you visit a new location be sure to pay it forward by checking in, snapping a couple of pictures and uploading them together with a few sentences. It honestly makes such a difference!
I love reading about other peoples’ experiences and have separate lists saved for every city that I’ve visited. Every time I check in, I save the place so that I can remember it for future use. I don’t always write a review, but I try to add some brief thoughts so that people know what I thought — I know people would like to read about my experience as much as I’d like to read about theirs!